Nigeria has focused so much on revenue derived from oil that it has forgotten its rich potential in other sectors, coupled with the fact that most Nigerians prefer anything foreign and expensive. The purpose of this post is not only to draw our attention to a few of the natural wonders that abound in our great country, but also to encourage more visits by Nigerians and foreigners as well as to increase commitment by the Government in developing and advertising the tourism potentials we have because frankly if we don’t blow our trumpet, who will?
Come along now lets explore the beauty of Nigeria in no particular order.
- Elegushi Beach – This probably the next most popular beach in Nigeria after the bar beach, Elegushi beach is located off the Lekki – Epe express way in Lekki, Lagos state. Elegushi Beach is usually open to visitors during the weekends. It offers a beautiful view of the vast Atlantic ocean, perfect for relaxation with family and friends (if you want a quiet get away or a quiet picnic), it offers a few culinary delights like suya, fish pepper soup etc, horse rides, paint ball battles all at a price though. however its more fun as the evening approaches as parties and makeshift clubs dot the beach.
- Yankari Game Reserve – Yankari Game Reserve is a wild life viewers paradise located in Bauchi state, visitors can move around in guarded vehicles while viewing animals like lions, elephants, giraffes, wart hogs etc in their natural environment. It is believed to have the largest population of elephants in West Africa. The Yankari game reserve is best visited around February to April as the harmattan would be in force and so a lesser vegetation density which would make the wild life more visible to visitors.
- Olumo Rock – Located in Abeokuta the Ogun state capital, Olumo rock has a rich history among the indigent Egba people. Visitors to Olumo rock get to see the large openings and tunnels in which lots of women and children hid during periods of tribal wars in the precolonial era. The city of Abeokuta (meaning “under the rock” in yoruba parlance) derives its name from this fact. The government has made lots of improvement over the years in making it easy for tourists to visit and enjoy the sites on Olumo rock by installing elevators for people who don’t prefer to climb and a few relaxation spots around the rock. My advice is eat very well, carry some water with you and visit when the weather is less sunny.
- Erin Ijesha Water falls – Located in Osun state, close to the town of Ilesha, this water fall is best visited during the rainy season when the water at the fall is much and more majestic. It comprise of a seven level water fall and visitors strive to get to the topmost level for bragging rights and to have a panoramic view of the neighboring towns. But I feel the best view of the fall can be seen on the second level. Snacks could be gotten just before the climb to the waterfall. I advise that if you want a more quiet visit you come early just before the crowd of visitors, come with change of clothes, a shower cap if you are a lady cause everyone gets tempted to get under the water.
- Obudu Cattle Ranch Resort – Obudu Cattle Ranch Resort is located close to the Cameroon Border in the Northeastern part of Cross River State. The resort features a cable car which gives visitors a scenic view of the surrounding, mountains. Visitors can have a panoramic view of the mountain via the cable car for around N1500. The ranch has an onsite restaurant and bar which serves various local and exotic dishes, visitors can also enjoy swimming in the Adventure Water Park, games like football, basketball and tennis are also available.
- Gurara Falls – Gurara Falls lies in Gurara local govt. area in Niger State, which is less than about two hour drive from Abuja. The falls was previously worshipped before western civilization came and it became a recreation center. Today people from parts of central and northern Nigeria visit the falls to chill out. It is best to visit during the rainy season when the falls are at its most full state, visiting costs N500 but to be able to see more and get a brief oral history of the falls you would require a guide who you would also give a tip.
- Gashaka Gumti National Park – It is located between Taraba and Adamawa state along the Cameroon border. It is very mountainous and comprises of a rugged terrain. It is also the largest game reserve in Nigeria. Visitors have the opportunity to see diverse wild life like the African wild dog, buffalo, African elephant and antelopes. Lest I forget it is also a haven for ornithologists.
- National Museum – The National Museum located in Onikan Lagos is a must go destination if you are a lover of history and you are within the Lagos axis. It contains historical artifacts as well as a brief history of Nigeria within it. For lack of space I wasn’t able to mention other Nigerian museum each of which is unique in its own way. Museums like the Badagry slave museum, the Ife museum, the Kaduna museum etc all hold pieces of civilizations from several centuries.
- Ogunike Caves – Ogbunike caves are associated with living traditions and are said to be used by the people for many centuries. The site still retains its historical and spiritual significance. There is an annual festival called “Ime Ogbe” celebrated in commemoration of the discovery of the caves. The biodiversity of the site has remained almost in tact. The integrity of the site can be attested to by the presence of the primary forests around the caves. The Nkisa River flows by the side of the caves into which the water that drains from the caves empties itself. At that point,where the difference in temperature is felt between the river and the water from the rock. The entire site is within ranges of undulating hills and valleys which stretch across other communities and farmlands. The site has sufficient boundaries (20 hectares) to protect its values from direct effects of human encroachment.
A few rules applies for visitors though like, don’t enter the cave except by permission, entering only with bare feet, menstruating ladies are not allowed into the cave and you’re to pay a certain amount of money to be shown/guide through the cave.
- Of course this list isn’t exhaustive and many more exotic places exist in Nigeria, feel free to add yours in the comment box.