Nigeria is blessed with so many beautiful sights and sites, both natural and man-made. From the east, west, north and south, these breath-taking attractions have become a source of pride, both for the communities where they are found and the nation at large. Game reserves, rivers, caves, landscapes, natural springs, well-rounded hills and rolling valleys…just name it; the nation has got them all.
Nigeria’s abundance also pervades the tourism sector. All across the country are tourist sites that are capable of turning in huge chunks of money into the nation’s economy if well developed and managed. However, it seems, this sector has been one of the most neglected in Nigeria over the years. If countries like the United Arab Emirate (UAE), the Bahamas, South Africa, Kenya, etc., depend so much on tourism and are making without much of the oil we have here, then the sector is worth taking more seriously. We have some popular tourist sites that are actually competing with others elsewhere in the world. They need to be given the desired attention to enable us reap the tourism and economic benefits among others to many to mention. It is the light of these that LEADERSHIP Friday highlights Nigeria’s famous tourist centres.
Yankari National Park
Nigeria’s most popular and exciting tourist destination, Yankari National Park, otherwise known as Yankari Games Reserve, established in 1991, is an inestimable value to the nation’s tourism. The 2, 244 km2-park is located in south-central part of Bauchi State. The park is replete with wide range of animals as well as plants which provide corresponding natural environment for the animals.
Yankari Park is also made more enticing by natural provision of warm water springs welling out from unique rock formations. This warm spring does not know summer, winter or other seasons of the year as it constantly flows from its source. Wikki warm spring is one of the springs in the park. All these features present alluring tourist attractions. Little wonder therefore that in year 2000, the park played host to over 20, 000 tourists from over 100 countries of the world. This park is situated around Duguri, Pali and Gwanda districts of Alkaleri local government area of Bauchi State.
Obudu Cattle Ranch
Obudu Cattle Ranch (now known as Obudu Mountain Resort) is found on the Obudu plateau close to the Cameroun Border in the North-eastern part of Cross Rivers State of Nigeria, approximately 110 kiliometres east of the town of Ogoja, 65 kiliometres (about 30 minutes’ drive) from the town of Obudu in Obaniku local government area, and 332 kilometres from the State capital, Calabar.
It was developed in 1951 by Mr McCaughley, a Scot. He worked in collaboration with Mr Hugh Jones, a fellow rancher and one Dr Crawfield, to develop the ranch to modern tourist standards.
Azumini Blue River Rose
Azumini is an ancient community in the south-eastern states. In this community, there is a beautiful, fascinating blue river which flows from the southern part of Abia State towards the edges of neighbouring Akwa-Ibom State. The water is branded “Azumini Blue River” because it is blue, clear and appealing.
Tourists are always enticed by the bright and sparkling nature of the water; so bright that you can clearly see things beneath the river such as fishes as they swim around, the white sandy bottom and the bright colourful stones and pebbles lying in its bed. Canoe riders sailing from one end of the river to the other, its comfortable sandy beaches dotted with chairs, tables and barbeque grills, offer special pleasure to tourists who often relax at the bank to enjoy the unique works of nature.
Nigeria’s tourism potentials are further enriched by Ibeno Beach located in Ibeno local government area of Akwa-Ibom State. The beach provides an interesting site for tourists, sportsmen and women. Ibeno Beach extends to James Town on the coast of Atlantic Ocean.
It is reputed to be the longest sand beach in West Africa. It covers about 2 km. Over the years, this beach is known to have retained its sands.
At the boarder of Nigeria and Cameroon, Niger and Chad republics lies Lake Chad. This lake which is located at the edge of Nigeria’s boarder-state, Borno, serves the economic, agricultural and tourist needs of the four countries. Of particular tourist interest are the several fishing communities around the area and the interesting opportunity to watch several boats as they ferry across the lake in different directions. It serves as a source of water to over 30 million residents in the area from the four countries.
Lake Chad covers up to 26, 000 km2 and is ranked the fourth largest lake in Africa. It is a home to over 44 species of algae. It also has extensive areas of swamps as well as reed beds. Up to 85 species of fish are found in the lake. It has many floating islands and inhabits a vast variety of wildlife which includes hippopotamus, crocodiles, several birds, and so on.
Agbokim Waterfalls though has a very short history, is another attractive tourist site in Cross Rivers State, Nigeria.
Located in the Equitorial Rain Forest area of Etung local government area of the state, about 30 kiliometres from Ikom, Agbokim Waterfalls is surrounded by tributaries of rivers with the falls taking place over igneous rock. Agbokim community have worked collectively to add value to the site and make the area a standard tourist attraction by discouraging deforestation and embracing afforestation in order to preserve the natural environment.
Oguta Lake is the largest natural lake in Imo State, within the Equatorial Rainforest belt of Nigeria. Apart from being a wonderful tourist site, it is of enormous economic importance to the local population (the people of Oguta, Orsu, Nkwesi, and Awo) as a source of water, fish and other water resourses. It served as a Biafrian army maritime base during the Nigerian civil war of 1967- 1970.
Near the Nkpologu campus of Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) is found the Silicon Hill- a very important deposit of the mineral called silica. The site, therefore, apart from providing a tourist centre, serves economic purposes.
The surrounding environment is very captivating with hills, valleys and plains beautifully wrapped up such that one cannot ignore its breath-taking views and awe-inspiring blend.
The Bar Beach, located on Victoria Island, along Ahmadu Bello Way, is named after the sand bars that dot the coastline of Lagos. One of the main beaches on the island, it runs the gamut length of the Institute of Oceanography in the west to the Eko Hotel in the east.
Several facilities and leisure activities take place at the beach: horse riding, boat riding, beach ball, picnics, water skiing, canoeing, archery, table tennis, pool and quad biking. Although some people insist that the beach has lost part of its attraction with the concrete construction erected along the coast line to curb flooding.
For a tropical state situated in Northern Nigeria, Mambilla Plateau, the highest grassland plateau that towers 5,000 ft above sea level harbours a surprisingly temperate climate. The undulating tourist site is insect free and home to Chappal Waddi, a 2,419 meter (7,936ft) allegedly the highest in Nigeria and West Africa.
The Mambilla Plateau is home to Nigerians and Cameroonians who live on the Plateau and on the Tikar plains. It is home to second largest tea plantation in the world, after that of India. Cattle ranches and grassy hills serve as a haven to some rare species of birds at the Gashaka-Gumti National Park on the plateau.The main tourist features include the mountain chain, the plain green view and a waterfall.
Kainji Lake National Park
Kainji National Park is one of the oldest and famous Nigerian conservation park established in 1976. It is situated on a land span of 5,340 square north-west central, Nigeria. Several hills, valleys, rivers and streams that empty into the River Niger, form partitions that have proven tourist sites as well as protection against anti-poaching activities. The park’s main purpose is to exhibit the rich bio-diversity, cultural and ecotourism potentials peculiar to all national parks in the country.
Kainji Park is a home to a large variety of uncommon animals, the roan antelope, water dog, patas monkey, bush buck, green monkey, ground horn bills, stone patridge, mongoose, grimms duiker, electric catfish, bee eaters, hadadaibis among others. Recently, the park has been victim of several clashes leading to the loss of three park rangers in the 2000s.
Tinapa is a $350m business and leisure resort venture initiated by former Cross Rivers State Governor, Donald Duke, to increase economic trade and tourism in the state. It is located by the Calabar River and associated with the Calabar Resort and Free Trade Zone. The first phase, the Tinapa Business Resort Free Trade Zone, Calabar, was commissioned in April 2, 2007.
The resort consists of 80,000 square meters of rented space for retail and wholesale businesses There’s a casino, children’s arcade, restaurant, a mini Amphitheatre, pubs, a night club and an artificial lake that feeds off the Calabar River and a 4,000 car-parking space. To jazz up business activities, there is Studio Tinapa, a movie production studio established to enhance modern film production in Nigeria.
Birnin Kudu Rock Painting
Birnin Kudu lies in the south of Jigawa State and it is noted for the presence of large number of rocks and their fascinating ancient paintings which are of the oldest rock paintings in Nigeria. The different paintings are eloquent information on the styles of the early settlers in the area.
Birnin Kudu town is best known as the site of Dutsen Habude, a cave containing Neolithic paintings of cattle (which bear strong semblance to some found in the central Sahara) and rock gongs believed to be more than 2,000 years old. It is a collecting point for peanuts (groundnuts), which are sent to Kano city 76 miles (122 km) west-northwest for export by rail, and is a market centre for millet, sorghum, peanuts, cowpeas, cotton and livestock.
Sukur Cultural Landscape
Sukur Cultural Landscape is located on top of a hill above Sukur village in Adamawa State of Nigeria. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is situated in the Mandara Mountains, close to the border with Cameroun. Its UNESCO inscription is based on the cultural heritage, material culture, and the naturally terraced fields. Sukur is Africa’s first cultural landscape to receive world heritage list inscription.
Gamji Gates, located in Kaduna State, is one of the interesting places to visit that will leave indelible memory in the mind of a tourist a tourist long time after a visit. It has such features as an ever-busy amusement park, a mini zoo with such animals as crocodiles.
The crocodile pit in Gamji Gates has several crocodiles that entertain visitors to the site. This is done through some unusual displays such as blinking of their eyes, opening and swiftly closing their jaws to catch flying preys. This amuses and interests people who often watch them. Also, there are other features as beautiful painted tress, ostrich cage and swimming pool. The place is an ever enticing destination to host tourists and any person in need of an ideal place to relax.
Nigeria’s federal capital territory, Abuja, has a lot of places to visit for tourist satisfaction. One of such places is the popular Millennium Park which is located in Maitama District in the nation’s capital. The park was officially opened by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth of England II on December 4, 2003. Since then, the park has continued to attract people from within and outside the country.
A river crosses the park in its main rectilinear axis, thus, cutting the park in two parts. Some of the features to watch at the park are swimming pool, water fountains and appealing mountain vegetation.
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