They say ‘charity begins at home’ - we’re usually so concerned with leaving Nigeria to experience what the world has to offer by the way of historical landmarks, untouched natural landscapes or unimaginable tourist attractions that we seem to forget we have wonders to behold in our very own proverbial West African back-yard. Did you know that we have a real life functioning medieval castle in Kaduna? Or a selection of natural waterfalls across the country to choose from to visit? We even have a national game reserve where you can see ‘Lions, and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!’ So, before you book your next holiday or weekend get-away, why not follow us down our ‘yellow-brick-road’ guide to Nigeria and maybe you might just find your very own ‘Oz’ at the end of it. Here are Temple Muse’s list of seven wondrous attractions to visit in Nigeria:
The Erin-Ijesha Waterfalls are located in the Oriade local government area, Osun State, Nigeria. They were discovered in 1140 AD by one of the daughters of Oduduwa. However, according to The Nation, “Olumirin” waterfall was discovered by hunters in 1140 AD. The fall features seven floors, on top of which the village Abake is located and is said to have medicinal properties attracting people from all over Nigeria to drink from it to be healed.
Kajuru Castle is a luxury villa, built between the years 1981 until opening in 1989, in early medieval style at Kajuru village in Kaduna State. Built with metre thick granite stone, it took five years to build complete with turrets, armoury and dungeon. The castle includes a guest tower with four rooms and the main building consists of a knight’s hall and a master suite referred to as the “landlord’s residence“. There is an outdoor swimming pool for cooling off on hot days and a barbecue spot to enjoy delicious grilled lunches right by the pool. From the pool area and most of the castle windows, you will enjoy fascinating views of the surrounding mountains.
KAMUKU NATIONAL PARK
The park is located in the west of Kaduna State, and is adjacent to the Kwiambana Game Reserve to the north west and 14km away from main town. It was established in 1936 as the Native Authority Forest Reserve of Birnin Gwari under the Northern Nigeria Government. It was upgraded from a state Game Reserve to a National Park in May 1999, in part due to the success of a community-based project promoting sustainable resource usage, managed by Savanna Conservation Nigeria, a national NGO.
OBUDU PLATEAU AND MOUNTAIN RESORT
Obudu Plateau is found on the Oshie Ridge of the Sankwala Mountain range, in Cross River State, in the southeast of Nigeria. The resort was developed in 1951 by M. McCaughley, a Scot who first explored the mountain ranges in 1949. He camped on the mountaintop of the Oshie Ridge on the Sankwala Mountains for a month before returning with Mr. Hugh Jones a fellow rancher in 1951. Together with Dr Crawfeild, they developed the Obudu Cattle Ranch. Although the ranch has been through troubles since, it has been rehabilitated to its former glory.
Zuma Rock is a large monolith, an igneous intrusion composed of gabbro and granodiorite, that is located in Niger State, Nigeria. It rises spectacularly immediately west of Nigeria's capital Abuja, along the main road from Abuja to Kaduna off Madala, and is sometimes referred to as the "Gateway to Abuja from Suleja”
The Ogbunike caves are in Anambra State, southeastern Nigeria. They are located in a valley blanketed by tropical rain forest and have been used over centuries by local people for whom it has particular spiritual significance. A yearly celebration called, "Ime Ogba" is undertaken by the locals to commemorate the discovery of the caves. The main cave consists of a massive structure with a big open chamber of about 5m high, 10m wide and 30m long at the entrance. There are ten tunnels at the main chamber leading in different directions. Within the tunnels are big chambers and other tunnels of varying lengths, some of which are inter connected and are occupied by a large colony of bats of various sizes.
YANKARI GAME RESERVE
Yankari National Park is a large wildlife park located in the south-central part of Bauchi State, in northeastern Nigeria. It covers an area of about 2,244 square kilometres and is home to several natural warm water springs, as well as a wide variety of flora and fauna. Its location in the heartland of the West African savanna makes it a unique way for tourists and holidaymakers to watch wildlife in its natural habitat.