Nigeria Travel Guide
Nigeria Travel: General Information
Nigeria’s natural wealth and its historic importance would have long projected it as an ideal tourism destination had it not been for the nation’s troubled past. However, Nigerian authorities have been trying hard for nearly two decades to free the nation from the shadows of military junta and religious conflicts to establish itself as an ultimate tourism destination. It now depends on you, the tourist to make this dream come true. Explore the ancient historic sites and enjoy nature at its best amidst Nigeria’s beaches, lagoons, mangrove wetlands, hot-water springs, lakes, rivers and waterfalls, desert-lands, sparse savannah biomes and rainforests. To add to the thrill-factor, Nigeria now also has few National Parks/Wildlife Reserves like Gashaka-Gumti National Park and The Kainji National Park. Tourists interested in art and culture, can visit museums and institutions or be part of fairs and festivals.
Nigeria Travel: Key Facts
Capital city: Abuja
Area: 923,768 sq km
Monetary Unit: Nigerian Naira
Official Language: English, Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba
International Dialing Code: 234
Nigeria Travel: Popular Tourist Destinations
- Abuja: Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria, is a modern city mostly planned around the two monoliths – the Aso Rock and the Zuma Rock. Abuja astounds you with its natural scenery, but the city also brings forth many architectural and cultural attractions like the Jabi Lake, Gurara Falls Abuja Gardens, National Mosque, The Millenium Park, etc.; however, the highlight of Abuja-tourism are tours of Abuja’s pottery centers.
- Lagos: Lagos, the largest city and commercial capital of Nigeria, is the tourist hub of the nation because the lively city offers budget/world-class accommodation to the tourists. The island city is famous for its scenic beauty, beaches and sea-side resorts, but a visit to the Lagos also lets you feel the pulse of Nigerian culture. Get to know Nigeria’s history at the Onikan Museum; the National Arts Theater is yet another cultural attraction of Lagos. Other significant city-attractions include Oba’s Palace and the Shrine of Fela. Lagos also promises good bargain shopping for batiks (local hand-dyed clothes), hand-woven textiles and leather-work.
- Calabar: Calabar is famous for its picturesque setting and its butterfly-habitats. The city has many cultural and historical attractions like the International Museum, the University of Calabar and the slave history park. The venue of the Cross River State Annual Christmas Festival, Calabar also has a botanical garden, amusement parks and resorts. Calabar’s basketry and ceremonial masks are must-collectibles.
- Kano: The third largest city of Nigeria, Kano has a very lively nightlife scene and has some very good restaurants. Nevertheless, the greatest attraction of the ancient Hausa city is the over a millennium old wall. Other interesting sights include the Emir’s Palace and the Grand Mosque. Kano’s markets are full of traditional dyed/embroidered textiles and leatherworks that make great souvenirs.
Nigeria Travel: Economy and Infrastructure
Nigeria is a major player among African economies. Rich in natural resources, especially in its oil and natural gas reserves, Nigeria had long converted to an oil-based economy from an agrarian economy. The petroleum sector’s share in the GDP is usually around 40%; again, Nigeria earns a considerable percentage of foreign exchange through petroleum exports. Nigeria also has some non-oil based industries like construction business, car manufacturers, leather/textile industries and food processing. Although agriculture is still the main occupation of a considerable number of people, Nigeria imports food-supplies to meet the domestic need. (The two export-crops are cocoa and rubber). Nigeria’s up-and-coming service sector provides various services – financial services (provided by banks, brokerage firms, insurance companies and asset management firms of international repute), transportation, telecommunications, etc.
Nigeria’s military rule, widespread corruption and macroeconomic mismanagement had crippled its economy. Following reinstatement of democracy and economic reforms, things have improved; however, almost half of the nation’s population still lives in abject poverty. Although, infrastructure has improved a lot, social security is still missing.
Nigeria Travel: Culture
Nigeria’s culture is a delightful blend of the nation’s various ethnic cultures; of course, the chief influences have been that of the Hausa Fulanis, the Igbos and the Yorubas. ‘Ceremonial Masquerades’, a unique feature of Nigerian culture, are based on long-standing traditions of the Igbo and Yoruba people. Nigerian music and dance forms borrow from the folk music of the various indigenous tribes. Nigerian cuisine bears the stamp of the region – spicy, hot and tasty.
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