35 Best Places To Visit In Nigeria

Nigeria

Nigeria, located in West Africa, boasts stunning beaches and lush rainforests. Its population is characterized by numerous ethnic groups, each contributing to a rich cultural web.

The country’s cuisine is a distinctive blend of European, Asian, and African influences, offering a gastronomic experience that is both unique and delectable.

Nigeria’s dynamic environment, cultural diversity, and culinary scene make it a noteworthy destination. Here are its 35 best places to visit.

Lagos

Lagos
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Lagos presents a distinctive culinary scene, blending European, Arab, and African influences, sure to entice those seeking unique gastronomic experiences.

The city also offers a range of cultural events and activities, including traditional dance classes and local performances.

Efficient and affordable public transportation is available, with scheduled bus routes and the option for chartered cars.

Lagos enjoys a warm climate year-round, with temperatures typically between 28 and 33°C. While the rainy season spans from May to July, the city remains an attractive destination for its vibrant party scene and art galleries.

Attractions include the serene Tarkwa Bay, a man-made beach ideal for families, and Freedom Park. Accommodation options cater to various budgets, with both international chains and local hotels on offer.

Kalakuta Republic Museum

The Kalakuta Republic Museum is on the same grounds where Fela Kuti declared an independent state, the Kalakuta Republic, in defiance of the then-military regime.

The museum preserves numerous artifacts, including Fela’s personal belongings and albums. It also features a mausoleum where Fela was laid to rest.

The museum is conveniently located near the Fela Shrine in Ikeja, with easy access via car, public transport, or taxi.

It also offers additional facilities such as a rooftop bar, gift shop, coffee shop, and guest house, and is just five minutes away from Lagos Airport.

Gashaka-Gumti National Park

Gashaka-Gumti National Park source wikipedia
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Gashaka-Gumti National Park, situated near the Cameroon border, spans 6,700 square kilometers. It houses numerous natural habitats and an extensive range of wildlife, including elephants, lions, hippos, and buffalos.

It hosts over 500 animal species, including a substantial bird population, with thousands migrating annually. The park is also the location of Nigeria’s highest mountain peak.

Prayer Mountain Hanwa

Prayer Mountain Hanwa is a renowned Christian worship site, featuring five primary prayer zones. It is believed that prayers are swiftly answered at this location.

Another significant prayer mountain is Ori-Oke Ikoyi in Ede, Osun state, attracting individuals from various faiths for day and night prayers.

A three-hour journey from Lagos leads to this sacred location, where a shoeless ascent of approximately three hours is required to reach the summit.

Abuja

Abuja
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Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, is a culturally rich and cosmopolitan city. The city is notable for its proximity to Lake Chad, one of the world’s largest natural reservoirs.

Its Central Business District is situated in the Three Arms Zone, near significant landmarks like the National Assembly and the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

Weather-wise, Abuja experiences mild summers and cooler winters, with temperatures dropping to 18 degrees Celsius (65 degrees Fahrenheit) in January and peaking in March.

Zuma Rock

Zuma Rock (2)
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Zuma Rock, a granite monolith, is a significant tourist attraction. Towering at 625 feet, it is often referred to as the ‘Gateway to Abuja’.

The rock, composed of gabbro and granodiorite, is situated in Madalla, Niger State, approximately 45 minutes from Abuja. The location provides light entertainment and food options for tourists.

Nearby attractions include the Agbokim waterfall, a seven-cascade waterfall that creates a rainbow effect during the rainy season.

Kaduna

Kaduna
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Kaduna, the capital city of Kaduna State in Northern Nigeria, is a significant transportation hub with a well-developed rail and road network.

A key attraction is Usman Katsina Park, the city’s first amusement park, known for its orchards, mangroves, and minizoos.

Kaduna also houses remnants of ancient civilizations like the Nok culture, dating back to 1500BC to 500AD, with artifacts displayed in local museums.

The town features the Matsirga waterfalls, descending from a height of 30 meters, and an ethnographic and archaeological museum. A traditional crafts village is also open for exploration.

Travel to Kaduna can be facilitated by air or train. The Kaduna International Airport is a major travel channel, approximately an hour and a half drive from any Nigerian airport.

Alternatively, the Abuja-Kaduna train route operates daily and is a cost-effective option.

Kano

Kano
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Kano, the second largest city in Nigeria, is situated in the savanna, south of the Sahel, serving as a significant junction for trans-Saharan trade. The city houses a population of approximately 4 million.

The Kurmi Market, positioned within an old walled area along the Jakara River, is a trading center and a primary caravan terminus, historically significant following the Fulani uprising.

Port Harcourt

Port Harcourt
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Port Harcourt, situated in the Niger Delta and capital of Rivers State, is Nigeria’s fourth most populous city. Known for its oil and gas industries, it lies along the Bonny River.

Touring the city’s highlights is recommended, with a bus tour being an efficient option. Attractions include the Port Harcourt Zoo, Garden City Amusement Park, National Museum of River State, and Isaac Boro Park.

The city’s nightlife is lively, with restaurants offering Nigerian and American cuisine. A local specialty is bole with fish, available at Bole King and other eateries.

Ibadan

Ibadan
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Ibadan, Oyo State’s capital in Nigeria’s southwest, is a populous and expansive city. Its bustling streets are filled with markets, squares, and local craft industries, including pottery, weaving, and blacksmithing.

Notable attractions include the University of Ibadan’s Institute of African Studies, a museum with prehistoric bronze carvings, and two zoological gardens.

Be prepared for a warm and humid climate, with light clothing recommended.

Enugu

Enugu source wikipedia
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Enugu is a city in southeastern Nigeria. The name “Enugu” originates from the Igbo word “en” meaning “hilltop”. The city hosts various festivals, details of which can be found on the festival calendar.

Attractions include the Enugu Carnival and Unity Park, a family-friendly space featuring sculptures, a seasonal mini-Waterpark, and seating areas.

Benin City

Benin City source wikipedia
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Benin City, the capital of Edo State, offers cultural and historical exploration. The city boasts the Benin Moat, a significant manmade structure built for protection.

Notable sites include the National Museum’s terracotta sculptures and the bronze casting along Igun Street, once part of the Benin Empire’s oba.

The city, once the capital of the Benin empire, is now a cosmopolitan area where English and Pidgin are commonly spoken. Historical remnants, such as the ancient palace and bronze plaques, still exist.

Accommodation options in Benin City cater to diverse needs, with amenities like free breakfast, gym facilities, and pet-friendly spaces.

Owerri

Owerri source wikipedia
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Owerri offers a blend of cultural heritage and modern entertainment. It is the homeland of the Igbo people, with locals often donning traditional Igbo attire.

The city celebrates the annual New Yam festival in early August, a mix of traditional and contemporary amusement options.

Owerri’s nightlife is vibrant, akin to Lagos, with popular nightclubs such as NV Lounge, Orange Room, Cubana Lounge, and Ice Club.

Ikeja

Ikeja source wikipedia
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Ikeja is the capital of Lagos State in southwestern Nigeria. It’s a business hub, offering various entertainment centers and leisure areas:

  • New Afrika Shrine: An open-air entertainment venue that hosts the annual Felabration music festival and has photo galleries about Fela Kuti
  • Nike Art Gallery: A gallery that sells and exhibits Nigerian art from traditional to contemporary
  • Jaekel House: A 2-story colonial mansion built in 1898 on landscaped land

The climate in Ikeja is warm, with temperatures between 28 and 33 degrees Celsius, and rainy seasons in May, June, July, and September.

Abeokuta

Abeokuta
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Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State in southwest Nigeria, is situated near the Ogun River and rocky outcrops in a wooded savanna.

Notable features include old fortifications, walls, and a market for traditional tie-dyed cloth, Kemta Adire Market.

The ancient Osiele Market and the National Museum, housing artifacts of past civilizations, are also popular. Guided tours are available for a comprehensive experience.

Known as Rock City, it’s a short distance from Lagos and offers a range of accommodations, from budget-friendly hostels to high-end hotels, some with onsite dining.

Calabar

Calabar source wikipedia
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Calabar is a port city and the capital of Cross River State near the Cameroon border. For nature enthusiasts, the seven-tiered Erin-Ijesha waterfall is a popular attraction.

Notable for its British colonial architecture, the city’s older sections offer views of the Calabar River and Cross River delta.

Noteworthy sites include Duke Town Cathedral, the oldest church in the country, and a nearby cemetery with river views. Calabar hosts one of the world’s largest carnivals in December, attracting many tourists.

The month-long celebration features parades representing various Nigerian tribes and international nations, boat regattas, novelty matches, and traditional dances.

Yankari National Park

Yankari National Park source wikipedia
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Yankari National Park, situated in Bauchi State, spans 2,244 square kilometers and houses a rich assortment of wildlife and plant life.

The park, a significant sanctuary for West African wildlife, hosts 350 bird species, resident and migratory, some critically endangered.

The park features the Marshall Caves, a network of 59 dwellings carved into the sandstone escarpment, discovered in the late 1970s.

It also has four warm springs and a diverse mammal population, including elephants, giraffes, and baboons. The park’s freshwater ecosystem, centered around the Gaji River, further enhances its biodiversity.

Olumo Rock

Olumo Rock
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Olumo Rock offers a distinctive and spiritual exploration. The rock, once a healing water source, now stands near the tomb of the 122-year-old chief Sonni Osi-Toko.

Access to Olumo Rock costs 1000 Naira for adults, with optional guides available. A unique 200-year-old tree that flourishes even in dry seasons is one of its notable features.

The site, reachable by a 45-minute car ride or a 1.5-hour train journey from Lagos, remains secure. The rock offers two ascent options: stairs for the physically fit or an installed elevator for convenience.

The best time to visit is March, a period of less rain, or during the Lisabi and Olumo Festivals.

Lekki

Lekki
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Lekki is a peninsula adjacent to Ikoyi and Victoria Island. It houses historical sites and is a favored destination for local and international tourists.

The Lekki Conservation Centre, dedicated to environmental studies and public understanding of the natural world, is situated here. The center emphasizes the significance of wildlife and their habitats.

Lekki experiences a tropical savanna climate, with temperatures typically between 25degC and 28degC. It has two seasons: a wet season lasting 96 days, and a dry season from November to February.

Lekki Conservation Center

Lekki Conservation Center
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The Lekki Conservation Center is a 78-hectare natural reserve. It is a haven for many plant and animal species, making it an ideal location for families or couples desiring a day immersed in nature.

Accessible from Murtala International Airport via taxi for approximately $10, with Taxify being the preferred choice over Uber, the Center offers several attractions.

These include Mona monkeys in their natural environment, Africa’s longest suspended canopy walkway, and a great setting for bird watching.

The Center also houses a library, a wildlife viewing area, and a 95-year-old tortoise with a remarkably robust shell. Early morning visits are recommended for optimal wildlife viewing.

Cross River National Park

Cross River National Park source wikipedia
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Cross River National Park, situated in Nigeria’s Cross River State, is a haven for African wildlife such as antelopes and monkeys.

The park’s biodiversity features tropical lowland rainforests, swamps, flooded savannah vegetation, and coastal mangrove swamps. It also houses a mini zoological garden, preserving endangered species.

The park is adjacent to 66 villages, with locals relying on it for their livelihoods. The Kwa River flows through the park, creating stunning waterfalls like the Kwa Falls, cascading into untouched pools below, and the Agbpkim Falls.

Idanre Hills

Idanre Hills
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The Idanre Hills, located in the town of Idanre, Ondo state, southwest Nigeria, are a natural attraction known locally as Oke Idanre.

The hills are a significant part of the local culture, with traditions such as a physical test for prospective grooms, involving lifting a 40 kg rock, being a part of the marriage rites.

The Idanre Hills are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town, less than an hour’s drive from Akure, has seen economic growth and increasing population.

Awhum Waterfall and Cave

Awhum Waterfall and Cave source wikipedia
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Awhum Waterfall and Cave, situated in Enugu State, holds significant religious and cultural importance. The 30-meter high waterfall remains warm year-round, further enhancing the site’s allure.

The waterfall is believed to possess healing properties and repel negative energies, making it a sacred site for Christians and a popular pilgrimage destination.

The cave system, adorned with lush greenery and pine trees, offers guided tours that provide historical insights about the area.

Olumirin Waterfall

Olumirin Waterfall source wikipedia (2)
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The Olumirin Waterfall, located in Osun, is a notable natural attraction. This seven-tiered waterfall, discovered in the 11th century, is now surrounded by the town of Erin-Ijesa.

The area offers hiking opportunities, and the waterfall’s consistent flow throughout the year contributes to a serene ambiance.

The waterfall’s seven levels can be accessed by ascending a forested staircase. Reaching the top provides a rewarding experience, although many visitors only venture up to the third level.

Ogbunike Caves

Ogbunike Caves source wikipedia
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The Ogbunike Caves, situated in Ogbunike, Anambra State, Nigeria, offer a distinctive exploration opportunity for tourists.

The site features numerous caves within a tropical rainforest setting, each worthy of investigation. The caves are safeguarded from human interference and urban development by a designated buffer zone.

Accessible from 8 am to 5 pm daily, the caves are believed to hold water with curative properties, attracting many collectors.

Formed by water erosion, the caves house various geological structures and bat populations. They also hold cultural significance for the Igbo community.

The caves are reachable via car or public transportation, being six kilometers from Ogbunike town hall.

Agbokim Waterfall

Agbokim Waterfall source wikipedia
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The Agbokim Waterfalls, situated in Cross River State near the Cameroon border, are a natural attraction that draws interest from around the globe.

This site is part of Nigeria’s ‘Seven Wonders’. The waterfall resides in a secluded rainforest area, characterized by steep hills and valleys.

Accessible year-round, the waterfalls are particularly captivating during the rainy season when they are fully submerged.

Notably, the Ogbunike caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, present an additional attraction for nature enthusiasts, featuring ancient tunnels.

Iyake Suspended Lake

Iyake Suspended Lake
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Iyake Suspended Lake, located in Oyo State, is a notable tourist attraction that draws a significant number of nature enthusiasts.

The locals perform religious rituals and make offerings to the god of the Mountain at the lake. It’s well-maintained by the local community. December is the best time to visit it.

For a convenient and flexible visit, opt for a private overnight tour, which provides insights into the area’s stories and can be cancelled up to a week in advance.

Owu Waterfall

Owu Waterfall source wikipedia
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Owu Waterfall, situated in Kwara State, is a notable natural attraction. Standing at 120 meters tall, it is one of West Africa’s highest waterfalls, cascading down a rocky cliff into a pool of cold water.

The location is popular among families and children due to its scenic beauty. The waterfall is also a habitat for various wildlife, including monkeys, birds, and reptiles.

Osun-Osogba Sacred Grove

Osun-Osogba Sacred Grove source wikipedia
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The Osun-Osogba Sacred Grove, situated in Osun State, holds profound spiritual significance and is a central hub of Yoruba cultural traditions.

The site houses forty shrines, two palaces, nine sacred places, and two temples, including the temple of Osun, distinguished by its thatched roof and carved pillars.

The site remains an active religious location, with regular rituals and a significant procession festival that reinforces the spiritual connection between the town and the goddess Osun.

Ikogosi Warm Springs

Ikogosi Warm Springs source wikipedia
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The Ikogosi Warm Springs, in southwestern Nigeria, are famous for their therapeutic properties. They are near the meeting point of two rivers, a cold and a warm one, creating a captivating sight.

Accommodation can be secured at the Ikogosi Warm Springs resort, offering a range of air-conditioned rooms equipped with TV sets, king-sized beds, and internet access, priced between N12,500 and N67500.

For optimal experience, consider visiting in December when the environment is tranquil and the weather is favorable.

Kainji National Park

Kainji National Park source wikipedia
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Kainji National Park is a great safari destination spanning 5,341 square kilometers. It encompasses Kainji Lake and sections of the Borgu and Zugurma Game Reserves, in Western Nigeria, easily reachable from Lagos International Airport.

The park hosts diverse wildlife and avian species, including the Secretary Bird and Ground Hornbill. It offers various activities such as educational lectures on conservation, guided treks, boating, and dining.

The park is also suitable for fishing and boating. Notably, the Okumu National Park in Edo state is another attraction, known for its unique desert fauna like giraffes, ostriches, and red-fronted gazelle, and popular for horseback riding.

Makoko Floating Village

Explore the unique floating village of Makoko, Nigeria, a community built on plastic barrels promoting sustainable building methods and water cultures.

Here are some things to do in Makoko Floating Village in Lagos, Nigeria:

  • Take a guided tour: Learn about the community and local landmarks on a guided boat or canoe trip. Tours may include visits to the village chief’s house, the primary school, and churches. Some tours also include a lunch stop at a local restaurant.
  • Visit the canopy walk: Africa’s longest canopy walk is located in Makoko Floating Village.
  • See the family park: The family park has large versions of chess boards and other board games.

Obudu Mountain Resort

Obudu Mountain Resort source wikipedia
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Obudu Mountain Resort, a year-round mountain retreat, is particularly dynamic from October to February, when the flowers are in full bloom.

The resort has gained international recognition as a host for various symposia and meetings, attracting a diverse range of business professionals.

The resort’s natural beauty remains a significant draw. The Obudu Cattle Ranch and honey business continue to be popular attractions.

The resort is conveniently located near Calabar, with direct flights available from Lagos, Abuja, and Akwa Ibom.

Ikogosi Warm Springs Resort

Ikogosi Warm Springs Resort source wikipedia
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Ikogosi Warm Springs, situated in a small Ekiti state town, is a globally recognized natural hot spring. The resort, known for its natural beauty, provides a range of activities and amenities.

The springs maintain a temperature of approximately 70 degrees Celsius at the source and 37 degrees at the confluence, offering a relaxing soak for those seeking its reputed healing properties.

The resort offers a fitness center, a 24-hour restaurant, and room service, making it an ideal vacation spot in Nigeria. Nearby attractions include a waterfall and the Erin Ijesha Water Falls, located 30.6 miles away.

The Nike Centre For Art and Culture

The Nike Centre For Art and Culture
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The Nike Centre for Art and Culture in Lagos, Nigeria, is a significant cultural hub, housing over 8,000 artworks by contemporary African artists. It is West Africa’s largest art gallery.

The gallery offers art workshops, including tie-dye fabric sessions, and provides a platform for young artists, particularly women, to showcase their work.

The centre also features a three-floor gallery where art pieces can be purchased, and displays a range of unique items such as fabrics, cushions, chairs, and special artworks.

Takeaway

Nigeria presents a multitude of captivating destinations for travelers. From the bustling streets of Lagos to the serene landscapes of the Obudu Mountain Resort, the country provides a wealth of experiences.

The ancient city of Benin, the historical site of the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove, and the pristine beaches of Calabar are just a few examples of the diverse attractions Nigeria has to offer.

This list merely scratches the surface of the nation’s numerous points of interest, each one promising a unique and unforgettable journey.

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