Things to See in Nigeria

by Cheryl Teal

Travelers need to rethink their preconceived notions about Nigeria. This West African country offers much more than a home to financial scam email writers. Indeed, Africa's most populous country offers many great tourist attractions, from game parks to beaches to cultural relics and scenic beauty. The country offers significant cultural diversity with more than 300 tribal peoples, each offering its unique culture.

National Parks

Nigeria has seven national parks, each offering opportunities to view animals in the world. There are elephants, gorillas, baboons, crocodiles, hippos and other assorted wildlife. The north's Gashaka-Gumti National Park is the country's largest park, Nigeria's National Park Service says. Nigeria-direct, a tourism site, notes the park also is home to more than 500 species of birds, making it a birdwatcher's paradise. In the east-central part of the country, Yankari National Park is home to hippos, giraffes and big cats such as lions, tigers and leopards. It became a game preserve in 1956.

Scenic Spots

The national parks service calls Gashaka-Gumti National Park one of the most scenic places in the country because of the terrain, which ranges from tropical rain forests to mountain plateaus. However, the country offers other scenic spots, including Owu Falls in Kwara State. Owu Falls is "the steepest natural waterfalls in West Africa and is surrounded by a tropical rain forest" with myriad wildlife and plants not found elsewhere, according to the tourism site.

Cultural Relics

China is not the only country famous for its terracotta statues. The Nigerians are right up there with Nok Village, which a website devoted to Nok culture calls "Africa's number one and most magnificent art history of ancient civilization" dating back to 500 B.C. Nok culture, known for its amazing terracotta sculptures, was discovered in 1928, according to the Nokculture.com website. Located in northern Nigeria, the site represents artwork of the Ham/Jaba people. Getting there is an adventure in itself, involving bus and motorcycle travel, as roads are impassable, the website notes.

Sacred Sites

The Osun Sacred Grove is one of the most sacred sites in Nigeria, according to UNESCO which named it a World Heritage Site in 2005. Osun is the goddess of fertility for the Yoruba people. Various shrines with sculptures to Osun and other gods and goddesses can be found throughout the site. UNESCO says this sacred site, located in western Nigeria, may be the last of its kind in the Yoruba culture, though at one time, the Yorubas made sacred groves outside all their settlements.

About the Author

Cheryl Teal is an award-winning photojournalist who began writing professionally in 1968. She is a former small-business owner who specializes in writing about business, motorcycles and travel. She has her own line of travel guides called "Cheryl's Guides," which are mostly about travel in China. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon.

Photo Credits

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