Whether it is for education, entertainment, relaxation, or recreation, Nigeria has one of the most beautiful tourist destinations and historical sites which have cultural, historical, scientific, or other forms of significance. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural, Organization (UNESCO) is responsible for the protection and conservation of historical sites in the world. Today, Nigeria has only 2 recognized historical sites on UNESCO’s list of world-historical sites, they are Osun-Oshogbo Sacred Grove and Sukur Cultural Landscape.
Here are top 10 historical sites in Nigeria:
1. Obudu Mountain Resort
Heaven on earth as it is popularly called, the Obudu mountain resort is located in Obudu, Calabar. The Obudu cattle ranch would leave you speechless and wondering if you are still in Nigeria as sources have it that it is one of the places where snow falls in Nigeria. The peace and calmness that one enjoys is why the Obudu mountain resort is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Nigeria. It is suited for honeymoon, vacationing, relaxation, and hiking.
At Obudu Mountain Resort there are varieties of activities that you can engage in Sight-seeing, Hiking, Playing outdoor games, Get on the canopy walk (if you love watching birds and feeling close to nature) and a ride on the cable car which allows you to see the wonders of the mountain.
It is also best to visit during the period between October and February as the weather during this period makes trekking enjoyable. Also, the Calabar carnival is one of the richest and most anticipated carnival in Nigeria that takes place in December and Obudu Ranch International Mountain Race known as “the world’s richest mountain race”, that takes place in late November.
Badagry is a popular town in Lagos and it is one of the most searched locations when tourists (both local and International) are looking for places to visit within Nigeria.
Badagry is a safe, serene and coastal town, which forms the border between Nigeria and Benin Republic. The town is full of history and culture. It was a major slave port during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade era and exported hundreds of thousands of slaves to South America especially Brazil. Though the town had a gruesome past, today it is a major tourist attraction with monuments, points of interests, beaches, resorts, art1facts and relics from the slave trade era. The top attractions to visit in Badagry are the Black slavery Museum, Gberefun Island ( Point of no return), the velekete slave market. The Badagry Festival which occurs every August is also an avenue for tourists to observe the rich culture of the Badagry people.
3. Olumo Rock
Located in Abeokuta, Ogun State, this rock is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in Nigeria. One of the attractive things about Olumo Rock which stands at a height of 137 meters above sea level is the fact that it is easy to climb. Even before the recent renovations, Olumo Rock had stairs carved into it for easy climbing. For those who do not wish to go through climbing through the rocks can use staircases or elevators to reach the peak.
From the apex of the rock, you would be afforded a full view of other tourists’ locations in Abeokuta like the First Church of Nigeria, the Central Mosque, the River Ogun as well as the family house of the late Moshood Abiola. The month of March is always a great time to pay a visit to the Olumo Rock, as it is the dry season around the environment of the Rock. Visiting Olumo Rock in March would also afford you the opportunity of enjoying the Olumo Festivals.
4. Yankari Game Reserve
Located in Bauchi in Northern Nigeria, Yankari Game Reserve is the country’s richest wildlife oasis. Yankari Game Reserve contains the largest surviving elephant population in Nigeria and one of the largest remaining in West Africa. It inhabits important populations of lion, buffalo, hippo, and other endangered animals. However, sighting the animals is not so easy, as the vegetation in the area is quite dense.
The Wiki Warm Springs is another attraction to visitors at the Yankari Game reserve. It is 200m long and 10m wide, containing crystal-clear water at a temperature of 31 degrees Celsius. Baboons and elephants often come down to the springs to have a drink. The best time to have the full experience of Yankari is during the dry season with warmer temperatures, typically between March and April as this allows you to see a wider range of animals.
5. Idanre Hills
Idanre Hills one of the most famous Nigerian tourist centre. Idanre hill is one of the most awesome and beautiful landscapes in Ondo State and Nigeria. There are 660 steps that lead up into the hills and These long winding steps have five resting points, set at least 100 meters apart. Idanre is rich with diverse cultures and traditions, rare artifacts, things, and places of cultural and historical significance.
6. Kogosi Warm Springs
Legend has it that a hunter had two wives – a hot-tempered wife and a mild-mannered wife. One day the two wives had a fight and the result was that they both turned into springs of water – the hot-tempered one turned into a spring of hot water and the mild-mannered wife turned into a spring of cold water. Well at least that’s one of the stories of Ikogosi warm springs…The warm and cold springs of Ikogosi flow parallel and meet somewhere down to form a confluence, with each maintaining its thermal quality. This is the first of such an occurrence in the world.
The warm spring has a temperature of 70°c at the source and 37°c after meeting a cold spring. The meeting point of the warm and cold springs is a unique attraction to tourists. The Ikogosi warm spring, according to tourism experts, is one of eight of such warm springs discovered in the world.
7. Erin Ijesha Waterfalls
Erin Ijesha (Olumirin) is a seven-step waterfall in Osun State, Nigeria. Each step of the waterfall has a flowing fountain that marks the mystical nature of the place. Olumirin is located in Erin-Ijesha, Oriade local government, Osun state. Towering high, the cliff can be found within the community axis of Erin-Oke, Erin-Ijesha, and Erinmo.
It is one of the most visited tourist sites in Nigeria. During the celebration of the annual Osun-Osogbo Festival and Culture, Olumirin waterfall attracts more visitors from all over the globe. The level of water is constant all through the year. The crisp air and fresh atmosphere, the serenity, and calm, the adventure of climbing, seeing and discovering, are only some of the reasons that make Olumirin waterfall an ideal tourist site.
8. Gurara Waterfall
Gurara Waterfalls is one of the major tourist sites in Nigeria. Located in Niger State and close to Abuja, the site is popular with foreigners and Nigerians who visit the recreational area to swim, have picnics and go bird watching. The waterfall is at its peak between April and November, and at its lowest between January and March. It is safest to swim in the river during dry season i.e. January-March when the water is clean and calm.
9. Ogbunike Cave
The Ogbunike Caves is located at Ogbunike, a town in Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State, Nigeria. There are ten tunnels at the main chamber leading to different directions. Visitors must remove their shoes before entering the caves, as per tradition. And women who are having their monthly cycle cannot go. It is no doubt that the Ogbunike caves have major tourist potential, both for their history, novelty, and the many mysteries that lie within the dark recess of its chambers.
10. Zuma Rock
Zuma Rock is one of the geographic landmarks in Abuja. It’s located off the city center but attracts lots of visitors. Famous as the rock with a human face, there is a considerable distance from it to other rocks, which the Zuba people see as a form of respect being paid by the other mountains to Zuma Rock for its royal presence in the locality.
Tourists can visit Zuma Rock all year round as the weather is both conducive and warm. However, if you are looking to see the spectacular Zuma Rock fire which only occurs during rainfall then the perfect time to visit Zuma Rock is between April and October. Over time, this has remained one of the wonders to behold.
Your next travel plan should include some of these sites whose cultural and historical value would give you an insight into the lives of our ancestors and the incredible legacy they have passed down to us.