Nigeria is a beautiful country with a lot of magnificent places to visit. Unfortunately, these places do not get enough credit. It could be because of the country’s gritty nature and economic status. While visiting fun locations like these may not be at the top of some people’s bucket lists, that doesn’t mean there aren’t many incredible places to visit and explore in Nigeria.
From some of the breeziest tourist attractions to the most epic art galleries, here is the list of 10 best places to visit in Nigeria
1. Nike Centre for Art and Culture (Lekki, Lagos State)
Art lovers have most likely heard of this place before, but probably not Nike Davies. Nike Davies Okundaye, a professional textiles designer and artist connoisseur, found this culture-rich place.
Nike Centre for Art and Culture is one of the best art galleries in Lagos. It is a five-story building that houses some of the most exquisite paintings, motifs, and murals that money can buy in Africa. Each floor comprises clean white walls adorned with various types of illustrated and sculpted work.
The center boasts a simultaneous aesthetic value and cultural heritage that is peculiar to it. This place can give you an experience that feels like being in an art gallery and museum at the same time.
If you like to collect art or just look at it while reminiscing about times past, then Nike Centre for Art and Culture should definitely be on your list of places to visit in Nigeria.
2. Ikogosi Warm Water Springs (Ikogosi, Ekiti State)
If you like your encounters with nature, wild and unfiltered, then Ikogosi Springs is for you. It is in the inland of Ekiti State, where plants blossom freely, and the native language is the only one spoken. By nature, the rocks there are smoothly polished, and everything culminates to a most organic experience.
The water at Ikogosi precipitates in the air overnight because of so many water bodies. You can see this in the all-encompassing morning mist that leaves the weather chill. At Ikogosi, it is always harmattan!
Ikogosi Springs is no Niagara falls. But with its vast sub-tropical environment and serene atmosphere, you will get your money’s worth coupled with a most enjoyable time. You can find several hotels to stay in for the duration of your stay, most notably at the official Ikogosi Springs Resort.
3. Olumo Rock (Abeokuta, Ogun State)
Olumo Rock is one of those places to visit in Nigeria that nearly every Secondary school child had on their summer excursion checklist. Some were fortunate enough to go, while many others, like me, have still not been there.
This is the notorious sacred rock that the Egba people supposedly sought refuge in from their enemies. Back then, people believed these igneous masses were divine structures carved out by the gods themselves.
Standing at over 450 feet tall, Olumo Rock is a genuine wonder of nature. It may not be every hiker’s run-of-the-mill, but the sight of a massive pebble-shaped body just sitting there is truly something to behold.
4. Tarkwa Bay Beach (Victoria Island, Lagos State)
As Nigeria’s economic and financial capital, Lagos is perhaps the city most associated with Nigerian life, but that doesn’t make it any less appealing. On the contrary, the classic city is buzzing with a lot of drama and excitement – beautiful beaches, luxurious hotels, exciting nightlife, street shops, and shows make it a dynamic and lively place to visit.
There is a clear division between the wealthy and the middle-class in the city of Lagos. The most notable representation of this separation is the Island and mainland phenomenon.
You can see the island as having the highest concentration of upper and upper-middle-class people. That is why many people covet the island and its locales.
Victoria island with beautiful scenery, sea breezes, and boisterous nightlife is already a dream. But add serene locations like Tarkwa Bay to the mix, and you get a full picture of the island life.
Tarkwa Bay is a lovely place to visit alone or with your family in the summer. It is notorious for its white as snow sand, minimalistic architecture, and gentle winds. There is even more. The nightlife here is also epic, with fluorescent lights and pleasant music, always buzzing, and you can book lodging there for any duration of stay.
5. Osun-Oshogbo Sacred Grove (Oshogbo, Osun State)
Beautiful is one way to describe the Sacred Osun Grove, but ethereal is a more accurate description. This is one of the most culturally rich places that you could visit in Nigeria, and it does not take much to figure out why.
The Osun-Oshogbo Sacred Grove is a bit of a shrine to the Yoruba goddess of fertility (amongst other things), which the state is named after. Many have known it as a ‘holy place’ for traditional spiritualists and, of course, a tourist attraction for many artists.
They cover the space of this graceful place with statues of notable figures and forms of the goddess. There are also monuments carved out of rock and wood that are abstract.
Inside some structures, you can find exotic carvings and paintings all over the walls, just chilling. The grove is a gratuitous ode to the Yoruba culture. You surely must not miss visiting this place!
6. Zuma Rock (Abuja/Niger State)
Here is another incredibly sized rock that doubles as a mountain. Standing at 980 feet above the ground, Zuma Rock is not only for tourists but professional hikers and climbers. It is such a notable place to visit in Nigeria that it got its own spot on the 100 Naira bill.
For a token, you could get to climb the rock. It is purportedly a five-hour journey that rewards you with a regal view of the widespread Abuja landscape and its surrounding areas. This alone should put it on your list of places to visit in Nigeria.
The legend goes that this massive structure is actually a humanoid figure, and if you look closely enough, you can see a face. Want to know for sure? Then you have to visit this place.
It borders two different states in the northern region: Niger at Suleja and the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja.
7. Duke Town Chapel (Calabar, Cross-River State)
If you are a Christian or religious enthusiast, what better way to express your appreciation for religion than visiting one of the first churches that ever existed in Nigeria?
The Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, also known as Duke Town Chapel, is an impressive structure given the time they built it.
Erected in 1895, the Duke Town Cathedral was a building way ahead of its time. My money is on the theory that the church’s architect designed it to be a spiritual epiphany.
8. Port-Harcourt Pleasure Park (Port Harcourt, Rivers State)
I know what you are thinking, and, no, this is not some sexual fantasy hangout, you naughty thing. Port-Harcourt Pleasure Park is an amusement park for people of all ages. Yup, ALL AGES!
Pleasure Park is one of the most fun and best places to visit in Nigeria, especially during the holidays when you just want to have fun with your family and loved ones.
It has everything: great exhilarating rides, excellent food, and tons of awe-inspiring statues for your viewing pleasure.
Whether you’re pretending to ride on horseback or taking on that amazing roller-coaster, the rides are to die for (and literally quite so if you are not well fastened to your seat).
9. Idanre Hills (Idanre, Ondo State)
What better way to end a list of best places to visit in Nigeria than with the zenith of relaxation itself? The sweetly inexpensive view at Idanre hills is not a place you would want to miss for anything.
Idanre Hills is a place that just exudes natural beauty. It is for all nature lovers and free-spirited individuals. The Hills boasts a soft finesse of tree life and mountain tops, which can melt hearts. The views are breathtaking.
This location is also a hiker’s delight. Just stopping atop one of the many vast hills of the region to take a breather, only to behold one of the grandest sights ever. That must be true bliss.
10. Yankari National Park
The Yankari Game reserve is a beautiful place to visit. The reserve was created as a game reserve in 1956 and officially opened in 1962.
The immense park is a must-see to any tourist and an undeniably beautiful place you should visit from time to time. Various wild animals and plants are protected here in their natural habitat. The park also preserves the biological diversity of natural warm water springs.
Yankari National Park is located in Bauchi State and is one of the most favored eco-destinations in Nigeria and West Africa.
Photo by Nupo Deyon Daniel on Unsplash