In western Africa lies a hidden paradise that, more often than not, people miss. Nigeria is made up of a number of the most charming, thrilling, beautiful, odd places that I have ever been to. It is a country rich in people, plus natural resources that have made it a favorite vacation spot. The rich, immaculate attractions that function within its terrain have made the country a completely scenic destination to adventure. There is so much to see and do in Nigeria; it’s like entering another world. This country has many regions that you should check out from nature to the beach…there’s something for everybody.
Our adventure through Nigeria started in the south where we flew into Lagos, then proceeded by travelling to Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti, Cross River State, and Calabar, and lastly to Abuja where we departed for our home.
Day 1, we arrived at Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos State. Nigeria has about 30 airports, some international and some domestic. In addition, there are airstrips or airfields scattered around the country. Uncle Ojo was waiting to pick us up. He took us to Eastgate Hotel in Lekki for our accommodations. The ride took about one hour and 30 minutes.
Lagos Island and part of Lagos Harbour, taken from close to Victoria Island.
Lekki, Lagos State
Day 2 is when you could say the tour officially starts! It definitely started with a bang as it was the day we visited Lekki Conservation Centre. We also visited Nike Art Gallery beforehand.
Nike Art Gallery
The gallery is, arguably, the biggest of its kind in West Africa. We got there in an hour (Also, the bus is available from the Chevron Bus Stop in case you travelled solo). Nike Art Gallery is housed in a five-storey-tall building, boasting a collection of about 8,000 pieces of artwork from various Nigerian artists.
Lekki Conservation Centre
Afterwards, when we arrived at the Lekki Conservation Centre, we had time to look around. The walk in the conservatory is wonderful. Walking through the swamp, the bushes, and the trees gave us peace of mind. The cover stroll is thrilling and has a view on the Lekki Peninsula. It was like walking into the past. It was amazing to see what the whole of Lagos would have looked like before the city was constructed.
We travelled the route twice just to calm our brains down after hectic workweeks. It was wonderful to see the animals roaming free – monkeys, turtles, and peacocks. The 100-year-old tortoise, golden in color, was basking in the sun. We took a round before going to have lunch quickly down the road.
At night, we went to Freedom Park and watched a festival held there. I liked the colors that Nigerians use in their carnivals. I don’t think I have seen beautiful dancing like I did that day.
On Day 3, we had our breakfast which consisted of Akara, which is fried bean cakes. Its reputation in Nigeria is pretty apparent as many Nigerians opt for it for breakfast. One thing I must say is I could never get bored of the Nigerian food!
We then departed for Abeokuta, Ogun State, it took about two and a half hours to see the Olumo Rock.
We enjoyed an amazing aerial view of the city of Abeokuta from the top of the rocks. A sea of red roofs with a scene of green vegetation is the superb view of Abeokuta. Uncle Ojo told us a little about the region and what we were looking at. He is incredibly knowledgeable, helpful, and an all-around good man. Soak in the beauty and then capture an Instagram moment while you’re up there. In order to allow people of different ages to take in all of this beauty, there is an elevator for those who have a problem climbing the stairs.
Ibadan Zoo and the city’s Agodi Gardens
After that, we visited Ibadan Zoo and the city’s Agodi Gardens, Ibadan City, Oyo State. It took two hours to arrive. I was excited about that verse green land with tall trees and fine swimming pools. This is an ideal place in the ancient town to unwind and enjoy nature firsthand. It is a real park in every sense of the word, offering lush vegetation, streams, inflatable boats, a swimming area, a gazebo, a restaurant, and a zoo. The Ibadan Zoo is one of a few remaining zoos in Nigeria that boasts a good collection of wildlife including lions, giraffe, ostriches, chimpanzees, geese, crocodiles, and, of course, reptiles.
Osun Osogbo Grove
Day 4, in the mid-early morning, we oriented our destination to Osun State. It took about two hours to reach the Osun Osogbo Grove. The Osogbo Grove is a serene and mystical place. The site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has been carefully maintained for tourists. We could see the wonderful sculptures on the walls surrounding the grove. Also, the grove is home to a number of rare animals, birds, and plants. It is a spiritual oasis. Oftentimes, I felt like I needed to pinch myself to remind myself that this was real life! The monkeys welcome you on your walk, and it’s a nice gesture to the monkey if you were to buy them some bananas. A banana seller is just right around the corner. It’s a must-see for anyone with an interest in African history, art, culture, and religion.
Erin Ijesha (Olumirin) Seven Waterfalls
You should not leave Osun State without seeing the most interesting place, the seven-step Olumirin Waterfalls. When visiting the waterfall, it is advisable to wear hiking boots or comfortable footwear that won’t restrict your climbing. It was definitely my favorite day of the whole tour.
Ikogosi Warm Spring
After that, we drove to Ikogosi, Ekiti State and visited the fantastic Ikogosi Warm Spring. What is mysterious about the Ikogosi Warm Spring is the fact that you’ll revel in varying hot and cold natural springs that converge without losing their very own thermal properties. According to experts, it is a geological marvel to have such occurrences out of the same rock formation, and this Ekiti flagship travel destination is stated to be the only one of its type discovered anywhere around the world.
Then, Uncle Ojo invited us to his house in Benin City, Ido State. Benin is beautiful and unique. When we arrived there, Uncle Ojo’s wife, Aunt Jasmine, welcomed us. She had prepared dinner, which consisted of Suya, Jollof rice, and plantain. I enjoyed listening to Aunt Jasmine talk about the most popular Nigerian dishes. The ingredients in each recipe ensure that each meal is mouth-watering. Suya is an insanely famous delicacy in Nigeria. This food is made with fish or meat rubbed in spices and mixed with vegetables, after which barbequed on a skewer. The spices include ginger, peanuts, pepper, dried onions, and diverse flavors. The meal was delicious. I didn’t stop to catch my breath; instead, I just kept going!
Our conversation included Nigerian traditional clothes. There are numerous tribes and ethnic groups in Nigeria, many of which wear their own style of garb. Traditional attire is worn on a daily basis in many areas of Nigeria. In other areas, traditional attire is worn only for special occasions such as festivals or weddings. What I liked most is the Nigerian headscarf, which has different colors and is absolutely amazing!
This traditional dressing of an Urhobo Ovie (King), AVM Ararile and his Council of Chiefs (Ilorogun). The purple color symbolizes Aristocrats while the Red Color of the King represents Royalty.
Cross River State
Obudu Mountain Resort
Day 5 is the day of visiting Obudu Mountain Resort in Cross River State, which is a long ride, so be sure to stock up on snacks before leaving. The resort provides accommodation in the form of African round huts, chalets, and villas on stilts maximizing the breathtaking views. We had to sleep after that long ride.
Day 6, in the early morning, we were very enthusiastic to explore the resort. We watched the sunset and had the most amazing view. It is situated close to the border of Cameroon. Above the sea level, sits majestically the Obudu Mountain Resort. The temperate weather, breathtaking views, idyllic tranquility, and exquisite scenery has made this resort one of the most famous tourist sites in Nigeria. The cable car was a first time experience for me. From the heights of the car while in the air, we experienced the ‘Intestinal view,’ as well as the beautiful landscape of the Obudu Plateau. I enjoyed having some snacks while touring the resort. Fortunately, local women were selling boiled corn, coconut, and okpa (a local delicacy made of cornmeal and soya bean flour).
Day 7 is the last day. It was the time to say goodbye to Uncle Ojo at Margaret Ekpo International Airport, Calabar, where we hopped on the plane and headed to a fantastic view of Nigeria while flying to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
In Abuja, the capital city, we had had time to buy some beautiful souvenirs and Nigerian handcrafts before the plane took off to our country. Really, Nigeria leaves every visitor breathing hard in suspense and with excitement. Those days went by so quickly that my memories got whiplash. Time flew by when we were enjoying the beauty of Nigeria.