If you’re searching for a cool and nice place to spend the holiday alone or with friends and family, this is for you. Visiting one of the tourist attractions in Nigeria is the best decision you’ll ever make. Nigeria is a great country endowed with amazing and beautiful places. The serene environment and the natural air that envelope these places cannot be overemphasized.
You don’t have to visit the Eiffel tower in Paris, the Statue of Liberty in New York, or the Colosseum in Rome. You can have a fun-filled day, or celebrate remarkable days in tourist centres in Nigeria.
Visiting any of the tourist attractions in Nigeria such as Obudu Mountain Resort, Yankari Game Reserve, Osun-Oshogbo Sacred Grove, and Olumo Rock, will widen your horizon. It will also elevate your spirit, contribute to healthy living, and free you from the hustle and bustle of the busy cities.
In this post, we highlighted some of the major tourist centres in Nigeria with a brief history about them.
What is a Tourist Attraction?
A tourist attraction, according to the Cambridge dictionary, is a place that people visit for pleasure and interest, usually while they are on holiday.
In other words, it’s a place that provides recreation, entertainment, or amusement to the public. Most of its visitors do not live close to the attraction, so they have to travel to enjoy the facilities it offers.
It is the features of the tourist attraction that draw in people and contribute to the overall experience of the place.
Top 7 Most Visited Tourist Attractions in Nigeria with A Brief History About Them
Obudu Mountain Resort
Obudu Mountain Resort, formerly known as Obudu Cattle Ranch, is one of the beautiful and pleasant tourist centres in Nigeria. If you haven’t visited the place, you’re seriously ‘missing’.
Obudu Mountain Resort is located on the Obudu Plateau, close to the Cameroon border in the northeastern part of Cross River state. It was discovered by Mr McCaughley, a Scottish Rancher, who first explored the mountain in 1949 and settled there for a month. He then reached out to Mr Hugh Jones, a fellow rancher in 1951, with whom he developed the place.
This resort has a cool temperature, a beautiful view from the top of the mountain, an amazing waterfall, and a breathtaking canopy walk feature. You’ll have a compelling experience from the exciting snake road, through the rocking hills to the lush, plush, and exquisite greenery. If you’re easily confused with directions, don’t take this route alone; things could get really spooky really fast for you.
Yankari National Park
Discussing the best and most visited tourist centres in Nigeria without including Yankari National Park will be a great sin.
Yankari National Park, also known as Yankari Game Reserve, is a large wildlife park located in the south-central part of Bauchi state, in Northeastern Nigeria. In 1956, this park was established as a game reserve, and later designated Nigeria’s biggest national park in 1991. Yankari National Park is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Nigeria. This makes it vital in the development and promotion of tourism and ecotourism in Nigeria.
You’ll see different kinds of mammalian species like Olive Baboon, African Bush Elephant, Tantalus Monkey, African Buffalo, Patas Monkey, hippopotamus, and Elephants. Your tour to Yankari National Park is incomplete if you don’t visit the Wakki Warm Spring to feel the warmth that nature has blessed us with.
All roads lead to Olumo Rock, one of the top tourist centres in Nigeria. It’s gently sitting at the heart of the city of Abeokuta. During the intertribal wars in the 19th century, Olumo Rock, AKA the Fortress of Abeokuta, was a refuge for the Egba people.
Shortly after the Owu War of 1820 – 1825, the Egba people faced external opposition from Ife, Ibadan and Ijebu. It was Sodeke, a young brave man, who led the Egba people to Olumo Rock. The rock also allowed them to monitor their enemies’ moves, and that led to their victory in the war.
Standing on the mountain, you’ll be awestruck to see unusual trees, natural tunnels and cantilevers, beautiful gardens, and sculptures of ancient religious symbols. You’ll also see the outskirts of the city and the popular Ogun river which runs into the Atlantic ocean. Beside the rock is the popular Itoku market, where people make and sell tie-and-dye clothes.
Read also: Experience tourism in Nigeria
The Olumo Rock also has a museum that holds several slave sculptures that the European colonial officers captured and held.
Getting to Olumo rock is quite easy from places as close as Lagos and Abeokuta environs. It’s about an hour’s drive from Lagos. There is unlimited access to hotels, nightclubs, restaurants, casinos, for your comfort and entertainment.
Osun-Oshogbo Sacred Grove
One of the tourist centres in Nigeria with the most indigenous and historical background. This is located in Osogbo, the capital of Osun State. It’s classified as one of the UNESCO world heritage sites. It is home to Osun, the goddess of fertility; and spans about 75 hectares of land.
Every year, the Osun-Oshogbo festival celebrates the fertility goddess in August at the Grove. A warrior called Olutimilehin started the festival after an alleged incident as he camped at the Sacred Grove. A goddess appeared to him and assured him that she would always support him to win any battle. The condition was that he celebrates her every year. Ever since, Osun priests have never broken the covenant, as they celebrate the goddess every year in August.
The Osun-Oshogbo festival is of tremendous benefit to the tourism sector. As one of the internationally-recognized tourist centres in Nigeria, it plays an important role in the promotion and development of tourism in Nigeria. It also allows the community to sell its culture to tourists coming from within the country and outside.
Read also: Ibeno Beach tourist center in Nigeria
Ikogosi Warm Spring
Have you seen the mysterious confluence of the two springs at Ikogosi, a town in Ekiti State? The Ikogosi Warm Spring is one of the top tourist centres in Nigeria. It is where two springs–one warm and the other cold– form a confluence while maintaining their thermal properties. This peculiar attribute makes the spring one of the most visited places in Nigeria.
According to a small study, the warm spring has a temperature of about 70oC at the source and 30oC at the confluence.
The Ikogosi Warm Spring has a big resort built around it to provide tourists with comfort, relaxation, and accommodation services. It also has a conference center where you can hold formal meetings if you’re on a business trip.
Two myths surround the origin and discovery of the Spring. The first myth revolves around two wives who were married to a hunter. Due to the frequent disagreement that they engaged in, they fought one day and turned to the two springs. Legend says that the temperamental wife is the warm spring, and the quiet wife represents the cold one.
The second myth revolves around a great hunter who discovered the Spring. He went back to his village to inform his people about it, and they started worshipping it. Whichever is true, you should still add this to your bucket list.
Agodi Botanical Gardens
Created in 1967, Agodi Botanical Gardens is a tourist centre in Nigeria with former names, Agodi Zoological and Botanical Gardens. It spans about 150 acres of land and resides in Ibadan, the third-largest city in Africa.
Agodi Gardens is a perfect spot for personal or pre-wedding photoshoots because of the very serene and lush atmosphere. The relaxed ambience is also perfect for picnics, outdoor events, concerts, and even weddings. It’s a place where you can have a special kind of fun. Fun in silence, away from activities and every form of oppression and pressure.
It houses a water park, mini zoo, Play area, and rides for children. The water park is one of Agodi Gardens’ most outstanding features. It has two water slides and three pools which cater to both adults and children. The Mini zoo is home to different kinds of animals like monkeys, lions, crocodiles, and tortoises. The last time I visited the lion’s den in this tourist centre in Nigeria, the lioness was salivating like it was ready to pounce on everybody. Don’t worry, the den is tightly secured.
Next time you travel to Ibadan, pay a visit to Agodi Gardens. It’s only a 10-minute drive from the University College Hospital (UCH).
Tarkwa Bay Beach
This is one of the tourist attractions in Nigeria where you can be free from the busy life of Lagos. Tarkwa Bay is an artificial beach located near the Lagos harbour in Nigeria. Unlike most beaches in Lagos that are noisy and overcrowded, Tarkwa Bay Beach is serene and accommodates a decent population. The relaxed ambience is just what you’d expect from a tourist centre in Nigeria. It is perfect for birthdays, picnics, and other outdoor events.
What makes this tourist centre in Nigeria more interesting is the swimming and surfing in the sea; so you can also jet-ski or water-ski.
To get to Tarkwa Bay Beach, there are several parts of Lagos Island where you can board a ferry or high-speed boat. You can get a boat to Tarkwa Bay at popular places like Marina, Mekwe Jetty, and Tarzan Marine.
Setting aside a day to visit these tourist centres in Nigeria with your friends or family will be memorable. As you’ve read, visiting one of these places widens your horizon, makes you happy, and contributes to healthy living. So go catch some fun!
We know there are more than 7 tourist attractions in Nigeria, which other ones have you visited? Share some hidden treasures with us and we’ll consider updating this list. Join our WhatsApp community or send a mail with a list and brief description of the most intriguing tourist centres in Nigeria that you’ve visited.
Samuel Olasubomi is a student at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, pursuing a degree in Dramatic Arts.
He's a poet, freelance content and copywriter. He sees as writing as a valuable tool to change the world, hence his works has been published on several websites, including this.