Tourism and Hospitality Industry
Nigeria as a country is blessed with both natural and human resources that make the country a preferred tourist destination. The rich and diverse natural, ecological and cultural resources coupled with over 200 million people in the country inform the appellation the “Giant of Africa”. These resources are spread within a landmass of about 923,768 km² located wholly within the tropics and within a territory that extends about 650 miles (1,050 km) from north to south and 700 miles (1, 130km) from East to West.
The natural features of the country which readily attract visitors include a warm, sunny climate, fascinating beaches and evergreen vegetation in the south; while in the north; alluring landforms overshadow wide expanses of savannah grassland. There are other interesting natural features including hill formations, waterfalls, and springs, pockets of mountainous areas with temperate-like climates and a range of unique and uncommon species of wildlife.
Nigeria has a remarkable goegraphic diversity, ranging from tropical rainforests and mountains to stretches of semi-desert. It is rich in cultural heritage, arts and archeology, that make it a destination of interest to tourists.
Nigeria’s Tourism Potentials
The diverse cultural features of the country which are a manifestation of the socio-cultural differences of the over 250 ethnic groups that have inhabited the land for ages have attracted several international recognitions. Some of the big cultural events with tourism potential include the Grand Durbar Festival and the famous Argungu Fishing Festival in the north, the Atilogwu Dancers and the New Yam Festival in the East; the boat Regatta in Lagos and Yenogoa; the Olofin Festival in Idanre, Ondo State; the Olojo Festival at Ile-Ife; the Oshun Festival in Osogbo, Osun State; Abuja, Calabar and Rivers carnivals among others.
The quest for ECOTOURISM by travellers who are interested in an exotic natural environment and passion for conservation efforts and observations of wildlife in natural settings has catalysed the development of such attractions. Ecotourism attractions in the country include overland safaris, natural parks, gorilla viewing, deep sea recreational fishing, lake and river fishing, archaeological towns, beach resorts and hotels, transportation – water, land and air, exceptional beaches lined with coconut and palm grooves such as Bar Beach, Eleko Beach and Badagry Beach. Festivals include the Grand Durbar Festival and the famous Argungu Fishing Festival in the north, the Atilogwu Dancers and the New Yam Festival in the East; the boat Regatta in Lagos and Yenogoa; the Olofin Festival in Idanre, Ondo State; the Olojo Festival at Ile-Ife; the Oshun Festival in Osogbo, Osun State; Abuja, Calabar and Rivers carnivals among others.
Natural Tourist Sites
A UNESCO-listed World Heritage site. The Sukur landscape lies within the Cameroon-Nigeria border- lands in the present-day Madagali Local Government Area of Adamawa State. The entire Sukur cultural landscape is a scenic blend of nature and culture. The Sukur site possesses rich soils and adequate supplies of natural and spring water. The plateau is also the home of Hidi (i.e. the king). It is a strategic location from which the Sukur resisted attacks from hostile neighbours.
Located along Kaduna-Abuja Highway in Niger State, about half an hour’s drive from the centre of the new Federal Capital, this is a beautiful giant rock used for defensive purposes by the Gwari people against invading neighbouring tribes during the inter-tribal wars. The legend, it is said, goes that the indigenes in the olden days believed that a couple of depressions that form a patch on the upper part of the rock were actually eyes with which it could foresee danger from the sur- rounding and warn them through oracles. Zuma rock represents a beautiful and unique granite rock formation. It offers a good environment for picnicking and relaxation.
It is located in Abeokuta, Ogun State. Olumo rock is a massive outcrop of granite rocks of primitive formation. The highest point on the rock is about 137 metres from the base of the rock. It is a historical monument, which served as a shelter and fortress for the Egba people during the Yoruba inter-city wars. The centre consists of a fast food outlet, a museum, a giant telescope to view Abeokuta, a recreational park, etc. The centre has a heavy-duty escalator band glass elevator running through the different levels of the rock alongside the old stairway for visitors who love climbing.
Kura Falls is located 77 km from Jos, Plateau State. It is a fascinating and exciting place to visit. The village is situated within rich savannah vegetation with mountainous ranges and lakes, providing a beautiful scenery ideal for picnics, bird watching and nature trails.
The Shere hill is the apex of the Jos Plateau. The hill peaks at 1, 829 metres above sea level. The hilltop presents beautiful and relaxing scenery in an area excellent for picnics, mountaineering, sightseeing and camping.
Agbokim Waterfalls is a beautiful scenic attraction. Water from the falls runs into a large pool surrounded by thick vegetation.
Gurara Water Falls
Gurara Waterfalls, best described as Nigeria’s premier falls, is located off Minna Suleja road in Niger State. It is one of the nation’s greatest holiday resorts. The fascinating periods of the falls occur when the water level is at its peak during the months of April-August. However, it is low between September and March thereby giving a good view of the waterbed.
Erin Ijesha waterfalls
This waterfall lies some 20 km east of Ilesha Akure road. The waterfall has about five layers. The water flows among rocks and splashes down with great force to the evergreen vegetation ground. The area is also useful for mountaineering exercises. The breeze at the waterfall is cool and refreshing.
The Mambilla plateau is a tableland located at Gembu in Sarduna local government council of Taraba State. The Plateau is about 1,830 metres above sea level with a temperate climate comparable to any temperate region of the world. The Mambilla Plateau is characterised by an undulating landscape and the clean free flow of Barup, Manchewa, Rufi, Tiba and Bambika waterfalls. It is an ideal site for high altitude sport, training, gaming, adventure, relaxation, picnicking, leadership training and holidaying.
Idanre and Oka Hills
Idanre Hill is located 15km southwest of Akure, Ondo state. Idanre Hill is steep-sided, smooth and dome-shaped. It is an inspiring and beautiful site for tourists. Oke-Maria (Virgin Mary Hill) is located at Oka Akoko about 113 km from Akure town. It has a beautiful Virgin Mary statue at the top of the hill. It provides attractive scenery and an excellent environment for pilgrims.
Obudu cattle ranch
Obudu cattle ranch is about 350 km from Calabar, Cross River state. It is located at the exotic Oban Obudu Plateau which is over 5,200 feet above sea level. The ranch provides a semi-temperate climate of between 26°C (78°F) and 32°C (89.6°F), which may drop to between 4°C (36°F) and 10°C (50°F). The scenery is breathtakingly beautiful with hills, and valleys as far as the eyes can see. The ranch is peaceful and close to nature: it comprises stone-walled, chalets, a ranch, a bar and restaurant, a lawn tennis court and cable cars for the utmost recreational experience.
The Oguta Lake in Imo State is a lake resort complex comprising a motel, an 18-hole golf course, relics of the civil war, natural confluence of Oguta Lake and Orashi River. Activities at the Lake include boat cruising, fishing and bird watching.
It is located in Ikogosi, Ekiti state, about 52 km North- West of Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State. This is an irresistible site where warm and cold water oozes out from different sources. The springs flow side by side and meet at a spot with each maintaining its thermal identity- the first of such in the world. The natural vegetation of the spring is left untouched for eco-tourism appeal. Lekki, Mayegun and Bar Beaches
The Oso-Lekki breakwater is located in the Lekki Peninsula area of Lagos. It is the site for the state fishing and cultural festival.
Mayegun Beach is a splendid resort located at the beginning of the Lekki peninsula. Bar beach: Bar beach is a captivating long stretch of beach, located along Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The Whispering Palm Resort
It is located along Badagry Expressway, Iworu-Ajido, Lagos. It is one of the exotic palm resorts in Nigeria. The resort offers classic recreational and relaxation facilities. An ideal place for camping, honeymoon, picnics etc.
Parks and Game Reserves
Yankari National Park
The park is located around the Gaji River in Alkaleri Local Government Area; about 110 km southwest of Bauchi State. The reserve covers an area of about 2,224.10/km2 of savannah woodland and is stocked with elephants, baboons, waterbucks, monkeys, buffaloes, and hippotamus, among several other big animals. The park is inhabited by a variety of birds such as saddle bills, herons, and eagles. Within the park is the Wiki warm spring which is one of the best features of the park.
Kuyamba Game Reserve
This resort is a wildlife reserve of about 10 km2 at Madada in Kuyambana, Zamfara State. The reserve is known to be a natural habitat for wild animals such as lions, tigers, hyenas, etc. It is an ideal site for game hunting, adventure, etc.
Okumu Wildlife Sanctuary
It has an area of about 300 km2 and is about 65 km west of Benin City, Edo state. The forest has a unique collection of animal species including the endangered white-throated monkey.
The Gashaka Gumpti Park in Taraba State is a natural conservation of rare fauna and flora located at the foot of the Mambilla Plateau. The park is over 15 km2. The animal species include white monkeys, birds, crocodiles, etc.