Northern Nigeria is usually dreaded and seen as a place to be avoided for travel or tourism, no thanks to violence and terrorism. Before the cases of insurgency which seems to be overtaking the region, the natives are perceived to be troublesome, violent and hostile, especially in defending themselves, their culture and religion.
Another misconception is that all the natives of the region are Hausas, speaking one of the three major languages in Nigeria. Everyone has a notion that whoever comes from the North is a Hausa man or woman and understands the Hausa language. This, however, is not true, as there are over 20 languages and tribes found in the Northern part of Nigeria, to include Gwari, Kanuri, Kaje, Kwararafa, Fulani, Nupe and Ilorin (a conglomeration of Yoruba, Hausa, Nupe, Fulani, Kanuri, Barba and Malian tribes). At such, each tribe has its peculiar language, and funnily, not all of the northerners speak or understand the Hausa Language.
Why do we feel you need to visit Northern Nigeria? The region is one of the calmest and loveliest places to go. The natives are welcoming and hospitable, always generous in receiving and entertaining guests, visitors, or strangers. In as much as they respect their religion and culture, they are tolerable and loving.
In addition, the north is endowed with tourist attraction centres which are rich in history and adventures. If you visit, of course, you will love to do so again over and over. From the beautiful palaces to the rich festivals, the food, hospitable people and scenic sites and destinations, the North is surely an adventure waiting to be explored. Listed below are 5 remarkable destinations you really need to visit in the North. And really, the experience will cast all of your fears of the region away that when next you hear about Northern Nigeria, you will never cringe but be excited.
- Matsirga Falls Kafanchan, Kaduna: Matsirga Falls is located at Batadon, a small settlement (named Madakiya by the Hausas) in A̱dvwan District of Fantswam chiefdom in Kafanchan, Kaduna State, Nigeria. It is surrounded by an outstanding natural beauty, which is both tranquil and breathtakingly beautiful. The waterfall has its source from the springs on Kagoro hills, with the water flowing down in a steep rocky slope from four different hollows of about 30 metres rock cliff to form a large pool at the bottom of the fall. The Fall means River Wonderful in English and truly, it is a wonderful scene to behold. meters tall and falls into a large plunge pool at the bottom.
- Gashaka Gumti National Park, Taraba: Covering about 6,402 km2 of land, majority of the northern part of the GGNP is savannah grassland, while the southern part has a rugged terrain characterized by very mountainous, steep slopes as well as deep valleys and gorges, and is home to montane forests. GGNP is Nigeria’s largest national park, formed by merging two game reserves together in 1991. It is located in the eastern provinces of Taraba and Adamawa to the border with Cameroon. It houses Nigeria’s highest mountain Chappal Waddi of up to 2,419 metres (7,936 ft) to the South while its altitude in the northern flatter corner ranges from about 457 metres (1,499 ft).
It is also a home to about 103 species of mammals, including yellow-backed duiker, African golden cat, African buffalo, the largest population of chimpanzee in Nigeria, African elephant, the klipspringer, the West African wild dog, the hartebeest, the world’s largest antelope, the giant eland, the roan antelope, the kob antelope (Kobus kob), the oribi (Ourebia ourebi), and the rare Adamawa mountain reedbuck.It is also very rich and diverse in birds, as there are up to 1 million birds estimated, with over 500 species. The park is officially labeled as one of Africa’s Important Bird Areas, and is the only park in Nigeria harbouring the red-faced lovebird.
Whenever you will be exploring Northern Nigeria, it will be nice to take your kids along and let them relish the first-hand nature experience. You don’t have to worry about the stress anyway, here are 5 Secrets To Enjoying Your Trip While Travelling With Kids
- Gurara Waterfalls: is located in Gurara, a local government area of Niger State, North Central. The waterfalls is approximately 30 metres in height and it lies on the Gurara river along the Suleja-Minna Road. Gurara Waterfalls was discovered by a Gwari hunter called Buba in 1745 before some Europeans discovered it in 1925 after they found it as a recreation centre. Prior to the discovery of the waterfalls by the Europeans,
Gurara Waterfalls was worshipped by people living in communities around it. Oral history also has it that Gurara Waterfalls and Gurara River were named after two deities called Gura and Rara. Cool history, isn’t it?
Gurara Waterfalls is one of the major tourist sites in Nigeria and was planned to be turned it into a resort with a recreation centre and a seven-star hotel around it. Don’t you feel like visiting already?
Birnin Kudu, Jigawa: Do rocks bleed? Of course not. But this is what will flood your mind when you first see the Birnin Kudu rock paintings. Birnin Kudu is a town and a Local Government Area in the South of Jigawa State, with an estimated population of 970000 in 2007. It is known for these paintings and drawings which are said to be the oldest rock paintings in Nigeria, dating back as long as 2000 years ago. When you visit, you will be entertained with mindblowing Neolithic cave paintings of cattle and other ancient artifacts that tell the history of the early dwellers in these parts. You can also explore the caves and climb the inner recesses of the rocks to learn more about its formation and history as it reflects in the lives of the locals within the area.
- Yankari Games Reserve/National Park, Bauchi: was originally created as a game reserve in 1956, but later designated Nigeria’s biggest national park in 1991. It is a large wildlife park located in Bauchi State, in North-Eastern Nigeria, covering an area of about 2,244 square kilometres.
It is natural habitat housing several natural warm water springs, as well as a wide variety of flora and fauna. Like the GGNP, Yankari is also a home for over 50 mammal species including African bush elephant, olive baboon, patas monkey, Tantalus monkey, roan antelope, western hartebeest, West African lion, African buffalo, waterbuck, bushbuck and hippopotamus. There are also over 350 species of bird found in the park, including the saddle-billed stork, guinea fowl, grey hornbill, and the cattle egret.Yankari is also recognized to have one of the largest populations of elephants in West Africa, estimated at more than 300 in 2005. There are also hills, picnic parks and caves located in the park.
Yankari is the most popular destination for tourists in Nigeria and is also one of the most popular eco-destinations in West Africa. Won’t you love to feed your eyes and mind with nature in its raw form in Northern Nigeria? The memories and opportunity are almost once-in-a-life, you need to jump on it. I mean, don’t you love Northern Nigeria already? That region is just so blessed!
Digressing from Northern Nigeria, let’s see Middle Belt, (close to Northern Nigeria)
Shere Hills, Jos: How beautiful and adventurous will it be for you to hike on the third highest point in Nigeria – Shere Hills? You surely will be and feel on top of the world, isn’t it? Shere Hills are a combination of various hills and rock formations situated in the Eastern part of the Jos metropolis, the capital of Plateau State in the Middle Belt region of Nigeria.
With the highest hill standing at about 1, 829 metres (6,001 feet above sea level), the Shere Hills have numerous high peaks. They are the highest point of the Jos Plateau and they form the third highest point in Nigeria after Chappal Waddi on the Mambilla Plateau and Mount Dimlang (Vogel peak) on the Shebshi Mountains.