Trips to Nigeria, a country of hospitality
Nigeria is a country little known to tourists and has a certain “bad reputation” or negative stereotypes in the West. However, we can say that Nigeria is full of hospitable people, is a great country with many resources and has so many attractions that it often “hooks you in”.
Although Trips to Nigeria does not present major logistical difficulties, the distances do pose a challenge, especially for road routes. However, on our latest trip to the southern fringe of Nigeria in March 2023, we found that a significant effort is being made to improve things.
That is why we are very determined to propose trips to Nigeria that will help travellers who want to join us to discover this exciting country. Here are some of the highlights.
Nigeria’s cultural richness
Our trips to Nigeria have a strong cultural component, because in a country with more than 200 million people and hundreds of ethnic groups, this is the aspect that attracts our attention the most.
Today’s Nigeria encompasses ancient kingdoms that developed artistic techniques such as lost wax and pieces that are now world-renowned, such as the famous Benin Bronzes: a collection of refined sculptures and engravings made in the Middle Ages. Their forms and style inspired great artists such as Picasso.
On the other hand, and in coexistence with Islam and Christianity, traditional religions are still alive and well and are related to more or less everyday celebrations. Births, funerals and many other events are celebrated with masks and encounters that can never be ruled out.
In addition, at certain times of the year there are major festivals which, if you know the right dates, offer visitors unique experiences.
Northern Sahel: Hausa emirates
In the north, part of the Sahel strip, the city of Kano is the commercial and cultural centre of the Hausa people. It is a historic city where, for more than 600 years, deep blue or indigo dyed fabrics have been produced by hand in the dyers’ pits. In its golden past, the Tuareg caravans used to come to Kano to buy these fabrics to make their legendary turbans and costumes.
The Hausa region is divided into different emirates that preserve their traditions around their traditional rulers. This is the case of the Durbar festival, a great cultural, political and religious celebration in which the tribes pay tribute and obeisance to the Emir. It is celebrated in several cities, always around the major dates of Islam, and it is a festival full of colour, decked-out characters and a lot of ostentation.
Another striking tradition we came across on one of our first trips to Nigeria was Dambe, a type of boxing, which you can read more about in the article we dedicated to it.
The tropical south: ancestral kingdoms and great cities
Nigeria’s southern fringe, with its tropical climate and landscape, is home to some of the country’s most important cities. The Niger River crosses the important city of Onitsha on its way to the sea, and Benin City is the centre of the Edo kingdom, where the Oba or King, an institution that sets the rhythm of the region, is still at the helm. The collection of Benin Bronzes was found in the former royal palace on which the present palace is built. Part of it can be seen in the National Museum of Benin City. Benin City is also a great traditional religious centre where animist temples and local chiefs are all over the city and are impressive.
In the villages of the Edo Kingdom, it is also possible to see breathtaking mask ceremonies. It is ancestral Africa and reserved for those with an interest in its rich culture.
Further west, north of Lagos, is the sacred forest of Osogbo, a very special World Heritage Site and one of the most important places for the Yoruba.
Lagos, an impressive city in size and content
Lagos is a megalopolis and is considered the largest city on the African continent. Although it is not the administrative capital, its economic might is beyond doubt.
Beyond its size, Lagos is a very interesting stop on trips to Nigeria. Vibrant, with many faces and contradictions, its artistic activity is already famous all over the world. Art galleries, concerts, underground culture, the Kalakuta Museum where the creator of “Afrobeat” lived, museums, markets…
The city has many more attractions to visit, including fine museums, the Alaba and Balogun markets, and Makoko, a large slum of stilt houses built more than 100 years ago on the Lagos Lagoon. A canoe trip is sure to leave no one indifferent.