Tourism

Just Scratch the Surface

Hidden marvels of Nigeria

Nigeria must shed light on its lesser-known cultural and natural splendors.

The world’s interest in alternative tourism is still on the rise and Nigeria’s awe-inspiring bio-diversity and untouched nature make it a good candidate for becoming the next eco-tourist magnet in Africa. For those travelers who are not keen on alternative tourism, Nigeria has no shortage of old-school hedonistic promises either.

However, although foreign exchange earnings are of critical importance for the Nigerian economy, tourism potentials remain more-or-less untapped. To this day, tourism accounts for under 2% of the country’s GDP, while the average figure in the world is around 10%, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
With a population of over 190 million, Nigeria is all set to have a vibrant domestic tourism with just a little investment on attractions which appeal to the local population.

Attracting domestic, regional, and foreign tourists, however, will not be possible without planning which, in turn, calls for a thorough mapping of the existing potentials. Nigeria’s lesser-known splendors that, if capitalized on, can fascinate foreign and domestic travelers alike.

Erin-Ijesha Waterfalls is one such gem. Located in Osun State, this multiple-level waterfall is adored by the locals. The waterfall is a sight to behold, especially in early morning hours when the surrounding mist nicely blends with the first rays of the rising Sun, creating nothing short of a magical ambience.

The Erin-Ijesha Waterfalls is now the scene of a growing number of extreme sports organized by local tourism agencies and individual guides. The same guides will also be happy to lead nature sightseeing tours if you are of a less thrill-seeking disposition. Given the popularity of the waterfall among Nigerians, there is definitely a niche for more upscale accommodation, especially as a new access road is under construction.

The Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove is another case in point. Just 50km to the northwest of Erin-Ijesha waterfalls, the Sacred Grove lies on the outskirts of Osogbo, the capital city of Osun State. Recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2005, the Sacred Grove has a special place in the belief system of most Osun-worshiping Yoruba people.

The Sacred Grove also has its own long-running annual festival, which is centered around honoring Osun, the goddess of waters and rivers. Each August, the festival is celebrated in the grove, attracting not only worshippers but also a number of spectators from different parts of the world.

Many towns inhabited by Yoruba people used to have shrines similar to Osogbo’s Sacred Grove, which were typically located in a nearby forest that was also regarded as sacred. In a sense, the Sacred Grove symbolizes the old connection between Yoruba people and nature, which makes the area an even more appropriate location for eco-tourism activities.
Symbols of Nigeria’s mindfulness of the nature are by no means limited to one state. The Lekki Conservation Centre, in Lagos State, is a contemporary case of Nigerians making an effort to preserve their country’s natural resources and biodiversity.
Since its establishment in 1990, the center has been a safe haven for the flora and fauna of the Lekki Peninsula. At the same time, visitors can enjoy a 30-minute guided visit including a canopy walk with the added bonus of meeting mischievous monkeys along the path—which is not recommended for the faint hearted.

The Lekki Conservation Center is already a rising star of African eco-tourism as it has successfully drawn a great deal of attention to itself, becoming a trendy topic on different online tourism platforms.
Nevertheless, there are still many attractions across Nigeria whose merits have gone undeservedly unnoticed so far; Lake Kainji national park, ancient Kano city walls, Epe Mangroves are but three such jewels which, with appropriate investment and planning, can bring more visitors to the country.

You may also be interested in...

Green Economy

Wildlife in Africa

The Future of Conservation

View More

Economy

Nigeria and AfCFTA

Membership of the African Bloc

View More
Flag,Of,Nigeria,On,The,Car’s,Fuel,Tank,Filler,Flap.

Energy & Mining

Gas in the tank

Fuel subsidies in Nigeria

View More
Daytime,Aerial,View,Of,Lagos,Island,,Nigeria

Transport

Joining Up the Dots

Nigeria’s big-ticket infrastructure projects

View More
The,Naira,Is,The,Currency,Of,Nigeria.

Real Estate & Construction

Create the Bedrock

Infrastructure tax credit scheme

View More
The Welcome Disruptor

Telecoms & IT

The Welcome Disruptor

How tech is disrupting Nigeria’s key sectors

View More
Stepping Forward

Industry

Stepping Forward

Manufacturing ahead of AfCFTA

View More
Power from Above

Green Economy

Power from Above

The rise of solar power technologies

View More
High-tech Solutions

Finance

High-tech Solutions

The fintech boom

View More
View All Articles