Recently, the only narrative about Northern Nigeria has been that of violence with scary images of bomb blast, boko haram attacks, Fulani herdsmen, killings by unknown assailants and the likes. But the story seems to be changing and peace, which eluded the once peaceful region is gradually returning and paving a way for tourist to return to savour the simplicity of the beautiful landscape, captivating primordial architectural designs, exciting and alluring culture, and everything else that makes the north accommodating.
Every northern state has attractions worth experiencing. These amazing places have over the last 10 years, been overshadowed by the happenings in the region.
In the capital city of Kebbi State for instance, there are a number of attractions to keep tourists busy and satisfied. This city, Birnin Kebbi, which is also the headquarters of the Gwandu Emirate Council, is a city that boasts of a blend of culture, history and tradition. Despite its decline as a river port owing to unstable political condition, it now serves as a major local market centre for food resources.
Its narrow streets are lined with restaurants and bars beckoning all to eat, drink and appreciate the culture and cuisine of the people that is appealing.
The state is known for hosting the annual Argungu International Fishing Festival and the Uhola Festival to thrill people with the appetite for the thrills of competition. The Karishi Traditional Settlement, Tomb of Abdullahi Fodio (the brother of Sheikh Usman Dan Fodio, the great jihadist of the 9th century, whose remains was buried in Gwandu, in Gwandu LGA, and his tomb remains a tourist attraction for centuries since then) and Kanta Museum, in Argungu on the other hand, are attractions that hold enough history to correct an wrong notion.
Kaduna is the capital of Kaduna State. This popular trade centre and major transportation hub in the northern region, was named after a symbolic crocodile which was called kada, in the native Hausa Language.
While the city has lost some of its allure, it remains scenic, welcoming, and rife with landmarks and cultural attractions, securing its position on list of must-go cities up north.
Formerly known as Zazzau and a major city in Kaduna State, Zaria is one of Nigeria’s oldest cities and therefore has lots of history to tell. However, not everything about the city is old. It has a young population, thanks to Ahmadu Bello University, the largest in Nigeria and the second largest on the African continent.
There is a certain old world atmosphere in several of its neighborhood radiating from a place where people typically reside in traditional adobe compounds. And there is always something to do, with all the major sights within walking distance.
Notable tourism attractions in the state, though not limited to these are Lord Lugard Bridge in Kaduna Town, Lord Lugard Hall, Maitsirga Water Falls in Kafanchan, The Ancient Nok Culture, The Emir’s Palace in Zaria, Zaria City Wall, Fifth Chukker Polo Resort, Gamji Park, Kaduna National Museum and Kagoro Hills.
With rejuvenation over the last few years, Minna, the capital of Niger State now receives recognition and travel limelight. A museum city full of monuments and memorials that attract both multi-cultural nationals, it has an eclectic blend of Christian and Muslim traditions which has given birth to a spirited and colourful society.
Though Suleja has more of local than national appeal, it may be the most attractively surprising city in Nigeria. It’s an overlooked treasure in the state, just north of the country’s capital, Abuja.
There are great restaurants and galleries, and a major dose of history here. This city is a year-round destination that is worth at least, a weekend or one night of your life.
The capital of Kano State and the commercial nerve centre of Northern Nigeria, as well as the second largest city in the country after Lagos, Kano, is a city to experience.
Somehow, this city is often overlooked by foreign visitors as a major destination, especially since it does not boast of skyscrapers, but is rather filled with low-rise buildings, mostly in a splendid neo-classical style. Those who eventually venture into the city however, discover a city of first-rate architecture, food, and cultural life.
Some of its tourist attractions include Kurmi Market established in the 15th century, Kano’s centuries-old city wall, and Gidan Rumfa (Emir’s Palace, the oldest continuous site of authority in Nigeria).
Known for its festivals, especially the Durbar whose main feature is horse racing, as well as its arts and crafts, versatile production of metal works (such as weaponry), pottery, mat weaving and leather works, Bauchi is a city of complex character and genuine appeal.
The traditional wrestling and boxing dexterity of the people of the state draws in participants even from neighboring countries of Niger, Chad and Cameroon when in season.
Natural attractions in Bauchi include the Wikki Warm Spring, Yankari National Park, Sumu Wildlife, Marshall Caves, Dukkey Wells, and Tunga Dutse.
Although Jos has been greatly affected by religious and political crises and other social problems in recent time, it is a city that should be on any Nigerian’s itinerary. There are numerous sights and sounds, majestic wildlife and excellent food in this city where the weather is different from that of any other state in the country.
Major attractions in the state are Museum of Traditional Nigerian Architecture, Shere Hills, Pandam Game Reserve and Lake, National Museum Jos, Riyom Rock, Jos Zoological Garden, Assop Falls.
Yola is truly an inspiring metropolis. It also serves as the administrative capital of Adamawa State. Some of the best things to see and experience in Yola include the Three Sister Hills, which are three scenic rock formations standing side by side at the same height.
Others are the Njuwa Lake fishing festival, the Lamido’s Palace and the annual horse-riding durbar. Take a city tour to get your bearing and see all of the beauty that is Yola.
Lafia, the capital of Nasarawa State, is a labyrinth of narrow pedestrian-friendly streets, and historic architecture that ignites the wanderlust in everyone who visits the city. It is currently the largest town in the state.
However, those that are not familiar with the culture and traditions of the people of this state need to note that they should avoid public display of affection, they should dress properly, avoid skimpy and revealing dresses when there. It is advisable that tourist get a local that speaks Hausa fluently and should be prepared for the hot climate.