Because of the great diversity of people and culture, Nigeria has distinguished
herself over the
centuries in the field of arts. Nigerian versatility in art is so great that it is generally felt that
all African nations should view Nigeria as the principal trustee of the most durable fruits of black artistic genius. It is
not precisely known when the first works of Nigerian art reached the outside world, but in 1897, following a British punitive
expedition to Benin, over 2,000 Benin bronzes and ivories were shipped to England and later dispersed all over Europe and
America. (Picture courtesy Ramat Publishing, Inc. )
The oldest sculptures found in Nigeria were
from the Southern Zaria and Benue areas of central Nigeria. They consist of terracotta figures and figurines made by a people
who achieved a high degree of cultural sophistication. These sculptures, together with other cultural elements, have been
named the Nok Culture. Evidence shows the Nok people had knowledge of iron smelting and adorned themselves with tin and stone
beads, earrings, noserings and bracelets. The Nok Culture is dated between 500 B.C. and 200 A.D. The next known phase of Nigerian
cultural evolution was Igbo Ukwu bronze casting. Found in the small village of Igbo-Ukwu, near Awka, the casts date from the
9th Century A.D. They first came to light in 1938 and consist of staff heads, crowns, breastplates, pendants,
anklets, wristlets and chains.About the same time the Igbo-Ukwu people were casting bronze, the ancient Ife people were also
producing works in bronze, copper, and terracotta. In the first quarter of this Century, Ife works caused a great stir among
world art critics and historians who were unaccustomed to such naturalism in African art. The best known Nigerian artworks
are the Benin
Antiquities. Legend recounts how the Benin people learned the art of bronze casting from Ile-Jfe around 1400 A.D. Oba
Ogunta, the sixth King of Benin, is credited with having encouraged this art in Benin.
Nigeria's cultural heritage is woven from
threads of history and diversity, legend and conquest.
Tourists visiting the country will gain insights to a glorious past
as well as a promising future, set amid the natural beauty of this diverse country. From rain forests in the south, broad
savanna woodlands inthe center to a semi-desert region in the north, Nigeria offers a remarkable range of physical beauty
in her land and hospitality of her people, ready to be enjoyed by the tourist fortunate enough to choose this land of ancient
empires as their travel destination.
Nigeria is a vast country with a population
of about 120 people covering about 923,768 sq.km of landmass, located wholly within the tropics. The country aptly described
as the 'Giant of Africa' is richly endowed with ecological and cultural resources, which are of universal recognition. The
richness and diversity of the Nigeria culture is a manifestation of the socio-cultural differences of the over 250 ethnic
groups that inhabit the land for ages.
Tourism is one of the growing sectors the
Nigerian economy. The industry was accorded priority status in 1990 when the National Tourism Policy was launched. The main
thrust of Government policy on tourism was to generate foreign exchange earnings, create employment opportunities, promote
rural enterprises and national integration among other things.
In recognition of the immense contributions
of tourism to the national economy, the country's Vision 2010 set year 2005 as the nation's year of tourism. The obvious implication
of this development is that tourism policies and programmes will now be aimed at making Nigeria the "Ultimate Tourism Destination
in Africa" by the year 2005.
Nigeria offers a wide variety of tourist attractions
such as extended and roomy river and ocean
beaches ideal for swimming and other water sports, unique wildlife, vast tracts
nature ranging from tropical forest, magnificent waterfalls, some new rapidly growing cities and
conditions in some parts particularly conducive to holidaying.
Other attractions include traditional ways of life preserved in local customs; rich and varied handicrafts and other colourful
products depicting or illustrative of native arts and lifestyle, and the authentic unsophisticated but friendly attitude of
many in the Nigerian population. However, many of these attractions are still largely untapped and even at their raw states,
they are still being enjoyed by few outsiders, either very rich visitors in quest of exoticism or adventurous people in search
of new challenges and experiences. The lack of required modern infrastructural facilities and in some parts of the country
acute conditions of underdevelopment and poverty can be seen which many potential Nigeria bound tourist may not like to be
confronted with. These are impediments to tourism, which the new administration has been tackling since assumption of office.
Investors, both foreign and local are therefore called upon to come and invest in the abundant tourism potentials in the country.
The richness and diversity of Nigeria's tourism resources coupled with economic liberalisation policies will provide investment
opportunities in various areas as follows:
Heritage/Cultural Tourism Resources
Development of slave trade relics
of museums and preservation of monuments
Development of hiking trails and Jeep tracks in the national parks
Development of picnic and camping
sites at strategic locations within the trail circuit system in the national parks
Building of reception centres at Natural/Physical
Provision of cable bus system to take tourist
through the very rugged but scenic terrain of the
mountains especially in Kanyang, Obudu and Mambilla Plateau Construction
of lodge cabins forexpedition tourist and rangers.
Establishment of hotels and resorts near waterfalls,
springs, caves and temperate climate areas such as Obudu, jos and Mambila Plateau.
Beach Tourism potentials Establishment of
boating and sport fishing facilities
Development of water transportation Provision
of educational facilities for water skiing and swimming
Establishment of holiday resorts along the
Development of Amusement parks, entertainment
facilities and shopping services
Development of arts and crafts which constitute
symbol of the people's cultural values and
love for nature.
has attained a high level of good transportation system especially Airline and Road Transportation, investment opportunities
are still needed in water recreation transportation and rail services.
The hospitality sector of the tourism industry seems to be the most competitive area with the presence of starwood Hotel Groups,
owners of Sheratons, Hilton, Le Meridien, Shangra Lai the Asian Hotel giant in restaurants and many
Meanwhile, most of Nigeria's beautiful beaches
locations are still largely without accommodation facilities, which are targets for investors in most tourism destinations
across the globe.
Like the Europeans and Americas tour companies
invaded the North, South and East Africa by having tour offices in these regions which enable them to market destinations
in their home countries is lacking in the case of Nigeria.
Any Company willing to do so for Nigeria will
be highly welcome.local hotel and restaurant groups battling for a better share of the market.
Apart from the enormous potentials and investment
opportunities in the Nigerian tourism sector, the country's investment climate at present is one of the most favourable in
Africa for a number of reasons:
The enthronement of a viable democratic system,
which guarantees political stability, improves international relation and respect for human rights would in various ways enhance
investment opportunities in the country.
The provision of incentives in the 1990 National
Tourism Policy were also to enhance private
sector participation. These are in the following areas:
Tourism investment atmosphere in Nigeria is
now conducive given the abundant resources available, large market, enthronement of enduring democracy, and a package of incentive
put together by government. Foreign investors and other interested individuals should take these advantages to invest in the
Nigerian tourism industry for sustainability and profitable returns.
A Tourism policy was produced in 1990 with
the basic objectives to make Nigeria the ultimate tourism destination in Africa.
The main thrust of government policy on tourism,
is to generate foreign exchange, encourage even development, promote tourism based rural enterprises, generate employment
and accelerate rural urban integration and cultural exchange.
Due to the importance the Nigerian government
attaches to the tourism industry, the following
strategies were adopted:
Government would ensure that the provision
of basic infrastructural facilities, namely, good roads, water, electricity, communications and hotels, to centres of attraction,
in order to accelerate their development for the purpose of exploiting fully their touristic value. In furtherance of this
goal, the appropriate government agency responsible for tourism promotion and development, shall establish and maintain close
laison with other government agencies responsible for the provision of the infrastructure.
State governments will provide land without
any hindrance for tourism development at concessional rates and conditions favourable to investment and the realisation of
investment thereon. This will necessarily include the abolition of annual ground rent within the period of construction and
development of tourism. For orderly development of tourism and tourism product, it is mandatory for all
to demarcate potential Tourism Zones and their products from other usage, to
avoid undue pollution. 100% equity ownership
of companies in Nigeria and repatriation of profits and dividends etc.
In order to boost the level of private sector
investment in tourism, it is treated by government as a preferred sector, like agriculture. Government has also introduced
such incentives as, tax holidays, tax rebate and soft loans, with long period of grace to potential investors in tourism.
The government has enacted laws and regulations,
which govern the activities of the
categories of people involved in the industry, like hoteliers, travel agents, tour-operators,
hire services. This is to ensure that their conduct, is not detrimental to objectives of the industry and the security
of the nation, as well as tourists.
To ensure the growth and development of tourism
to international standards, government has put in place these following:
Embarked on a massive and aggressive publicity
campaign in the country, on the potentials and significance of tourism. Available publicity organs of the government have
Publicised and marketed the nations tourism
potentials abroad, through Nigeria's diplomatic missions and the foreign media, international travel fairs and mails.
Simplified issuance of visas/entry permit
to intending visitors, such that they can get it immediately on application. Tourists arriving our ports with return tickets,
are also issued with visas on the spot.
Security agencies, including customs and immigration
have been oriented to discharge their duties promptly to eliminate inconveniences by visitors at entry points.
The government has put in place the following
The Federal Ministry of Culture and Tourism
has assumed full responsibility for policy initiation and monitoring, and maintains direct links with state governments on
all tourism matters. However, the tourism industry is still fully dominated by states and local governments, where tourist
attractions are situated.
State ministries implement policies and directories
from the Federal Ministry of Culture and Tourism, initiate projects and control land allocation and development of tourism
in their respective areas. The states also regulate the operations of hotels and catering institutions in line with the federal
These local organs were established to locate
and identify potential tourist attractions in their areas.
They serve as information centres and provide tourist guides.
They also preserve and maintain
monuments, as well as museums in their areas of jurisdiction.
Investment opportunities exist within the
following sub-sectors of the tourism industry:
Beach and Coastal Resort development (Nigeria
has over 700km of unpolluted sandy beaches).
Conservation and Protection of 8 national parks and over 10 game reserves.
Development of hotels and standard restaurants Transportation: water recreation, package tour services, air and rail services.
Development of caves, tunnels, waterfalls and spring waters. Youth hostels, camps and centres Lake and River sport fishing.
Scenic and Mountain Holiday resorts Theme/Amusement parks Conference/Congress Services Conservation and protection of endangered
wildlife especially drill monkey, manatec, white throated monkey and pigmy hippo. Heritage, cultural and archaeological
The Yankari National Park is the premier game
reserve in Nigeria. Yankari Park and Wikki
Warm Springs are located around the Gagi River, approximately 1 1/2 hours by
southeast of Bauchi Town. The beauty and size of The Yankari Game Reserve make it the
most popular reserve
in Nigeria. Set up in 1956 and opened to the public in 1962, the main
game-viewing areas of the reserve are open all year
round. Japanese, Western Europeans,
Americans and Southeast Asian tourists visit this park in abundance. The reserve covers
2,058 sq. km. of savanna woodland and is well-stocked with elephants, baboons, waterbucks, bushbucks, oribi, crocodile,
hippopotamus, roan antelope, buffalo and various types of monkeys. Lions are occasionally spotted as well, despite their natural
camouflage. The best time to visit is between
November and May, when tourists are likely to see more game since the
dense vegetation has dried out and the animals congregate around the rivers.
The Wikki Warm Springs is one of the best
features of the game reserves. Flood-lit at night, it is wonderful after a hot day’s game-viewing to relax in the warm
water. The spring gushes out from under a cliff, where the water is at least 6 ft. deep, with a bathing area that extends
for 600 ft. to an open area.
The park is inhabited by a variety of birds, including the huge saddlebill stork, golliath
heron, bateleur eagle, vultures, kingflshers, bee-eaters and more. It is excellent for serious bird-watchers.
Other facilities include: Tennis courts, squash
courts, a small museum in the reception area plus gas stations with convenience stores at Wikki Camp and Bauchi.
Reservations: It is advisable to make reservation
during the holidays and weekends with Easter a particularly busy season. Reservations can be made at Durbar Hotel in Kaduna,
Bauchi State House in Lagos and at the Zaranda Hotel in Bauchi. Or call Yankari Game Reserve at (069) 43-656.
Route: You can travel by road from Lagos to
Abuja, where you make an overnight stop, then on to Jos and Bauchi, as it is a 2-day journey by car over well-maintained roads.
Hotels: Basic accommodations are available
in chalets or rondavels. Also available are suites,
double rooms and family chalets that include small kitchens. There
are many other National Parks besides Yankari, as illustrated on the map. Notable ones include Mambilla, Gumti National Park,
Cross River National Park, and Kainji Lake National Park.
The Mambilla Plateau, in the southeast corner
of Taraba State, shares a border with
Cameroon. A high grassland plateau averaging about 1800 meters, it is scenic, cool
and a pleasant change from the heat and humidity of Lagos. Because the roads are still under construction, a sport utility
vehicle or jeep is recommended and visitors should pack essentials, camping equipment and food. As an option, there are
a few hotels on the plateau.
The Park provides an attractive setting, well
worth a visit. Mambilla has cattle ranches, tea plantations and rolling, grassy hills. It is different from the rest of Nigeria
with regard to flora and fauna and is home
to some rare species of birds and animals, especially at the Gashaka-Gumti National
Route: There is a major road to Mambilla from
Lagos, Benin City, Onitsha, Enugu, Otukpo, Yandev, Katsina Ala, Wukari, Mutum Biyu, Bali, Serti and Gembu. You can also fly
into Yola Airport, then drive a few miles south to Mambilla.
This is a vast land of spectacular wilderness
(6,000 sq. kin) in the southeast corner of Taraba State, adjoining the Mambilla Plateau. Mostly mountainous, from 457
to 2407 meters, it contains Nigeria’s highest mountain, Chapal Waddi (2409m). It is the most ecologically diverse conservation
area in the country and contains swaths of guinea savanna, gallery forest, moist forest, mountain forest and grassland. Many
rivers flow through the park, including the Taraba, a major tributary of the River Benue. A wide variety of animal life can
be found, including buffalo, roan antelope, chimpanzee, colobus monkey, hippopotamus, hyena, giant forest hog, lion and
leopard. The park is a birdwatcher’s paradise with a wide variety of species, and there is excellent fishing in the
River Kam. The reserve headquarters is in the Forest Rest Houses at Serti, on the main road between Bali and Mambilla Plateau.
These rest houses provide self-catering accommodation at a small fee. The entrance to the park is about 15 km south of Serti.
In the dry season, it is possible to drive to the former headquarters at
Gashaka village, some 30 km from the entrance
gate, where more self-catering accommodation is available. The park is best explored on foot and it is possible to hire game
guards; guides and portersare available at Serti or in Gashaka village.
The Cross River National Park was created
from two existing forest reserves of Bashi-Okwango and Oban Forest Resveres. It is famous for its unique rain forest vegetation
which, according to conservation experts, is some of the richest in Africa. This park contains the last remaining rain forest
in Nigeria, which is being preserved with the help of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation. It has a herd of forest elephants,
the white-faced monkey (indigenous to Nigeria only), buffalo, leopards and lowland gorillas, besides over a thousand other
animal species. The park has a tropical climate characterized
by a rainy season between April and October and a dry season
between November and April. The moist green vegetation cover makes the forest an excellent place to see birds and butterflies.
This Park, in Kwara State, was established
in 1979 and incorporates the Borgu Game
Reserve and Zugurma Game Reserve to the southeast in Niger State. The Bourgu sector
of the park alone covers an area of about of 3,929 sq. km. of savanna woodland, and Zugurma cover an area of about 1,370 sq.
km.The Kainji National Park also contains the Kainji Dam, an artificial lake which covers the town of Old Bussa. Here Mungo
Park, the explorer, was said to have come to grief in 1805. Now the lake hides the scene of the accident. The lake is 136
km long and tours of the dam are available on request from the Nigeria Electric Power Authority. Boat trips on the lake can
be arranged by the Borgu Game Reserve office at Wawa. To reduce the expense, it is better for several visitors to share the
cost. Fishing is allowed on the lake.
The Borgu Sector of Lake Kainji National Park
was set up as a Federal Game Reserve and is one of the largest in West Africa. The area was uninhabited and the idea for the
park was conceived in 1960. It is in the northern guinea vegetation zone which is characterized by tall grasses and savanna
woodland. The park retains a robust animal population including antelope, lion, hippopotamus, buffalo, roan antelope, jackal,
baboon, monkey and crocodile. The park is usually open from December to June, with the best time to visit towards the end
of the dry season, when the grass has dried out and the animals move closer to the water. Tourist should expect Harmattan
(dry wind) from December to mid-February. The best times for game viewing are in the early morning or evening, and trips can
be arranged from 6:00 am, either in park vehicles or visitor’s own vehicle. Bird life is abundant, especially near the
river. Visitors should call the Wawa Game Warden’s office (11 miles from New Bussa) for a
briefing and to also reserve
a game guide. The entrance to the reserve is approximately 19 miles from Wawa along a laterite road, and the oil river camp
is a further 32 miles from the entrance. Many Nigerians and foreigners make day trips to
Kainji or pass by it on their way to other
parts of the country. Despite the provisions at Kainji and New Bussa, hotel accommodation is insufficient to encourage
many people to stay for long periods.
The Durbar festival dates back hundreds of
years to the time when the Emirate (state) in the
north used horses in warfare. During this period, each town, district,
and nobility household
was expected to contribute a regiment to the defense of the Emirate. Once or twice a year,
Emirate military chiefs invited the various regiments for a Durbar (military parade) for the Emir and his chiefs. During
the parade, regiments would showcase their horsemanship, their preparedness for war, and their loyalty to the Emirate. Today,
Durbar has become a festival celebrated in honor of visiting Heads of State and at the culmination of the two great Muslim
festivals, Id-el Fitri (commemorating the end of the holy month of Ramadan) and Ide-el Kabir (commemorating Prophet Ibrahim
sacrificing a ram instead of his son). Of all the modern day Durbar festivals, Katsina Durbar is the most magnificent
and spectacular. Id-el-Kabir, or Sallah Day, in Katsina begins with prayers
outside town, followed by processions
of horsemen to the public square in front of the Emir’s palace, where each village group, district, and noble house
take their assigned place. Last to arrive is the Emir and his splendid retinue; they take up their place in front of the palace
to receive the jahi, or homage, of their subjects.
The festival begins with each group racing
across the square at full gallop, swords glinting in the sun. They pass just few feet away from the Emir, then stop abruptly
to salute him with raised swords.
The last and most fierce riders are the Emir’s
household and regimental guards, the Dogari. After the celebrations, the Emir and his chiefs retire to the palace, and
enjoyment of the occasion reigns.
This fanfare is intensified by drumming, dancing and singing, with small bands of Fulanis
performing shadi, a fascinating sideshow to behold.
Coconut Beach is a beautiful beach in the
coastal town of Badagry, west of Lagos. The beach
is attractively set in an area surrounded by coconut trees. About 20
miles towards the border of Nigeria and the Republic of Benin, Coconut Beach is accessible through the Lagos-Badagry expressway.
Visitors will find a friendly relaxed atmosphere.
Bar Beach, also known as Victoria Beach, is
the most popular beach among Nigerians. The main beach on Victoria Island is located along Ahmadu Bello Way opposite the Federal
Guest House. It is usually crowded with Nigerians on public holidays.
Tarkwa Bay is a sheltered beach along the
Lagos harbor. It is accessible by a ‘trazan’ boa from Maroko or ‘fiki’ boat from under Falo Bridge
on Victoria Island. This beach provides a pleasant outing with safe swimming conditions, even for small children. Tourist
may obtain deck chairs and an awning on the beach, for relaxed, casual comfort. Local yen dots sell delicious pineapples,
variety of other delightful treats.
This superb beach, at the mouth of the new
Calabar River, is about 2 miles long and 500 feet
wide, uninhabited save for a solitary fisherman’s hut. The
beach is virtually isolated and lends
visitors the luxury of privacy in a beautiful setting off the beaten path. Since
the beach is flanked by a swamp and can only be reached by boat or canoe, getting there is half the fun and enhances one’s
fascination with this enchanted locale.
There are several beaches along the Lekki
Peninsula, the foremost being Lekki Beach, located a few miles from the city center. Lekki Beach is another of Lagos’
attractive beaches and remains popularb with foreign tourists. Beach shelters made of palm fronds and umbrellas, available
for rent, keep the sun at bay, as well as provide a place to enjoy snacks or refreshments sold by local traders.
Opened in 1989, Eleko is the newest of Lagos’
Beaches, down the Lekki Peninsula about 30 miles from Lagos. There are no traders and no distractions on Eleko Beach, just
peace and tranquillity, ideal for those seeking privacy.
The Obudu Ranch
The Obudu Ranch is a popular holiday destination
for adventurous tourists wishing to
explore the remote corners of Nigeria. Situated in the northeast corner of Cross River
only 45 miles from the Cameroon border, a tourist can enjoy the countryside of both Nigeria
and Cameroon at the
The Obudu Plateau is spread over an area of
40 sq. miles. It is 5,200 feet above sea level. The climate is cool and pleasant with no mosquitoes. The landscape is spectacular,
with rolling grasslands, deep-wooded valleys and waterfalls. Iris best to visit Obudu in the dry season since during the rainy
season much of the ranch may be covered in mist and low clouds and there are thunderstorms.
Between Dec. and Feb. the harmattan
is heavy; therefore, the best times for a visit are the end of Oct. to Dec. and March to May before the rainy season.
Gorilla Camp, 13 km from the hotel, is accessible
either by vehicle or on foot, where one can take a long, picturesque walk to the camp, and observe gorillas in their natural
habitat. Guests may also ride horses or embark on hiking trips into the wild (comfortable shoes and a guide are recommended).
Birdwatching here is unparalleled and there is a pleasantly shaded natural swimming pool near the
Ranch House. If visitors
accept the challenge of a three-hour hike, they’ll be rewarded with a stop at the waterfall, nestled amid captivating
scenery. In spite of the altitude, it can get quite hot in the day, with five sunshine hours in the dry season (Oct. - April)
and roughly two during rainy season (July to Aug.).
Other activities include: golf, badminton, lawn tennis, squash and
The Ranch Hotel maintains 33 chalets and boasts
a friendly staff, superb restaurant and bar, and laundry/dry cleaning services. Chalets provide exquisite comfort with a large
sitting room, color TV, VCR, cocktail bar, kitchen & spacious bedroom with double bed. The Ranch Hotel operates 24-hours
during peak periods, Sept.-Dec., reservations should be made at the Cross River State House in Lagos. Or, by mail to: Hotel
Manager, Obudu Cattle Ranch, P.O. Box 87, Obudu, Cross River State, Nigeria.
The sights are spectacular on the drive east,
through rolling mountains and the dense forest with trees so high their branches form a canopy, shading out the sun entirely.
This phenomenon has led to the area being called “Nigeria’s Amazon,” and is not to be missed. However, should
one prefer to fly, they can do so from any major city to Calabar then proceed by car over the five hour route via Ikom.
This colorful annual festival takes place
in Arugungu, a riverside town in Kebbi State, about 64
miles from Sokoto. The leading tourist attraction in the area, the
festival originated in Aug. 1934, when the late Sultan Dan Mu’azu made an historic visit. In tribute, a grand fishing
festival was organized. Since then, it’s become a celebrated yearly event held between Feb. and March. During the festival,
hundreds of local men and boys enter the water, armed with large fishnet scoops. They are joined by canoes filled with drummers,
plus men rattling huge seed-filled gourds to drive the fish to shallow waters. Vast nets are cast and a wealth of fish are
harvested, from giant Nile Perch to the peculiar Balloon Fish. Furthermore there’s canoe racing, wild duck hunting,
bare-handed fishing, diving competitions and naturally, swimming. Afterwards, there is drinking, singing and dancing into
Eyo Festival is unique to Lagos area, and it is widely believed that Eyo is the forerunner of the modern day carnival
in Brazil. On Eyo Day, the main highway in the heart of the city (from the
end of Carter Bridge to Tinubu Square) is closed
to traffic, allowing for procession from Idumotato Iga Idunganran. Here, the participants all pay homage to the Oba of Lagos.
Eyo festival takes place whenever occasion and tradition demand, but it is usually held as the final burial rites for a highly
courtesy Ramat Publishing, Inc. )
The Fulani culture presents a complex system,
involving age-old initiations. The most
important is the Sharo or Shadi (flogging meeting), believed to have originated
Jaful Fulani, whose ranks are still considered the finest. During the Sharo festival,
usually unmarried men, come to the center ring, escorted by beautiful girls.
The crowd erupts in thunderous cheers and
drumming. After some time, a challenger, also
bare-chested, comes out brandishing a whip, trying to frighten his opponent.
The festival proceeds with lively drumming, singing, cheers and self-praises from both competitors and challengers. When the
excitement is at a fevered pitch, it is the time for flogging. The challenger raises his whip and flogs his opponent. His
opponent must endure this without wincing or showing pain, lest he be branded a coward.
The Atilogwu dance has been elevated to a
dazzling art form, particularly by the Igbos in
Anambra State. Atilogwu is a vigorous dance which literally means “Is
this magic?” and
combines elements of gymnastics with foot-stomping rhythms and brilliant colors. It’s
by young men and women who undergo rigorous training before presenting the dance in public. Once approved, the dance is performed
during important festivals and great social occasions.
In fact, Atilogwu has become a celebrated signature of Nigerian
culture, performed around the world.
The National Museum at Onikan, Lagos provides
one of the largest collection of art and artifacts in Nigeria. Of great importance to anyone seeking a deeper understanding
of African art and the rich cultural heritage of Nigeria, the artifacts in the museum date from 500 BC-200
the Nok terracotta heads. Its interior is majestic in scope, and retraces the development of various cultures through
centuries of Nigerian history. Operated by the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, the museum here, like —others
in Benin, Jos, Ife, Esie, Kano and Kaduna, plus many smaller ones, consistently draws thousands of tourists and historians
each year to view its rich collections.
Osun was one of the wives of Sango, the god
of Thunder and former king of Oyo. She is widely
worshipped in Yorubaland, particularly in the countryside through
which the river Osun flows.
The water of Osun is said to have the power of making barren women fertile. Her most
sanctuaries are in Oshogbo, which is contracted from ‘Oso Igbo’, or spirit of the forest, centered around
a palace shrine where the chief priest performs rites and rituals.
The Kano indigo-vegetable dye pits are one
of the most fascinating aspects of this old city.
Various designs are folded into the material before dyeing, and the fabric
is often beaten to
achieve the shiny, iridescent appearance. The techniques employed to obtain this look are
around the world. And although the methods they use are ancient, these lush works of art on fabric always remain extremely
popular and continue to be in great demand.
Nigeria is a veritable treasure trove of beautiful
handmade crafts. Drawing from ancient
traditions, Nigerian artisans create marvelous wood carvings, metal castings, exotic
traditional clothing, intricately decorated calabashes and finely-crafted leatherwork. Visitors
at the quality and value of these unique creations, each made with a perfectionist’s skill and attention to detail.