Nigeria is a tourist’s destination paradise, with attractive and mind blowing sites at every geo-political zone. Today, we will look at the North West comprising Jigawa,Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara. As with any place in Northern belt of Nigeria, confirm with security agencies or use a tour agent who has access to security information to determine the best time to tour this region.
Birin Kudu Rock Paintings
Located in Birin Kudu LGA, south of Jigawa state, these Rock paintings are proof of an ancient civilization in sub-Saharan Africa believed to be the transition period of the early stone age to the metal age. The paintings show information on the lifestyle of early dwellers at that location. Reputed to be over two thousand years old, they are regarded as the oldest rock paintings in Nigeria. Reminiscent of the prehistoric rock paintings found around the world, this rocky plateau (where the inscription and paintings are) was discovered between 1950-1955 during the colonization of Nigeria. You can also explore the caves in the area and climb the inner recesses of the rocks. This cultural rocky site is worth viewing.
This European mediaeval-style castle was built on a hill in 1976 by a German. It comes complete with dungeons, a pool, live crocodile and peacocks, a dragon tower, a knight’s hall, a garden, open courtyard, Barbecue area with an outdoor oven, master bedrooms with private bathrooms, AC, televisions, sofas and a rooftop lounge for dining under the stars. Kajuru Castle is perfect for a group vacation, guests are free to self-cater to themselves or make a request to the administrators to provide catering services from the town. It’s perfect for hiking, swimming, destination weddings, fishing, inline skating, trekking and a honeymoon getaway. But note, it is an exclusive destination with only 12 rooms available for lodging and the full facility has to be rented out together. It is Nigerian royalty at its best.
The chilly ambience of the Matsiriga waterfalls, that cascades into a gorge from a height of 30 metres, is a lovely sight. Its source is the springs on the Kagoro Hill which is in proximity to the waterfall, allowing the water make its way down beautiful rock formations. This is a site great recreational, hiking and picnicking . You can squeeze out extra fun by climbing up the hills and splashing around in the water at the base of the gorge, where a pool forms. The Nok Museum is also within this region making it an ideal location to visit.
The Nigerian social study textbooks for secondary schools are filled with tales of Nok art. The wonder of the Nok culture which appeared during 1000BCE and disappeared in 500CE is yet to be explained. During their 1,500 years of civilisation, they produced intriguing art sculptures, rock paintings and buildings like their Miranet (a lookout post). It is one of the famous archaeological sites in Africa. Go with a camera because you won’t want to miss a moment of this place.
Gidan Rumfa and Makama House
The Gidan Rumfa is the current palace of the Emir of Kano state, built in the 13th century on an expansive plot of land. It has an aristocratic air with enduring edifices. Opposite it is the Gidan Makama house which was the former Palace of the Emir now turned into a Museum. It houses the history of the Hausa people from the 9th – 20th century, detailing both the Jihad and British Invasion. This Museum differs from the Gidan Dan Hausa which is also the Kano State Museum. Visiting the Rumfa and Makama in one location is like killing two birds with one stone.
Falgore Game Reserve
This 1000sqkm Game reserve is home to the evergreen forest reserve and a large selection of Fauna. The wildlife here include but are not limited to the hartebeest, bush baby, spotted hyena, patas, bushbuck, oribi, jackal, leopard, the red-flanked duiker, etc. It was established in 1949 and is situated along the Kano-Jos road, an hour 30miniutes ride south-west of Kano city.
Kastina Emir’s Palace
There are two Emir palaces – one in Kastina and another in Daura – with unique architecture dating as far back as 19th century. The Kastina Emir’s palace stands out because it is the oldest among Palaces in Hausaland. The typical Hausa construction of this building includes a rampant (Ganuwar Gidan Sarki) and a backyard gate (Kofar bai) that are now extinct. The Palace was built with local materials like clay, cow-dung, grass, red soil, termite resistant wood, colourants and lots more. The compound has a clinic, a mosque, royal stable, a garden, the emir’s house and guest houses, children’s playground and lots more. It’s ideal for learning about the history of the area and taking pictures.
The Argungu town is known for its annual four day International Fishing Festival. The festival is a 45-minute frenzy to catch the biggest fish in the Madan Fada River using traditional fishing tools. The festival itself is more than fishing, it includes canoe racing, cultural dancing, music, etc. It has been banned since 2006 due to safety concerns. But the town still plays host to another important site, the Kanta Museum which is located near the local market. It was the Emir’s palace from around 1832 – 1942 but was turned into a Museum in 1958. It houses the history via arts, crafts and artefacts of the people of Argungu.
The Ruins of Sokoto
There are two Local Government areas in Sokoto state that house the ruins of ancient kingdoms from the pre-jihad era. The ruins are Surame in Binji LGA and Alakawa in Sabon-Birnin. Surame was the headquarters of the Old Kebbi Kingdom built in the 16th century while Akalawa was the capital city of the Old Gobir kingdom. The ruins are an interesting site to see after a tour of the Sultan of Sokoto’s palace which is a sharp contrast in cultural/artistic excellence.
Dashi Natural Tunnel
This tunnel is found in the Kwatarkwashi district of Bungudu LGA, just 15km from the capital of Zamfara state, Gusau. It is a 2km long natural tunnel that can accommodate three persons walking side by side and one person standing upright. It is not a very popular site like the ruins of Kiyawa City walls, the tombs, Zamfara Museum or the Kalale Hippopotami pond. But visiting this location also gives you an opportunity to see the Kwatarkwashi Rock/Water Spring that gushes clean and sweet water. Both the tunnel and the spring are great for hiking and make for great photography spots.
Feature Image: kajurucastle.com