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While Salah is a period to celebrate the blessings of Allah, it’s also a time for muslim families to make merry and go on vacation. In this travel post, we’ll show you six Nigerian cities known for their cultural richness, natural beauty, and tourist attractions. These cities will definitely make your Eid celebration a memorable one.
Sokoto is the headquarters of Islam in Nigeria and the residence of the Sultan who doubles as the head of Muslims in the country. Bordered by Niger Republic to the north, Zamfara State to the east, Kebbi State to the south-east and Benin Republic to the west, Sokoto is home to a lot of historical and tourist attractions. Muslim faithfuls visiting the state for tourism should be rest assured of access to historical sites which are often open to the public.
Places to Visit
• The Palace of the Sultan of Sokoto
The palace of the Sultan stands tall in glory and royalty. This 214 year old palace of the Sultan was built in 1808 by Mohammed Bello, son of Usman Dan Fodio, the founder of the caliphate. Any visit to Sokoto would be incomplete without seeing the palace of the Sultan of Sokoto, who is the head of the Sokoto Caliphate, a position generally referred to as the “Commander of the Faithful” (Amir-ul-Momineen in Arabic).
• Waziri Junaidu History and Culture Museum
Waziri Junaidu History and Culture Museum was established in 1973 for the purpose of collecting, preserving and displaying all artifacts, and manuscripts relating to the history of the Sokoto Caliphate. With more than 500,000 historical treasures and materials, the museum has become a place of enlightenment to muslim scholars and other visitors. The museum also houses other treasures such as letters written by Jihad leaders and Jihad flags given to individuals who made Islam relevant in Nigeria.
• Tomb of Usman Dan Fodio
Located close to the Shehu mosque, the site contains hundreds of graves of revered elites and figures in the Sokoto Caliphate. Also known as “The Hubbaren”, it is the resting place of famous Islamic scholar and founder of the Sokoto Caliphate Shehu Usman Dan Fodio, his disciples, companions, Sultans after him and his descendants. The grave of Shehu Usman Dan Fodio is in a small room, decorated with a black cloth with Arabic inscriptions. Women are forbidden to enter inside the tomb, but can only view it through the windows.
Kano is the commercial nerve of northern Nigeria and renowned for its history and cultural heritage. As the second most populous and oldest city in the country, according to records, Kano has a long cultural history dating back to the 7th century. First time adventurers visiting the city will be awed by its fascinating tourist destinations, leatherwork industry, traditional arts and crafts, and ancient Hausa architectural designs now complemented by modernization.
Places to Visit:
• Durbar Festival Kano
Recognized as the largest parade of colorful horses in the world, the Durbar festival has been an important part of Kano cultural heritage for centuries. Durbar is usually held as part of the Sallah celebrations as beautifully adorned horse procession pass through various quarters in the city. Dressed in traditional regalia, the horse-riders commence the procession from the Eid prayer ground and then to the palace where the horse race takes place.
• Emir’s Palace
The Gidan Rumfa, also known as the Gidan Sarki (Emir’s House in Hausa), is the palace of the Emir of Kano. Sprawling 33 acres of land and housing a reception area, clinic, mosque, an old council chamber (tsohuwar majalisa), and a children’s playground, the palace has all that you can imagine. The palace is a popular tourist center because of its unique buildings that reflect the early 19th century northern Nigerian traditional architectural designs.
• Ancient Kano City Wall
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Ancient Kano City Walls comprises a 14km earthen wall with numerous entrance gates, most of which was constructed with mud and sand. Its construction was believed to have started in the 11th century during the reign of Sarkin Kano Usman Giji Masu Dan Wasiri, the grandson of Bagauda, the third king in the Habe dynasty. He started the first gate and surrounding walls in 1112 AD for the purpose of protecting the ancient city against invaders. However, due to the expanding population of Kano city over the years, some sections of the wall have been demolished to make space for residential developments.
Bauchi State is home to lots of tourist attractions ranging from hills, game reserves, rock formations, lakes and springs. Bauchi is the fifth Nigerian largest state in area and seventh most populous with an estimated population of over 6,530,000 as of 2016. Geographically, the state is divided between the West Sudanian savanna in the south and the drier, semi-desert Sahelian savanna in the north. One major feature of the state landscape is the Yankari National Park, a large park in southern Bauchi State that hosts large populations of wildlife.
Places to Visit
• Yankari Game Reserve
The Yankari Game Reserve has been described as the last remnant of wildlife left in Nigeria. Covering an area of about 2,244 square kilometers, the reserve is home to animals like Hippopotamus, wild ox, crocodiles, waterbuck, African buffalo, patas monkey, roan antelope, and western hartebeest along with some of Nigeria’s last remaining West African lion, African leopard, and African bush elephant populations.
• Wikki Warm Springs
Considered Mother Earth’s natural swimming pool and answer to spa, the Wikki Warm Springs features a temperature of 31°C, and boasts crystal clear waters that flow into a beautiful 200 meters long lake. The Wikki Warm Spring is located in the Yankari National Park, and is believed to be the biggest of the four warm springs in Yankari. The spring allows tourists to enjoy the warmness of water and relax in a tranquil and natural environment.
• Gubi Lake
Gubi Lake is located in Gubi town near the localities of Kanawa and Firu Piru in Ganjuwa Local Government Area of Bauchi State. As the most popular lake in the state, it attracts both tourists and fun-seekers from far and wide. The Gubi lake is a perfect destination for outdoor and sports activities like swimming, canoeing, picnics, camping and hiking.
The capital city of Nigeria, Abuja, is known for its modern architecture, government edifice, embassies, well-planned layouts, and serene environment. Since replacing Lagos as capital in 1990, Abuja has grown to be the eighth most populous city in the country. Tourist visiting the city will enjoy not just the natural landscape but the alluring leisure parks, vibrant nightlife and lush scenery.
Places to Visit
• Abuja National Mosque
Built in 1984, the Abuja National Mosque is a government-built prayer ground for Muslims in the federal capital territory. As a symbol of the Islamic heritage in Nigeria, the mosque welcomes Muslims for daily and special prayers including Sallah and Jumat service. Non-Muslim public are also allowed into the mosque for tourism purposes during non-congregational prayers. Photographers, fun-seekers and other leisure lovers are allowed during this period.
• Jabi Lake
The Jabi Lake in Abuja is the best place to be if you are looking for a serene environment to spend the Salah. Initially created to provide water to the indigenes of the FCT, the 1.300-hectare lake later became a tourist destination and fishing spot after the development of the Usuma Dam. The lake hosts the Jabi Lake Park which is a lush recreational center for picnics, family outings and outdoor sports activities. Also sitting in the park is the Jabi Mall which is undoubtedly Abuja biggest mall for shoppers.
• Zuma Rock
Standing at about 300 meters (980 feet) above the ground, Zuma Rock is one of the highest and largest monoliths in the world. The Rock which is sometimes called the “Gateway to Abuja”, is a large natural monolith located in the western outskirts of the city along the Abuja-Kaduna road in Suleja and is famous for welcoming travelers into Abuja from Niger state. Besides serving as a tourist attraction for hikers and adventurers, it’s also visited by students who come for academic excursions. If you’re fan of posting adventurous locations in your photo gallery, perhaps, you might consider this destination in your Salah itinerary.
Sitting on the brackish lagoon of the Bight of Benin and backing the Atlantic Ocean to the south, Lagos has carved a niche for itself as both a business enclave and tourist destination. As Nigeria’s largest city and economic capital, Lagos offers a bustling atmosphere with a mix of modern and traditional attractions. From the beautiful beaches of Tarkwa Bay to the vibrant and busy Oshodi market, Lagos presents a fascinating landscape that’s worth exploring.
Places to Visit
• Tarkwa Bay
Takwa Bay is an artificial public beach located off the Lagos harbour. The bay is a perfect destination for people looking to relax during the weekends and festive periods. Getting to the bay is accessible through a 20 mins boat ride from the Lagos Marina which makes it fun as you get to see the Eko Atlantic City to the left and sea vessels lining up the Apapa harbor to the right. The beach provides fun activities such as boat rides, kayaking, surfing, volleyball and musical concerts to keep swimming and party enthusiasts elated.
• National Museum Lagos
Established in 1957 by formost English curator Kenneth Murray, the National museum showcases fascinating ancient and modern Nigerian artifacts, sculptures, paintings, carvings and historical relics. Various national treasures adorn the museum rooms and one among them is the tragic vehicle where former Head of State, General Murtala Muhammed was assassinated. Since 1979 when the incident happened, the bullet-riddled black Mercedes-Benz limousine still elicits pity on display at the museum. The compound where the museum is located is quite large and perfect for individual and group outdoor relaxation after a memorable excursion.
• Oniru Beach
If looking for a place to relax on a festive Salah evening, look no further than the Oniru Beach. Oniru beach is a top destination for beach-goers who enjoy the close view and rumblings of the Atlantic ocean. Located in the highbrow area of Lekki Lagos, the private beach is owned by the Oniru Royal family in Victoria Island. Oniru beach boasts side attractions that would excite any visitor. From horse rides, amusement swings, picnics and endless night parties.
Popularly known as the “Coal City” state, Enugu offers a blend of natural beauty and historical sites for individuals seeking a place to relax. Besides being the former capital of the defunct Eastern Region, the city showcases the bustling entrepreneurship spirit of the South-East. Enugu is also known for its coal mines, abundant hills, valleys and numerous tourist attractions.
Places to Visit
• Nike Lake Resort
Nike Lake is the most popular lake in Enugu state and one of the most famous in the South-East. Located in the town of Nike in Enugu East Local Government Area, the lake was made popular as a result of the Nike Lake Resort and Hotel built within the lake environment. The well-known resort which is located within the lake environment offers relaxation and accommodation, consisting of 216 air-conditioned bedrooms and suites, excellent restaurant, cocktail bar, sports facility, lounge and business center with the largest conference hall in Enugu.
• National Museum of Unity
The National Museum of Unity is located in GRA Enugu along Abakaliki road. Founded just a year after the end of the civil war in 1971, the museum showcases various artworks from galleries, paintings, sculptures, and other artifacts which provides an insight into the culture of the Igbo people and Nigeria. Besides, the large compound with well-structured spaces which is good for organized cultural shows and artistic displays, the museum is also replete with rich historical manuscripts and relics about the Biafran War for visitors in need of valuable insight about the conflict.
• Milliken Hill
Milliken Hill is a popular tourist destination in the beautiful city of Enugu. The hill, about 100 meters above sea level, offers a captivating viewpoint of the Enugu metropolis, and at the foot of the hill is the first road that leads into the city. Beneath the hills also, are tunnels, coal mines and the Iva valley. Visitors are assured of a memorable time on the hill, which is ideal for mountaineering and top choice for group and individual activities such as hiking, camping and more.
Nigeria is a diverse country with many amazing cities to explore during the Salah holiday. Although countless places exist in the country, only six were selected in this article. Each selection offers a range of experiences, from cultural immersion to natural beauty, ensuring that Muslim faithfuls enjoy a memorable holiday.