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Nigeria’s Tourism Sites You Didn’t Know Existed

Nigeria, a country rich in diversity continues to offer cultural and rich surprises that have left her citizens and UNESCO in awe. Although two sites have been listed by UNESCO as World Heritage sites (Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove and Sukur Cultural Landscape), here are sites that have been in its tentative list:

Benin Iya/ Sungbo’s Eredo

Benin Iya

Benin Iya. Photo: Bright Continent

The Benin Iya (Moat), known as the Great Wall of Benin is the world’s second largest wall after the Great Wall of China. It was started in 800 AD and completed in 1460. It is also the world’s largest earthwork with a height of over 18 metres and a length of 1200 kilometres. The Iya was built to protect Benin City, the capital of the ancient Benin Kingdom.

Ancient Kano City Walls

Ancient-Kano-City-Walls

Ancient Kano-City Walls. Photo: Wikimedia

The ancient city walls of Kano are a clear testimony of undefined sophistication and rare specialisation of the Nigerian people in ancient times. The 14-kilometre radius earth monument’s foundation was laid by Sakri Gijimasu from 1095 to 1134 to protect and control trade. It was not until the 14th century that it was completed. An Emir’s Palace, Kurmi Market (one of the oldest and largest markets in Africa) and the famous Dala hills are within the walls.

Niger Delta Mangrove

Off all the Mangrove forests found in 118 countries in the world, the Niger Delta mangrove is one of the most ecologically sensitive regions. The Mangrove is concentrated with flora and fauna some of which are only being discovered. It serves as a food and shelter producing source, vocation and revenue generation for locals and for spiritual purposes. Unfortunately, environmental degradation continues to threaten the preservation and existence of the Mangrove.

Alok Ikom Stone Monoliths

Alok Ikom Monolith

Alok Ikom Monolith. Photo: Artsy Moments

How Cross River’s Alok Ikom Monoliths known as Akwasnshi/Atal came to be is still a subject of debate. The monoliths numbering 300 are found in perfect circles facing each other and span across Ejagham’s 30 communities. The images and markings inscribed on the stones, believed to be from prehistoric civilisation, are yet to be decoded.

Kwiambana

Before the Kwiambana settlement in Bauchi was destroyed by the Fulani Jihad in the 19th century, it was a settlement in the Kwiambana Forest Reserve. Kwiambana was built on and around a granite inselberg with two peaks. The settlement was also protected by a ditch and a bank between five and seven meters high, topped by a rubble wall. Until date, the walls have resisted erosion.

Arochukwu Long Juju slave route

Deep in Arochukwu, the third largest city in Abia state after Aba and Umuahia lies the Arochukwu Long Juju slave route, a six-foot gully which leads into an ancient cave temple. In the cave temple lies Ibinu Ukabi is protected by Kamalu (the warrior god.) A waterfall regarded as Ibinu Ukabi’s voice is heard. It is said that if an unjust person appears before the dark presence (“the Holy of Holies”), they never return.

Gashaki-Gumpti National Park

This is Nigeria’s largest and most diverse National Park with some of the best sceneries. It is home to some of the country’s highest peaks, Chappal Wadi (the Mountain of Death) and Chappal Hendu (Mountain of Wind). It boasts of guinea savannah, gallery forest, giant forest hog, leopard, lion, hippopotamus, buffalo, hartebeest, yellow-backed duiker and several bird species.

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