Tag Archive | "Tourism"

Idanre Hills: a natural wonder in Nigeria

written by Obinna Emelike

Imagine a terrain so high that those at the bottom go about their daily living as if they are in another planet, a setting surrounded by picturesque hills that envelope the inhabitants from incursions and scorching of the sun, while visitors savour a bit of its magnificence and panoramic view from afar.

The terrain is no dreamland or imagery of sort, Idanre Hills is a breathing landscape that also provides a window to the town’s colourful history. From a few kilometres to the town centre, a first time visitor will not cease to marvel at the aesthetics, architecture and thoroughness employed by nature in the  assemblage of hills of various shapes and sizes at Idanre, also called ‘Oke Idanre’ by the locals.

The evergreen landscape surrounding the hills provides fellowship with nature’s best. The peacefulness that pervades the atmosphere, the blossoming civilisation that existed on the hills, the rigours of climbing, a refreshing swim in Arun River, all make the Idanre Hills a wonderful place to visit.

If you are adventurous enough, the tallest of the hills rises about 300ft above sea level, challenges you to a climbing game. Those who successfully dare the peak are rewarded with the very rare panoramic view of the topography at bird’s eye, which is a unique fortitude for ancient residents.

However, you need a little background of the people and their protective hills to better appreciate the nature that adorn the Idanre setting. The people of Idanre had existed on the hills for at least 800 years.
Features on the hills lend proof to this assertion as they suggest that the security that the hills provided for the people of Idanre was responsible for their choice of the hills as their home.

There is actually no dull moment at Idanre.
The action starts with the Great 460 Steps. Climbing THE 460 steps to Oke Idanre is truly a physical challenge. But the six resting points will refresh you before taking you to the hill top. But after these steps, a short walk will take one to the ancient town of Idanre – with evidence of a civilisation that long was.

There are mud and concrete houses, the Owa Palace, residents for chiefs and the king’s wives, burial mounds, a cemetery, a prison yard, court rooms, a school and an incubator for prematurely born babies. The people of Idanre left the hills in 1923.

Again, ‘Omi Opaara,’ a narrow stream on one of the hills, is thrill for visitors. Myth has it that the stream gushed out when lightning struck the hills as a result of a bitter feud between two powerful chiefs. Some visitors make effort to drink from the hill water believed to have healing powers.

The excitement takes you further atop of the hills to the Arun River, a small river on the hill. It is believed that a swim in the middle of the river “will result in an eerie, fuzzy feeling.” Arun River is crystal clear and one can see crabs and a few other aquatic animals, and adjudge the water’s friendly depths.

The more adventurous can also dare the Agboogun Footprints, a more difficult track up the hill and atop the hill because it takes a lot of efforts to get these footprints.
he fact that the footprints can size visitors’ legs no matter how big or small makes the footprints magical.

Yet, a tortuous climb will further move you to a plain where you see a carving on one of the hills that looks like an ark. Due to its semblance of an ark, the carving is nicknamed Noah’s Ark.
If you visit during festivals, you will be home to one of the richest African cultural heritages.

In recent times, MARE festival, a sports/tourism initiative courtesy of Motherland Beckons have being attracting global tourists, investors and world mountain climbers converge at the foot of the hill to dare the towering height in a prized-contest.

Apart from the festivals, the flora and fauna of the hills are also unique. There, special specie of tailless animal called Hyrax will surprise you. Monkeys are also sported near Orosun hills.
The hill also serves as home to a group of bats, as the people hold a unique festival of bats every year.

You may also spot a group of scientists and field researchers, especially now that there is effort at enlisting the hill in World Heritage Site.
Why wait to visit this destination that offers visitors so much on a single visit.

The hill is located in Idanre Town in Ondo State, a 15-20 minutes drive from Akure the state capital.  It is about five hours drive from Lagos and about six hours from Abuja. It is better to go on a four-wheel drive, especially during rainy season because the roads are not to smooth.

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Fela Anikulapo Kuti: Nigeria’s hidden Tourist Attraction

Great Fela in action, the pioneer of Afro Beat, multi-instrumentalist, original choreographer, greater than the Beatles, bigger than the Rolling Stones and uniquely Nigerian. Lets celebrate him. Elvis Presley the King of Rock n Roll is celebrated in the US.

Today Graceland where he lived before he died is a National landmark, second most recognizable private house in the USA and also a multi million dollar income producing Museum.

Graceland was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on November 7, 1991. On March 27, 2006, Gale Norton, the then United States Secretary of the Interior, designated Graceland a National Historic Landmark—joining the White House.

In 1977 Fela’s Kalakuta Republic was destroyed by the then Military Junta on the grounds that the enclave was a cannabis joint. Kalakuta would have been a bigger money spinner than Graceland, it had a recording studio, it had a free health clinic, it was a spiritual home for many, even when he was still alive, you can only imagine what It would have been now, if it was still in existence, a Tourist Heaven generating Millions of Naira for the Government. Anyway, that was the past. Fela still has a following both home and abroad.

 Let the Nigerian Tourism Board maximize this opportunity to really kick start our Tourism industry.

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Obudu Mountain Resort: Nigeria’s best kept secret

ObuduObudu has increasingly become popular among tourists and event planners from all around Nigeria. Though, local travel companies are yet  to fully respond to this phenomenon by increasing the range of services they offer, which could help Nigeria’s best kept secret assume its position by attracting even more travellers.


At the moment, visitors come from Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and a few international travellers. Travellers to the ranch, now christened Obudu Mountain Resort by the management company [African Sun Hotels] following the upgrade of facilities by the owner, the Cross River State Government.

Today, Obudu Mountain Resort under African Sun Hotels is working with several travel companies that are now offering virtually all types of travel services; ranging from educational and entertainment tours, conferences and eco-tourism, just to name a few.

 Obudu Mountain Resort, which had hosted prominent event such as ‘Gulder Ultimate Search’, is set in few weeks to also hosts’ world’s most enduring and famous ‘Mountain Race’ (Obudu Mountain Race) that has brought prominent runners from around the world.It is quite possible that in the near future, arrivals may double with plans being worked out by African Sun Hotels, not only for local, but also tourists from abroad will increase in numbers to enjoy the fascinating aura, serenity and tranquility of the surrounding beautiful hills that seems more ideal for the strong and fit alone, but the addition of the second longest cable car in the world and a world class water park on the foot of the mountain are all clear indication that the resort is for everyone.

Like a British resident in Nigeria, Ian Hunter who was returning from is first visit to the resort aptly puts it, “Obudu is Nigeria’s best kept secret” Noting further, “the resort, is a true gem of Nigeria.”

Since the upgrade of the accommodation facilities at the resort, Obudu is becoming increasingly recognized and respected on the national and international scene, and it is no surprise that Obudu Mountain Resort and Cross River State have been hosting a number of various regional and international meetings and symposia, just as more business and leisure tourists are visiting the resort and the state, and you may find yourself becoming one of them.

With well over a 160 accommodation categories, made up of standard rooms, executives, huts and chalets to a presidential apartment, amidst its extreme eco-tourism potentials, there’s more than enough space for other activities. Admirers of eco-tourism and adventure, bored by comfort of the hotel accommodations could easily get busy with a ride down the hill on the cable car and indulge in some water sports.

One of the greatest assets of the resort is its sustainable tourism practice that gives priority to the interest of its host communities. For instance, the local communities that are largely farmers and cattle rearers supply some of the ingredients used at the resort. This guarantees steady income for those that are not fully employed by the resort.

Managed by one of Africa’s most respected hospitality chain, African Sun Hotels of Zimbabwe, the chain is obviously redefining franchising and management landscape in Nigeria. Besides, the Obudu Mountain Resort, the chain is currently running Amber Tinapa, and Utanga Safari Lodge all in Cross River State, Nike Lake Resort, Enugu and Holiday Inn Accra Airport, Ghana, the hotel that hosted the Obama’s during their historic visit to Africa.

In less than three weeks, once again, the management skill of African Sun will be put to test again, as Amber Tinapa, Calabar and Nike Lake Resort, Enugu will host eight teams participating in the coming FIFA U17 World Cup holding from October 24_Novemeber 15, 2009.

However, few months after taking over, African Sun Hotels, with the approval of the Cross River State Government is showing commitment at ensuring that the resort gives lasting experience to both visitors and locals. The determination also goes with the change of name from Obudu Cattle Ranch to Obudu Mountain Resort.

The change in name only applied to the resort, whilst the rest part of the community that were hitherto in a single package remains. The cattle and honey businesses remains very much alive.

Seating on the altitude of 1,575.76 metres above sea level, the resort has a temperature of between 26°C to 32°C between November and January, and the nights are cool to cold during this period. Meanwhile, the lowest temperature ranges of 4°C to 10°C are recorded between June and September, which is the rainy season.

Warm clothes, raincoat and water boots for hiking in rainy season are important companion when visiting Obudu Mountain Resort.

Written by Jimoh Babatunde

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Our Experts in this sub-sector will aim to showcase the numerous beautiful tourist destinations in Nigeria.

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Tales of River Niger from Grand Hotel, Asaba

Tales of River Niger from Grand Hotel, Asaba
Written by OSA AMADI
Tuesday, 29 July 2008 22:24

There is no denying the fact that River Niger is West Africa’s major river. It runs across a distance of about 4180 km (2600 miles) beginning from Guinea Highlands in the Southeastern Guinea down to Mali, Niger, and Nigeria, where it blesses the country with large deposits of oil, palm trees, raffia, and many other natural resources before emptying into the Gulf of Guinea. The Niger is the third-longest river in Africa, exceeded only by the Nile and the Congo River. Its main tributary is the Benue River. The Niger had so much engaged the interest of Europeans that in June 1786, the Scottish explorer, Mungo Park, became the first European to set eyes on the river. Since then, the few places from where the River Niger could be viewed or approached have been favourite spots for both local and international tourists.
One of the few hotels with standard facilities where the beauty of the Niger could be viewed is the Grand Hotel at 112 Nebisi Road, Asaba in Delta State.
Various options are available to the guests at Grand Hotel. They could perch on one of the rooms on the last floor of the tall hotel building and feed their eyes on the exhilarating views of the Niger. Alternatively, they could also go waterskiing, jetskiing, or one of the numerous boat rides arranged on the river.
[Grand Hotel, Asaba]

Grand Hotel, Asaba

And for those who are scared stiff of venturing into the head-swelling width and breath of the River Niger, but still desire to get a feel of water on their body, then the Olympic sized outdoor swimming pool, in a garden equipped with sun loungers, parasols, and three floodlit tennis courts, will satisfy your desires.
It is not surprising that Mungo Park has a place in Grand Hotel, Asaba. The recreational centre in the hotel is in fact, named after him. The Mungo Park Leisure Centre is equipped with a gym manned by personal instructors who give daily classes on aerobic exercises. The Olympic-sized swimming pool is of course, part of the Mungo Park Leisure Centre.
The hotel’s vantage position on the west bank of the Niger with its sweeping views of the landscape combine with these other wonderful facilities to make Grand Hotel a holiday resort. True to the name of the hotel, the rooms are grand, comfortable, and go for about N34, 000 per night.
These comfortable rooms come with 24-hour room service and are fitted with king sized beds, satellite TV, perfect air-conditioners, and mini fridges. The restaurant, called Planets, comprises of a nightclub and casino. It serves both Nigerian and continental dishes. However, the Jetty serves Chinese cuisine, Barbecue Garden grilled meat and seafood. Both the Bar and Restaurant all overlook the river. There are also large conference rooms and an open-air amphitheater.
The Niger, as a river of waters of life that feeds and replenishes the harsh lands of West Africa, does the same to Grand Hotel and everyone who stays there. Like a ribbon winding its way across the land, it enters and nourishes some of the most remote areas including the environment of Grand Hotel.
Surely, the Grand is one of the best hotels to chill out when you are on vacation or business in Asaba, Delta State. It is truly a paradise with great views of Onitsha and the Niger Bridge

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