Nigeria is one of the last gaps on the traveller’s map of Africa, a vast country which is exciting to some, daunting to many. With a shaky international reputation, this diverse land is often ignored by visitors to West Africa, but one cannot say that one truly knows the region without knowing Nigeria. Explore Lagos, Africa’s biggest urban centre, visit the Yoruba Kingdoms in the Southwest and the unique Juju markets, learn about the dramatic history behind the slave port of Badagry, meet and the Kamberi and Dukkawa, tattooed Animist dwellers of the Niger northern plains, the Gwari adobe architects, and the Fulani cattle herders, proud nomads of the Sahel. The tour ends in Abuja, Nigeria’s modern Federal Capital, a synthesis of what Nigeria wants to project to the rest of the world. This is a truly pioneering trip and not for everyone - Nigeria is not an ordinary holiday destination and all clients must be prepared for testing conditions and facilities. Corruption is endemic and petty theft common. Despite all of the well documented problems, for those keen to explore this intriguing land, this tour is a great introduction to its complex charms.
Day 1 - Lagos
Arrive in Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city. You will be met and transferred to your hotel. A meeting with your guide and a chat about your tour will be held this evening. Overnight Ibis Hotel or similar.
Not Nigeria’s capital city but certainly its busiest, Lagos has a reputation that precedes it. One of the largest cities in Africa, Lagos is alive and vibrant, with maddening traffic and a sense of organized chaos that can sometimes be overwhelming. However, if you put your preconceptions aside, and exercise a little common sense, the city soon reveals itself to be an utterly fascinating place. Separated into different sections by creeks and rivers running between the lagoon and the sea, Lagos is the cultural capital of Nigeria and its economic powerhouse, with skyscrapers dotting the skyline of the business district, in complete contrast to the shanty towns of other parts of the city – more than anywhere else in the country, it is where the rich and poor rub shoulders on a daily basis. Lagos was annexed by the British in 1861 and became capital of the colony in 1914, losing its status to purpose-built Abuja in 1991. It is well known for its hectic night life and is the centre of Nigeria’s thriving music industry as well as its film industry, known as ‘Nollywood’.
As a previous colonial capital, Lagos has many old buildings dating back from the British era as well as some of Africa’s busiest markets, some of which sell animal parts used in traditional medicines – not necessarily for the faint hearted. Lagos is however not especially safe to venture out in alone after dark, and high levels of poverty have nurtured a significant criminal class, giving it a reputation as one of Africa’s most crime ridden cities – we recommend that you follow your tour leader’s advice in this respect.
Day 2 – Lagos – Badagry - Lagos
A morning tour around Lagos. We cross Lagos Island long bridge to see the pile-dwellings from above. Visit the National Museum with great Nigerian art and ethnographic objects (Benin bronzes, Yoruba masks, Nok terracottas, Ibo shrines). We take lunch near the museum before a tour around the Afro-Brazilian quarter where the majority of the slave trade returnees from Brazil settled. We leave this mega-city and drive the 45kms to the Benin border where Badagry, one of the major slave ports in the Gulf of Guinea existed. Also visit the first two storey building in Nigeria and the ‘point of no return’, where most slaves awaiting shipment are kept. In the evening return to Lagos. Overnight at Ibis Hotel or similar (B)
Founded in the early 15th century on a lagoon off the Gulf of Guinea, its favourable location meant that the town became key port in the export of slaves to the New World, mainly to Salvador and Bahia in Brazil. The international suppression of the slave trade from the mid 19th century meant that Badagry declined significantly, with slavery here finally being abolished in 1886. In 1863, the town was annexed by the United Kingdom and incorporated into the Lagos colony. In 1901, it became a part of Nigeria. Badagry subsists largely on fishing and agriculture, and has a small museum of slavery as well as the remains of the former slave market, and a number of colonial buildings including Nigeria’s first two storey building.
Day 3 – Abeokuta – Ibadan – Ile-Ife/Osogbo
After breakfast, depart for Abeokuta with a visit to the famous Olumo rock. We will climb to the top of the rock with spectacular views of the ancient Abeokuta town. We pay a courtesy visit on the Alake of Egba land at his palace where the history and culture of the Egba and other tribe in Ogun state will be on display. Also visit the Adire market, where authentic African fabric will be available to purchase. Continue to Ibadan, the oldest and largest city in West Africa. We take a tour of this ancient city and visit the Olubadan of Ibadan’s palace, and the university of Ibadan, which is Nigeria’s premier high institution. Continue the journey to Ile-Ife, home of Oduduwa – the legendary father of the Yoruba race. On arrival we will call on the Ooni of Ife, the traditional head of the kingdom and spiritual leader of the Yoruba. We also visit the Oranmiyan staff and other historical sites in Osun state including the Osun Oshogbo shrine and groove, a UNESCO world heritage site. Overnight at Cameron Hotel or Ideal Nest Hotel or similar (B)
Day 4 – Idanre – Benin City - Okomu
After breakfast travel to Idanre hills before continuing to Benin City, where we will visit the royal palace of the Oba of Benin, a UNESCO listed heritage site, situated in the heart of the city. Built by Oba Ewedo (1255-1280AD), it was rebuilt by Oba Eweka (1914-1932) after the 1897 war. Visit the Igun-Eronwon quarters, known as Igun street, home of the brass/bronze casting industries in Benin City and also a UNESCO listed heritage site, as well as visiting the Emotan statue, erected in honour of Emotan, a patriotic woman who traded food at the spot where the statue is standing. Visit Okomu National Park, nestled between 2 rivers with an abundance of wildlife. Overnight at Protea Hotel Select Emotan or similar (B)
Day 5 – Calabar
After breakfast depart to Calabar and visit Henshaw town, Duke tow, and the waterfront area. We will also visit the Calabar Museum, which concentrates on the history of the town, region and slavery. Overnight at Transcorp Hotel Calabar or similar (B)
Day 6 – Obudu
After breakfast travel to Obudu Mountain Resort, nestled on top of the mountain on a plateau at 1576m above sea level on the Oshie Ridge if the Sankwala Mountains. The temperate climate offers a total contrast and welcome respite from Africa’s tropical heat. Idyllic tranquillity, beautiful scenery and breathtaking views make it an ideal stop on our tour. Overnight Obudu Mountain resort or similar (B)
Day 7 –Obudu
Today is at leisure in Obudu. Overnight at Obudu Mountain Resort or similar (B)
Day 8 – Ilorin
Depart early for a long drive to Ilorin, the capital of Kwara State. During the drive we pass through some of the popular cities in Eastern Nigeria, such as Awka, Onitsha and Nsukka. Overnight at Kwara Hotel or similar (B)
Day 9 – Ilorin – Jebba – Lokoja
After breakfast visit the Esie Museum, the first museum in Nigeria, opened in 1945. It houses thousands of unique stone images found in 1775. Many myths surround the historical origin of these images which tell a lot about an older civilization. Travel to Jebba and visit the Mungo Park Cenotaph, a monument erected in memory of the activities of the explorer and located between the Jebba bridges. Continue to Lokoja and visit the World War Cenotaph, built in memory of the soldiers who lost their lives during the Second World War, then visit Lord Luggard’s residence and office, the first colonial Governor General of Nigeria. Overnight at Kwara Hotel or Suitoria Hotel or similar (B)
Day 10 – Gurara Falls – Abuja
Today depart to Gurar falls in Niger state. The continue to Abuja. En route to Abuja we have the opportunity to experience the life of the Nupe and Gwari tribes. Overnight at Nordic Villa Hotel or similar (B)
Day 11 - Abuja
Today explore Nigeria’s capital city. Overnight at Nordic Villa Hotel or similar (B)
Day 12 – Abuja
At leisure until your transfer to the airport. (B)
End of tour.
Tour style: Pioneer
Travel in Nigeria can be very challenging. It is not an ordinary holiday destination and all clients must be prepared for testing conditions and facilities. Corruption is endemic and petty theft common. Scheduled sightseeing may not always go as planned – traffic jams and other factors, especially around major cities such as Lagos, can hinder this. Hotel staff may deny that the rooms have been reserved, even though they have been. Nigerian people may appear aggressive – but beneath the exterior are usually very friendly.
Due to unforeseen situations, we cannot always guarantee the contents of the programme. Your tour will almost certainly be affected by delays, changes and cancellations. In the event that changes must be made to your tour, our local operator will always endeavour to make suitable arrangements, which meet with the agreement of the client(s). However, we do not accept liability for such changes and compensation will not be offered. Your booking will only be accepted on this basis.
Arrival and departure transfers
Services of English speaking guide / tour leader
Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary
Any airport taxes
Please note that you should also read the Country Notes in association with this itinerary for practical information about your trip and the destination you will be visiting.
The itinerary and supplementary information has been compiled with care and provided in good faith. However it may be subject to change, and does not form part of a contract between the client and Undiscovered Destinations.
Updated 10/02/16 RS