Nigeria is a country with a large number of ethnic groups and beautiful landmarks. Across the country, rich customs and traditions abound as visitors explore unique locales, forming their own unique impressions of exciting destinations.
Although there are a stories written about Nigeria showcasing the main hot spots around the country, what attractions are a must see and the way of life of the people; many of them do not give the incentive to explore the Nigerian landscape and as a result travelers tend to relive the same experiences.
If you want more out of your trips this side of the Atlantic, Jovago.com, Africa’s largest hotel booking portal shares 5 tips to help you enjoy Nigerian hidden tourist attractions.
Plan a long and strategic trip
If your intention is delve into the fabrics of Nigeria’s abundant cultures, ensure that you have ample time to do that. Block out at least a month to as much as 3 months to visit the country and ensure that you plan your trip to coincide with major events that are key to Nigeria’s heritage.
For instance, you may want to visit around the last quarter of the year as that is when most of the festivals are held and you can experience first-hand the rich culture of various ethnicities. Also, spending a substantial amount of time in the country gives you a chance to properly acquaint yourself with the vast surroundings and learn the bits that are not usually included in pamphlets and books.
Discard your schedule
It is normal to have an itinerary when exploring a new location, however, to travel deep, you may need to discard the schedule and let yourself get lost in your explorations. Do not be afraid to wander the streets and get lost.
Let your instincts guide you, keep an open-mind and stay determined. You may start with the basics which include visiting museums, cultural centers and landmarks, however do not restrict yourself to them. Wander the different suburbs and even villages and get firsthand experience by making discoveries of your own which you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.
Rent an apartment
While visiting a new destination, the first step when you arrive is usually to lodge in a hotel. Although this move maybe be the safest and most convenient, however, it can be quite restrictive if you intend to see the unsung beauty of that location.
Rather than lodge in a hotel, take a short lease on an apartment. Renting an apartment gives you the opportunity to experience the general lifestyle of that community as you will have to interact with others (locals)and cater for yourself – from preparing your own meal to managing utilities such as electricity and water. For instance, if you arevisiting Aba, rather than lodging at the Binez Hotels, you could look for a small apartment at Umungasi to rent for a short while. You will be in the same proximity but will have an entirely different experience.
Aside from exploring and sightseeing, you should immerse yourself in the daily activities prevalent in the destination. Offer to volunteer in a community project or workshop, sign up to give free classes in a local school or church, set up a short-term trade or business or even enroll for a course on Nigerian history and culture in any of the schools or learning centres around.
Participating allows you to be part of the community, and there is no better way to travel deep than that. If you are visiting Benin, you may decide to sign up for apprentice with the Igun street bronze casters, you will not only learn a lot, you will get the chance to gather knowledge on the ancient Benin history and traditions.
Make a friend
You cannot really say you have traveled deep until you have made friends who regret to see you leave. This is much more than just interacting with the locals.
Ensure you have integrated yourself well enough into the society to make friends with at least a few locals before the end of your trip. Simply start by talking to the people you sees around. Even if you cannot speak the local language or English which is Nigeria’s official language, you will be able to form a bond that will most probably last you a lifetime.