Tourism in Nigeria

Tourism in Nigeria in 2024: A Guide to the Best of the Country

Nigeria offers a kaleidoscope of cultures, festivals, and breathtaking vistas. This article explores the landscape of tourism in Nigeria, highlighting its potential for economic growth and global connections. The journey takes readers to the heart of Nigeria's tourism landscape, revealing hidden gems and celebrating adventure. Whether they're drawn to ancient traditions, wildlife encounters, or vibrant markets, Nigeria promises an unforgettable journey.

Tourism in Nigeria at a Glance

Tourism in Nigeria has a vast potential, boasting a variety of natural attractions like rain forests, savannahs, waterfalls, mountains, and beaches. Cultural events like the Eyo festival in Lagos and the Osun-Osogbo festival are also popular. Major tourist sites include Obudu Mountain Resort, Yankari National Park, Olumo Rock, and Ogbunike Caves.

Infrastructure development in Abuja includes the Abuja National Mosque and Nigerian National Mosque, the Millennium Park, designed by Manfredi Nicoletti, and Lifecamp Gwarimpa Park, a sports facility in the city. Nigeria experienced fluctuations in international tourist arrivals, with 2019 reaching 1,471,000,000, but 2020 saw a decline due to pandemic-related travel restrictions, registering 321,000,000 arrivals.

Global Indian Network (GIN) partners with investors to provide local expertise, network with stakeholders, and establish mutually beneficial partnerships, encouraging decision-makers to explore the potential of foreign direct investment in East Africa. GIN has a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the African Tourism Board - Africa's Next Big Thing: The Future of Travel and Investment Opportunities with Cuthbert Ncube.

Wonders of Nigeria

The "Wonders of Nigeria" is a significant aspect of the country's tourism industry, showcasing its diverse natural and cultural attractions.

Image source: Ogbunike Cave

Part of tourism in Nigeria includes Azumini Lake, Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge, Ogbunike Cave, and Olumo Rock in Abeokuta. The country's scenic landscapes are diverse and captivating, featuring iconic landmarks like Zuma Rock and coastal plains. The Eyo Festival, an annual celebration of the Eko people, showcases Nigeria's cultural heritage through Nok Terracotta Sculptures and nearby attractions like Nike Art Gallery and Tarkwa Bay Beach.

Wildlife Safaris in Nigeria

Wildlife safaris are part and parcel of tourism in Nigeria and offer a unique opportunity to explore the country's rich biodiversity and natural beauty. 

Image source: Gashaka Gumti National Park

Yankari National Park, renowned for its diverse wildlife and hot springs, is a popular destination for relaxation. Gashaka Gumti National Park, located in northeast Nigeria, offers vast landscapes, rich biodiversity, and the highest peak in the country, Chappal Waddi.

Kainji Lake National Park, surrounded by a vibrant ecosystem, houses hippos, crocodiles, and bird species. The Kainji Dam provides energy and supports aquatic life. Cross River National Park, home to Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees, drills, and primates, is a biodiversity hotspot with intricate rivers and waterfalls.

Types of Wildlife 

Tourism in Nigeria is not complete without national parks that feature a diverse array of wildlife, including Savannah elephants at Yankari National Park, forest elephants at Southern Nigeria, Cross River gorillas at Cross River National Park, Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees at Gashaka-Gumti National Park, and African lions at Yankari and Kainji Lake National Park.

Nigeria's parks showcase a diverse array of wildlife, including monkeys, antelopes, birds, crocodiles, snakes, and rare leopards. With 290 mammal and 940 bird species, visitors can enjoy guided game drives, walking safaris, birdwatching, and cultural tours, showcasing the country's rich wildlife heritage. These unique experiences provide tourists with a unique Nigerian experience.

Conservation Efforts

Image source: Biodiversity conservation

Yankari National Park and Gashaka Gumti National Park are implementing robust anti-poaching measures and community involvement to protect endangered species and promote sustainable practices. Kainji Lake National Park and Cross River National Park are implementing conservation programs to monitor aquatic ecosystems, promote responsible tourism, and preserve endangered species, fostering biodiversity conservation at grassroots levels.

Recreational Activities

Tourism in Nigeria offers bird watching, hiking trails, and eco-tourism to support local communities, promote sustainable development, and create jobs through guided tours.

Safety Considerations

Travel warnings emphasize the need for understanding political unrest and cultural instability in certain regions, while safety precautions include carrying basic medical kits, malaria pills, sunscreen, and staying informed about local conditions.

Getting There

Major international airports in Nigeria include Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Margaret Ekpo International Airport, Akanu Ibiam International Airport, and Port Harcourt International Airport, with a six-month passport and visa required.

ALSO READ: Tourism in Malawi: From Plateaus to Wildlife Safaris

Adventure Activities

Tourism in Nigeria offers a variety of adventure activities for thrill-seekers and nature enthusiasts. 

Experience a safari at Yankari National Park, where you can witness the natural habitats of African elephants, buffalo, and apes, as well as unique bird species. Experience breathtaking views and fresh mountain air at Nigeria's highest point, Mambilla Plateau.

Image source: Mambilla-Plateau

Explore the Lekki Conservation Centre, known for its longest canopy bridge in Africa, for adventure tours and outdoor experiences, making it an exceptional destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers.

Cultural Attractions

Vibrant festivals showcasing its cultural heritage and traditions, offering tourists a chance to experience local music, dance, food, and art, and showcasing unique customs and lifestyles. You can explore over 250 ethnic groups as part of tourism in Nigeria.

The Calabar Carnival, Lagos International Jazz Festival, Felabration, and Eyo Festival are annual cultural events in Lagos, Nigeria. Calabar Carnival celebrates African and European cultural influences, while the Lagos International Jazz Festival showcases jazz music from Nigeria and around the world. Felabration honors Nigerian musician Fela Kuti, while the Eyo Festival honors Yoruba heritage with colorful masquerades and costumes.

Image source: Calabar Carnival

Another highlight of tourism in Nigeria is the Durbar Festival in Northern Nigeria celebrates Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr with equestrian displays, while the Ofala Festival honors Igbo king Obi with vibrant ceremonies and cultural displays. Other significant events in Nigeria's cultural heritage include the Argungu Fishing Festival, Nupe Cultural Day, Star Mega Jam, and Carniriv Festival, promoting economic and cultural exchange. 

Image source: Argungu Fishing Festival

These festivals provide a unique way to learn about Nigeria's history, traditions, and local communities. 

Nigerian Cuisine

It is a must to relish original food as part of tourism in Nigeria. The cuisine offers a variety of dishes for first-time visitors, including Jollof Rice, Beans and Plantain, Obono Soup, Banganga Soup, and Efo Riro. Jollof Rice is a West African dish made with fried rice, while Beans and Plantain is a classic combination of beans and plantains. Obono Soup is a rich, flavorful soup made with mango seeds, oil, meat, stockfish, dried fish, and other ingredients.

Image source: Lagos Food Festival

To find authentic Nigerian cuisine in major cities, visit local markets like Balogun Market in Lagos or Kano Market in Kano, street food vendors like suya, jollof rice, and plantain chips, specialty restaurants like Plate in Lagos, and food festivals like Lagos Food Festival or Abuja Food Festival to sample various Nigerian dishes.

Government Cultural Tourism Initiatives

Government initiatives in Nigeria to promote cultural tourism include:

National Tourism Policy: The policy aims to make tourism in Nigeria a prominent African economic activity and destination, generate foreign exchange, promote development, support tourism-based rural enterprises, and foster socio-cultural unity.

Federal Ministry of Culture and Tourism: The ministry is responsible for policy initiation and monitoring, maintaining direct links with state governments on all tourism matters.

State Ministries: The ministries execute Federal Ministry of Culture and Tourism policies, initiate state-wide tourism development projects, and regulate hotel and catering institution operations.

Local Government Tourism Boards: These boards were established to identify and promote tourism in Nigeria, serve as information centers, provide tourist guides, and preserve monuments and museums in their respective regions.

Image source: Kano City Walls

Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC): The top tourism body is responsible for promoting, marketing, and disseminating information about the industry both locally and internationally.

Publicity Campaigns: The government is launching a comprehensive publicity campaign to boost tourism in Nigeria, leveraging various public relations channels and international travel fairs.

Simplified Visa Issuance: The government has simplified visa and entry permit issuance, enabling immediate visa issuance upon application.

Security Arrangements: Security agencies have been re-oriented to efficiently and promptly fulfill their duties, thereby reducing inconveniences for visitors at entry points.

Infrastructure Development: The government has made significant investments in infrastructure like airports, hotels, and restaurants to aid in the growth of tourism in Nigeria.

Cultural and Historical Sites: Nigeria's rich cultural heritage, including numerous preserved historical sites, offers numerous opportunities for cultural tourism.

ALSO READ: Tourism in Kenya: From Safari Land to Sustainable Growth

Sustainable Tourism and Conservation

Nigeria has the potential for sustainable tourism development, especially through ecotourism and community-based initiatives that prioritize conservation and biodiversity preservation.

Ecotourism and Community-Based Approaches

Image source: Ecotourism sector 

Nigeria's ecotourism sector prioritizes conservation and biodiversity preservation, with community-based ecotourism involving local communities in tourism planning and management. This approach allows visitors to engage with local communities, learn about their culture, and support their traditional practices, ensuring benefits are shared among community members.

Conservation Efforts and Protected Areas

Efforts to boost tourism in Nigeria have led to the establishment of national parks and protected areas to preserve its natural heritage, including diverse ecosystems like rainforests, savannahs, wetlands, and mangroves. The Lekki Conservation Centre (LCC) in Lagos, managed by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, is a prime example of a protected area promoting sustainable tourism and conservation, featuring the longest canopy walkway in Africa.

Challenges and Opportunities

Image source: Fourth Door of Return" program in Badagry

Nigeria's ecotourism sector faces challenges like inadequate infrastructure, poor governance, insecurity, and insufficient funding. However, with the right policies, investments, and sustainable practices, Nigeria can unlock its potential for sustainable development and cultural preservation. Initiatives like the "Fourth Door of Return" program in Badagry showcase Lagos' rich history and culture while promoting sustainable tourism.

Economic and Social Benefits

Sustainable tourism in Nigeria offers economic benefits such as job creation, government revenue, and sustainable development. It also empowers local communities economically and socially. Ecotourism facilities in Nigeria prioritize eco-friendly transportation, renewable energy, and responsible waste management practices, contributing to the country's socio-cultural standing.

Eco-Friendly Lodges

Tourism in Nigeria focuses on eco-friendly lodges that prioritize sustainable practices, using locally sourced materials, renewable energy, and energy-efficient appliances. They collaborate with local conservation organizations, promote responsible tourism, and foster local communities. These lodges offer unique experiences like guided nature walks and wildlife conservation projects, connecting tourists with local culture.

Image source: Nantwich Lodge

The Green Sanctuary and EcoLodge Abuja are two eco-conscious lodges in Abuja, known for their blend of luxury and sustainability, and for offering eco-friendly activities and practices, making them top choices for eco-conscious travelers. Nantwich Lodge and Camp Mana are eco-lodges in Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park, promoting conservation and responsible tourism through solar energy and sustainable practices.

Benefits of Eco-Friendly Lodges in Nigeria

Eco-friendly lodges in Nigeria support local communities by providing employment opportunities and contributing to the economy. They also conserve natural resources, preserving Nigeria's biodiversity and contributing to economic and environmental well-being. These eco-friendly practices promote sustainable tourism, encouraging responsible travel and minimizing environmental impact.

Future Potential

Nigeria's eco-friendly lodge industry faces challenges in infrastructure development, including inadequate transportation and energy infrastructure. By providing incentives and investing in infrastructure, the government can help grow eco-friendly lodges as an integral part of tourism in Nigeria. As tourists become more aware of sustainable tourism, the growing demand for eco-friendly lodges can drive industry growth.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Image source: Sukur Cultural Landscape

Nigeria is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, both of which are cultural sites:

The Sukur Cultural Landscape in Adamawa State, Africa's first World Heritage Site, features naturally terraced fields, a fortified settlement, and a palace complex, showcasing the traditional and architectural practices of the Sukur people.

Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove, located in Osun State, is a sacred site dedicated to the goddess Osun, believed to symbolize fertility, healing, and prosperity. It features a dense forest, meandering streams, and sacred sculptures.

These sites are recognized for their cultural significance and are protected for future generations to enjoy and have the potential to become star spots of tourism in Nigeria.

Guided Tours

There are guided tours available for wildlife safaris in Nigeria. 

Wilderness Explorers Africa: The company provides a range of safaris including wildlife viewing, family safaris, honeymoon/romantic safaris, walking safaris, mountain climbing safaris, boat launch safaris, and bird-watching safaris.

Image source: Chappal Waddi safari

Viator: The company offers highly rated tours such as "Into the Wild - Yankari Game Reserve" and "7 Hours Journey Through The Best Of Lagos".

GetYourGuide: They provide a 2-day private tour of Nigeria's wildlife, including visits to Yankari Game Reserve and Sumu Wildlife Park.

TripAdvisor: The company has published reviews for a 2-day private tour of Nigeria's wildlife game reserve, Yankari Game Reserve and Sumu Wildlife Park.

Guided tours guarantee a safe and enjoyable tourist experience, addressing safety concerns and travel warnings due to political unrest and cultural instability in certain regions. One should not miss this as these tours are an unforgettable part of tourism in Nigeria.

Challenges and Opportunities

The ever-growing number of travelers to partake in tourism in Nigeria has led to significant growth in recent years, driven by government support in infrastructure development and improved visa processing, and the industry's strategic use of social media and digital marketing to enhance visibility. Nigeria's tourism sector faces both challenges and opportunities. Let's delve into them.


Nigeria's tourism industry faces infrastructure limitations, security concerns, political instability, economic crisis, and outdated curricula. Inadequate infrastructure affects accessibility and visitor experience, while safety issues like banditry and kidnapping reduce travel. Political uncertainties impact investor confidence and hinder tourism development. Economic challenges also impact investment and the growth of tourism in Nigeria.


Nigeria's rich cultural heritage and natural beauty provide unique attractions, while domestic tourism promotion encourages exploration and international collaboration can enhance development. Encouraging Nigerians to explore their country can boost the sector and foster international collaboration.

By addressing challenges and leveraging opportunities, the government can unlock the full potential of its tourism in Nigeria. 

Awards for Tourism in Nigeria 

Nigeria hosts several tourism awards that recognize excellence and contributions within the industry. Here are some notable ones:

The Travellers Awards, organized by Travellers Magazine and, recognize Nigerian tourism promoters. The 2021 winners include Andrew Okungbowa as Tourism Communicator, Diamond and Pearls Tours as Tour Operator, Wakanow as Travel Agency of the Year, and Prof. Babalola Wasiu Adeyemo-Sultan as Hotel Man of the Year.

Image source: Travel Agency of the Year 2021

The Balearica Awards, a Nigeria Tourism Awards, acknowledge innovation and excellence in the country's tourism industry, recognizing categories such as Best Travel Blog, Best Travel TV Programme, Best Travel Radio Programme, Best Tourism Photography, and Best Tourism Video.

The 5th Nigeria Tourism Awards 2022 recognized various achievements in tourism, including Chief Abiodun Odusanwo, best tour guide Jibola Oluseye, best domestic tour operator BTM, best leisure travel agency Wakanow, special recognition for sports tourism, most supportive brand Jibola Oluseye, and young tourism personality Pharm Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf.

Image source: National Festival of Arts and Culture

National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST), a renowned cultural festival in Nigeria, was awarded Best Tourism Event for its significant impact in showcasing cultural and creative products from various states.

Previous notable winners in Nigerian tourism include former Lagos State Governor Akinwumi Ambode, Ooni of Ife Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Eko Hotel, and Air Peace.

Image source: Eko Hotel 

These awards play a crucial role in promoting and honoring excellence within Nigeria's vibrant tourism sector. 

Global Indian Network (GIN) partners with investors to provide local expertise, network with stakeholders, and establish mutually beneficial partnerships, encouraging decision-makers to explore the potential of foreign direct investment in East Africa. GIN has a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the African Tourism Board - Africa's Next Big Thing: The Future of Travel and Investment Opportunities with Cuthbert Ncube.


Tourism in Nigeria has significant potential for economic development, job creation, and foreign exchange earnings. Despite challenges like infrastructure and regulatory issues, Nigeria offers numerous attractions and cultural experiences. The government has implemented initiatives, but more strategic planning is needed.

Nigeria's sustainable tourism and conservation efforts can preserve its natural and cultural heritage, promote economic and social development, and position it as a leading African destination, with eco-friendly lodges offering a unique blend of sustainability and luxury.

Enjoy the vibrant festivities, the food, and the splendid nature!

Usha Menon

With over 25 years of experience as an architect, urban designer, and green building consultant, Usha has been designing sustainable, and visionary spaces. She has published a book, has been actively blogging, and is on social media. Now, her journey is transitioning to full-time writing. Her words will continue to craft stories, not brick and mortar, but in the realm of ideas, fostering a better, more inspired world.


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