Though Nigeria’s capital has no end of delights to discover, heading out of the city to explore the surrounding areas can also reap dividends. Whether you’re after history, nature, or culture, we’ve got you covered – here’s our pick of the best day trips outside of Abuja.
This medieval-style castle in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by breathtaking views, is definitely worth the three-hour trip to Kaduna State. Visitors are welcomed by a tour guide who calls himself the ‘ghost of the castle’ at the beautiful Kajuru Castle – complete with turrets, an armory and a dungeon, the castle appears to have been plucked right out of Scotland and planted right in the middle of a picturesque village a few minutes’ drive from Kaduna. The castle offers tours and has a pool and spa – it’s also a great place for a small party, as it offers twelve rooms which must be booked prior to visits.
‘Nature in its purest form’ is the ideal way to describe the Gurara Waterfalls in Niger State, which stand approximately 30 meters (98 feet) in height. The rainy season between May to September makes for the best time to visit the falls, because of the intensified flow and clear crystal waters. Located less than two hours from Abuja, those who visit this spot will be enchanted by the beautiful setting, which is home to different species of birds, and makes for an ideal place to enjoy a picnic overlooking the waters.
This place is heavenly for nature lovers – far from the hustle and bustle of the everyday life of the city, a quiet kind of beautiful magic happens here. The man-made Usuma Dam is around a 40-minute drive from the capital, and is located towards the north west of Abuja. It offers hiking trails amid an enjoyable and peaceful scenery, as well as the opportunity to take a canoe ride across the waters – not to mention space for picnics and barbecues. It’s the perfect family and friends getaway spot.
National Museum of Colonial History, Kogi
The only state in Nigeria that is situated at the confluence of West Africa’s major rivers – the Rivers Niger and Benue, where both rivers merge and flow southwards into the Atlantic Ocean – houses the relics of Nigeria’s colonial past. The National Museum of Colonial History in Kogi State, approximately three hours from Abuja, displays Lord Lugard’s relics – his personal belongings, and records of his administration. For lovers of history, this is the perfect day trip to see and learn about Nigeria’s colonial past.
The Ancient Nok Settlement
The Nok Settlement is located approximately three hours from Abuja in Jaba Local government, in the southern part of Kaduna State, up in northern Nigeria. It is a fascinating testament to the ingenious nature and history of the Nok people, whose antiquities adorn great museums and galleries across the globe. From the rock-hewn shelters to the Nok terracotta artefacts on display, taking in everything at this village settlement makes for a compelling experience.