The last time I visited this country I was 15 years old. Coming back Home at the age of almost 30 gave me a whole new perspective on the country and my parents origins as well as the people living there. Reading several guides previously before travelling to Nigeria, many authors describe West Africa as whole as the raw and original Africa. While I don´t disagree with the raw part, Nigeria’s untouched nature and the large and vast landscape that gives you the opportunity to see beautiful Rainforests, Africa is too diverse to specify a single region as the original Africa. In this guide I will give you a small insight of the beautiful beaches around Lagos, the sights in the South eastern region of Enugu State and Calabar. This guide is a personal Photographic Guide.
Food & Markets in Enugu City
As a food Blogger the Food was one of the most interesting aspects of my travels here. I understood were my love for markets comes from. In Nigeria most food is bought from markets and small private stall that are located along streets and almost in every corner of smaller and larger cities. Between cities private sellers sell snacks, water and regional classics to travellers on the road. In cities such as Lagos, Enugu and Benin City you can find a number of markets that sometimes are specialized on a particular product.
- Ogbete Market
Lets start of with the biggest and most interesting of all and my absolute favorite of markets. It is said that in Ogbete Market you can find anything you are looking for including human heads :). Of course this is just an exaggeration but yes you can find anything here. From foods, pots, african art, clothes, fabrics to toys and kitchen appliances. Before coming to the market make sure to ask locals about the apropitiate prices for what you want to buy. It is nor unusual that when you are not local prices are hiked up by a lot. And when I say a lot it means a lot. Haggling is absolutely normal and almost expected and can be done at all market stalls. Ogbete is also the best place to buy african fabric. Beware that the sellers of fabric work together and discuss prices between each other. Therefore haggling is a bit more difficult in this section of the market.
- New Market
Despite its name the market is one of the oldest in Enugu and the most unorganized of all the markets I have visited in the City. Dont be scared to enter deeper into the market as it is not only located outside. Some parts of the market are located inside a two-story house block.
- Artisan Market
While the name my be a bit misleading Artisan Market simply provides you with all the Food you need. One of my favorite markets in the city because of its medium size. There is parking available here similar to Ogbete market and the Market is not as crowded as others. When visiting any of the markets make sure to go early between 9 – 13pm to avoid the after work rush.
Sights around Enugu State
There are a number of sights around Enugu State and the South-East that you can visit. The first one being Awhum Waterfalls and the cloesly located monastery.
- Awhum Monastery
South of Enugu City and 1 hour from Nsukka Awhum Monastery is a vast area belonging to the monks in that area. Before visiting the Monastery it is recommended to call the Monastery and ask for permission to visit the Monastery grounds and the Waterfall that can only be accsessed from the Monastery. Getting to the Waterfall will take a 1 1/2 hour hike to the Water fall and back.
- Silicon Hill
Is located in the outside the city of Enugu and will give you a wonderful view of the Coal City on the top of the Hill. The hike is an easy one and at a moderate speed it will take you about 1 hours to get to the top of the hill.
- Ani Ozalla Lake
The Ani Ozalla Lake and the Ani Ozalla Shrine are both located close to Ozalla in Nkanu West LGA. The Ani Ozalla Lake is a natural lake with numerous numbers of crocodiles which are regarded as sacred – incarnations of the river goddess who at the promptings of the chief priest come to accept offerings from supplicants.
Calabar and the Cross River National Park
Calabar is one of the cities where the british influence is more visible. The old governors house is a testament to this. But the most interesting aspect of Calabar is its closeness to Cameron, the Afi Mountain Range 2 hours from the City and the Afi Sanctuary in the City.
Cameron is only a bit more than one hour from Calabar. The fairy leaves every Monday and Wednesday in the early morning to Limbé.
- The Cross River National Park
I always promote africa beyond the cliché Safaris and Nigeria will be a wonderful lesson of exploring wildlife beyond the classic postcard Safari. 4 Major National Parks are located in the south-east of the country. Gashaka – Gumti Nationalpark, Yankari Nationalpark, Okomu National park and the Cross River National park. If you have been to South Africa or Namibia to visit a safari then forget everything you experienced there or know there. In Nigeria you have to plan ahead and organise everything by yourself. This includes a guide, a car, camping equipment if you want to stay in the national park longer than a day and food. The Cross River National Park is one of the smallest in the country. Before arriving there you get to the city of Mfum where its easy to find a guide or a car for your trip to the National park when you ask around the city. Prices are around 2500 Naira a for both a guide and car in the area. The National park is mainly composed of rainforest and elephant and Lion sightings are common but not guaranteed.
Lagos & Beaches
- Elegushi Beach
- Snake Island
- Coconut Beach
- Lekki Beach
My favorite mode of transportation was the Keke or tricycle. The Keke operates in most Nigerian cities. Lagos and Enugu being one of them while Benin banned the Keke. Prices range from 200 – 600 Naira depending on the distance. They are fast largely available and can be chartered or shared with other passengers. Beside the Keke most cities offer local Buses that connect the most important spots in the City. To travel in between cities there are number of Bus companies: ABC Travel, God is Good, Chisco, Ifesinachi and many more. Flying by air within the country is safe but relatively expensive. The biggest carriers here are Peace Air and Arik Air.