Abuja (pop. 380,000) is a planned city, built from scratch to be Nigeria's capital (which it became in 1991). Located near the center of Nigeria, it has also been a very expensive undertaking -- at least $10 billion so far. The planners designed the city to grow on a progressive basis: government buildings and light industry facilities were the first things built, with additional residential and cultural facilities following later. Abuja has an international airport and some of the country's best hotels, if you are interested in urban planning or have business with the government, this sis the place to be.
In Abeokuta we visited the lifely market in the citycentre. I bought peanutbutter, tomatosauce, maggi and all kind of vegetables for making the West African groundnutsoup, that I learned to cook in Ghana many years ago.
Except food you can also find many other goods and materials at the market, like the indigo adire cloth, created by the Yoruba people.
The name ''Abeokuta'' means ''under the rock''. At many places in the town you can see the rocks at the background.Abeokuta is known because of the sacred Olumu rock. This rock is used in all kind of rituals and celebrations. A guide can bring you to the top of the rock, show you some caves and a shrine and give some explanation about the rituals.
The town of Abeokuta was not very exciting. Except the market and the rocks, there was not much to see. So, I just strolled around a bit and visited the internet cafes regularly, waiting for the visa from Lagos.
Unlike Lagos, Abeokuta looked a rather safe town. Further Abeokuta is known, being the birthplace of the writer Wole Soyinka and the musician Fela Kuti. And the president has also his residence in Abeokuta, not far from our hotel.
Because the city of Lagos was too unmanageable, the Nigerian government decided to build a new capital for the country, like Brasilia. They choosed for an undeveloped area out of control of any ethnic group.
In the early 80s the construction of the new city started, but because of the reducing of the oil-boom, the construction of Abuja also slowed down and many parts of the city are still unfinished.
We stayed near the Wuse district, less modern and not so large-scaled as other parts of the town.
Some of the new modern buildings of Abuja are finished, like the presidential guesthouse, the law courts and the huge mosque. We stayed near the -at night brilliantly lit- mosque. So this enormous building was a good landmark for us.
Allthough some ministries are still in Lagos, many official functions are allready moved to Abuja. So Abuja is slowly becoming the actual capital of Nigeria.
For some visa we had still to go to Lagos, for others we could find the embassies in Abuja.
Abuja, the new capital of Nigeria is a modern new-built city with huge buildings, new housing areas and wide boulevards.
But don't be surprised to see also rural scenes as herds with cows and goats between the traffic and concrete buildings.
We walked several times in the area just west of the Sheraton Hotel to visit the shops and restaurants. We enjoyed the lively streets in this part of Abuja.
Everyday we passed this place, where some men always gathered in the shade of the trees, just chatting with each other and looking at the daily life, passing by in the streets.
In the lobby of the Abuja Sheraton Hotel & towers the Dutch embassy organised the exhibition of the "World Press Photo'' during our stay. It was a nice ambiance -with free admission- for this interesting exhibition.
Many of the touching pictures were taken at the African continent. Later during my Africa-trip I saw the same exhibition a second time in the National Museum of Addis Abeba.
In the centre of Jos you find an unique museum-complex with four museums and a zoo.
First I visited the National Museum with traditional artefacts of the country and wonderful pottery. There was also an exhibition, warning against aids.
Nearby, at the other side of the road, I continued with a walk in the 20 hectares of the Museum of Traditional Nigerian Architecture. Here I had first a look at the Palace of the Emir from Katsina, one of the Haussa States, since the early 19th ruled by the Fulani dynasty. The building has a nice decoration above its door. Inside the building you can find a gallery of local artists.
In the Museum of Traditional Nigerian Architecture in Jos you can find full-scale reproductions of all kind of buildings from many regions of Nigeria.
The most striking part of the Museum is the reconstruction of the Kano Wall. Every 2 or 3 years they have to repair the wall. The red mud is mixed with grass to give more strenght for building up.
It's also possible to go up and make a walk at top of the wall.
In the Museum of Traditonal Nigerian Architecture, you can also find some traditional round huts, made of mud-bricks and with conical roofs made of straw.
In the huts local women show different kinds of handicrafts, like weavening and making pottery.
In the Museum complex, opposite the National Museum, is a small Zoo.
It's a nice area with scenic stone-covered hills. I saw a lot of African animals like hyenas, ostriches, baboons and vultures. There was only one lion. Because he had just eaten his lunch, he was hiding a bit in his stable in the shade.
For the zoo you have to pay an entrance fee, separate of the entrance ticket for the museums .
In the Museum complex is also a small Rail Road Museum, where you can see some old locomotives.
This museum is less interesting than the National Museum and Architecture Museum, but it's on the same road for the same price. So, why don't have a quick look like I did.
In the Museum complex of Jos you can also find a Tin Mining Museum.
It's the same story as the Railroad Museum, not really interesting, comparing with the National Museum and the Museum of Traditional Archtitecture, but ... It's on the same road for the same price and in a quick look you can learn something about the tin mining in the area.
Opposite the Tin Mining Museum you have some stalls with nice local woodcarvings, paintings and colourful African cloth.
Excllent 5-star hotel, though, as of lack of a golf course only rated with 4 stars. Besides nearly...more
The Hilton is the best place to stay in Abuja. Keeps the quality for years. good fittness club,...more
Km. 16 Ph / Aba Expressway, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Business
More Regions in Nigeria