Travelling opens up an entire new world. One full of wonder, discovery, excitement, appreciation and infinite beauty..
Kaduna State, the centre of learning! The North West of Nigeria, specifically Kaduna State, was my musing this time around and my experience is a different story from what is projected in the media. During my trip, i couldn't but wonder if God was deliberate about citing most of the beautiful places in Nigeria in the rural areas of various states. The amazing landscapes and the waterfalls. Surely, he was intentional about creation.
Undaunted by the hues and cries by the media of the terror that flieth by noonday and destruction by night in the Northern region, I surmounted courage and decided to visit the state to satisfy my curiosity and indeed, I was satisfied. No doubt, there are ethnic crisis and political turbulence in the North of Nigeria but hey pack your bags and be there already, I came back in one piece.
I had booked a room at the Quarter house hotel (review here) and the driver provided by the hotel was kind enough to wait and pick me up even though I had a 2 hours flight delay. I was led to the car and when I entered i noticed it was hot but didn't utter a word until mehn it became unbearable, I blunted "driver why is the car hot" and his response almost made me flip, then i remembered i was in the North. He said, "me get malaria and na heat dey hellep the body". Quickly and quietly, I whispered in my heart, Lord grant me grace to be extremely tolerant on this journey. I had to show compassion and so I mentioned to him that we had to get him drugs. So we cruised happily in our oven.
Day 1 of my adventure started with a trip to the far North of Kaduna, Zaria, where I visited the sculpture garden at Ahmadu Bello University, the Emir of Zaria's palace and also sighted the college of Aviation technology from the road. I mentioned to the driver that I wanted to visit Kamaku National Park and he confirmed with certainty that he knew the place only to be driven to the front of a bus park. Ha! I burst out laughing. I eventually halted the visit to the National Park as I received some security alerts about the road leading there.
Still at the North of Kaduna, I visited Fifth Chukker Polo and Country club. How do you say a place is 'd bomb' with proper English. Exactly....mind blowing and just wow. How can such serenity be hidden far away?! I loved my visit and was yearning for more of Kaduna. It was already 5pm and as a female solo weekender, I don't stay out late in an unfamiliar territory, so i called it a day.
The next day I was to travel to the South of Kaduna and so shared my itinerary with the driver. I noticed he was reluctant and I asked why. He said, "dem don kill all my friends for that road" and was narrating to me how. I thought to myself, how do i spend money to visit Kaduna and not see the waterfall, which happens to be at the South of the State. I think I convinced him, though, he didn't show up the following day but he was kind enough to send another driver who nodded at everything i said or asked.
We travelled for three hours to Kafanchan where I saw nature in it's full splendour. Matsirga waterfalls is a must visit. On our way back to centre of Kaduna, we passed through the Nok village and I saw the Nok terracotta. The driver was also excited as he has stayed in Kaduna for 35 years but never seen the Nok terracotta. I visit a number of other places as well. Let me allow the pictures do the talking now.
MATSIRGA WATERFALLS | The Ajala Bug
Such gorgeous nature sitting pretty in the South of Kaduna, two and a half hours from the centre of the State. There is a deserted heritage resort just 10 mins walk from the waterfall. Do you know that there are over 20 waterfalls in Nigeria? You heard right. I have visited the splendour of 10/20 and i will show you all of it as we go along.
FIFTH CHUKKER POLO AND COUNTRY CLUB | The Ajala Bug
For the polo enthusiasts and the weekenders, i found a serene home away from home at the North of Kaduna, 1 hour from the centre of the state. I was in awe of this place; the ambience, the politeness of the staff, the accommodation, the maintenance of the facility, the perseverance of the Northern architecture are all commendable. This is one place I am sure to visit again.
SCULPTURE GARDEN | The Ajala Bug
This unbelievable garden which is loaded with some fine arts is located in Zaria, the North of Kaduna, at the faculty of environmental design in the main campus of Ahmadu Bello University. Everyone knows how much i love art (check my Art Gallery tab) and it was a delight to have visited this garden.
NIGERIA COLLEGE OF AVIATION TECHNOLOGY | The Ajala Bug
I sighted the College of Aviation, Zaria from the road and quickly took a picture. Pictures they say are worth a thousand words. The first time I saw an Aviation college was at Illorin, See Kwara State post here
EMIR OF ZARIA PALACE | The Ajala Bug
The Emir is the traditional ruler of the Zaria Emirate, also known as the Zazzau. The Northern architectural design is unmatched. When visiting the North ensure you dress decent and respect the traditions of the land. I had my head shawl which i took off for this picture. Oh! don't forget to explain your purpose of visit and to ask for permission before proceeding to take any pictures. Due to the security issues in the state, everyone is paranoid and vigilant.
KAFEN DAUDU | The Ajala Bug
This is a special historic pavilion. As tradition demands, immediately after the Eid prayer at Kofar Doka, the Emir would ride a cart-horse to his palace and take a seat at the pavilion after which the district heads will demonstrate their horse riding skills and pay allegiance to the Emir. This usually entertains spectators and attracts their cheers and applause
The Northern architectural designs are just so beautiful. Now i understand why Project Affected People in the North insist on the same housing structures (The Northern African vernacular designs) during resettlement. They have to preserve culture, the world can run ahead.
GAMJI PARK, KADUNA | The Ajala Bug
Within the circumference of the Gamji park is a mini zoo garden. Like almost every tourist attraction in Nigeria, this zoo is in die need of a thorough revamp, lightly put, it needs maintenance. I was fortunate to see a number of animals; ostriches, lions, cheetah, tortoise etc.
NOK VILLAGE | The Ajala Bug
As I read online, the first cultural artifacts were excavated by archaeologists in 1929, at a tin mining site, until 1943 when another was discovered. A lot of us must have heard and learnt about terra-cotta (baked clay) from college. It was quite fascinating to witness it in Nok village, Kaduna. The government has ensured it preserves the history and culture of the people through the establishment of a museum.
NATIONAL MUSEUM NOK | The Ajala Bug
I guess i have visited almost all the museums in Nigeria, there goes the extent of seeking knowledge. LoL. The Museum of Nok Art and Culture by National Commission for Museums and Monuments houses some of the oldest works of art ever known in Nigeria which are the Nok terra-wita heads and terra- cotta figures (the remaining discoveries which have been looted and exported).
KADUNA RIVER | The Ajala Bug
Okay guys, this was definitely not on my itinerary. My driver was way too funny. After my visit to Fifth Chukker, he requested to show me the beach since i intended exploring the town. I was shocked because my research skills is 'hella' strong and in all my research i never came across a beach in Kaduna. I honoured his request though and landed here. LoL. It turns out that this is Kaduna river which has a number of crocodiles.
LORD LUGARD FOOTBRIDGE | The Ajala Bug
This is a pedestrian bridge built in 1904. However, in 1956, the National Commission for Museums and Monuments declared the footbridge a historic monument. Hmm....the infrastructure development side of me is boosting to make a comment but I will let this slide.
KADUNA NATIONAL MUSEUM | The Ajala Bug
I hear that the Kaduna Museum contains a substantial collection of archaeologic and crafts exhibits. Unfortunately for me, it was closed for renovations. However, at the back of the building i saw a live craft centre in which traditional craftsmen and women make crafts.
KADUNA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT | The Ajala Bug
Thoughts on Kaduna State
Kaduna state has a lot to offer in terms of tourist attractions. I took a solo trip to the state and enjoyed every bit of my stay.
I had a beautiful solo weekend exploring the beauty that lies in the North and South of Kaduna. The state is beautiful and nothing near what the media portrays. As long as you apply the general travel precautions that applies to any region or country, you can visit anywhere in Nigeria.
Kaduna is definitely highly recommended for travel spirits and adventurous souls like me. I understand not everyone is an explorer like myself, so for some scenery and relaxation to help you re-energise for work, head straight to Fifth Chukker. They also have accommodation.
Have you visited Kaduna? Did you visit in a group or solo like myself? What was your experience? Are there other tourist and relaxation centres you know about which I have not included in my list? Please share in the comment section.
Thank you and stay tuned!