As we may know, Niger State which is in the North-Western part of Nigeria, has the largest land mass in the Country. Two of the major hydropower stations in the Country, Kainji and Shiroro dams, are located in the state. I guess the state's slogan, the Power State, emanated from there.
On this trip, I genuinely hoped to visit at least one of the dams (as you may know, I'm an economic infrastructure professional) but a friend informed me that the closest dam was about 6-7 hours away from the Gurara waterfall, which by the way is within the same state. LoL. That puts into perspective how massive the state is.
There are a number of beautiful places to visit in Niger State but in the interest of time I was only able to touch base with the famous Zuma rock and Gurara waterfalls.
This conspicuous rock, as I read online, was used for defensive purposes by the Gwari natives against invading neighbouring tribes during the prehistoric inter-tribal wars. The rock is believed to possess certain powers which rendered enemies powerless and provided the natives with a good hiding place.
In my view, Zuma rock which looks just like a monolith, represents a beautiful and unique natural work of rock formation. It appears to offer a good environment for picnics and relaxation. Right next to the rock is the Zuma Rock Resort International Limited which has been in construction phase forever. The driver told me about a myth surrounding the incomplete Resort, saying the rock is haunted by spirits who do not want the resort to be completed especially as people make sacrifices to it. If the resort is completed, the activities around the rock will be interrupted.
Located in Gurara local government, the waterfall has a width of 300 metres and cascades from a height of 50 metres. I understand it was discovered in 1745. The splendour of this waterfall is inaundating. I was spoilt with an atmosphere of bliss and calm. The ambience is animate and beckons from all sides. I visited in September when the waterfall was majestic. The road leading to the waterfall is really excellent, so I didn't feel the long drive.
Lest I forget, I was asked to pay N200 as gate fee (let's just say locals always get lucky with me) and one of the locals was kind enough to take me around and be my photographer. I sure left the locals better than I met them.
Zuma Rock and Gurara Waterfalls are about 30 mins and two hours away from Abuja, respectively. I know you must be wondering why I am fully dressed like an astronaut. Well, let's just say this is the North of Nigeria but more importantly, I am female and travelled solo. I really don't want to upset no one. :)
Have you visited any of the destinations I mentioned? What areas of improvement do you expect of these locations to make it more appealing to people? Please comment, this is our chance of improving Nigeria.