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Hi there!

I'm Margaret, a female traveller from Nigeria, and welcome to my personal blog , TheAjalaBug.com.

Here, I document my adventures in travel and life experiences generally. Hope you get inspired!

Tourist attractions in Edo State | Home of royalties

Tourist attractions in Edo State | Home of royalties

I lived in Edo State, specifically Benin City for over 10 years. In those days, I loved the shopping experience in Benin. Just maybe because it was a smaller and an easier town to navigate than the big city of Lagos. My go to shop then was Mandilas at the Ring road roundabout. I also loved the traditional Edo attire especially the beads. Gosh! such royalty. It just always looked gorgeous. Read more about the people here

Anyways, fast forward 10 years after and I am back to explore the ancient city to discover what more they could offer apart from looking for the newest female clothing. Not surprising, I discovered the town produced the first African art/sculptures to be accepted globally, which is the Benin brasses and bronzes. 

As you may know, Benin city was one of the most significant cities in Africa until the British invasion. The invasion occurred in the 18th Century and they looted an unbelievable number of artistic statues and many other priceless artefacts. Shamefully, they have held on to the timeless statues and even now have it in their museums all over the Europe, which the original owners have to pay a fee to see.

The spectacular beauty about the city is that it is surrounded by moats which are as historical as the walls of China and it was used as a form of defence against enemies during the war. The moat is said to have taken over three years to complete and now protects the residence of the Oba of Benin. I will definitely be stopping at the palace on my next visit.

My highlight should have been my visit to The Okomu National Park which is a rain forest. It is a favourite spot for family picnics and camping. I read it is a good place to watch varieties of birds and animals. There is also a canopy walk in the park. Well, you will soon read how this trip went below.

You know the drill by now, my pictures will do the rest of the story telling.

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF BENIN

The National Museum preserves the history of Benin dating back the twelfth century in a beautiful way. They store and display loads of traditional art, brasses, cast iron pieces. Sadly, there are pieces of works which are not physically displayed but photographs, thanks to the British. These are art pieces which were stolen by the British during the sacking and destruction of the city and are now displayed in the British Museum. Phew......

The National Museum is located at the heart of Benin City, King's Square. This was within the compound

  NATIONAL MUSEUM

NATIONAL MUSEUM

  NATIONAL MUSEUM

NATIONAL MUSEUM

  THE NATIONAL MUSEUM

THE NATIONAL MUSEUM

THE CENOTAPH

Erected in memory of our heroes who lost their lives during the two world wars and the war to preserve the territorial integrity of Nigeria as one Nation. Unveiled by Col. S.O. Ogbemudia in 1972. 

  THE CENOTAPH

THE CENOTAPH

CENTER OF BENIN KINGDOM

The plaque was unveiled in 1972 by Chief R. Oluwole Coker, the then Director of Federal Surveys

  CENTER OF BENIN KINGDOM.

CENTER OF BENIN KINGDOM.

OKOMU NATIONAL PARK

This is one of the few National Parks in Nigeria. The Okumu National Park's operating office is 40 minutes away from Benin City while the Okomu Wildlife Sanctuary is 3 hours hours away from Benin City. I was made to understand that the park is a home to elephants, buffaloes, red river hogs, chimpanzees, leopards, bush baby, antelopes etc. However, on arriving at the office I was told the sanctuary was being renovated, hence unable to accommodate anyone at that time.

  OKOMU NATIONAL PARK

OKOMU NATIONAL PARK

  OKOMU NATIONAL PARK

OKOMU NATIONAL PARK

Well, since I was unable to travel any further, the staff at the office were kind enough to show me around the office facility. I saw an endangered & rescued Kangaroo and I was taken to the animal orphanage which is a micro zoo with crocodiles and โ€˜white-throatedโ€™ monkeys. 

OKOMU MUSEUM

I visited the museum which contained fossils of animals that can be found within the park, (all died naturally as I was told). There were fossils of elephants, buffaloes, monkeys and so on. We were told that the park still has a number of these animals roaming freely, although they have to contend with poachers on many occasions.

  OKOMU MUSEUM

OKOMU MUSEUM

  OKOMU NATIONAL PARK . 

OKOMU NATIONAL PARK

Weapons seized from poachers. If you are poacher reading this, please STOP! Just don't

GUILD OF BENIN

Benin city is the home of art and culture ans the guild of Benin showcases the bronze casting culture of the great historic Kingdom. This is one of the greatest defining characteristics of Benin. I understand it was established by Oba Oguola in the 14th century. The art of bronze casting has translated into producing some of the finest and original bronze heads, many of which are in possession of the British, who looted most of the wealth of the kingdom during the Benin expedition of 1897. Phew....

  GUILD OF BENIN

GUILD OF BENIN

  GUILD OF BENIN

GUILD OF BENIN

Here they remake artefacts stolen by the British Army.

OGBA ZOO AND NATURE PARK

At the Zoo I was excited to see quite a number of animals including a Camel, Lion, Chimpanzee, Giant Tortoise, Rock Python, Ostriches etc. There is a picnic areas and children's playground for relaxing. 

  OGBA ZOO AND NATURE PARK

OGBA ZOO AND NATURE PARK

  OGBA ZOO AND NATURE PARK | A  Red Patas Monkey (Erythrocebus Patas)

OGBA ZOO AND NATURE PARK | A Red Patas Monkey (Erythrocebus Patas)

  OGBA ZOO AND NATURE PARK |  A camel

OGBA ZOO AND NATURE PARK | A camel

  OGBA ZOO AND NATURE PARK |  The picnic area

OGBA ZOO AND NATURE PARK | The picnic area

  BENIN RIVER |  The river flows through the Zoo

BENIN RIVER | The river flows through the Zoo

BENIN GOLF CLUB

I hear it is known as "the Home of Golf" in Nigeria. The golf course is less than 18-hole layout. Its "undulating fairways give it a genuine links-like characteristic and often what seems to have been a great tee shot will be met by a hanging lie of one form or the other". It is not an easy playing field for players addicted to a slice since the right hand side is bordered by out-of-bounds on almost every hole!. There is a club-house for unwinding. 

  BENIN GOLF CLUB

BENIN GOLF CLUB

  Road to Okomu National Park

Road to Okomu National Park

  BENIN AIRPORT.  Yay! 

BENIN AIRPORT. Yay! 

Final thoughts on visiting Benin-city

Did you know that Benin City was once called Igodomigodo? Read all about it here. No doubt that Benin city is the home of art and culture. A sleepover at the Okomu Wildlife Sanctuary would have been my highlight but I guess the Museum suffices till next time.

Have you been to Benin City before? What was your experience? Please do share with us in the comment section.

Till my next adventure, travel safe.

Margaret.

A gallery with a difference  Africa Artist Foundation

A gallery with a difference Africa Artist Foundation

History and Culture | Solo trip to Benin Republic

History and Culture | Solo trip to Benin Republic