Benue State is located in the middle-belt region of Nigeria. It has a 2006 population census of 4.5 million people. Its main capital is Makurdi. The state is dominated by the Idoma and Tiv people, but there are also other tribes such as the Igede, Abakwa, Etulo, Jukun, Igala, Nyifon, and Akweya among others. It is known as the “Food Basket” of the nation because the people are predominantly farmers.
Benue State was carved out of the former Benue-Plateau State in 1976, but a part of it and that of Kwara State was also carved out in 1991 to form the newly created Kogi State. There are 23 local government areas in the state and these are: Agatu, Apa, Buruku, Gboko, Guma, Gwer East, Gwer West, Katsina-Ala, Konshisha, Kwande, Logo, Makurdi, Obi, Ogbadibo, Ohimini, Oju, Okpokwu, Otukpo, Tarka, Ukum, Ushongo, and Vandeikya LGAs.
The top 10 travel destinations in Benue State are:
1. Ikyogen Hills
Developed into a ranch by the military government of Aper Aku in 1983, the Ikyogen hills is a large expanse of sprawling hills which present a fascinating sight to all visitors to the area. There is also the Ikyogen cattle ranch which provides steady grazing areas for cattle. The refreshing weather condition of the hills sustains the green vegetation all the year round.
2. Dajo Pottery, Makurdi
The Dajo Pottery is a privately-owned pottery which has made thousands of unique potteries for local and international tourists who fancy owning a fascinating pottery. The pots come in various sizes and designs and made under various conditions to preserve its uniqueness and peculiarity wherever the local work of art is taken to in the world.
3. Anwase-Abande Ranges
The Anwase-Abande ranges extend into the Nigerian-Cameroon border via the Obudu-Cameroon range; it is located in Kwande local government area. There are natural forests, great hills, dykes, valleys, streams and other natural formations in this area. Tourists can use the ranges for picnicking and mountaineering or hiking.
4. Ikwe Holiday Resort
Although the Ikwe holiday resort used to be a great travel spot for local and foreign tourists, the place is now a shadow of its former self. Tourists could enjoy privacy amidst the natural wonders of nature without being disturbed. The state governments needs to do more to improve the tourism potentials of this foremost holiday resort in the state.
5. Enemabia Warm Spring
The Enemabia warm spring is more or less the only warm spring in Benue State. Tourists can swim in its waters and enjoy the warming of natural spring. It is open night and day to visitors and it is a place anyone must check out once they visit the state.
6. Montane Games Reserve
This game reserve is one of the few in the state reserves where visitors and tourists can see wild and rare animals in their natural habitats. It hosts a community of people who are sweet to visitors, but the government needs to do more to prevent poaching in this reserve so as to preserve the integrity of the games reserve.
7. Tor Tiv Palace, Gboko
The Tor Tiv palace is located in Gboko, and is the official residence of the Tiv people. The palace is rich in historical artifacts and it tells the story and history of the Tiv people. You can also learn a lot about the past ways of the earlier settlers in the area and gain insight into the cultural and traditional way of the native folks, including past wars and kings of the people.
8. Ushongo Hills
The Ushongo hills is a mountainous belt that is both refreshing to the eyes and the body. The hilly mountains spread as far as the eye can see, and it can be used for hiking, climbing, local movies, picnics, and educational activities. The climate of this area makes it a delight among the local folks and a pride of the community.
9. Rare Manatee, Katsina-Ala
Have you ever wanted to see the rare African manatee? Then the Katsina-Ala is the place to head out to. Here you can see the herbivorous mammals in their natural habitat. It is a sight to behold for individual tourists and groups of visitors, and the animals responses to the presence of people is something to be see or experienced.
10. Tiv Anger Weavers
Here you can see weavers who are gifted in the natural and local art of weaving. The Tivs are experts when it comes to weaving and associated crafts. You can see them at work when you visit or schedule an excursion for local students to know the crafts of the ancient people. Watching the weavers deal skillfully with baskets and fish-traps and other woven crafts is something that stays with tourists long after they had left Benue State.