Absolutely one of Nigeria’s historically significant cities, Enugu is a huge metropolis which is changing rapidly. The coal city, as it is popularly known, has a surprising amount to offer visitors: historical monuments, great nightlife, wonderful beaches and interesting day trips.
While the city may not be the easiest city to reach on a standard tour, it affords great rewards for budget travelers who make the trip. It is a destination that offers the best of classic Nigeria without the massive crowds you get in Lagos and elsewhere, all at prices that are still shockingly low. Once you set foot on the south-east Nigerian soil and feel the vibe that emanates from it, you understand why it is a place to be.
Howng.com, Africa’s No. 1 online hotel booking service gives a few of the real reasons why every budget traveler should pack their bags and head for Enugu.
Reasonably priced accommodation
This city has a large number of tourist attractions with an abundance of affordable quality lodgings along with cheap bars, cafes, and restaurants. Those looking for a place to relax for a while on a hectic tour of the city will find it to be a fun and budget-friendly stop.
Hotels at the town center start at well under NGN 3,000 per night for something that would cost double or triple that in major Nigerian cities. A favorite is the Conquest Fineview Hotel, located at Independence Layout. Like most of the other hotels in its range around town, its amenities are basic – the beds are comfy, the food is tasty and the staff are down-to-earth and helpful. Rooms have air conditioning but there are hardly valet services available so you may just have to carry your own bags.
A wide array of attractions
Enugu State is a tourist haven. The city has a large number of landmarks and tourist attractions, and the best part is that access to most of them are free!
From Awhum Waterfalls and Cave, to Ezeagu tourist complex and Polo Park among others, the city features a myriad caves, waterfalls, springs, hills and forest reserves, as well as man-made features like hotels, museums, galleries, and monumental or archeological collections.
Cheap public transport
For flights to Enugu, always consider the larger established airlines for cheaper flights (like AirPeace).
An economy flight from Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos (LOS) to Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu (ENU) costs just about NGN16,000 for a one-way trip. A bus from any of the various terminals around the country will charge an average sum of NGN3,000.
Within the city however, transportation is inexpensive and fares are very low. A cab ride of up to 30 minutes can cost as little as NGN1,000. There are other public transport options: the coal city shuttle, the Keke-na-Pepe (tricycle) which is most popular amongst the locals and other smaller buses that move to different locations within the city. The fares for both the Keke-na-pepe and buses start from NGN50. Tourists can easily move around and save on the public transport options available within the city, while having a marvelous time.
Good value meals
Enugu is known as the headquarters for most Nigerian nighttime delicacies – Nkwobi, Isiewu, Abacha, Ugba and Pepper soup. As lovely as Enugu’s meals are, it is the low prices and good quality that you might remember most. This is a city where you can enjoy a filling meal of local favorites for around NGN 500, while seated at one of the restaurants directly on the main square.
Local street food such as Okpa sells for as low as N50 per wrap and local beer costs about NGN 200 per half liter almost anywhere in town, so bargain hunters do not have to scour the back alleys for happy hours.
Eating out in Enugu doesn’t have to break the bank; there are many inexpensive and delicious restaurants. Some of the best value eating establishments are often found in the food courts of the large shopping centers. If you on a very tight budget however and cannot afford fancy bistros, ask around and find out where the locals eat. Remember the philosophy that if it is busy then it must be good and if it full with locals, it must be even better.