Why would anyone think Plateau State in North-Central geopolitical zone of Nigeria is called the “Home of Peace and Tourism” if it were not for the vast tourism potentials in the state?
Carved out of the old Benue-Plateau State in 1976, Plateau State has 17 local government areas including Bakin-Ladi, Bassa, Bokkos, Jos-East, Jos-North, Jos-South, Kanam, Kanke, Langtang-North, Langtang-South, Mangu, Mikang, Pankshin, Quan’Anpan, Riyom, Shendam, and Wase.
Although Hausa is the generally acceptable means of communication, there are over 35 ethnic groups in Plateau State and some of them are the Birom, Angas, Mwangahvul, Taroh, Goemai, Tal, Fier, Afizere (Jarawa), Miango, Youm, Bogghom, Rukuba, Piapung, Kwalla, Montol, Jukun, Challa, Ron, Kulere, Pyem, Miship, Mupun and Buji among others.
Some of the tourist attractions in the state are as follows –
1. Rock formations
There are several hills and natural rock formations in Plateau State with each qualifying to be treated on its own account. But the most popular among these are the Shere Hills, Wase Rock, and Riyom Rock formation among others.
Shere Hills is about 10 km east of Jos and an attraction to mountain climbers because of its high peaks and rugged terrains. The Citizenship and Leadership Training Centre uses the hills for their camping programmes.
Wase Rock is about 250 metres high above Wase town, and a delight to climbers given its 800-foot or 250-metre high ranges. Located in Riyom town just 25 km along the Jos-Akwanga road, the Riyom rock formation depicts the geographical map of Plateau State by nature and is a delight to compare to the map of the state.
There are several natural waterfalls within the state but the most popular are Kurra Falls and Assop Falls among others. Kurra Falls is man-made, resulting from tin mining activities, but currently used by the Nigerian Electricity Supply Company (NESCO) to generate electricity power supply to hundreds of homes and companies within the state.
Assop Falls is 70 km along Jos-Kagoro road on the top of the Jos Plateau. The Assop River supplies water which the rapids and falls use, and it feeds the natural vegetation of grasslands that extend into the gallery forests.
3. Wildlife parks
There are also several wildlife parks in the land of peace of tourism but the most popular are the Jos Wildlife Park, Jos Zoological Garden, and the Pandam Game Reserve and Lakes.
The Jos Wildlife Park features rare and exotic collection of wild animals, reptiles, and birds; it was established in 1972 and extends into the pine forest and the Vongnifwel Hill. There are picnic centres within the park and a history museum that tells the story of the park and state. The Jos Zoological Garden on the other hand was established in 1957 and situated within Jos Metropolis, featuring a wide collection of wildlife for tourism purposes. And the Pandam Game Reserve and Lake in Quan-Pan is the best place for sports fishing and relaxation purposes at all festive periods.
4. Kurang Volcanic Mountain
Located about 88 km from Jos Township, the Kurang volcanic mountain is a delight to visit in order to see the natural springs. In fact, SWAN bottle water is bottled right at this natural spring, and it is rich in natural minerals and other organic properties.
5. Naraguta Leather Works
If you desire to know the secrets into how animal skin and hides are cured into usable leather for leatherworks, then you must visit the Naraguta Leather Works in Jos. Most leatherworks found in arts and crafts shops and in hotels around country are produced at this place, and it is a place to witness how leatherworks likes shoes, slippers, souvenirs, carpets, cushions, and other colourful leather products are made. You will see the craftsmen at work and witness first-hand the production of leather items through traditional means at one of the best leather crafts centres in Nigeria.
There are other fascinating tourism attractions in Plateau State, and these include Helena Farm for growing herbal plants and ornamental flowers, Gwaram forest reserve, Jos museum complex, Panyam fish farm, Solomon Lar amusement park, and the Museum of Nigeria Traditional Architecture (MOTNA) among others.