The southwest of Nigeria is one of the most popular travel locations in the country. The southwest of Nigeria is one of the country’s six geopolitical zones; it is mostly home to the Yoruba people and consists of Oyo State, Ogun State, Osun State, Ondo State, Ekiti State, and Lagos State – six states rich in natural resources and tourism attractions.
1. Old Oyo National Park
The Old Oyo National Park is located in Nigeria, between northern Oyo State and southern Kwara State. It has a total area of 2,512 km2 and is largely lowland plains, with elevations ranging between 330m and 508m above sea level. It is a deep woodland park reserve accessible from Saki, Iseyin, Igboho, Sepeteri, Tede, and Igbeti, and is rich in plant and animal life.
Hundreds of uncommon animals have been spotted in the park, including Kobs, Baboons, Red Monkeys, Roan Antelopes, Bush Bucks, Red or Green Ioribe, Daikers, and Waterbucks. The park has a diverse wildlife population and historic rock outcrops and cave shelters in the far north. There are also scattered hills, ridges, and rocky outcrops suitable for mountaineering.
2. Olumo Rock, Abeokuta
The Olumo Rock is located in Ogun State, Nigeria, in the historic city of Abeokuta. It is a prominent tourist destination and a historic castle utilized as a sanctuary by the Egba tribe during the 19th century wars. In 2006, the old rock was refurbished for tourism and tour infrastructures were enhanced, with a museum, water fountain, restaurants, elevators, and other unique elements constructed to make visiting and climbing the massive rock a thrill.
There are guides available to lead you through the rocky climb and educate you on the history of the area. As you climb or enter the caverns of the rock, you can witness cave paintings and carvings, as well as statues and even very old women whispering blessings.
3. Idanre Hills, Akure
The Idanre Hill, also known as the Oke Idanre, is located 3,000 feet above sea level in Idanre, Ondo State, Nigeria, and its physical features include the Owa’s Palace, Shrines, Old Court, Belfry, Agboogun footprint, thunder water (Omi Aopara), and burial mounds. On October 8, 2007, Idanre Hill was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Iraye Tree stands at the entrance to the city of Idanre and the hill, and beyond it is abundant fauna and vegetation, making the hill an interesting tourist destination. Every year, a bat festival is held on the hill, which is home to thousands of bats. It also has many monkeys and the Hyrax, a tailless animal that is frequently seen in the Orosun hills. Numerous filmmakers use the hills as a backdrop for cultural documentaries.
4. Erin-Ijesha Waterfalls
The Erin-Ijesha waterfalls, also known as the Olumirin waterfalls, are located in Ipetu-Ijesha near the Oriade Local Government Area of Osun State, Nigeria. It is around 40 kilometers from Ife and approximately 37 kilometers from Akure, Ondo State. The waterfall is a tourist attraction for many people from miles around, and it is a sight to behold. This region also has a thriving mat-weaving market.
5. Oranmiyan Staff, Ile-Ife
The Oranmiyan staff, located in Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria, is a memorial stele or ancient upright stone slab with markings describing its own story. The Oranmiyan staff is said to have been built by the descendants of Oranmiyan Omoluabi, an ancient Yoruba ruler who controlled Ile-Ife and was an heir to Oduduwa, the Yoruba people’s founder.
The Oranmiyan staff is claimed to have been placed near where Oranmiyan died. However, radiocarbon study revealed that the staff had been erected for several centuries before the Oduduwa dynasty began in Ile-Ife. Oranmiyan was the first Alaafin of Oyo after founding the town in 1170, and one of his sons, Eweka I, eventually became the first Oba of the ancient Benin Empire.
6. Ikogosi Warm Springs
The Ikogosi Warm Springs are located in Ikogosi, Nigeria’s Ekiti State. It is a convergence of hot and cold springs that meet at a place, each with its distinct thermal qualities. The temperature at the warm spring is approximately 70 degrees Celsius at the source, and approximately 37 degrees Celsius at the point where the warm and cold springs join.
It is a popular tourist destination spread across 116 hectares of land in southern Nigeria, with the Ekiti State government recently renovating the warm springs. Former Governor Kayode Fayemi oversaw the repairs and refurbishment, which included swimming pools, restaurants, motels, a guest house, a 1,000-person capacity amphitheatre, and a conference center that can seat over 600 people.
7. Lagos Bar Beach
The most popular beach in Nigeria is the Bar Beach on Victoria Island in Lagos, which is located on the Atlantic Ocean’s shoreline. The name “bar beach” refers to the sand bars that line the beach’s coastline, rather than the hundreds of bars that line the beach. The beach is mostly sandy and devoid of flora or coconut trees. You can take a walk around the beach or simply relax on the pristine beaches.
The bar beach is also a popular spot for picnics and outdoor games such as football and volleyball. It is a place where you can go with your family and friends at any time of day or week, and while it is more crowded during the holiday or festive seasons, the place is always buzzing with activity.