Top 4 Nigerian traditional games to try



Nigerians have their way of relaxing and pleasure can be derived through old traditional games.

These sports have evolved from being a mere feature in festivals, marriages and communal events to becoming a competitive sports where participants are awarded and rewarded.

In addition, the games are an opportunity to attract visitors and promote sports tourism across the world. Owing to its popularity,, Africa’s No 1 hotel booking portal shares 4 traditional games to play while around Nigeria.


This is the most popular traditional board game in Nigeria. It is called Ayo in Yoruba. Despite the nomenclature, its popularity cut across the country and Africa. It is played by two dexterous individual who attempts to get more seeds to emerge the winner.

The game is made up of 12 holes with 6 on each side of the board and every hole contains 4 seeds making it a total of 48 seeds. The board is 0.8m to 1.2m. A player is declared the winner if he is able to garner more than his opponent. The game is played in an anticlockwise format while each player is allowed to play for 30 secs.

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Kokawa (traditional wrestling)

In the past, when eligible men sought to marry a belle, a wrestling competition was organized to select the strongest amongst them and the winner automatically had the right to marry the lady.

Today, kokawa has become a feature of festivals in Benue. Kokawa is truly an indigenous games where fighters compete for honours wrestling each other in a sand filled circle of about six metres in diameter. There are 3 rounds and the wrestling match is fought in different weight categories between 45kg and 100kg.


Abula is almost similar with volleyball. It involves 8 players with 4 on either side while 4 players wait on the bench to be substituted. Unlike volleyball where players hit the ball with their hands, Abula is played with a wooden bat. The winner with the highest point wins in a 16 points game.

Dambe (Traditional Boxing)

Dambe or traditional boxing is a well-known sport in northern cities like Sokoto. It is almost similar with Kokawa but there are minute differences. The players in traditional boxing usually have one of their fists wrapped with a bandage while the other fist is free. It is a combative sport that is fought within a sand-filled circle and players will be disqualified if they step out of the circle.

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