Nigeria, the face of modern Africa
Dominating much of West Africa, Nigeria is the archetypal booming African nation. Africa's largest economy, by far the most populous and with one of the youngest populations in the world, Nigeria is a seething powerhouse whose burgeoning economic might and pulsating metropolises make it one of Africa's most exhilarating destinations.
Everywhere you turn there is sensory bombardment, whether you're navigating the teeming streets of Lagos or traversing the awe-inspiring landscapes of the Nigerian wilderness, Nigeria has as much energy and spectacle as it does oil and wealth. With a rich history and a seemingly bright future, Nigeria's ferocious spirit will leave you captivated - and exhausted.
Flights to Nigeria from London take you into Murtala Muhammed International Airport, which is a short distance from the centre of Nigeria's largest city, Lagos. Amid the sprawling urban jungle, you can find your bearings in the relative peace of Freedom Park. Site of a ruined prison, this area is now an up-and-coming cultural centre with a food market and museum. One of Lagos' primary museums is the Nigerian National Museum which includes carved ivory artefacts, ancient textiles and the bullet-ridden car of the former president. Next to the museum stands the grandiose Tafawa Balewa Square, notable for its giant statues of horses.
Away from the bewildering city streets, you'll find an oasis of oceanic calm along Lagos' white sandy beaches. In the shadow of gleaming high-rises, with the balmy air thick with tropical heat, you can enjoy a leisurely stroll as the Atlantic breaks upon the shore.
History and nature
Calabar's slaving heritage makes it a worthwhile visit, where a friendly, easy-going charm belies a dark history of exporting human cargo out from Calabar's evocative port and across to the New World. The city includes a beautiful museum set within the old British governor's building and a conservation area for engendered drill monkeys and chimpanzees.
Lying on the outskirts of Oshogbo, the ancient Osun rainforest is a dramatic landscape of thick jungle shrouded by ethereal mists. Deep within the forest, buffeted by wild noises of monkeys and exotic birds, stands a shrine dedicated to Oshuno, the river goddess worshipped in these lands before Christianity and Islam.
The Yankari National Park is Nigeria's most popular tourist destination and features many unforgettable sights. While trekking through the vast grasslands and rocky terrain, you'll come up close to families of roaming bush elephants, packs of inquisitive monkeys and the majestic spectacle of lions on the hunt. There's also the tantalising prospect of bathing in Yankari's hot springs, with great overhanging trees the backdrop to a warm, relaxing swim.
Food and drink
Nigerian cuisine encapsulates the vitality of modern Nigeria, combining influences from west and central Africa to create dishes bursting with flavour. Spices are very popular, with chili peppers used to prepare meals throughout Nigeria. In Lagos, you can enjoy a range of international delights from Indian curries at Sherlaton to delicious seafood at Lobster Pot.
Meanwhile, Calabar K's Court is an enjoyable evening out with an exciting mix of international and regional cuisine. You'll also be well entertained, for when darkness descends the tables are pushed back and the music and dancing begins.