Things to do in Nigeria

Leisure activities in Nigeria
Updated 2017-09-15 15:03

The numerous attractions, places of interest and cultural opportunities that Nigeria has to offer are apt to fulfil anyone's tastes. In addition to wonderful natural endowments, the country boasts quality cultural institutions, ensuring there are plenty of leisure activities to enjoy in Nigeria.

Natural wealth of Nigeria

Expatriation in Nigeria is the perfect opportunity to explore the country' stunning landscapes and to discover its natural sites.

Must-sees include the country's endless beaches and dazzling wildlife reserves, but also natural areas of cultural importance, such as the Osun Sacred Forest (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), a protected area accommodating traditional sculptures and shrines within one of the country's last wild rainforests.

Gastronomy in Nigeria

Food is a linchpin of life in Nigeria, and a fair share of community life revolves around food preparation and sharing.

The staple of Nigerian diet is rice, beans, grains like millet and wheat, roots such as cassava and yam, or vegetables such as okra, with proteins obtained from poultry, beef, and seafood in the coastal regions.

The huge country, home to a variety of ethnic groups and cultures, features very diverse cuisines and cooking styles, with specialties largely varying from one region to another. In particular, expect a variety of onion-, tomato- and pepper-based soups and stews in the southern areas.

Nigerian food generally tends to be spicy, with many dishes flavoured with palm oil, various herbs, spices and chilies.

Arts in Nigeria

Nigeria's rich cultural heritage is embodied in the treasures of traditional art the country has to offer. Outstanding artworks dating from the pre-colonial times include naturalistic statues and bronzes, terra-cotta figurines, masks and shrines.

While many artists and craftsmen keep these traditional techniques alive, they also are complemented by artists mixing their African roots with contemporary Western influences. Among the most celebrated Nigerian modern and contemporary artists are 20th-century painter and sculptor Ben Ewonwu, the Oshogbo movement, active from the 1960s, or the Nsukka group, formed in the 1970s.

Nigeria is home to many national museums and cultural institutions, most of them located in metropoles, including the National Library and the National Theatre in Lagos. The Institute of African Studies, tasked with rekindling the popularity of traditional and indigenous culture and arts, in of particular interest.

Nigeria also stands our for its literature, with known and reputed novelists and writers like Wole Soyinka (the first black African to receive a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986), Flora Nwapa or Chinua Achebe.

Performing arts in Nigeria

Music and dance are deeply rooted in the Nigerian soul and identity and have historically been used to celebrate and punctuate social events as well as storytelling.

Although every ethnic group has its own style and distinctive attributes, the most widely used traditional instruments are musical bows, xylophones, clappers, trumpets, along with varieties of flutes and drums.

Dancing styles are no less varied and involve endless types of participants, ceremonies, movements, costumes and meanings. Among the most famous dances are those of Ekiti Yoruba, Ishan or Ukubala.

You will have plenty of occasions to attend live performance during your stay in Nigeria; otherwise, the national radio and television channels regularly broadcast traditional music and dancing shows.

Nigeria also enjoys a vibrant contemporary music scene, often combining Western pop and African influences. To mention a couple Nigerian music stars, King Sunny Ade or Fela Anikulapo-Kuti are definitely worth trying. You will find many clubs in larger cities.

Although movie theatres mostly show American and Indian films, they are very popular among city-dwelling Nigerians.

Sports in Nigeria

Sports introduced in Nigeria by British colonisers, such as football, boxing, track and field, and tennis are still very popular in the country.

In particular, football is huge in Nigeria. The likes of Nwanko Kanu and Jay-Jay Okocha have achieved international recognition for their performance with the national team, the so-called Super Eagles, which won the African Championship in 1980 and 1987 and was crowned world champion at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Meantime, a number of outstanding Nigerian footballers playing in top-rated teams overseas confirmed the country's reputation as a leading football nation. Far from being outshone, the Nigerian women's team has reached the World Cup finals many times.

Basketball, popularised by legendary player Hakeem Olajuwon, is also gaining steam in the country.

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