Abuja is quickly becoming one of Africa’s most exuberant cities. The purpose-built capital is in the heart of the Nigeria, a neutral location amid a country with a history of religious and ethnic clashes. Wide, leafy roads divided the city into four distinct districts, marked by sprawling apartment buildings, government institutions and high office towers. A relatively new capital, the city is still being built, providing an exciting and always-changing environment for travelers.
Aso Rock is a dominant feature of the Abuja landscape, and the ancient 400-meter tall monolith is the city’s biggest tourist draw. Caused by water erosion, the monolith looms behind some of the capital’s most attractive government buildings. The green-domed National Assembly Building, home to the Senate and House of Representatives, sits near the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the country’s highest court. The trifecta at Aso Rock is completed with the Nigerian Presidential Complex, known simply as “the villa” by locals.
Jabi Lake is already a popular destination for visitors and locals, even though its development as a resort is not yet complete. The man-made lake is surrounded by verdant vegetation and is a lovely place to catch a cool breeze while escaping some of the city’s chaos.
Visitors can also seek shade and respite at Millennium Park, the city’s largest public green space. In 2003, the space was inaugurated by the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II. Located in the Maitama district, the park is halved by a river. One side is dedicated to untouched nature, and a terrace system is planted with some of Nigeria’s natural vegetation representing the rainforest, savanna, mountains, deciduous forest and brushwood. Extensive greenhouses in the park are filled with tropical birds and butterflies from around the country.
The other half of Millennium Park is dedicated to environmental science. The flora in this half grow in very traditional and rigid layouts based on Italian gardens, and Roman white travertine paves the walking paths. A number of refreshing fountains cool visitors on even the hottest days, and the Cotton Tree, an enormous tree considered holy by locals, provides shade. Designed by Italian architect Manfredi Nicoletti, the park is visited by thousands of people each day.
Abuja is also home to the National Mosque, built in 1984 and open to the public with the exception of congregational prayer times. The gold-domed mosque features four towering minarets, a lush courtyard and an extensive library of Islamic reading materials.
One of the best times to visit Abuja is during November, when the capital hosts its annual carnival. The festival is an opportunity for local groups, including women and youth, to exercise their creativity through music, theater and dance performances. Many countries participate in the festivities, bringing an international feel to the event. Parties erupt in the streets, parades entertain throughout the city, boats race down the river, masquerade balls last until the wee hours and after-parties keep going for days.
The city is constantly under construction, and many developments are planned for Abuja’s future. In the works are Nigeria’s tallest building, the Millennium Tower, and Heritage City Park, the continent’s first theme park. The park will feature architectural models of ancient African buildings that house interactive rides, exhibit spaces, stunt shows and animatronics that highlight the continent’s history, culture and arts.
Abuja Geographical Location
Abuja is located in the center of Nigeria to the south of Aso Rock. Abuja is one of the wealthiest cities in Africa and has a population of 777,000 people.
English is the official language of Nigeria but over 500 indiginous languages are spoken throughout the country. The most common languages spoken in Nigeria, as English is not widely spoken in urban areas or among poorer groups, are Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, and Fulani.
Abuja Predominant Religion
- 50% Muslim
- 40% Christian
- 10% Indigenous Beliefs
Although the majority of Nigerians are Muslim, most Muslim communities are towards the North of Nigeria.
The Naira is the official currency of Nigeria.
Abuja experiences a rainy season from April until October and is hot during the day with mild temperatures at night. It has an extremely hot dry season with
frigid nightly temperatures and the Harmattan in between which limits visibility.
Abuja Main Attractions
- Zuma Rock
- Aso Rock
- The Minister’s Hill
Other Attraction in Abuja
- National Arboretum
- Abuja Stadium
- Guerara Falls
- National Church of Nigeria