The Eastern part of Nigeria holds some of West Africa’s finest ancient sites. Filled with history, some of the sites have become must-visits by tourists.
The Ogbunike Caves is a collection of caves situated in a valley with tropical rain forest behind the “Ogba” hills in Ogbunike, Anambra State, southeastern Nigeria. The caves which is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Eastern Nigeria is on the tentative list of the United Nations Educational, Scientific And Cultural Organisation’s World Heritage Site.
To reach the inner caves, you will climb 317 steps. As per tradition, visitors must remove their shoes before entering the caves. And women who are having their monthly cycle cannot go in. There is an annual festival called “Ime Ogbe” celebrated in commemoration of the discovery of the caves.
In Anambra state, Igbo-Ukwu is notable for three archaeological sites where excavations have found bronze artefacts from a highly sophisticated bronze metal-working culture dating perhaps to the ninth or tenth century, centuries before other known bronzes of the region.
The first of these sites is called Igbo Isaiah which was uncovered in 1938 by Isaiah Anozie, a local villager, who found the bronze works while digging beside his home. Formal excavations by the archaeologist Thurstan Shaw in 1959 at the request of the Nigerian government resulted in the discovery of two other sites, Igbo Richard and Igbo Jonah, containing the remains of an ancient culture.
Artefacts have included jewellery, ceramics, a corpse adorned in what appears to be regalia, and many assorted bronzes, copper, and iron objects. Some of these contain materials that are evidence of a long-distance trading system extending to Egypt. Radiocarbon dating placed the sites around the tenth century or earlier, which would make the Igbo-Ukwu culture the earliest-known example of bronze casting in the region. The craftsmen were working centuries before those who made the more well-known Ife bronzes.
Ibeno beach stretches 45km from Ibeno to James Town, Akwa Ibom. It is said to be the longest beach in West Africa.
Ibeno beach is a popular tourist attraction due to its serenity and security. It is rated high amongst the top soothing and clean beaches in the country. At the Ibeno, you can enjoy a stroll along the beach, play beach soccer, also have fun at water sports and boating.
Ibeno was the landing site for one of the most successful Christian missions in Nigeria – the Qua Iboe Christian mission from Scotland which arrived in the early 20th century.
National War Museum, Umuahia
Established in 1985, the National War Museum houses the largest memorabilia of the Nigerian Civil War which took place between 1967 and 1970.
The museum is located at Ebite Amafor in Isingwu Autonomous Community in the Umuahia North Local Government Area. The museum’s location was chosen because it was where the bunker housing the famous shortwave radio “the Voice of Biafra” was transmitted from. It has three galleries featuring items on the traditional warfare, armed forces and Nigerian civil war weapons. The weapons are from both the Nigerian military and defunct Biafra.
There are also outdoor displays of warships, military aircraft, armoured tanks, and “Ogbunigwe” (bombs produced locally by Biafra during the Nigerian Civil War).
Awhum Waterfall and Cave
Awhum Waterfall is located in Amaugwe village of Awhum town in Udi Local Government Area in Enugu, Nigeria. A result of a titanic outcrop of granite rock with water tumbling from the top to form a stream, the waterfall is beautiful at any time of the year.
A section of the waterfall is always warm through the season. According to the locals, the water is therapeutic. Awhum waterfall is 30 metres high and is located close to Awhum Monastery. It takes about 45 minutes’ walk from the parking spot to the fall, but it is worth the trek.