Kano is a state located in the North-Western part of Nigeria. With over 9 million people, consisting of mostly Muslim Hausas and a few Christians, Kano is the most populated state in the country as well as the second largest in land mass, behind Lagos. The state is known for its peculiar cuisine and distinct cultural identities. If you are in Kano for a short stay and would still love enjoy what the city has to offer, we’ve got a quick and easy guide to help you make the most out of 48 hours in Kano.
48 Hours In Kano: Day 1
Whether you are in Kano for business or relaxation, it is important that you stay in an area close to all the fun tourist attractions that the city has to offer. Sabon Gari is, therefore, an ideal neighbourhood to stay in because of its proximity to places such as the Mallam Aminu International Airport, the Sabon Gari Market, banks and tourist attractions. You can find affordable hotels like Nassarawa Guest House and Grand Central Hotel.
Morning: Breakfast of Masa and Fura de Nunu
Start your first morning in the Ancient city of Kano with a healthy breakfast of masa and fura de nunu. Masa is a popular northern staple food. It is also called Rice cake. It is made to be peppery, delicious and filling. To go along with your masa, you should have fura de nunu. Fura is also a very popular Northern, healthy drink made from fermented milk and processed millet grains. It is highly proteinous and very filling even when taken alone. You can choose to add some sugar or honey to your fura, or take it plain, either way, it would be a tasty treat.
Shopping at Kurmi Market
Make you don’t leave Kano without paying a visit to the historic Kurmi market. The market was a major part of the trans-Sahara slave trade and the oldest market in northern Nigeria. As you walk through the market, expect to be mesmerised by a number of cultural items and wares on display. You will see items such as ancient jewellery, herbs, pottery, leather works, artwork, beads, etc.
Another great market to visit is the Sabon Gari jewel market. It is the largest in Kano and has gold trinkets of various forms available. It is the go-to destination for gold jewellery, visitors come from all over the country.
Afternoon: Fishing By the Tiga Dam
Walking through Kurmi market tends to be stressful for most people. Should you could become tired, there are many places available for you replenish your energy with traditional meals. Meals like the firewood-prepared tuwon dawa that can be washed down with the traditional fura de nunu drink, are readily available to keep you going. Such a delicacy can be bought from roadside hawkers at a cheap price.
After your lunch, you can take a cab or commercial motorcycle to Tiga Dam. The Tiga Dam is where most of the fishing and boating activities take place in the Kano. Around the dam is the Rock Castle Hotel which was built to house Queen Elizabeth of England when she visited Nigeria.
The Kano Central Mosque is also a sight to behold in the afternoon, especially on Fridays when the Jumat prayers are held at the mosque. At this time the central mosque is the best place to witness the people of Kano honouring their religion.
Evening: At the Ancient Kano City Walls
Your visit to the city of Kano would be incomplete without a visit to The Ancient Kano City Walls. The Ancient Wall was completed in the middle of the 14th century as a defensive wall to protect the inhabitants of the city of Kano. Today, the walls stand at an impressive 30 to 50 ft height with a total of 15 gates. The historic monument is described “the most impressive monument in West Africa”.
Just a few steps away from The Ancient Kano City Walls is the Dala Hill. The hill is considered to be the first settlement of the people of Kano. According to the natives of Kano, Dala is the name of a hunter who once lived on the hill. The hill is 534 metres high and can be climbed using the 999 steps which have been installed on the hill.
From the Dala hilltop, you will be pleasantly surprised by how much of Kano city you can see. Memories of this captivating place will stay with you long after you have left. Be sure to go along with a camera to record and take pictures of all the beauty that nature has to offer from the historical Dala Hill.
Night: Of Intercontinental dishes
If you feel the need for international cuisine, there are various intercontinental restaurants available in the city. Corner restaurant is one of such places. The restaurant is located at Lafia Road. At Corner, you may treat yourself to exquisitely prepared Indian cuisines, Arabian grilled chicken, barbeques, as well as Cappuccinos.
For snack lovers, the Pizza and Burger Hott is an ideal location. You can enjoy a quickly but yet, deliciously prepared pizza at an affordable price. The pizzas come in different varieties and toppings depending on your choice.
If you are a night crawler, you should keep in mind that there are strict sharia laws in the city. However, you can find good music and drinks at bars like TDB bar, Le Circle and Mingles all around Sabon Gari at nighttime.
48 Hours In Kano: Day 2
Morning: Rise and Shine with Tuwo Shinkafa
Start your second day in the beautiful city of Kano with northern Nigerian’s foremost traditional meal; Tuwo Shinkafa. Although there are many imitations of this meal outside the state, in Kano is you will find the real deal. Tuwo Shinkafa is a meal of finely cooked balls of rice pudding served with delicious and tasty pepper sauce.
After your breakfast, you can pay a visit to the Gidann Makama Museum. The museum houses historical artefacts and Islamic antiquities of the people of Kano. It also showcases the evolution of their culture. There are 10 galleries in the museum, each gallery a home to the aesthetics of Kano. Your tour of the museum would be seamless, as you would be assigned a tour guide. The guide would take you to the galleries one at a time. Entrance fee into the museum is just N200.
Afternoon: At the Kofar Mata Dyeing Pits
Your next stop should be to visit the Kofar Mata dyeing pits. The Mata pits have never ceased operations since their creation over 500 years ago. At the mata pits, you can see first-hand, how the tie and dye fabrics are made. Take enough cash to buy some of these beautiful fabrics, you won’t regret it.
If you get hungry again after all the Tuwo Shinkafa you ate, all you need do is find a nearby canteen for another experience of Kano’s traditional cuisines. This time, give the Miyan Kuka soup a try. Miyan Kuka is made from baobab leaves and other indigenous spices. The dish is best enjoyed with a bottle of local drink such as Zobo or Kunun aya.
Evening: At the Emir’s Palace
As you approach the final hours of your visit to Kano, take a minute to visit the Kano Zoological Garden. It is home to a variety of animals including tigers, elephants, hippopotamus, deer, zebras, giraffe, porcupine, alligators, etc.
On your way back from the zoo, you can make a brief stop at the Emir’s Palace. It is the seat of power in the state of Kano. It showcases the beautiful blend of traditional and modern architectures in one breath. The Emir’s palace has council halls and open arenas for the celebration of the famous annual Durbar Festival. If you are lucky, you can also get to see the foremost ruler of the emirate, the Emir of Kano.
Night: Sabon Gari Night Life
Sabon Gari is home to many bars and nightclubs like Victory Club, here you can enjoy both traditional and popular music.
Other bars include Mozida Lounge, N.E.P.A club and Kings Garden Club.
Kano City is one of the most tourism worthy places to visit in Northern Nigeria. While you’re planning your visit, you should consider the climatic conditions during the time of your visit. It is always ideal to plan your visit between November and February when the city is cooler for maximum enjoyment of your stay.