Location: Outskirts of Abuja City.
Opening Hours: 8 AM – 5 PM
Gate Free: Entrance to Aso Rock is free if you have clearance
Aso Rock is a 400-metre rock which stands out as the most noticeable feature in the capital city of Nigeria, Abuja. This location houses the three major seats of power of the Nigerian Federal Government namely; Presidential Villa (Aso Rock Villa), National Assembly, and the Supreme Court, albeit the Aso Rock Villa building is the only structure built in the valley of the Rock. Although tourists are still allowed to visit this place, due to the rise in the menace of terrorist attacks by Boko Haram in recent times, this access has become limited. In order to have access to Aso Rock, you can visit the Federal Capital Territory Administration located at Kapital Street, Off Obafemi Awolowo Street, Garki Area, Abuja or call any of their numbers (+23493148135, +23493141295).
History of Aso Rock
Aso Rock, a large rock which is about 936 metres above sea level, is the biggest and highest rock in Abuja. In Gbagyi dialect, the word ‘Aso’ implies victory. Thus, this Rock holds a significant importance in the culture and history of the people of Gbagyi. There are a couple of local priests that look after the rock and it’s often said that to climb or enter any of the caves, you would need to take permission from the priests. Since 1991 when the capital of Nigeria was moved from Lagos to Abuja, Aso Rock became the location of the Presidential Villa generally known as Aso Rock Villa. The Aso Rock Villa is the Nigerian Presidential Complex encompasses the residence and office of the Nigerian President. The Aso Villa is located in the Central Business District of Abuja.
Best Time to Visit Aso Rock
If you’re looking to catch all the great moments at Aso Rock, then you should visit this place in the day, between 8 am and 5 pm, as this the period when government functions like plenary at the Senate, House of Assembly, Children’ Parliament as well as proceedings at the Supreme Court are carried out at Aso Rock.
How to Get to Aso Rock
The city of Abuja is virtually traffic free, so from anywhere you are in the city it is easy to get to Aso Rock in time. From the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, there are taxis that would take you straight to Aso Rock. You can book a taxi using Uber taxi booking service. It would take approximately 30 minutes from the airport to Aso Rock, at an average cost of N2500. Also, there are several major parks like Utako Park and Jabi Park in Abuja, from where you can get a taxi to Aso Rock. It would take approximately 20 minutes from any of these parks to Aso Rock, at an average cost of N1,200.
Things to Do at Aso Rock
Despite the level of restriction at Aso Rock, there are still a couple of things you can do when you visit this place.
Climb the Mountain
At Aso Rock, you can practically climb the top of the mountain and have an aerial view of the Abuja City. You can seek the help of a professional mountaineer to help you in climbing this rock. Do not forget to have your camera with you in order to take amazing pictures when you are on the top of Rock.
Visit the Children’s Parliament
The Children’s Parliament is a section at the legislative house, where children are groomed to become future members of the Parliament. This is like the ‘children arm of the Legislature. They usually deliberate on issues affecting children in Nigeria. The children who are members of this parliament are the best students selected at random from several schools in Abuja.
Say a Prayer at the Religious Centres
Aso Rock houses both the Aso Rock Church and a Mosque. You can visit either of these places and say a five-minute prayer. Fun no knows religion, so in the event that you’re neither a Christian nor a Muslim, both the Aso Rock church and the Villa Mosque are amazing eye-catching, architectural pieces which are worth seeing, if you love beauty.
Watch the Plenary at the National Assembly
The National Assembly is the Legislative Arm of the Federal Government made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives. It is the arm of the federal government that makes laws. You should visit this place in order to view the activities that go on during the plenary session of the Legislature. It would be a delight seeing the processes they pass through in order to arrive at the passage of a bill.
Take a Tour of the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court is the Judicial Arm of the Federal Government, headed by a Chief Justice of the Federation. Visiting the Supreme Court would afford you the opportunity of watching proceedings at the court if there’s any going on at the time, which is open to visitors. It would be a very interesting sight to be at a live court session and see how Judges arrive at judgement over some very confusing cases.
Take a tour of the Presidential Villa
The Presidential Villa houses the both the Office and the Residence of the President and the Vice President. As long as you have clearance from the relevant authorities, you would be allowed to take a tour of Aso Rock Presidential Villa and view its amazing and astounding beautiful structures. You’ve probably seen a couple of pictures of Aso Rock Presidential Villa via the media but it’s more thrilling seeing the Villa in person.
Lodge and Eat
Although Aso Rock doesn’t have places where you would be allowed to lodge, there are a couple of places in Asokoro (which is very close to Aso Rock) where you can lodge. Some of the hotels in Asokoro include; Vinotel Hotel, Kapital Klub, Havista Hotels Limited, Hans Place, and Berkshire Hotel Asokoro. Though the Aso Rock Villa houses a restaurant, if you want to have a wider menu option, visit some of the restaurants in Asokoro which include; Sky Bar Rooftop Lounge, Mama Cass, Palace Chinese Restaurant, Banana Republic, and Abacha Barracks Fish.
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