When life throws lemons at you, make lemonades. When it starves you of an enjoyable and culturally rich experience, make no mistakes, pick up your map and head straight for the city of Ibadan. The ancient capital of the western region of Nigeria and more recently the capital of Oyo State, Nigeria possesses all the trappings of a historical and adventurous city.
Within the past century, it became a major centre of national trade, a military sanctuary for ancient traditional soldiers and has stood the test of time, rising into prominence while its peer ancient cities have disappeared into oblivion. Visiting the city’s museums and tourist centres, viewing its centuries-old ancient artefacts and absorbing its rich history, somehow you become guilty of love at first sight and gifted with a surge of reverential wonder that leaves you awestruck.
So if you’re visiting or planning to move here anytime soon, don’t do it with a rush of blood to the head. Let’s show you where and how to maximize your Ibadan experience. Here are a few guides to make your stay the time of your life.
The University of Ibadan Zoo
If you are looking for a fun day out in Ibadan – I recommend the University of Ibadan zoo is located at the Department of Zoology. The zoo ranks among the best in Nigeria. The zoo has a healthy number of animals, ranging from monkeys, snakes, birds, lions to different other animals. The zoo was recently upgraded to a world-class zoo. Fun activities here are; sightseeing, hiking, taking lovely selfies with the animals. The gate-pass to access the zoo is just 200 Naira. The zoo is always opened for everybody. There was an official opening of the upgraded zoo facilities recently. A tourist visit to the zoo is one of those rare days out that everyone can enjoy- from the youngest member of the family to grandma and grandpa.
IITA Forest Reserve
Owned by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the IITA Forest Reserve is between Ojoo and Moniya town, Ibadan. The forest covers 350 hectares of land, over 200 bird species and over 220 butterfly species live here. The reserve has natural landscaping features like wetlands, farmlands, a reservoir, eight lakes, and ponds with highly diversified and rich exotic plants. The forest also has 440 plants that are used for therapeutic purposes. The reserve is a rainforest that promises to spur guests’ interest in sports. Interesting sporting activities here are; badminton court, swimming, 9-hole golf course, football and lawn tennis among others. You can have an awesome experience from wild to warm.
You can’t afford to miss this colonial style building right beside Bere Market in Ibadan. The building was recently refurbished. Tourists will be taken aback by the unique pillars of the building and the general structure. This building was built on October 5, 1929. It is notable as a centre for social events in Ibadan. It was refurbished during the administration of Governor Alao Akala in 2008. The Hall is located atop Mapo hill in Ibadan, Nigeria. It mostly rains here from April to September, it is dry from December to March. The average daytime temperature is 28 degrees and the night time temperature is 23 degrees. There is no entrance fee to tourists visiting Mapo hall.
An experience with the Bower’s Tower will definitely bring a flashback of the prehistoric Ibadan. The Tower is 60 feet high and 11 feet square with two entrances and about 47 spiral staircases that lead to the top of the tower. Bower’s Tower can be seen at the top of Oke-Are in Igbo Agala (Agala Forest). The historic monument is put up in honour of Captain Robert Lister Bower in 1936, the first British Resident in Ibadan. Visiting the tower attracts an entry fee of 200 Naira. The tower gives a view to some important places in the ancient city. Bower Tower is the highest hilltop in Ibadan city.
If you are looking for a place where you can run away from the bustling life of the city; Agodi gardens is the best destination for everyone. The Gardens is a place where tourists who love nature-filled and cosmopolitan environment must visit. The entry fee at the Gardens is 500 Naira per person. Restaurants, water parks, playgrounds, and animal enclosure are trapped in the beautiful garden. There are a lot of fun activities here such as; hiking, sightseeing and swimming among others.
The Old Oyo National Park
The Old Oyo National Park is the habitat for the endangered African wild dog, lion, western kob, roan antelope, buffalo, western hartebeest, Grimm’s duiker, oribi, spotted hyena, crested porcupine, Anubis baboon, patas monkey, red river hog, and gaboon viper, among other rare animals. The park covers about 2,500 square kilometres at the north-western axis of the state. It is 160 kilometres from Ibadan, it is a wooded forest with hills and a wide variety of wildlife; it has over 30 bird species have been seen within the forestry. Tourist will get an opportunity to enjoy an exceptional experience of being close to nature.
Irefin Palace, Ibadan
Want to have an insight into the historical life of communalism that prevailed in the 19th century? Then, a visit to Irefin Palace is a must. Built over 200 years ago, the palace is one of the surviving palaces in Ibadan. It was constructed in the traditional way of using mud and has about one hundred and eighty-five rooms. People still live there until today. You can take numerous selfies and share with the levels metamorphosis that Nigeria has gone through with your friends.
Oke Ibadan Hill is an ancient landmark in Ibadan and its historical significance cannot be underestimated in the development of Ibadan. The prodigious rock formation housed the deity that protected Ibadan people during the internecine war. The titular hill goddess of Ibadan is Oke-Ibadan beside the Eleyele Reservoir at the city’s western outskirt in Ido Local Government Areas. The hill is still revered by most Ibadan indigenes. It is also regarded as a symbol of unity and protection to the natives of Ibadan. When you get to the top of the hill, you will be pleased with the ancient city in all its radiance.
Cocoa House Ibadan was completed in 1965. Its height is 105 meters, it was once the tallest building in tropical Africa. It is located in the city of Ibadan in Oyo State, Nigeria. Ibadan’s Cocoa Hall was built from proceeds from commodities (e.g., Cocoa, Rubber, Timber) of the then the Western State of Nigeria. Cocoa House is the first skyscraper in Nigeria and it is was formerly referred to as “Ile awon agbe”. This building was also once the tallest building in tropical Africa. Built from Cocoa’s proceeds, it is a 26-storey building in a land area of 1.7 hectares.
National Museum Ibadan
National Museum Ibadan is dedicated to national unity, thus, it’s also known as the Museum of National Unity. There are a lot of fascinating objects to behold inside the Ibadan museum. The museum has four major galleries, namely; “Unity Gallery,” “Masquerade Gallery,” “Pottery Gallery” and “Yoruba Gallery.” The National Museum Ibadan is open every day, including Sundays and public holidays from 10 am to 5 am. Admission fee to the gallery is 50 Naira per adult and 20 Naira per minor. These charges also apply to non-Nigerian visitors.