Plateau State is known as The Home of Peace and Tourism in Nigeria. Although the tourism sector isn’t thriving as much as it should due to meagre allocations to it by the State Government, it’s natural endowments are still attractions to tourists mostly within Nigeria. Plateau state has diverse cultures, its people are known to be hospitable to visitors.
Plateau state has a population of about 3.5 million people Known for its heterogeneity, the state has about 40 ethnic groups across the 17 local government areas of the state.
Plateau State, locate in east-central Nigeria, created in 1976 out of the northern half of former Benue-Plateau state. It is bounded by the states of Kaduna and Bauchi on the north, Taraba on the east, and Nassarawa on the south and west. The Jos Plateau rises to about 5,250 feet (1,600 m) above sea level in the state’s north-central part, and the Benue River valley stretches along the southwestern border. Plateau State has a near temperate climate with an average temperature of between 13 and 22 °C. The state is popularly known for its mining production, agriculture is the major occupation of the people. Acha (a grain known as “hungry rice”) and millet are the chief cash crops; yams, sorghum, corn (maize), potatoes, cowpeas, rice, fruits, and vegetables are the staple crops. However, the state is fast rising to being a commercial city where entrepreneurship and technology is growing slowly.
Plateau state is the most important mining area in Nigeria and is a major exporter of tin and columbite. Other minerals, notably tantalite, kaolin, tungsten (wolfram), zircon, and thorium compounds, are also exploited on the plateau. Lead, zinc, and silver are mined on a small scale in the eastern part of the state around Wase, Zurak, and Kigom.
Amongst many tourism destinations in plateau state, here are a few notable tourism sites which are a must visit for tourist in the state.
- The Jos Wild Life Park sits in the middle of 8 km2 (3.09 sq. miles) of unspoiled savanna bush, about 4 km (2 mi) from Jos. It offers a wide variety of wild animals within easy viewing. These include Buffalos, Lions, baboons, derby elands, Rock pythons, crocodiles, chimpanzees, and Marabou storks. It was once home to the rare pygmy hippopotamus, which had been successfully bred in the ‘hippo pool’. The park also boasts great, panoramic views of Jos city.
2. Assop Falls is perhaps, the most notable of Nigeria’s many waterfalls. Located at the edge of the Jos Plateau, about 40 miles (64 km) from Jos city, on the road to Abuja, this is a tourist stop for picnicking, swimming, out door camping and enjoying the scenery. Assop Falls is also used as a filming location for local soap operas and advertisements.
3. The Kerang highlands are located about 88 kilometres from Jos. These volcanic hills are the source of natural mountain springs, which supply the spring water company (SWAN).
4. Miango Rest Home is a retreat and conference center located in Miango established by missionaries (SIM Nigeria) in 1914. It is located next to Kent Academy, a non-denominational missionary school. The Rest House provides visitors with plenty of opportunities to hike in the surrounding area. The property also features a man-made dam, a farm and is located at the foot of small hill (Mt. Sanderson) that provides a beautiful view of the area.
5. The Shere Hills include some of the Plateau’s highest peaks. They are a range of hills to the east of Jos which have views of the city below, and attract mountain climbers and hill walkers.
6. Kurra Falls is an area some 77 kilometers southeast of Jos. It is the location of the state’s first hydroelectric power station. It is a beautiful area of rocks hills, and lakes, ideal for boating, camping, and rock climbing. There is tourist accommodation available.
7. Wase Rock The wase rock is a striking dome-shaped inselberg which juts out of the ground to a height of 450 meters. It is located about 216 kilometers southeast of Jos near Wase town. It is one of the only five breeding places for the white pelican in Africa. Because of this, the government now protects about 321 acres (1.30 km2) of land around the rock as a bird sanctuary and for wildlife development.
Tips for travelers visiting the state/tourist sites.
When visiting Jos, Plateau State, it’s important to have made a prior call either with a local you know or advisably a tourist agent who will advice you on weather condition and suitable clothes to bring, cultural behaviour of the people and what not to do, suitable residence based on your budget and social class, security and safety conditions to help you avoid certain areas that might not be suitable for your safety due to the religious conflicts and sentiments.
Ephraim “Freezle” Bulus is an Events Strategist, Social Innovator and Tourism Practitioner. He is the founder of Explore Naija and TUSH Management Services. He is an avid traveler, food lover and adventurer. Over the years, he has built relevance for himself in the area of events planning and has been instrumental to the success of several events namely; Tamerri Art and Music festival Abuja 2016, Plateau State Gubernatorial Debate 2019, Baraxana Art Festival Jos 2019, Social Media for Social Good Confereence #SMSGAfrica 2019, Jos Gospel Art and Music Awards 2019, and a host of others.
As part of his achievements in tourism development, he was a part of the stakeholders that reviewed the plateau state tourism policy in 2019, lead by the Honourable Commisoner of Tourism, Culture and Hospitality Plateau State. He has planned and hosted tourist around Nigeria in Yankari Game Reserve Bauchi state, Miango Rest Home Jos Plateau State, Calabar Carnival in Cross River State and other private trips.
In recent times, he has evolved in his professional career to be a strategic planner, corporate events planner, and a community development expert.
1st October 2020, he embarked on an environmental awareness and community service program tagged #JosCityTrek which he mobilized over 300 people that evacuated waste from the streets of Jos Nigeria covering over 5 kilometers. This project encouraged participants to be stewards of environmental sustainability by adopting proper waste disposal practices, recycling and conservation. He said “without a beautiful and healthy environment tourism can not thrive”.
In his words, he considers tourism in Nigeria as the next gold mine due to its enormous potentials, he believes when proper investment, maintenance, and showcasing of our tourism destinations in Nigeria, we are sure to attract more visitors and greater revenue.