<![CDATA[TRAVEL | PHOTOGRAPHY - BLOG]]>Sun, 16 Jun 2019 16:51:29 +0100Weebly<![CDATA[Now That We Have Won The Election, It's Time To Make Tourism a Priority]]>Tue, 05 Mar 2019 17:24:31 GMThttp://funmiajala.com/blog/now-that-we-have-won-the-election-its-time-to-make-tourism-a-priority
We are done and dusted with the elections that come once in four years, it's time for this administration to make tourism a priority.
Nigeria as a nation is too blessed by mother nature for us not to make it a priority.

I had a discussion a while back with a tourism expert and he said the government do not have any business in tourism but to create the enabling environment and put policies in place that will make tourism grow. He also said Nigeria has the potential of generating $650 Billion as tourism revenue annually. This may look absurd but it is possible if Lagos State as a State was able to generate N50 Billion from Tourism in December 2017.

If we have ever met you will know how passionate I am about growing the tourism and cultural potential of my country, Nigeria.  I have been to a few States in the country and I will use the tourism potential of the places as examples so we can all relate.
The enabling environment expected from the Federal Government is in different forms. But we need to start with the Federal Government parastatal that is responsible for Tourism: Ministry of Information and Culture which is presently run by Alhaji Lai Mohammed. Does the ministry have a detailed list with comprehensive data of how many tourism sites we have in each state? per local government? how many people visit these places every week, month and year? We need these data to be able to forecast and determine different challenges with respect to Tourism.

So I will outline the different key areas the government need to make a priority in order to generate more earnings internally per States.   
1) Policies: Let's start with the supposedly Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation Bill, 2017 referred to as NTDC Bill that was sent to the Senate to repeal the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC Act) and in its place establish the Nigerian Tourism Corporation. Include is a layman translation of the document. First, I did not read the document, most of my tourism colleagues are not aware of it, so who are the people that granted it okay for NTDC to send it? Please do correct me with my thinking but I am just saying in sending a bill, stakeholders are to be represented.
NTDC needs to up their game by really coming down to the level of the mortals and start dealing with real issues.

We need to have policies that allow the indigenes of the places where the tourist site is located a revenue-sharing formula that benefits them thus encouraging them to take care of the places for it is always too far for government staff to visit regularly.

Policies need to be enacted when it comes to nature, tree felling, nature conservation, environmental cleanliness and animal protection. Tourism is not about hotels, taxing hotels is not the main goal of tourism development, it is more than that.
2) Good Roads: We need good roads with streetlights on the highway, this will make travelling very interesting and smooth for people to want to travel. I have done a trip from Lagos to Enugu and it took me about nine hours to get to Enugu due to bad roads. I know this administration is working on that. I need them to take the terrain and drainages into consideration when building roads. Some terrains are so muddy which means the roads need to be dug pretty well into the ground to last longer. We need good roads which will make us want to set out and drive around the country.

3) Security: There is a need for good security, not the ones that will be exploiting people on the road. People need to feel safe travelling around the country.  

4) Information Database: As far as Nigeria is concerned, most of the data found are user-generated. This is good because one part of the job is done, what is left is the verification and data collection process. We need a detailed database of the tourism sites and potentials we have in this country.

It is important that we tackle these issues. Nigeria has the potential to generate revenue from Food tourism, cultural tourism, Adventures and hiking, Nature conservation tours, National Parks etc...There are too many things we have laying fallow.

Let me give you a bit of information about what we have so you will understand my frustration.
i) The only natural suspended lake in the world is in Ado-Awaye, Oyo State, Nigeria. The supposedly second one is the Hanging Lake in the Glenwods Canyon, east of Glenwood Springs, Colorado, USA. It was formed by a geologic fault which caused the lake bed to drop away from the gently sloping valley above it. So the true one is here and we are not taking care of it.
ii) The supposedly highest waterfall in West Africa is Owu waterfall, tucked away in a village in Kwara State. It is said that Wli Falls, Located 20km from Hohoe in the Volta Region of Ghana is the highest. I will have to hike it, see it compare though. To get to Owu fall is a terrible tough terrain. It is 3hrs if you walk and about 90 minutes if you bike because you will have to come down in some areas, walk down and then climb the bike back. It is not supposed to be so, it is not for the faint-hearted to hike through. The terrain gets soaked and rough as you approached the waterfall in the rainy season.
iii) The ten commandment stone in Jos. This is an abandoned project which could have been generating revenue for the government.
iv) Matsirga waterfall, Kaduna. This waterfall is wasting away and the government are not doing anything to the place. This is the easiest waterfall in the country. You can see the waterfall by the roadside. It is about two hours 30 minutes from Kaduna town and it is in Southern Kaduna and not far from Zango Kataf where the crisis normally starts. This place has the potential to have a resort built around the waterfall. The land is been used by farmers to cultivate their crops.
v) Agbokim Waterfall:  This is another tough waterfall to manoeuvre. The trip down there is not lovely as well. Do you know one of the cocoa-producing community is along that road? They make chewing stick which is now imported in Agbokim, I saw truck been loaded of the chewing stick.
vi) What is wrong with the adire been made in Abeokuta and Osogbo to be exported to the world. We need to create a whole chain from production to the market, adire need to be on New York Fashion Week runways, London Fashion Week, Milan Fashion Week, Paris Fashion show to mention a few. Do you know how much revenue will be generated if our adire makers start to design patterned adire for fashion designers globally
There are jobs that will be created, the economy will thrive, communities will develop on their own because all the necessary infrastructure is in place. We can train tour guides, craftsmen and artisans will start selling their wares to tourists, the local food seller makes money, the taxi driver makes money, the local Buka and restaurants make money, the hotel makes money, and its a full circle where the money changes hand within the environment and never goes out.

Do you know we grow very sweet strawberries in Nigeria? DO you know there is a tea plantation in Nigeria? We need to wake up. I want Nigeria to be shown to the world in its beauty and glory, my Nigeria the way I see it through my lens.
Please if you read this and you are close to the present government, kindly draw their attention for the need for tourism growth. We need seriousness in this sector.
The quest for me is to showcase the 36 States in Nigeria, tell their stories, and ultimately the 54 countries in the African continents.

Please do share.
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<![CDATA[Travels Apps to Make your trips fun]]>Mon, 25 Feb 2019 10:21:47 GMThttp://funmiajala.com/blog/travels-apps-to-make-your-trips-fun
Are you a traveller, a frequent flyer or someone who travel for work. You fall into these categories if you are travelling two out of four weeks in a month.

Ever been a city and you are lost in regards to a lot of things. Not everyone knows how to navigate around a city using google map, not everyone can manage to communicate in an unfamiliar language, and many other issues relating to travels.
Thanks to technology and apps that have made things easy for us. Here is a list of some apps that can be used by travellers.

FlightRadar24: Flightradar24 is a global flight tracking service that provides you with real-time information about thousands of aircraft around the world. You can track flights in Nigeria on this platform. Available online (www.flightradar24.com), iOS, and Android.

FLIGHT PRICES
You can use any of the following to compare ticket fares.

KAYAK: This app is used to track price tickets and hotel bookings. It compares fares with other sites, pooling the results together. The prices are in pounds. Visit https://www.kayak.co.uk. The app is available in the iOS store and Android play store for download.
OPODO:  is an app/website to use for price comparison.

EXPEDIA: is another app/website as well
SKYSCANNER: input your dates, location and do check up on available flight deals. You can download the app on the iOS and Android store as well.
HOPPER: This app tells you about flight deals and whether to buy now or later. It works primarily on your phone as an app only.
HOLIDAYPIRATES: You can search for travel deals which are inclusive of flights, hotel booking and car rentals. You can also check up on holiday deals and cruises as well. You can set alerts to get notified when there are deals you will want to tap into.
ACCOMMODATION
AIRBNB
This is like the go-to for a home away from home. If you want something more than a hotel feel, or you are a group of people that will like to share an apartment, this is the best option. You filter by location, availability, nearness to the city centre, or beach or malls, availability of wifi, and a lot of factors around amenities. You contact your host and get ready to meet. But do try to sort out amenity bills like lights and internet. Do find out from your host if you are the one to pay or it is included in your fee so you can be prepared. It is always advisable to get a local sim and do load with data and call credit to get around.

The app is available in the iOS store and Android play store for download.
HOSTELWORLD
This is good for backpackers and low budget travellers. You get to discover hostels in Six continents: Europe, Asia, North America, South America, Oceania and Africa. You can get accommodation for as low as $6 per night. The website allows you to search for Bed and Breakfast accommodation, hotels and hostels. Check the website for more information.

The app is available in the iOS store and Android play store for download.
BOOKING.COM
Want accommodation with good deals? This is the platform to use. Be sure of the filters to use if you want accommodation. If you want to cancel your accommodation, do it within 24 hours and make sure you get a mail confirmation that it has been cancelled. Check he site for more information

The app is available in the iOS store and Android play store for download.
HOTELTONIGHT
Having a night out and you need a good hotel to stay last minute? This is the app you want on your phone. Get a good last-minute hotel deal and you can book one week in advance if you are sure of your schedule. This is the app is for people who are looking for a fancy night without splashing too much cash for the hotels are not cheap.

Hotels are available in North America, Central & South America, Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Asia-Pacific.

The app is available in the iOS store and Android play store for download.
TRIVAGO
Looking for good deals with comparison over different hotels website? Then this is your site. Compares prices from Expedia, booking.com, priceline.com, Hostelworld, Travelocity and many more sites, in one place. So if you like scoring good deals, this is the app to use.

Check https://www.trivago.com for more information.

The app is available in the iOS store and Android play store for download.
GETTING AROUND
UBER
This is a car service that allows you to get a comfortable car ride when you are in cities you are not familiar with. I do use uber for comparison when I travel because the local cab fare might be cheaper so knowing the uber fare helps you with your bargaining skills. In all, it has been a good service with the features of reporting your driver and asking for refunds when you feel you have been overcharged.

App is available in the iOS store and Android play store for download.
CITYMAPPER
This apps has a full map of the city where you get to use it. It is an urban map guide with options for different forms of transportation like the bus, metro service, bikes, tram service, Rail stations, Electric bikes service, that are nearby with their full maps. It is not available worldwide but you can check the cities where it is available here https://citymapper.com/cities

It is good to have a city map on your phone.
MYTAXI

This is quite popular in Europe, it works in a similar way with Uber. The major difference is the use of a licensed taxi with my taxi while Uber works majorly with private car owners. It is available in 5o cities across the European continent and it is expanding. This app allows you to review drivers, share journey details, request drivers and leave tips for drivers. Prices are almost similar to that of Uber but destination makes prices to vary.

Check https://mytaxi.com/ and https://us.mytaxi.com/index.html if you are in the US.

The app is available in the iOS store and Android play store for download.
TURO

Have you ever had that feeling of riding or driving a local means of transportation when you travel? There are different forms of transportation in different countries. From the Keke Marwa which is common in the Asia Pacific continent to hatchbacks and supercars in some other location.
Turo is a local rental app that allows locals to rent out their cars to the tourist who have passed the clearance process to make use of their car.
You can book a car of your choice from a local by filling in your destination, hours to use the car, travel dates and do choose from the locally-owned listed cars. You will collect the keys of the car from the owner and you will drop off after usage.

This is a good way to be part of a community when travelling.

Check https://turo.com to see how it works. This is available in the United States and Canada for now.

The app is available in the iOS store and Android play store for download.
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<![CDATA[Tips On Choosing a Travel Destination]]>Tue, 19 Feb 2019 12:30:24 GMThttp://funmiajala.com/blog/tips-on-choosing-a-travel-destination
Instagram as a social media platform has opened us to a world of beauty we never thought exist. To some, it has made them observe their environment and surroundings very well. And to some, it has shown them the different travel destinations that were never on their radar.

Are you the type that keeps wondering which is the best destination to go to. Here are tips that will guide you. I am using the Nigerian environment for this but you can adapt it to your own country.

Tip 1: WHEN do you want to travel?

You need to figure out the vacation duration. For families, working parents do normally take their leave when the children are on long holiday which is usually about a month. For singles, you might look at the long Sallah holiday which lasts about five days or the Easter period, or holidays that last about three days and inclusive of weekend makes it five long days.
For those that love to use their leave for vacation period, do take your leave around the periods that have many holidays. Remember your leave is counted with working days, so with holidays in between, your leave period get extended.
Tip 2: WHAT is your budget?

How much are you ready to spend? Having a budget adds a lot to the planning. Put pen to paper and breakdown your budgets into the following segments:
 Transportation: Are you flying? Going by road? or sailing? DO your research for the period to determine the transport fare.
  Also, do a search for transport around town. Will you use uber, or the normal taxis or even a bus? Research and do find an approximate price.

Food: Will you be eating out all day? If yes, how much are you willing or can afford daily on feeding?

Accommodation: Will you use Airbnb or hotel or hostel? Does it have complimentary breakfast included? Can you cook on your own there?

NOTE: when you are using Airbnb you will pay utility bills most of the time. It is not included in your accommodation fee. Do take notice of this.
Tip 3: WHERE do you want to go and WHEN do you want to make the trip?

This has to do with the state, town or county. Do your research and learn about what to do when you get to the town. You can find travel guides for some activities and places to visit on my blog.

Determine whether it is best to go during the rainy season or the dry season. If a waterfall is in your list, it is best to go immediately the rainy season is over so you can have a feel of the water been full and during the rainy season when it is impossible to move closer. While some waterfall is okay to visit during the early dry season.

Climate should determine what you will carry along in terms of clothes and shoes. Do not forget to check the season for when you will travel.
Tip 4: Determine Language Barriers.

Do you speak the native language? Can you communicate to pass by or you will need a translator? There are some places in Nigeria that you will need a translator, especially up north. But if you are travelling out of the country you can use apps like Duoligo or use google translator on your phone to get by.

Tip 5: Type of trip

There are different types of trips. Some go for shopping trips which is just to shop for clothes, shoes and bags. Some go on business trips, some for a conference, some for adventures, some for food, resort or road trips. Which one are you interested in? I do go on road trips most of the time. This means I do all my travels by road because I want to take in the view, be able to stop on the road to take pictures and engage with people.

What type of trip do you want to embark on? Once you have made up your mind, you can use all these tips to put together your itinerary for a trip.

Thank you for reading, please do post your comments about this article, and do kindly share.
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<![CDATA[TRAVEL GUIDE: The Ancient City of Kano]]>Thu, 14 Feb 2019 17:42:24 GMThttp://funmiajala.com/blog/travel-guide-the-ancient-city-of-kano
Kano State was the third and last city I visited during the last Sallah festival. I started with Kaduna, went on to Katsina and finished up in Kano. I looked at the following critically and thus the way the trip was scheduled.Transport: It was easier getting vehicles to Lagos from Kano as I do not want to break my journey via Abuja.

Durbar Festival: Kano Durbar is the largest and the grand of all durbar festival in the North.

The primary reason was to document the durbar festival. I had witnessed the Durbar festival in Katsina the day before and left for Kano around 1 pm. I got to Kano at about 4 pm and I started the hunt for a hotel. A friend I met on Instagram had gotten me a hotel with a discount and so I set out to look for the place. On getting there I called my friend, the phone kept ringing but she did not pick up. I was about walking out of the hotel when she picked and directed me to ask for the owner. Apparently, the person had been sitting at the lobby all the while I had been trying to reach her on the phone. We talked and I booked my room. It was about a 45% discount.

One thing I always do is to get a cabman that will take me around, someone that can communicate effectively and speaks the native language as well as the English Language fluently.

I just have to say if you do not speak Hausa try as much as possible to get a dedicated guide that can take you around. One thing I learnt is that almost everyone that can communicate a bit in English, preferably someone young and adventurous, who will not mind wandering with you. Then you can enjoy Kano.
If you are not documenting festivals like I am, please do not go during the Sallah festivals. I missed out on a lot of places because people were on Sallah break.

ABOUT KANO


Kano State is located in North-Western Nigeria and created on May 27, 1967, from the old Northern Region. It is bordered to the north-west by Katsina State and to the north-east by Jigawa State, then to the south-east by Bauchi State and the south-west by Kaduna State. Jigawa State was carved out of Kano State in 1991.

Kano had about 10 million people according to the 2006 census figures, and 44 local government areas.

Kano City is the capital of Kano State. The capital comprises six local government areas: Municipal, Dala, Nassarawa, Gwale, Fagge and Tarauni.
Centre of Commerce is the slogan or epithet of the state. It is true, because the state was the most enterprising in pre-colonial times, and presently only second to Lagos in Nigeria.
Places to visit when in Kano

Kano City Wall/Gates: The city walls and gates are landmarks that open a window to the past existence of the people. Although the original outlook of most of the city walls has been destroyed, what now stands are replicas of the preserved walls with one of the city gates having the mud structure of the old Kano wall. The ancient city wall with a 14km radius earth structure was completed in the 14th Century to provide security to the growing population of the old Kano city in the wake of any external aggression.
Numbering about 15, the city walls once served as defensive facilities with gate and also demarcated the abode of the indigenes from those of the strangers. The surviving city walls include those located at the Bayero University old campus road; where you come across Sabuwar Kofar, Dan Agundi, Kabuga, Dukawuya and Gadon Kaya. Other sites are Goron hill and Kofar Ruwa while that of Kofar Nasarawa road presents a picture of the renovated wall.

Dala hills: It is one where the first inhabitants of the city settled. Traces of this historical fact are evident as you meander through the area where many of the buildings still retain their rural appeal. Standing atop Dala hill affords one a birds eye’s view of the sprawling city. You will experience Kano from a higher elevation at the top of the hill. It is 534 meters high. There are also 999 steps on the hill. In the seventh century, The hill was the settlement of a community that engaged in iron-working and is home to  Bagauda was the son of Bawo, a very powerful warlord in the AD.
Bashir Uthman Tofa Mosque

Bashir Tofa is notable as the man who ran against MKO Abiola in the annulled 1993 elections. He has this amazing mosque in the ancient city of Kano.  The Bashir Tofa mosque is regarded as the most beautiful mosque in Nigeria.
Do note that you can enter the mosques if you are properly dressed, that is having a scarf on and a flowing gown to cover yourself. Get someone who speaks Hausa to communicate your motive of taking the picture of the mosque. It is built with beautifully designed marble tiles.
Gidan Dan Hausa

This was built in 1909. Sometimes referred to as Kano State Museum, this is a major tourist attraction for this is where Western education in the North started.
It is named so after the title 'Son of Hausa' given to the Swiss tutor, Mr Hanns Fischer, that started western education in the North. He was given the name by his students because he wrote and spoke the Hausa language. This was also his residence and there he formed the vocational school referred to as Makarantar Dan Hausa (school of Dan Hausa).

Historians say the house was built more than 150 years before Fischer occupied and re-designed it, to reflect the present day status of Gidan Dan Hausa (son of Hausa residence).

Available records also show that the school which started with 30 pupils in 1909 had a student population of 209 in 1913, while the students were drawn from the 11 Northern provinces.
Gidan Dan Hausa is a symbol of colonial administration; the first education secretary of the Kano province lived there, and it was there that the second western school was established after the Nagarta Schools established in Sokoto in 1905.

This museum houses a collection of artefacts from stone age to present day, It is also the first colonial residency in Kano.
KURMI MARKET, KANO

This market was built in the 15th Century. It is notable as a market for artefacts and souvenirs.
It was an outpost of the transatlantic slave trade, serving as a warehouse and waystation for slaves from North Africa.

This market has been plagued by infernos multiple times in its history, and much of the market has been demolished and rebuilt. The market shares a glorious history with the ancient city of Kano. Created by Mohammed Rumfa during his reign in the 15th century, it prospered as a commercial hub, servicing traders all the way from Tripoli. 600 years later, it is still an active centre of commerce and trade in Sub-Saharan Africa. Although dwindling in its significance, it is still seen as a solid part of Kano's history.
Kofar Mata Dyeing Pits

You cannot leave Kano without visiting this place. It is right inside the old Kano and it was named after one of the city gate, Kofar Mata. This is where the traditional dyeing process which is so similar to the adire eleko process in Abeokuta and Osogbo, This dyeing process used the same blue indigo colour as that used in the South West but the difference is the used of the dyeing pits in Kano while in Abeokuta or Osogbo the drums are used for the dyeing process. You can read extensively about the dyeing pit here.
Katin Kwari Market

This market is also referred to as Kwari Market. It is reputed to be West Africa's largest textile market, and one of the biggest on the continent as a whole. It is the market for modern textiles such as coloured ankara, African George fabrics, English and Chord laces. Unlike the Kurmi market that major in local materials, the machine textile products are found in Kwari. It is located not too far from Kofar Matar Dyeing Pits.
Gidan Makama Museum

This is also known as Kano Museum. Established sometime in 1440's AD. This building once served as a temporary palace before the current palace was constructed in the 15th century. This building is recognised as a National Monument by the Nigerian Government.

The museum is divided into 11 galleries with different aspects of cultural artefacts, you find some of the ancient gates that were fixed on the different city gates of Kano, some with bullet holes with its own stories.
There are sections dedicated to cultural regalias, musical instruments, historical pots which were believed to have been stationed at the city wall for visitors from a long journey to drink from before proceeding further on their journey.

This is a place that is filled with a lot of history. It does have an open space at the back which is dedicated to the life of Ado Bayero and is an open space for local performance.

You need to visit this place if you are in Kano.

These are the few places I was able to visit because it was a Sallah holiday. The markets were practically empty with a lot of empty stalls and locked up shops. Hope to go back to enjoy more of what Kano has got to offer in terms of fashion, food, tradition, culture and its people.

Thanks for taking the time to read through the post, do kindly drop your comment below.
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<![CDATA[Old Vs New Yellow Fever Card]]>Sat, 05 Jan 2019 17:32:35 GMThttp://funmiajala.com/blog/old-vs-new-yellow-fever-card
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) from 11 July 2016 the certificate of vaccination against yellow fever is valid for the life of the person vaccinated. This lifetime validity applies automatically to all existing and new certificates, beginning 10 days after the date of vaccination. So the question is why is Nigeria now changing the old Yellow card to a new one which they supposedly called the eYellow Card. Will the new card have micro chip or is it because of the barcode that is in front which we can see from the image.

I am worried because how many borders in Africa, if you are traveling by road will have the barcode reader? Will this new card be recognised by other countries? or it is just Nigeria alone?

The following instructional cards were posted online this week and I went on to test the website.

 TESTING THE WEBSITE

So I gave the YellowCardNigeria.com a try. I logged in my yellow fever card and it brought up data that were not mine.
The data produced does not say much. I got the result that my card is Valid but for how long I do not know.
WHY YELLOW FEVER VACCINES

Yellow fever vaccination is carried out for two different purposes:

1.   To  prevent  the  international  spread  of  the  disease  by  protecting  countries  from  the  risk  of  importing  or  spreading  the  yellow  fever  virus.  
These are requirements established by the country.
(The countries that require proof of vaccination are those where the disease may or may not occur and where the mosquito vector and potential non-human primate hosts of yellow fever are present.)

NOTE: The fact that a country has no requirement for yellow fever vaccination does not imply that there is no risk of yellow fever transmission.

2. To protect individual travelers who may be exposed to yellow fever infection.
(The risk of yellow fever transmission depends on the presence of the virus in the country in humans, mosquitoes or animals.).
LIST OF COUNTRIES WITH RISK OF YELLOW FEVER TRANSMISSION

These countries also requires that you have the Yellow Fever Card which is the proof of taking the vaccine.

AFRICA - Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Togo, Uganda.

AMERICAS - Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela.
Click here for the full document from WHO

I will like to know your experience with checking out the website and will find a way of making enquiries on the validity period for old card with the  need to change it.

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<![CDATA[TRAVEL GUIDE: History Of The Ancient City Of Kano]]>Sun, 16 Dec 2018 10:06:10 GMThttp://funmiajala.com/blog/travel-guide-history-of-the-ancient-city-of-kano
Kano State is located in North-Western Nigeria and created on May 27, 1967, from the old Northern Region. It is bordered to the north-west by Katsina State and to the north-east by Jigawa State, then to the south-east by Bauchi State and the south-west by Kaduna State. Jigawa State was carved out of Kano State in 1991.

Kano had about 10 million people according to the 2006 census figures, and 44 local government areas.
Kano City is the capital of Kano State. The capital comprises six local government areas: Municipal, Dala, Nassarawa, Gwale, Fagge and Tarauni.

Centre of Commerce is the slogan or epithet of the state. It is true, because the state was the most enterprising in pre-colonial times, and presently only second to Lagos.
HISTORY
According to Bayajidda legend, the Hausa kingdom began as seven states founded by the six sons of Bawo and himself, the unique son of the hero and the queen Magajiya Daurama in addition to the hero's son, Biram or Ibrahim of an earlier Marriage. The States include only kingdoms inhabited by Hausa speakers
- Daura
- Kano
- Katsina
- Zaria (Zazzau)
- Gobir
- Rano
- Biram (Hadejia)
ANCIENT KANO
Kingship system in the Kano Kingdom started in the year 999AD with the overthrow of a powerful priest Barbushe who was in control of a shrine at Dala hill called Tsumburbura.

Barbushe was a descendant of Dala, a man of great stature and might. He was a great Hunter who built his house on top of Dalahill, this is the reason why the hill was named after him. He had seven children, four boys and three girls. The eldest among them was Garageje. Barbushe succeeded his forefathers because he was skilled in the various pagan rites.

Before 999AD the ancient Kano people settled in groups on top of hills, these hills include: Goron Dutse hill under the control of Gunzago, Tsumburo lived with people at Jigirya, Jan Damisa at Magwan hill, Hambaro heads Tangar hill and Gambarjo heads Fanisau hill. The heads of various hills were next to barbushe in rank.

Dala hill became attractive to immigrants from different parts of Hausa land. Bagauda and his group among the earliest immigrants to Dala hill. Bagauda was the son of Bawo, a very powerful warlord. On their arrival, they conquered the people at Dala hill and its surroundings.

Before their arrival, there was no centralised system of administration in the area. Having realized this, Bagauda established a royal system. His palace was located at Sheme. That was the beginning of the kingship system in Kano Kingdom.
RULING HOUSES

The monarchical system in Kano is divided into two: Habe dynasty and the Fulani dynasty. Under the Habe Dynasty, we have Gidan Bagauda which ruled for four hundred and sixty-four years (464) AD 999 - 146.
Gidan Rumfa ruled for one hundred and sixty years (160) 1463 - 1623 and Gidan Kutumbi, one hundred and Eighty-four years (184) 1623 - 1807.

Fulani dynasty, on the other hand, ruled for Two hundred and eleven years (211) 1807 - 2018, bringing up to one thousand and nineteen (1019) years of monarchical rule in Kano.

Rulers under Habe dynasty are called Kings while that of Fulani are known as Emirs.

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<![CDATA[TRAVEL GUIDE: Explore Daura]]>Fri, 16 Nov 2018 15:58:18 GMThttp://funmiajala.com/blog/travel-guide-explore-daura
Daura is the second major town after Katsina in Katsina State. It is also popular because it is the home town of Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari.

I have just a day to explore Katsina for the Durbar Festival which I primarily came to document is the following day and I leave for Kano after the parade. After lodging at the hotel and going out to get a few things, I stayed put in my hotel room while making arrangement for going round the following day. My host in Katsina, Abdulkaque had to go to work the following day.
The morning started with me trying to get across to the keke guy that will take me around town. On inquiring at the desk the distance between Katsina and Daura I decided to hire a cab that will take me around town and then we will go to Daura. Arrangements was made for me by the hotel manager and I got a cab driver/guide that speaks good English and Hausa. This was a big plus for me as I have discovered that you need to understand a bit of Hausa to be able to communicate effectively. After going round Katsina as pointed out in this guide, we set out to Daura.
ABOUT DAURA
The trip to Daura is almost two hours and the different views along the way was quite interesting.
Daura is a town and also a local government area in Katsina State. It is said to be the spiritual home of the Hausa people having been the ancient seats of Islamic culture and learning.. It is the second emirate in Katsina State, and is referred to as one of the 'seven true Hausa State' i.e. 'Hausa Bakwai'.
The seven true Hausa States are Biram, Kano, Katsina, Zazzau, Gobir, Rano and Daura, which are ruled by the descendants of Bayajidda's sons with Daurama (the last Kabara of Daura) and Magira (his first wife).
Daura is an agriculture town where crops are grown all year round. Main agricultural produce are sorghum, millet, onions, peanuts (groundnuts), cotton, and hides and skins.
Daura is a combination of Fulani and Hausa inhabitants thus the rearing of cattle, goats, sheep, horses and donkeys are common sight in almost every household of influence. Exportation of cotton and peanuts are significant economic activities in the town.
PLACES TO VISIT IN DAURA
On getting to Daura we sought out the city gates and where to get Fura and nunu. Apparently my cab driver lived in Daura for some years so he is pretty familiar with the environment. He took me straight to the city centre where there were about two dozen Fulani women with their beautifully crafted calabash and wares of Fura and nunu. We set out to bargain to and fro on the product. Finally we agreed on a price and we made our purchase. I told him that I will like to blend my own as i do prefer it that way than using the traditional method for it.
CITY GATES: By now if you have been following my stories about the northern part of Nigeria you would have noticed that city gates do come up often in the articles. Most of the major trading towns in the northern part of Nigeria have gates that are used as security measures to keep unwanted people out of the cities. The northern part of Nigeria is pretty porous and its closeness to the borders of Niger, Chad, Sudan and some African countries made it very important to have city gates back then.
The gates are now rebuilt with modern day bricks with the names carved on them. One thing that is very similar with all the gates in Daura is the emblem of the snake and sword. The story of Daura and the seven true Hausa States is not complete without telling the story of the snake and the sword.
Some of the city gates we visited are Kofar Durbi, Kofar Sarki Abdurrahman (Ancient West Gate), and Kofar Sarki Musa.
KUSUGU WELL: This is the legendary Kusugu well. Historical myth has been told about this well. The popular Hausa myth has it that Hausa communities were then living in Central Sudan for about 2000 years and Daura was said to be one of the largest Hausa cities of that era.The affairs of the cities were managed by Queens who acts as Head of Government. Daura was ruled over by Queen Daurama who was also known as the last Kabara of Daura.
During her reign, the major source of water supply in the town is the Kusugu well. The people were only allowed to fetch water once a week because of a snake called Sarki that was in the well. I did wondered if the snake sleep on this day or it went to play in order to allow them fetch water. But as I said, it's a myth.
Salvation came in form of a Baghdad Prince named Prince Abu Yazid who came to Daura and lodged in the house of an old woman named Ayyana. On asking for water he was given very little and when he asked for more water he was told there was none and thus he learnt about Sarki the snake and the Kusungu well.

He asked to be shown the well and after a fight between him and the snake, he killed Sarki, thus making the availability of water easy for the people.
Queen Daurama then married him and he became a King. As a foreigner, he could not speak the Hausa language when he arrived in Daura, thus he was called Bayajjida, meaning 'He who doesn't understand before'.
H egave birth to seven children that ruled over the seven Hausa States which are called Hausa Bakwai.

This is the origin of the snake and sword emblem which signifies Sarki the snake and the sword of Bayajjida.
Kusugu well still stand in a small house built round the well with rope attached for drawing and there are pictures which tells the stories of the Daura people and the well.
The only but in visiting this place is the guide that we met that day does not speak English and the reading materials are in Hausa so I could not buy any. When you visit Daura it is a must visit.

EMIR's PALACE: One thing I learnt about visiting Emir's palace in the north is that you need to book ahead in order to be given a detailed tour. After much conversation and waiting and trying to understand each other someone was assigned to show me the exterior part of the palace but I was not able to have a detailed tour because i did not booked ahead and it was the day before Durbar so there was heavy activities at the palace.
The beautiful architecture of the North never cease to amaze me with the way they build the new around the old. The use of colours to tell the story of the culture and its people is present in almost all the buildings in the palace.

We were shown the horse stable of the Emir where the horses were been prep for the parade the following day.
I was given and invitation to come around for the Durbar and I said i will honour it next year. By this time the cloud was already changing and a heavy rain was brewing itself. We were 3o minutes out of Daura when the sky opened up and it rained all the way back to Katsina.
I was able to blend my fura and nunu and I can say it is the best I have had till date, very rich and creamy. Make sure you have a taste of Fura de nunu from Daura.
It was a fulfilling day. Do make sure to visit Katsina and Daura and you may be lucky to be in the same room with President Buhari if you go around the festive period.

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<![CDATA[The Dynasty ´╗┐of Katsina]]>Sat, 03 Nov 2018 19:10:51 GMThttp://funmiajala.com/blog/the-dynasty-of-katsina
Katsina is a historic kingdom and emirate in northern Nigeria. According to tradition, the kingdom, one of the Hausa Bakwai (“Seven True Hausa States”), was founded in the 10th or 11th century. Islām was introduced in the 1450s, and Muhammad Korau (reigned late 15th century) was Katsina’s first Muslim king. During his reign camel caravans crossed the Sahara from Ghudāmis (Ghadames), Tripoli, and Tunis southward to Katsina and brought such prosperity to the state that it became caught in the rivalry between the great West African empires of Songhai (Gao) and Bornu. In 1513 Katsina was conquered by the Songhai.
Katsina entered its greatest period of prosperity in the early 18th century. Besides being the leading Hausa commercial state, it replaced Timbuktu (Tombouctou) as the chief West African centre of Islāmic studies.

In the 15th century the Fulani herdsmen settled in Katsina and in 1804 the Fulani jihad (holy war) leader, Usman dan Fodio, led a revolt (beginning in Gobir) against the Hausa overlords. The Fulani leader Umaru Dallaji captured Katsina town in 1806 and was named the first Katsina emir with Katsina as his seat.
Katsina has a lot of historical heritage around the different dynasties that has ruled Katsina till date. Here is a list of the acknowledged dynasties according to history.

DURBAWA DYNASTY

The Durbawa people were said to be the founders of the ancient Katsina kingdom. It is said that Katsina was named after a Princes of Daura who married Janzama king of Durbawa, who ruled at Durbi-Takusheyi and whose name is still preserved as a rock close to Mani. There is no detailed written document about the number of Kings under this dynasty. But Janzama is said to be the last ruler of Durbawa. HE was overthrown by Kuayau the first ruler under the Kumayau dynasty.
KUMAYAU DYNASTY

This was the second dynasty after Durbawa. This dynasty produced seven kings of Katsina from Kumayau to Sanau. During this dynasty appointing a new king was through a wrestling contest whereby the winner became the new king.

KORAU DYNASTY

This dynasty produced 31 Kings of Katsina starting from Muhammadu Korau the first Muslim ruler to Magajin Haladu. Muhammadu Korau became a new king under the third dynasty by defeating Sanau in a wrestling contest. Since then the kingship has been hereditary and restricted only to royal princes.
DALLAZAWA DYNASTY

This dynasty came as a result of the Jihad of Shehu Usman Danfodio in 1804. The Jihad was led by Malam Ummarun Dallaje, Malam Mammam Na Alhaji and Malam Ummarun Dunyawa who received the Jihad flag from Malam Muhammadu Bello son of Danfodio on Shehu's behalf. This dynasty produced eight Emirs of Katsina from Malam Ummarun Dallaje (1807) to Malam Yaro in 1906.

SULLUBAWA DYNASTY

This dynasty is the fourth dynasty after the Durbawa dynasty. The depositon of Sarki Abubaka amd Malam Yero by the British colonial masters brought about the beginning of Sullubawa or the Dikko dynasty. This dynasty produced four Emirs of Katsina from Sarki Muhammadu Dikko 1906 to Sarki Abdulmumini Kabir Usman, the current Emir.
(Research: National <useum, Katsina and brittanica.com)
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<![CDATA[TRAVEL GUIDE: Exploring KATSINA Town]]>Tue, 23 Oct 2018 05:28:25 GMThttp://funmiajala.com/blog/travel-guide-exploring-katsina-town
I set out for Katsina from Kaduna. I left Kaduna the day before Sallah and I have to say that was a wrong move. I got to the garage and there was this huge Crowd of people but there was no free bus, the passengers far outweigh the buses.
My friend interacted with one of the park guide and ask him to get a cab to take me to Katsina. I had to charter a cab to take me to Katsina. When traveling please be aware of the holidays, do make sure it is not a big holiday season.

I finally got into town and met with a friend of a friend who lives in Katsina. He was quite calm, and we went hotel hunting, I finally got one and I settled in. The following morning, armed with my list of places to visit, I asked for a cab. I got a good driver that was patient, speaks English and Hausa which was really cool. We set out on our adventure for the day.

The day trip was divided into two, Katsina and Daura. These are places you need to visit when you are in Katsina.
KATSINA CITY GATES: There are seven city gates in Katsina. Security is the most important function of the wall in the city, especially in areas where there are rich mineral deposits. The pattern of the walls are same throughout the Hausaland, mud and burnt bricks with water obtained from nearby streams were used for constructing the walls.
As modernization became the IN thing, the wallls were rebuilt with bricks and concretes except for one which is still in mud shape.

The gates are namely, Kofar Durbi, Kofar Marusa, Kofar Guga, Kofar Kwaya, Kofar Sauri, Kofar Kaura and monumental gate called Kofar ‘Yandaka where Sir Fredrick Lord Luggard the then Governor–General of Nigeria entered Katsina through in the year 1903.
GOBARAU MINARET: The minaret is believed to have been built during the tenure of King Muhammadu Korau who reigned between 1348-1398(i.e.600yrs ago). The minaret was built by the local craftsmen using mainly sun-baked clay and mud.
Gobarau Minaret used to be the highest building in the ancient city of Katsina and environs. Beside being the first central mosque, it also served as a surveillance tower for sighting enemy invaders as they approach Katsina  during the communal wars.The minaret is preserved as a national monument and tourist attraction site.
OLD KATSINA'S TEACHER'S COLLEGE:  Built in 1921 with red-baked city mud and clay, this is the oldest teachers training college in the northern part of Nigeria. This college went on to have many names. The initial intake was said to be 50 students.
In 1922 the college was moved to Zaria and again renamed Government Secondary School, Zaria. In January 1949, the name was changed to Government College, Zaria and later Barewa College, Zaria.
The college has produced prominent Nigerians like the late Prime Minister, Sir. Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and the Late Premier of Northern Nigeria Alhaji Sir, Ahmadu Bello as well as many others.

On April 23, 1959 the college building was declared a Historic monument. This building is now Home to the National Museum, Katsina. Opposite it is an extension of the college and on the gate you will find the inscription BOBA, which stands for Barewa Old Boys Association.
The name BAREWA, which was adopted in 1971, evolved from its symbol, signifying progress in the swift movement of the gazelle. This came after the emergence of six State Governments in the former Northern region some of which began to establish their own Government Colleges.
These two buildings are architectural piece. The old red brick is still maintained, there is a gate with a step where one can view the rooftop of the buildings and the environs.
Some of the BOBA building needs renovation but they still maintained the initial structure.
NATIONAL MUSEUM: The national museum is one of the biggest museum in the North with 10 exhibitions going on when I went. It holds a lot of history of the Hausa-Fulani heritage, an ethnographic section which is dedicated to the people and culture, a whole section to the Dynasty of the State. This is a must visit place when one is in Katsina.
EMIR'S PALACE: This place was busy and I could not go in when we went there for last minute preparation for Sallah which was the following day was going on. Also the Emir was holding session with different people.
The gate has the Arewa symbol on it with a beautiful upstairs view which faced an open field. The open field is where the Durbar procession on Sallah day takes place.
Sallah is from two to five days in the North, depending on the town and the Emirate.
Follow the blog for stories on Daura, the Dynasty and the Fura and Nunu experience.

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<![CDATA[TRAVEL GUIDE: Places to visit in Kaduna]]>Wed, 26 Sep 2018 21:58:03 GMThttp://funmiajala.com/blog/travel-guide-places-to-visit-in-kaduna
The city of Kaduna is the state capital of Kaduna State in north-western Nigeria. It is a trade centre and a major transportation hub for the surrounding agricultural areas with its rail and road junction.
According to history, Kaduna was founded by the British in 1913, became the capital of Nigeria's former Northern Region in 1917 till 1967.
Sir Frederick Lugard was the first British governor of Northern Nigeria and he was the one who chose the present site of Kaduna due to it's proximity to the Lagos-Kano railway.
Kaduna has grown to become one of the major cities in the Northern Region and it's followed by Zaria which has the prominent Ahmadu Bello University campuses and is home to the Emir of Zazzau.

If you find yourself in Kaduna, here are a few things to do in Kaduna.

NOK MUSEUM: This is situated in the famous NOK town which is in Southern Kaduna. It is where the famous Terracotta heads were first discovered.

MATSIRGA WATERFALLS: This waterfall is situated in Madakiya area, not far from Kafanchan, which also is in Southern Kaduna.

The source of this beautiful waterfall is said to be from the springs on the Kagoro Hills, which is not far from the waterfall. The springs form four different natural funnels from which the water cascade off the sheer rock cliff about 30 metres to form a large pool at the bottom.
During the rainy season you can not get close to the waterfall but you can move closer during the dry season.
KADUNA MUSEUM: The Kaduna museum is in town and has a new gallery with the returned NOK heads on display. The museum is rich in the cultural heritage of the people of Kaduna with an ethnography section dedicated to the traditional ways of living.

EMIR OF ZAZZAU PALACE: The Emir of Zaria (also called Zazzau) palace is a huge architectural piece. One of the main things I love about Northern Nigeria is the way they have been able to preserve old architectural buildings by mixing it with a bit of the modern designs while still maintaining the old.
It's more like building the new around the old, making sure you don't loose the old and the stories they tell.
AHMADU BELLO UNIVERSITY: Established in the year 1962, this is one of the prestigious university in Northern Nigeria. The university operates two campuses, the main campus in Samaru and the Kongo Campus.
There is a beautiful sculpture garden at the faculty of environmental design in the main campus. It has about 1,000 if not more statues. I learnt the statues are final year projects of students. There are spots where one can sit and relax and a kiosk that sells food.

FIFTH CHUKKER POLO RESORT: Founded in 2001, Fifth Chukker is a 3,000 hectare Polo & Lifestyle Resort representing the new in the old world of Nigerian Polo - located in Kaduna.It has amazing architectural structures, beautiful scenery and you are assured to be at peace with nature. For more information on the resort, visit www.fifthchukker.com
KOFAR GAMJI PARK: This is situated inside the town and is home to the Lord Lugard Footbridge. This bridge connects the park to Lord Lugard's House and the River Kaduna passes by this park. If you want a quiet place by the water, you can visit this place. It has an attached fee for entrance and there is a zoo inside this park as well.
KAJURU CASTLE: Kajuru Castle is a private property owned by Gerhard Heubrer, a German who lived in Kaduna in the 1970s. Built in the 1980s, its setting and ambience offers a ‘Home away from Home’ experience for visitors who need the sort of serenity to refresh, to reflect or simply to get away from a busy schedule. Kajuru itself is a town situated in a local government of the same name in Kaduna State in Nigeria’s North-West region. It was previously part of the Chikun Local Government before it was carved out during the military regime of the 1990s.
BAREWA COLLEGE: Founded in 1921 by British Governor General Hugh Clifford. Originally known as Katsina College, was changed to Government College, Zaria in 1949 before settling on Barewa College. It is one of the largest boarding schools in Northern Nigeria and was the most-celebrated post-primary schools there up to 1960s.
Put it in a mild way, the history of education in Northern Nigeria is not complete without the mention of Barewa College.
KAGORO HILLS: If you are within the vicinity of the NOK Museum and Matsirga waterfall, then do ask for Kagoro Hills. DO take note that these three are in Southern Kaduna which is about three hours to and three hours from Kaduna town itself. DO be security conscious for this part of Kaduna is known for its volatility which makes sense that a local should be your guide.
For the foodie...

OSTRICH BAKERY
: This bakery serves very good bread and snacks for the junk eaters. There is a little supermarket section so you can get some stuff to compliment the baked goods.

CHICKEN SUYA AND MASA: There is a street corner not far from the bakery that has about five stalls catering to suya lovers. I am adventurous with food but I always tend to be careful as well.
There are still many places to explore in Kaduna, but these are the places I have been to. There surely is a part 2 coming on my next trip to the North.

Do you live in Kaduna and can recommend some pretty interesting places for me to explore? Please do drop a comment
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