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