Jos is known as Nigeria’s tourist haven and it is no doubt the home of peace and tourism because of it great potentials. The state is blessed with beautiful and impressive rock formations, as well as various other interesting natural and manmade features that make it a good place to unwind. Indeed, the state boasts of natural, scenic vistas and breath-taking sceneries with excellent weather while the people are rich in culture and historical heritage.
So, when you are stressed, a quick visit to these places mentioned below will provide you with the perfect relaxation you need.
Jos Zoological Garden: It is the oldest zoo in Nigeria; it started in 1956 but was open to the public in 1957. The garden is located within the city centre. The garden came up as a result of the Nok find by the then Surveyor General who was brought to the area for safe keeping and additional research analysis. In the process of those findings, animals were brought to the market on the market days, and the then Surveyor General thought it will be wise to set up a zoo. Then they started collecting the animals from the villagers and that was how the zoo was set up. From the exterior, the zoological garden is surrounded by trees and a stream that cuts through the edge, providing a natural abode for the animals. The animals in the zoo are trained in such a way that they listen to their care takers when need arises. For example, the animals know when to move, when it is time to clean and if you ask them to move they move, except for when they have mood swings. Sometimes they are relaxed and they don’t want to move, but with a little shouting they move. The chimpanzees will entertain you with their wonderful dance steps. Animals found in the zoo include, baboons, lions, hyenas, monkeys, crocodiles, tortoise, geese, camels, snake, rabbits, owl and eagles to mention but few.
Riyom Rock Formation: This is a rock formation that has a unique structure. It is located along the Jos – Akwanga road. It got its name from Riyom town where it is located. The spectacular nature of the rocks lying on top of each other always captivates visitors.
Motna: Meaning Museum of traditional Nigerian Architecture. It is erected on the same site with the zoological garden. You can find the collection of traditional architecture and historical artifacts are preserved and the 100 steps to Afizere settlement, a stone carved staircase that leads to the top of a hill and is historically said to be the ancestral home of the Afizere tribe when they migrated from Chawai in southern Kaduna. When you are half way on the carved stair case you can view part of Jos, and when you move up further you can view the remaining part as well.
Pandam Wildlife Park: Which is located in Qua’an Pan Local Government area of the state is among the largest games reserves in Nigeria. It was designated in 1972 by then military governor of Benue-Plateau State, Mr. Joseph Gomwalk. The park has, over the years, provided a place for visitors to learn about the beauty of nature and enjoy the natural environment. Parks such as Pandam exist to ensure that pleasure seekers now and in the future are able to experience for themselves their country’s rich natural heritage. The park hosted many government activities due to its serenity in the 70s and 80s, also in the late 90s. With the return of democracy, the park served as a venue for political meetings and rallies; it also served as a research haven for those doing their masters, PhDs in Zoology, Ecology and the Environmental sciences. Sadly today the story has changed, the park has suffered so much neglect and it is left for criminal activities. The government of the state should bring the park to life so that the park can regain its lost glory.
Assop Falls: If you are coming into Jos from Abuja, it would not be a bad idea to make a brief stop at the Assop waterfalls. Be careful not to miss the entrance as the waterfall is hidden in a forest, surrounded by rocks in the hilly Hawan Kibo Mountains. It was formed by a narrow stream, flowing in between rocks that burst out through a gorge. The Assop waterfalls splash on rocks as it cascades into a large pool of water below. No doubt you will love the power, speed and splendour of the waterfall. It’s natural and would give you that thrill that you desire.
Solomon Lar Amusement Park: The park was named after one time governor of the state, Chief Dr. Solomon Daushep Lar. The amusement park combines the beauty of nature with man-made facilities to offer the very best in outdoor entertainment. It is a natural park improved upon with some artificial facilities: Offering swimming pool services, playground for children, artificial lakes, and a pleasant environment for events, there is a choice site for picnics, recreational activities and events.
Shere Hills: Shere Hills have undulating rocks and formations with peaks and dips that would excite a mountain climber. It is situated about 10 kilometers east of the Jos metropolis. Its numerous peaks reach a height of about 1,829 meters or 6,001 feet above sea level. The hills make up the highest point of the Jos plateau and form the third highest in Nigeria. Water courses and hillocks are scattered among the highlands which add to the uniqueness of the landscape, with its cluster of hamlets and villages tucked in between.
Jos Wildlife Park: The wildlife park features rare and exotic collection of wild animals, reptiles, and birds and it is one of the largest parks. It was established in 1972 and extends into the Pine Forest and the Vongnifwel Hill. There are picnic centers within the park and a history museum that tells the story of the park and state. The Jos wildlife park is situated on the Miango road. The variety of wildlife and closeness to nature is one out of the many reasons why tourists come from far and near to visit.
If you reside in neighbouring states and in love with nature, then a quick drive should be the next thing on your mind. A quick drive will definitely de-stress you of life’s worries.
By Mercy Kukah