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Flag Source: CIA World Factbook
Typically, Abuja has been known as a popular business and political destination for most of its visitors. Since becoming the capital of Nigeria in 1976, Abuja has been renowned for its thriving business center and tranquility, especially in comparison to the hustle and bustle city life that Lagos offers. It’s not just all business and no play in Abuja, though: the city has increasingly become more of a tourist destination due the country’s aesthetic beauty and fantastic culture. The food on offer in Abuja is one of the best reasons to venture out of your hotel room. Fried fish and local beer, anyone?
The Top 6: What to Do in Abuja
1. Guarara Falls:
Close to Niger, this site is less than an hour away from Abuja and has an incredible view of the city and the country.
2. Fish Bars:
Grilled fish and chips and local beer under the stars—this is the most popular way that Nigerians eat out and socialize, in a relaxed, simple setting, generally in small gardens dotted around town.
3. Zuma Rock:
Go and see this ancient rock and visit the locals that live at the top—apparently no one can get up the rock except for them! We think it’s worth the challenge.
4. Music and Dance:
Abuja is all about the live band scene. Check out Blake’s for some live music and great Nigerian dancers; Tucano in Asokoro for a more upmarket experience, or the bars along Gymbia Street in the Garki district for a true local feel (we recommend Ibiza). Avoid Crystal Palace on the same street, or the nightclub at the Hilton: this is where mostly expatriate males will go to meet beautiful local girls.
5. Hookah Lounges:
Shisha for you? Abuja has some of the coolest shisha places in western Africa. Try the shisha (hookah) lounges at the Mediterranean Hotel, Uber Lounge, L’etoile, or Albasha.
6. Local Restaurants:
For some proper Nigerian food, head to Shagalinku (in Garki, near the Federal Capital Authority) for northern cuisine and to Jevenik’s for southern specialities. Otherwise, behind AP Plaza, you’ll find the tastiest suya (barbecued meat) and masa (pounded rice cakes) spot in town.
When to Go
The weather is fairly stable throughout the year. Nigeria has a rainy season and a dry season. To avoid rain showers and enjoy high temperatures with low humidity, it is best to travel to Nigeria between November and March. October, November, March, and April are the best times of year to go to Abuja. There are countless festivities and parties.