City Focus: Ibadan Nigeria

City Focus: Ibadan Nigeria

Ibadan home of Tourism
Ibadan, running splash of rust and gold, flung and scattered among seven hills, like broken china in the sun JP Clark

For those familiar with literature, the historical city of Ibadan might not be completely strange, as one of Nigeria’s greatest poets, JP Clark had written to celebrate the beauty of the city in the poet above. Ibadan’s aesthetics lie chiefly in its array of hills and tall landscape from tourists can have a panoramic view of more than half of the large city without the use of a binocular.

Ibadan is the largest city in West Africa and the seat of government in the Old Western Region of Nigeria, until the 70s, when the city became the capital of Oyo State in South-West of Nigeria. Located about 145 kilometers to the North-Eastern part of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre, Ibadan had a population of 2,550,593 in 2006, according to census report, but that is expected to have doubled or tripled by now, because the city remains attractive for people across the South-West because of it low cost of living thereby making it more attractive than Lagos.

Renowned for its uncommon democratic setup, which allows every indigene the right to the throne of the Olubadan, the royal throne of the city, Ibadan comprises the main Ibadan and the Ibadan Lesser Cities. In this historical city, you will find a perfect blend of old and antiquated houses as well as modern and exquisite edifices, depending on which part of the city one visits. In Aremo; Yemetu; Beere, Oje, Mapo lies the historic rustic city of Ibadan but less than 10 minutes drive away from these places the modern parts of the city come into view. The beauty and modernity of New Bodija Agodi GRA, Ring Road and other areas will amaze a visitor. Ibadan as a historical city, possesses interesting features for tourists as well as historians as it is a city which symbolizes a blend of the past and the present.

The city of Ibadan is home to a local airport, Ibadan Airport. It also has railway that connects it to Lagos and also to the northern part of Nigeria

Apart from being the largest city in West Africa, Ibadan has been one of the biggest cradles of education in Sub-Saharan Africa. The University of Ibadan which was established in 1948 as an affiliate of the university of London, has served to produce most of Nigeria’s top shots in the field of politics, Education and the Literary world. The university and its teaching hospital, university college hospital have been important college hospital have been an important tourist attractions to the city till date.

Other features of Ibadan include the 25-storey Cocoa House building, from where one can have a view of the vast city; the largest shopping mall in West Africa under the Shoprite franchise; the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA); the Agodi Gardens and Resort the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium (formerly Liberty Stadium); the Bodija Market, where food items can be purchased in large quantity and the Gbagi International Market, home to all brands of clothing materials as well as the University of Ibadan Zoological Garden, amongst others.

Getting there:

Getting there

For international travellers, the easiest way to get to Ibadan is through Lagos, where the Murtala Muhammad International Airport is located. The other option is to travel through Abuja or some of the cities with international airports, including Kano, Enugu and Port-Harcourt. However, for easy access to Ibadan, Lagos is highly recommended. It takes only one and a half hours trip to Ibadan and that trip can be made in public transport for around N2, 000 or chartered cars straight from the airport for a price between N10,000 to N15,000.

Going around:

Going around

Transportation within Ibadan city is mostly done in taxis, buses, tricycles or motorcycles, depending on the axis and the urgency of the assignments and the rates range from N50 to N200.

However, for comfort, you might settle for chartering a taxi or car hire service, which is faster and more convenient, as the popular means of transportation might not be advisable for newcomers who do not have a grip of destinations and locations. Hiring a car costs between N1000 and N2000 per hour, while one can charter a taxi for an amount between N700 and N2500 depending on the location within the city.


Things to do:

University of Ibadan Zoological Garden:

University of Ibadan Zoological Garden

For those in love with nature, the zoological garden remains the greatest site of attraction; as the alluring features of the flora and fauna (plant and animal) will, no doubt, soothe the nerves and provide amusement. Apart from this, there are cold spots and relaxation areas within the garden, where one can grab a bottle of cold drink while enjoying nature at its best.

The serenity within the university as well as the awesome presence of trees make it one of the coolest places to hang out. One can access the University of Ibadan from any part of the city within one hour and with either public or private transport.




The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) is located on old Oyo road, it is a serene and beautiful environment devoid of the hustle and bustle of the city. The Institute has an appeal for tourists or visitors who crave closeness to nature. It is also has a world class conference centre and hotel.


Agodi Gardens:

Agodi Gardens

For fun-seekers, the newly-renovated Agodi Gardens and Resort is the place to be. With a zoological garden, a swimming pool and a golf course, with bars and cold spots, the garden provides a full package in leisure and entertainment. Its naturalness, however, makes it grand for lovers of nature, with the presence of trees of different kinds and a natural river coursing through the garden; tourists and visitors to this place cannot but feel the good life that Ibadan presents. Agodi Gardens is located on the Government Secretariat-Mokola Roundabout axis of the city.

Bower’s Tower:

Bower's Tower

The Bower’s Tower is located at Oke Are around the Yemetu axis of the city. The tower, built on the summit of the highest hill in the historical city, was erected in 1936 as a memorial to honour Captain Robert Lister Bower, who was the first British Resident in Ibadan and Travelling Commissioner for the Interior Yorubaland. The tower is said to be 60 feet high and 11 feet square with a spiral staircase, which made it attract the name ‘Layipo’. Locals will often taunt a newcomer to Ibadan of knowing the city but not knowing ‘Layipo’. i.e the spiral staircase of the Bower’s Tower. Are you going to Ibadan anytime soon? Don’t leave the city without visiting the tower or else, your experience will be incomplete.

Where to Eat:

Where to Eat

While Ibadan cannot boast of having an array of exotic or exquisite restaurants like most major cities around the world, it does have a heritage of providing visitors with the best that money can buy in terms of Yoruba and other Nigerian dishes. If you are the type that loves adventure, Ibadan is the place to satisfy your culinary yearnings. Noted for its amala and abula, Ibadan’s love for cassava and yam flour-made amala is second to none. Apart from this, pounded yam and other Nigerian dishes are served in local food joints, while those who can ill-afford to test new grounds in food can have succour through KFC, Tantalizers, Mr Biggs and other eateries as well as the shopping malls, including Shoprite and Foodco, where a variety of food are on sale.

Shoprite malls are located at Dugbe and Ring Road area of the city while KFC can be found around Ring Road or Bodija, with Foodco malls located at Jericho and Bodija also serving the public through its sale of food that are not too local.

And if your interests are in Chinese foods, fret not. The Premier Hotel, a historical and foremost hotel in the city, located on the Mokola hill, is the right place for you.

But if you are the type that loves adventure, try amala and its attendant mix of gbegiri and ewedu with goat meat or pounded yam with egusi and assorted meat and you will not but always crave to visit the city of Ibadan.

For a quick savour of Nigerian dishes, visitors to Ibadan can pay a visit to Iya Ope Food Canteen, located around Sabo-Mokola axis of Ibadan or Inastraight Canteen, located around the Cultural Centre, Mokola.

If you are closer to Ring Road, Iyadunni Food Canteen will certainly have a culinary magic to soothe your hunger while visitors and first-timers around Bodija/University of Ibadan axis can also have the best of amala around their locality. From Bodija-Skye Bank joint to the rail line along the same road, the area is dotted by local food vendors of quality.


Where to Stay:

Where to Stay

Are you staying beyond a day in Ibadan and you are thinking of where to sleep? Are you thinking about your safety and security? Are you looking for home away from home; a place of comfort and beauty? Hacunamatata! You have no worries, because Ibadan parades some of the best and safest hotels in the South-West of Nigeria and the city’s crime rate is minimally-low.

Kakanfo Inn

Kakanfo Inn

If you seek a world-class hotel with wonderful service and comfort extraordinaire, the Kakanfo Inn, located along Ring Road/Oluyole area, a central location that allows easy access to virtually any part of the city in less than one hour is one place you should check out. With spacious and comfortable rooms as well as modern facilities and a sound kitchen, Kakanfo Inn is your ideal hotel if you are urbane and trendy.

UI Hotels

UI Hotels

Unlike many others, the University of Ibadan Hotels boasts of attributes that cannot be found elsewhere. Apart from being highly-secured because of its location within the university environment; the immediate environment of the hotel portrays beauty and serenity uncommon around the city. With affordable rooms and wonderful services, UI hotels will no doubt appeal to anyone who loves education and craves to be around university campus in order to savour the serenity and sanity of the environment.

Owu Crown Hotel

Owu Crown Hotel

This is another masterful hotel with state-of-the-art facilities. Designed for the comfort of lodgers, the exquisite Owu Crown Hotel is located at Monatan-Iwo Road axis of the city, from where you can connect major roads in minutes in case you intend travelling out of the city during your stay.

Carlton Gate

Carlton Gate

Located around Ikolaba-Gate axis of Ibadan, this modern hotel is at the centre of the city.

Premier Hotel

Premier Hotel

No doubt the biggest hotel in Ibadan, the Premier Hotel’s location on the hill of Mokola makes it a beauty to behold. With an exotic ambience and beautiful landscape, Premier Hotel, though still basking in its old glory, will be quite attractive to first-timers who desire to lodge in it.

You can also check out Majerita Hotel along Adeoyo-Ring Road axis; IITA’s I-Hotel, located within the IITA premises in Moniya or Koltol Inn in Ikolaba, which all provide good services for the comfort of lodgers.


Where to Shop:

Where to Shop

Depending on what you want to buy; Ibadan has a variety of markets and malls that provide different services. If your plan is to purchase local fabrics and clothings, the Alesinloye Market or Gbagi International Market is where you should be heading for.

But if your plan is buy a motor spare part, a ready-made market for spare parts of vehicles of all kinds awaits your visit at Gate area of Ibadan.

However, if all you crave are modern materials such as wrist watches; clothings; cosmetic; sports wears and other gadgets, the one-stop shop opportunity provided by Shoprite mall, Ring Road, is definitely for you. From pharmaceutical products to beauty, to food and fruits, the Shoprite malls in Dugbe and Ring Road, as well as Foodco and Foodies, among others, are the places to go.


Night Life:

Night Life

Night life is relatively safe in Ibadan.  A visit to Ibadan without having a taste of its blossoming nightlife is a waste of time. Ibadan has an exciting nightlife with the availability of the various club houses doting the city.

The peak of the fun is reserved for Wednesday and weekend when most club houses hold ladies night and the attendees can spend money in return for scintillating dances and others pecks that come with clubbing.

When you visit Ibadan you can check out the following

GQ Lounge:

GQ Lounge

Located at Awolowo Road, Bodija, the club is in a central location and could easily be accessed from anywhere in the city.

Along the Bodija axis of the city, Options 24/7 and 411 are other clubs that add to the exciting nightlife of the historical city.

Club Ebevande:

Club Ebevande

hip and highly-trendy club is located at Ring Road, Ibadan’s modern and pleasure zone. Alongside Bubbles and PO Lounge, among others, Ebevande is opened on weekends for clubbing purpose while other spots across the axis are opened as bars and fun spots all nights of the week.

Tunde is a very versatile African traveler with visits to close to 20 countries on the continent and 10 others outside Africa. He enjoys photography and meeting people from different background.

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