Nigeria

'You can't remake the world without remaking yourself,' claims Nigeria's much-adored son, poet and novelist, Ben Okri. And for all its rich history, Nigeria is in need of some remaking.

Insufficient capital has been made (at least for the vast majority of Nigerians) of the country's rich oil resources, and there are a lot of people in the heaving, congested hothouse of Lagos who want to know why. However, Okri's love for his land is well-deserved.

As well as the ubiquitous wheeling and dealing of bustling international life, there's pristine wilderness and strong cultural heritage.

Nigeria has done much to fight cultural attrition, as testify the thriving National Theatre and jumping juju joints of Lagos, the Yoruba art of Oshogbo and the ancient spectacle of Kano, the oldest city in West Africa.

The legends, images and beliefs of Yoruba have followed the trail of voluntary and forced migration right across the world. Now, in the country of its origin, Yoruba culture is concentrated in the city of Oshogbo, north east of Lagos. Visit in August, when the Oshun Festival siezes the city in a flurry of costumes, dancing and sacrifice.

When the crowds become too much, escape to Yankari National Park. Though perhaps not a match for some of the wildlife reserves in the south, it's still the best in West Africa.

Unmissables

  • Pile into live music and nightclubs galore in Lagos
  • See the statues and shrines in the Sacred Forest, Oshogbo
  • Explore the millennium-old, walled city of Kano