Ibadan is also known as Eba-Odan which means the city at the edge of the savannah. It is also the largest and most populous city in Nigeria and the 3rd in Africa after Johannesburg and Cairo.
Ibadan was the center of administration of the old Western region during the British colonial rule. Ibadan has developed into a metropolitan city and is home to over 3.5 million people.
It has got a strong combination of tradition and sophistication, and is still driven by its ancient heart.
Below are a few things you must do if you ever find yourself in the ancient city of Ibadan anytime soon;
1. UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN ZOO
The University of Ibadan Zoological Garden and Nature Park located in the department of Zoology at the University of Ibadan. The renowned zoological garden was established in 1948 as a menagerie to support the conservation of wildlife and research. It grew into a full fledge museum in 1974.
There are a wide variety of animals ranging from mammals to reptiles, amphibians and birds available at the zoo. Ibadan Zoo is open all week between 8am and 6:30pm.
2. IITA FOREST RESERVE
The IITA Forest Reserve (International Institute of Tropical Agriculture) is a 350 hectares of land established and managed by the Natural Resource management department of the IITA.
The IITA Forest Reserve was set up to provide solutions to the degradation and extinction of natural resources in Nigeria.
The forest reserve preserves is absolutely beautiful, highly diversified forest reserve which preserves over 200 birds species, over 220 butterfly species and 440 plants used for medicinal purposes.
3. COCOA HOUSE
Cocoa House is a 26-storey building in Ibadan constructed in the year 1965. It was once considered the tallest building in tropical Africa. Cocoa House was established using the proceeds of Cocoa trade and export proceeds.
It is a property owned by Odu’a Investment Company and was formerly known as Ile Awon Agbe which means House of Farmers.
Cocoa House was gutted by fire in 1985 but has been renovated and is still in use today. The hill can seen most parts of the city, it was renovated in 2006 and has played host to several political and social events in Ibadan.
4. MAPO HALL
Mapo Hall is a large Ibadan City Hall built in colonial architectural fashion. The Hall lies top the Mapo Hill in Ibadan, Oyo State.
The construction of the Hall took four years and it was finally unveiled in 1929. It was constructed for administrative use during the colonial era. Mapo Hall is well known for its seven columns which represents the seven hills on which the city of Ibadan was built.
Mapo Hall boasts of a mini museum which hold various relics of the colonial era. There are also various pictures of the city’s rulers, dating back to the first Olubadan to current available at the hall.
5. AGODI GARDENS
The most popular of the city’s six parks, Agodi Garden is a lovely park which spreads over 13 acres of land is a lovely park right at the center of Ibadan city. Most tourist flood the location for different forms of entertainment and recreation.
6. IREFIN PALACE
Visit the Irefin palace to learn more about the beautiful history of Ibadan people. The palace was built in 1902 and is made up of 185 rooms. There are people who still live in Irefin Palace till date.
Ibadan boasts of a number of family compounds including the Irefin palace, one of the most popular compounds which once produced the Olubadan.
The ancient structure of Irefin Palace is one of the major attractions within the city of Ibadan.
Ibadan is quite metropolitan and as such, most of its hotels can compete with hotels in cities like Abuja and Lagos. Visitors can choose from over 300 hotels within the city.
From ultra-chic and luxurious to, quaint and charming or affordable and basic, No matter your preference and even budget, there is a perfect match for you. For budget travellers, there are decent mid-range options on the ground.
Like true Nigerians, the people in Ibadan love to buy and sell. Shopping is taken seriously around the city and visitors who visit find a lot of options.
There are several major areas to go shopping in Ibadan- from the local and bespoke to the mega shopping center. There are also many craft, books and souvenir shops in the Old City.
Most visitors love to buy the adire – “tie-dye” cloth dyed locally in large pots of indigo is popular in the city- as souvenirs.
People in Ibadan love to eat. A lot. And there are plenty of terrific restaurants in and around the city.
One of the first places locals will take you is to a get amala, ewedu or efo — basically, their most favorite local meal. The local foods are best gotten in market areas and bukka around town.
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