Jos, Nigeria happens to be the vacation spot of Nigeria. You would think that the vacation spot would be on the coast because Nigeria has a coast where there are beaches, but Nigeria sits on the equator, and it can get very hot. The coast is in the southern part of Nigeria where it is the hottest. Jos is more northward in the middle of the Nigeria. It is up on the Plateau in Plateau State. Everyone in Nigeria knows that the Plateau is cooler. It has almost perfect weather all year. It stays about 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit most of the year except occasionally dipping into the 60’s. You never need a coat, and you don’t usually get too hot. When it dips in the 60’s, you might need socks and a sweater. We were told not to bother with blankets when we said we were going to Nigeria, but you should have a blanket to sleep under at night on the Plateau, but you wouldn’t die if you didn’t have one. There are no heaters or air conditioners in the cars sold in Jos because they don’t need them. Everything grows. The only thing you really have to worry about is boiling your drinking water and sleeping under a mosquito net. Because it never freezes, the bacteria is never killed off. That is why you must kill it yourself and boil your water, and the mosquitoes carry malaria. If you want to be where the weather is perfect, though, the Plateau in Nigeria is the place to go, and many Nigerians do. There are some fun things to do in and around Jos too.
First of all, any time you go to Nigeria, you are going to find it interesting if you aren’t Nigerian because it is very exotic. It is the richest black African country. In the late 70’s, when I was there, they had a big Coca Cola plant in Jos. However, they probably have more by now. You see, Nigerians like to go to school, and it has led many of them to going to school outside of the country. It is always good for people to travel and see the rest of the world. The Nigerians who have traveled learn and go back to Nigeria and try to improve their country. When I was there, there were no fried chicken restaurants, but I have seen in the news that they have a chain of fried chicken restaurants now started by a Nigerian who traveled and saw how things were done in other countries. The Nigerian government has a program where they send people to other countries for school, and it helps Nigeria a lot.
In Jos, our favorite restaurant was Hill Station. It is a hotel with a restaurant. All the foreign businessmen stay at the hotel at Hill Station. In the restaurant, you sit on two love seats that face one another with the table between them. There is a huge aquarium in the room full of beautiful fish. They may serve other things, but we always ordered meat pies and Coca Cola. My son was very small, and you know what kids think about McDonald’s. He called Hill Station “McDonald’s” because he liked it so much and was always campaigning to go there. Another thing he liked about it was that in the yard, there was a cage with monkeys in it. He loved going to visit the monkeys. There were also several swimming pools at Hill Station. If you like Chinese food, there is a Chinese restaurant next to Hill Station.
If you want souvenirs, you need to find King’s Way, but don’t buy the souvenirs at King’s Way. King’s Way is a big department store/grocery store chain that runs throughout Nigeria, and we shopped there often for food, books, etc., but if you want souvenirs, you need to go across the street from King’s Way. There is a souvenir shop that is full of beautiful wood carvings. There are statues, wooden boxes, masks, etc. They are true pieces of art made by the people. After they carve them, they use shoe polish and shine them. Everyone who has been to Nigeria, needs souvenirs like these.
Also in Jos, something fun to do is to go to their animal park. Some of the animals, the ones they consider dangerous, are in cages, but the ones they don’t consider dangerous just walk around like the guests. We used to visit an elephant there quite often that was funny. My husband used to put his hand out, and the elephant held his hand with this trunk. If the elephant got mad, he picked up a tree branch and hit you with it, and one of our friends got hit because the elephant didn’t want his picture taken. There were baby hippos swimming in a pond, and you could get right up close to them without worrying. Our friend stood behind my husband as he sat by the pond, and the hippo came right up to him and opened his mouth, and my husband could examine his teeth like a dentist, and our friend took a beautiful picture. The animals are a lot of fun at the animal park! I heard about another animal park in another part of Nigeria where they had to go in a van and weren’t allowed to get out of the van because the animals were wild, and an elephant chased their van. The animals in this park in Jos are tame.
There is a university in Jos. When I was there, they sent out very interesting TV shows. They weren’t plays or sitcoms. They were informational shows that educated the population about things they needed to know. They put out a great one about what alcohol does to your brain when you drink. After watching their show, anyone would have to have rocks in their heads if they drank. They did a great job!
There is also an outdoor museum in Jos. You can tour through and see how the people in the village live. However, the funny thing is that the government built mud huts in the museum for people to see the way they used to live, and people saw the mud huts were empty and moved into them.
Probably one of the most interesting things to do in Jos is what is interesting in the rest of the country, going to the open market. You might see almost anything happening at the open market. It is where the real life is because everyone goes there. We saw drummers. We saw a Juju man throwing puffs of smoke and scaring the people. We ate sish kabab called pepe because it had chili spice all over it and was very spicy. You could buy liquid yogurt to drink or use to make your own yogurt among many other things.
If you want fruit, they have several special outdoor fruit markets. Before Nigeria got oil which is their number one export, peanuts were their number one export. They call them ground nuts, and you can always find peanuts at the fruit market. The foreigners all bought the peanuts and made peanut butter. There was a little boy who was the son of a missionary who was good at making peanut butter and had his own business selling peanut butter. There are all kinds of different kinds of fruit at the markets on the Plateau. As I said, everything grows. One man from Europe that we met said, “The Nigerians will never starve because the food falls off the trees around them.” He was right. You can buy bananas on every street corner, but you might also pick them in your back yard. They were experimenting with strawberries when I was there because strawberries didn’t naturally grow in Nigeria, but they thought perhaps the weather on the Plateau was cool enough, and it was because we bought some strawberries. They had mangoes, guavas, pineapples, etc., and all kinds of exotic fruit, but the only apples I got when I was there were from import, but they should probably experiment with apples on the Plateau and see if they would grow there too because of the weather. We were always buying oranges and making fresh squeezed orange juice for breakfast. There were lemon trees in our yard, so I made lemonade. God has blessed Nigeria with fruit, and he has blessed the Plateau with perfect weather.
Nigeria is not the place just anyone could travel. If you aren’t adventurous, you couldn’t take it. If everything has to be completely orderly for you, you shouldn’t go. When I came back from Nigeria, it was really strange seeing lawns completely mowed, trimmed and looking nice. However, if you are adventurous and can put up with a lot of things being unusual and out of the ordinary, they speak English, and they can be quite interesting. Be careful of the mosquitoes, don’t drink the water without boiling it, and don’t go to the parts of Nigeria where they have Sharia law. If you are a guy, you can travel alone safely, but if you are a woman, don’t go alone. Travel with a man. There is a good, dependable transportation system that goes throughout Nigeria. It consists of taxis with regular stops like buses. However, they aren’t buses. They are small cars, station wagons, and vans, and you might get crammed in very close quarters with several Nigerians, but you are safe. If you want a good place to stay, stay in the rest houses. You can even get language lessons for the different tribal languages in the rest houses. If you don’t like weather that is too hot or too cold, then Plateau in Nigeria is the place to go because the weather is perfect all year.