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From The Horse’s Mouth | Susan Unravels Northern Nigeria

Susan is an experiential traveler who seeks to tread off beaten paths, and chronicles her experiences at here in hopes of inspiring others to explore and improve the quality of their lives by stepping beyond the known comfort zone.

Something we also think is super cool is that she’s a pilot. Pure black girl magic.


Susan in her element


For us, the most amazing thing about her interview were the pictures. They were so beautiful to see and the North is one place that needs to be tapped into as it’s so rich in tourism, scenic views and history.

We hope you enjoy Susan’s account of the North.


Give us a brief description of where you went and what the trip was about.

I went to 8 states in the North – Bauchi, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger & Kaduna It was really just about exploring the north and putting stereotypes to rest. It was part of my 25BEFORE25 bucket list.


How many have you been to?


Was accommodation required for this trip? If yes where did you stay and what was it like?

Budget travel in Nigeria is NERVE RACKING!  As we arrived each new town I had little panic attacks about what the hotel would be like, especially the bathroom. My favorite was Takare Guest inn, Daura. It had a bed with clean sheets and a white plastic chair. Simplicity always win.

Hitch hiking

Hitchhiking in the North


What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?

Having to narrow down the many surprises is difficult. I think it was the Dutse Dala hill in Kano. Learning that before Islam the religion in Kano was Tsumbubura – a form of animism.

Dutse Dala hill

Dutse Dala Hill – Kano State


What was your best moment of the entire trip?

Every time I made an emotional connection with someone on the road. At a bukka in Sokoto the owner screamed in delight when I spoke Ibibio to her.

Abuja pottery

Abuja Pottery


What was the scariest moment (if any)?

Trying to touch a crocodile that was rumored to be a spirit in Argungu, Kebbi.

Argungu River

Argungu River


Did you find any sights or activities a bit off the beaten track ie beyond the tourist traps?

If I start listing them this will become a full blog post. In Jigawa we went rock climbing in search of the ancient cave paintings.

Birnin Kudu

Searching for cave paintings in Birnin Kudu, Jigawa State


What are two interesting things about where you went that the average person doesn’t know?

1. In Daura, Katsina English won’t take you far, Hausa & French are the unofficial major languages.

2. Tafawa Balewa’s tomb in Bauchi is grand. I have never been in a mausoleum that huge.

Tafawa Balewa's Tomb

Tafawa Balewa’s tomb


Did you meet any locals? If yes, what were they like?

There was no resemblance to the locals described in the media: no bombs strapped to their backs, women weren’t locked away in oblivion, and they weren’t hostile but warm, helpful and kind to strangers.

Emirs Palace Kano

Dancing in front of the Emir’s palace, Kano State


What was the funniest/strangest/most insightful thing a local said?

Young kids chorused “oya dab” and “one capture” (ie take a picture) in Birnin Kudu. They spoke no English but pop culture had gotten to them.

Kasugu well

Kusugu Well, Daura


What was the hardest or most frustrating part of the trip?

THE ROADS!!! I cried though especially when I sprained a muscle in my neck on the Birnin Kebbi to Kainji route.


History of the well


Did anything go wrong that seems funny now?

I had spent a better half of two hours searching for a hotel with a bathtub in Kano; hungry, frustrated and irritated.

Minna State



Did you eat anything locally, if yes, what was your favorite?

Snake meat would have won, if I didn’t try Mai Shayi tea in Sokoto. Mai Shayi tea tasted better than ( -best café’s-hot cholate)

Kano Tannery

Snake meat at Kano Tannery


If you ate locally, what was the strangest thing you ate?

Snake meat made it on my list of ‘bizarre’ foods consumed.

Vintage PO Box Bauchi

Vintage PO Box


What were the cost implications of this trip?

A huge dent in my bank account *tears*. In total about N200,000 was spent in 2 weeks.


Searching for animals in Yankari


Now that you’ve been there yourself, when you think of your trip what’s the first image that comes to your head?

Breathtaking views, especially the hills of green

Would you revisit or ever move there?

Hopefully own a little cottage up in Gambu.

Madobi Hut

Madobi Hut


So what did you think of Susan’s unravelling? Are you inspired to visit some of these places?


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*prices written are based on the time the visit was made and is subject to change by the owners.

*Reviews are based on opinions and personal experiences, and may differ from person to person

*all images were provided by the ‘horse’ interviewed. 

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