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.
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 – 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.
What was the scariest moment (if any)?
Trying to touch a crocodile that was rumored to be a spirit in Argungu, Kebbi.
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.
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
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.
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.
Kusugu Well, Daura