The ancient city of Kano one of the biggest and second most populated city in Nigeria. Located in the north east region of the country, it shares a boarder with Jigawa state from the north and east, Bauchi, plateau and Kaduna to the south and Katsina state to the west.
Kano is home to settlers from different regions of the country as it is a booming center of commerce. Life is usually cheap and easy and the people are hospitable and accommodating most of the time.
If you’re considering taking a trip to Kano, here are some important facts you need to know:
The major language spoken in Kano state is the Hausa language, the only exception being the Sabon gari area occupied predominantly by settlers from other parts of the country. This of course doesn’t mean you wouldn’t do pretty well with English as long as it is an educated person you’re dealing with.
The people of Kano are versatile in their choice of food as you would find almost every variety eaten in Nigeria. But by far the most abundantly eaten type as in most other parts of Nigeria is rice and stew. There are also some Chinese, Italian and Indian restaurant and Lebanese snack joints. If you prefer to have a purely local experience, then you should have a taste of the tuwon dawa and miyan kuka, danwake, gurasa and wainar masa which are all foods peculiar only to the northern part of Nigeria.
The people of Kano are predominantly Muslims, but followers of the Christian religion are not difficult to find, as such churches abound especially in Sabon gari area of the state. You can still find a sparse number of idol worshippers in some rural villages in Kano.
The people of Kano are a decent lot irrespective of their religion or part of the country that they originate from. It is rare to spot an abundant display of flesh in a public place. The men especially the elderly ones wear traditional kaftan dresses, while English wears of shirt and trouser is popular among younger men. The women wear traditionally sewn Ankara and cover with veils or hijab.
The major occupation of the people of Kano is trade and commerce. From major importers and exporters to small kiosk owners, everyone wants a stake in the booming Kano markets.
There are 44 local governments in Kano, some of them quiet far from each other. They are:
Ajingi, Albasu, Bagwai, Bebeji, Bichi, Bunkure, Dala, Dambatta, Dawakin Kudu, Dawakin Tofa, Doguwa, Fagge, Gabasawa, Garko, Garum Mallam, Gaya, Gezawa,Gwale, Gwarzo, Kabo, Kano Municipal, Karaye, Kibiya, Kiru, kumbotso, Kunchi, Kura, Madobi, Makoda, Minjibir, Nasarawa, Rano, Rimin Gado, Rogo, Shanono, Sumaila, Takali, Tarauni, Tofa, Tsanyawa, Tudun Wada, Ungogo, Warawa, Wudi
Mode of transportation available
Taxis, buses and tricycles abound on any major road in Kano. Motorcycles are still in use but only as a personal means of transportation.
Traffic is usually thick between 9am to 11am and between 5pm to 7pm on major roads and populated areas irrespective of the day of the week.
There are hundreds of markets around Kano but the major ones are as follows:
- Kwari market: for varieties of fabrics both local and imported.
- Sabon gari market: the largest open market in Kano. You can find everything from clothes to cosmetics to kitchen utensils, gold jewelleries and groceries etc. Note that there are a lot of brand imitations paraded as originals in this market.
- Farm centre: this is the market for buying and selling phones, tablet and computers and all their accessories.
- Kurmi market: also a good tourist attraction, this is the market for cultural materials such as calabashes, leather works, beads and silver jewelries as well as pottery and carvings.
- Kofar wambai market: for second hand stuffs like clothes, bags, shoes.
There is no much of a night life in Kano except if your idea of fun is food, snacks and suya (roasted meat) for which stand and joints abound throughout the state at night. As far as dancing, partying and drinking are concerned, night clubs are only available at Sabon gari area, Bompai and Airport road.
Hotels and inns
There are several hotels and guest inns in Kano but as far as popularity goes, these 5 arguably beat the rest:
- Prince hotel: clean and quiet, but you have to pay a token for the available wifi. It is located at Tamandu road, off Audu Bako way, Nassarawa GRA Kano.
- Tahir guest palace: pretty good and improving. No wifi available in the rooms, only on the lounge. It is located at no 4, natsugunne road kano.
- GK palace: new, modern and comfortable. It is located at no 38, Gashash road, off race course, Kano state.
- Green place hotel: located in a quite area, inroom free wifi available. It is located at no 17 bargery road, Bompai kano.
- Central hotel: very old, but newly renovated. It is located at no.1 Bompai road Kano.
Kano state has 3 different kind of weather. They are:
- The harmatan season, which is cold and dry and sometimes dusty. It usually starts November and last till February.
- The dry and hot season which usually starts March and end around May, the temperature at this time can be up to 40o
- Rainy season, which is usually wet, warm and cold, It last between May to September.
Note that there are transition periods between the seasons at which time the weather is usually fluctuating and unpredictable.
Kano state is an ancient and historic city. As such, you’ll find that most of the tourist attractions are history and culture based.
If you’re lucky to be in Kano during the Sallah celebrations, then you can witness the spectacular hawan sallah (Durban festival) organized by the Kano emirate. It is a parade of thousands of royals adorned in colorful regalia, mounted on decorated horses. There is also cultural singing and dancing and gunshots.
It is a specialty museum that displays relics and pictures that give information on the history of Kano dating back to the colonial period. It was built about 520 years ago. You can find the museum at the southern end of the emir’s palace.
It is a peaceful and tranquil place to be. If you want some time away from the noise, hustle and bustle of Kano, then you should pay a visit to the animals in Kano zoo; you can even pack a picnic along with you.
Kofar mata dye pits
Said to be over 500 years old, the Kano die pits is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Kano. Here you can see dyers using age old methods to produce beautiful patterned materials in indigo colors. It’s an amazing sight.
This hill is intimately linked to the history of Kano itself as its surrounding areas served as the home of the earliest settlers in Kano over a thousand years ago. You can catch a magnificent view of the old city from atop the hill and if you can make it early enough to watch the sunrise, all the better.
Malls, stores and supermarkets in Kano
The major shopping centers in Kano are:
- Country mall located at farm centre road, kano. While you’re here, be sure to grab their shawarma, it’s a treat.
- Ado Bayero mall which is the largest ultra modern shopping mall in Kano state. It is located at zoo road Kano
- Sahad stores, located at zoo road opposite Ado bayero mall, kano
- Grand square, located at bompai road opposite kano club, kano
- Wellcare supermarket located at no. 10 Gashash road, Kano
The insecurity issue in Kano has been greatly overrated as most people living outside Kano see the state as inhabitable, it is not so. You can live very safely in Kano as long as you avoid public gathering of any kind. As you probably know already, public gatherings are the major targets of attacks.
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