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With more than 120 million people, oil-rich and diverse Nigeria is the heart of West Africa. Cities such as Lagos, sometimes referred to as the New York of the region, offer vibrant nightlife, shopping and restaurants, while rural areas have parks for hiking, bird watching and beach combing.

Various Islamic ethnic groups had traded throughout Nigeria over the centuries. British colonization ended in 1960. After that Nigeria experienced tumultuous years of military rule and a civil war that claimed up to one million lives. Pressure for democratic rule in the 1990s led to elections in 1993 that were annulled, touching off more political instability and military rule. The sudden death of President Sani Abacha in 1998 led to a transitional government led by the military that organized elections in 1999 that brought former general Olusegun Obasanjo to power. Polls in 2007 ushered in a new leader, Muhamadu Buhari. Twelve states in the country's north operate under Islamic law. Religious and ethnic tension often results in communal clashes. Crime in large cities, especially Lagos, is a problem.

Lagos has large music, movie, art and fashion scene. The north of the country offers mosques, remnant city walls. The central city of Jos offers an excellent museum. Also in the central part of the country is the Yankari National Park, which is considered the best park in Nigeria for bird watching. Some of the country's best hiking can be found on the eastern border with Cameroon. Travel to Nigeria's southern Delta region can be dangerous because of the proliferation of militia groups. Hostage-taking of foreign oil workers is commonplace. Check the U.S. State Department's most recent travel advisory.

Direct international flights normally arrive in Lagos. Domestic flights are cheap but can be unreliable. Another option is to travel by bus. Taxis are widely available.  

There are a number of resorts available in Nigeria. The five-star Abuja Sheraton provides spacious rooms, restaurants, bars, live entertainment and buffet-style dining. Also available are a lounge, a nursery and swimming pool. Another resort worth checking out would be the Kakanfo Inn located in Ibadan. It has restaurants, bars and an indoor swimming pool.