Plateau State is known as the Home of Peace and Tourism due to the tranquil nature of the state and the tourist sites that can be found in all the 17 local government areas of the state.
The weather is another aspect that attracts visitors both within and outside the country and at a point in time, a census of Europeans in Nigeria showed that 65 percent lived in Jos.
Though situated in the tropical zone, a higher altitude means that Plateau State has a near temperate climate with an average temperature of between 18 and 22°C, harmattan winds cause the coldest weather between December and February, while the warmest temperatures usually occur in the dry season months of March and April.
Plateau State is located in north central Nigeria and was created in 1976 out of the old Benue-Plateau by the Yakubu Gowon military administration, who also happens to come from the state.
The state has 17 local government areas which include Bakin-Ladi, Bassa, Bokkos, Jos-East, Jos-North, Jos-South, Kanam, Kanke, Langtang-North, Langtang-South, Mangu, Mikang, Pankshin, Quan’ Pan, Riyom, Shendam, and Wase.
The state is bordered by Bauchi and Kaduna to the north, Taraba on the east, and Nassarawa on the southwest.
As of the 2006 national census, the population of Plateau State was 3,206,531, making it the 26th most populous state in Nigeria.
Plateau State is the 12th largest state in Nigeria in terms of total area with 30,913 square kilometers (11,936 square miles), with the capital, Jos, being the largest city.
Other important cities and towns include Jos, Bukuru, Kuru, Mangu, Barkin/Ladi, Pankshin, Shendam, Langtang, and Vom.
The state’s nickname of ‘Home of Peace and Tourism’ was derived from the natural formation of rocks, waterfalls, hills, and the peace the state had been enjoying before the advent of security challenges that has seen the state battling with banditry, insurgency and all manners of criminality in the past few years.
Plateau State has so many beautiful places and tourist attractions to offer visitors coming to the state and if properly harnessed, could compete favourably with the best in Europe and other western nations.
The majority of the area of land in Plateau State is made up of hills, mountains, and rocks with the highest points being the Shere Hill and Peak Sara, which stands at 5,843 feet and 5,544 feet respectively.
The vegetation of the state is grassland, which is majorly used for farmland and grazing of animals, and the climate is great for growing maize, guinea corn, millet, yam, rice, tomatoes, garden eggs, groundnuts, soya beans, cotton, Irish potatoes, and other food crops.
Farming is also predominant in the state, even though mining production is heavily carried out also, especially in rural areas.
Each local government area has its unique food crops that have the capacity of feeding the whole country if processed in the right frame.
Plateau State has more than 50 ethnic groups with the major groups being the Berom, Angas, Mwangahvul, Taroh, Goemai, Tal, Fier, Afizere (Jarawa), Miango, Youm, Bogghom, Rukuba, Piapung, Kwalla, Montol, Jukun, Challa, Ron, Kulere, Pyem, Miship, Mupun and Buji, and a host of others.
Each ethnic group has its own distinct language while Hausa has gained acceptability as a medium of general communication.
The state has a large deposit of mineral resources including tin, columbite, zinc, gold, copper, zircon, kaolin, tantalite, thorium compounds, tungsten, cassiterite, gemstones, feldspar and barytes, while tin mining and processing are very common especially in the rural areas.
On the tourism front, Plateau State stands out as the most blessed state in the country and probably among the top 10 tourist points in Africa.
Some of Plateau State’s best known tourist attractions include but not limited to the following:
Shere Hills: This is one of Nigeria’s highest peaks and most rugged, and offers unrivalled opportunities to mountain climbers and lovers of adventure. It is located about 10 kilometres from Jos and has serve as a camping spot to the Citizenship and Leadership Training Centre and many seekers of adventure.
Wase Rock: Wase rock is a remarkable inselberg rising abruptly 250 metres above the plain of Wase town in Wase local government area. A notable topographic feature of 800-foot- (250-metre-) high hill, Wase Rock rises sharply above the savanna and is a rock climbed haven and delight any day.
The dome-shaped Wase Rock is one of the five homes of the White Pelican birds in Africa.
Rayfield Holiday Resort: The resort is located 4km from Jos city and has a fantastic scenic environment that offers tourists endless fun with boating, swimming, sun bathing, horse riding, sport fishing and indoor games.
Riyom Rock Formation: Located 25 kilometers from Jos along the Jos-Akwanga road is one of nature’s most spectacular rock formations, the Riyom Rock, located in the Riyom Town. Nature had carved out the geographical boundaries of Plateau State in the rock long before the state was even created and the Riyom Rock Formation is one wonder that Plateau was blessed with.
Kura Falls: Kura Falls is another natural resort that has become synonymous with the tourism attractions in Plateau State.
Many people do not know that the Kura Falls was the result of the activities of tin mining in the area but today, it is used by Nigerian Electricity Supply Company (NESCO) to generate electricity power for a large number of communities in the area.
Assop Falls: The site is an area of Guinea Savanna on the slopes and top of a mid-altitude ridge of the Jos Plateau, beside the Jos-Kagoro road, about 70 km from Jos. The vegetation comprises gallery forests sorrounded by grasslands. The Assop River, which feeds the picturesque rapids and falls, drains part of the Jos Plateau river.
Museum of Nigeria Traditional Architecture (MOTNA): This is erected on the same site with the National Museum Complex. Here, one can find a collection of traditional architecture and antiques unique to the rich culture of the state.
Kerang Volcanic Mountain: These highlands are washed by fetching springs which supply the popular SWAN Water with natural spring water. It is located in Kerang in Mangu local government area, about 100 kilometres away from Jos.
Solomon Lar Amusement Park: Located right in the heart of the capital city of Jos, this park provides a place for many occasions. It has been used by movie makers and newly weds for receptions and other fun activities. It is a good site for picnics and recreation.
Panyam Fish Farm: This man-made fish farm is also located in Mangu local government area and is ideal for sports fishing.
Panyam Fish Farm is reputed to be the oldest fish farm in Nigeria, even older than the country itself, having been established in 1950. It is also the biggest fish farm in Nigeria, covering 309 hectares of land that can hold 3.9 tonnes of fish and not less than 10 million fingerlings for a year.
Jos Wildlife Park: Unique for its rare and exotic collection of animals, the park picnic areas are provided in the pine forest and the Vongnifwel Hill, 1,345 metres above sea level being the highest point east of Jos.
Jos Museum Complex: Jos museum is Nigeria’s first museum and it is situated at the foot of a tree covered granites mountains named Coronation Hill. It has accumulation of Terra Cotta Sculptures of Nok Culture as its most distinguished features.
Gwaram Forest Reserve: The forest reserve is one of the reserves created by the government to preserve the forest and wildlife
Naraguta Leather Works: This is a centre reputed for high quality craftsmanship in the production of leather items. The centre provides opportunity to witness craftsmen at work, fabricating colourful products, ranging from leather cushions, carpets, shoes, slippers, and a variety of souvenir leather, items that are irresistible. The treatment of leather here is still traditional. Some of the leather works found in the arts and crafts shops in most hotels in Nigeria were produced here.
Helena Farm, Jos: Known as the Rose merchant, the farm habours ornamental vegetables and herbal plants such as roses, carnation, herbs and vegetables like dill, basil, rosemary asparagus, broccoli, lettuce cucumber, cauliflower, leek and many more are grown.
Wase River: Wase river in Wase local government area has its mouth in the River Benue, and its river banks are used for growing crops like vegetables and mangoes, maize and yams.
The Kahwang Rock Formation is a beautiful work of nature made up of basalt rocks, second only to the Biu Plateau basalt rock in Nigeria.
These are the two notable basalt rocks in Nigeria.