Zamfara is a state in North West Nigeria with its capital at Gusau. It is bordered to the east by Katsina State, to the west by Sokoto and Niger state, to the north by the Republic of the Niger and to the south by Kaduna State. The slogan of Zamfara is "Farming is our Pride".
Zamfara has an estimated population of 9.8 million in 2011 and occupies an area of 34,284 km².
Zamfara is mainly populated by Hausa and Fulani people, with some members of Gwari, Kamuku, Kambari, Dukawa, Bussawa and Zabarma ethnic communities and other ethnic group like Igbo, Yoruba, Kanuri, Nupe and Tiv. It comprises fourteen local government areas. The widely spoken languages in Zamfara are Hausa and Fulfulde while English is their official language. Islam is the principal and major religion in Zamfara while those that practice Christianity are in minority. It is the host for the following tertiary institutions:
- Federal Polytechnic, Namoda
- Zamfara State University
- Federal University Gusau
- Federal College of Education (Technical), Gusau
- Zamfara State College of Art and Sciences, Gusau
Zamfara is made up of fourteen local government areas:
- Anka, Bakura, Birnin Magaji/Kiyaw, Bukkuyum, Bungudu, Chafe, Gummi, Gusau, Kaura Namoda, Maradun, Maru, Shinkafi, Talata Mafara, and Zurmi
Over the years, the people of Zamfara have struggled for autonomy, but it was not until 1996 that the then military administration of the Late General Sani Abacha detached the Zamfara State from Sokoto State.
The area today called Zamfara state was one of the old state like Kano, Katsina, Gobir, Kabi and Zazzau. The earliest inhabitants of Zamfara were hunters and giants. They established their first settlement at Dutsi which was the first capital of Zamfara. It extends up to the bend of River Rima to the north west and River Ka in the south west. Zamfara Kingdom was established in the 11th century and flourished up to 16th century as a city-state. Its capital has shifted with the fortunes of the kingdom from place to place like Dutsi and Birnin Zamfara.
In the first half of the 18th century, its then capital Birnin Zamfara, was destroyed by the Gobir Kingdom and a new capital was established in Anka by the second half of the 19th century. Zamfara had many centers of commerce and scholarship that attracted many scholars like the Yandoto city. It became part of the Sokoto Caliphate after the 1804 jihad by Usman dan Fodio. In fact, Usman Danfodiyo settled in Sabon Gari where Sarkin Zamfara Abarshi had already established a garrison headquarters during the early days of his Jihad as a base from where fought Gobir and Kabi.
At the wake of British colonialism, the emerging town of Gusau became an important commercial and administrative center with road and rail networks passing through it. With the creation of states during the Gowon Administration, Zamfara Kingdom became part of the then North West state and later the Sokoto State.
Zamafara was the first state in Nigeria to introduce Sharia Law during the regime of Ahmad Sani Yerima, the former Governor of the state. Sharia Law is an Islamic legal system derived from the religious precepts of Islam. The people consider it as a divine law, as it originates from the Quaran and the Sunnah and despite all the controversies stemming from the application of the Sharia law and its implications on human rights, it is still practiced within Zamfara. As a result amputation of hands and limbs, beheading, and stoning are not entirely illegal within there.
The climate condition of Zamfara is tropical with temperatures rising up to 38 °C (100.4 °F) and above between March and May. The climate is tropical marked by dry and rainy season. Rainy season starts in late May to September while the mild season known as Harmattan lasts from December to April.
Agriculture and gold mining are the main occupations of the people of the Zamfara and the central source of income. Irrigation is required for cereals and legumes hence its slogan "farming is our pride".
The state is basically an agricultural state with over 80 percent of the people engaged in various forms of agriculture. Major agricultural products include millet, guinea corn, maize, rice, groundnut, cotton, tomato, potato, tobacco and beans while its solid minerals include: gold, iron ore, copper, tantalite, and manganese.
Visitors that intend to come into Zamfara by air have to make use of the airport in the state which is in Gusau.
1 Gusau Airport (Gusau Airstrip). Gusau airstrip is serving the region of Gusau and Zamfara state and its longest runway is 4.800 feet/1.463 meters long.
Many transport companies in Zamfara offer daily services from almost all major cities and States around the country. These transport companies include:
- Benue Links Nigeria Limited, Zamfara State Transport Authority Gusau (ZSTA) Motor Park, Tudun Wada, Gusau, ☏ , , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 5AM-6PM. Benue Links Nigeria Limited is a government-owned transport company carrying out transport services ranging from inter and intra state shuttles. It has many principle functional terminals in Benue and other states like Zamfara state. Their buses are comfortable and affordable.
The main forms of transportation in Zamfara are buses, carb and taxi. Most transport enters and leaves the city of Zamfara through Gusau Central Motor Park.
- Kuyambana (Kwiambana Game Reserve). A vast forest area that stretches from the Dajin Rugu to the Kontagora Forest with an area of 2,614km2. It was designated as a National Game Reserve in 1971 to preserve animals and plants of rare species. It houses different wild animals such as Elephants, Lions, Hyena among many others. Kuyambana Game Reserve can be visited by nature enthusiasts, zoologists and fun lovers.
- Zamfara State Museum (in the home of J.B. Yakubu Secretariat, Gusau). A national museum owned by the Zamfara State History Bureau. The museum features some of the relics and artefacts of ancient Zamfara Kingdom and thrones, scriptures and maps.
- National Gallery of Art, Zamfara, 29 Canteen Rd, Gusau. It is a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Nigeria responsible for the collection, preservation, documentation and presentation of Nigeria’s contemporary plastic arts with headquarters at the prowling city of Abuja, capital of Nigeria but has branches in the six geo-political zones in Nigeria.
- Kwatarkwashi Rock/Natural Spring (Kwatarkwashi, Maru). The rock’s history dates as far back as Kwatarkwashi town itself. Attraction to the rock is hinged on the spiritual significance which the rock possesses. Kwartarkwashi Rock/water spring still attracts visitors from different parts of Nigeria and the world at large. Tourists are allowed to do everything such as: sight-see, relax, climb the rocks, picnic, hunt, fetch or drink from the spring water coming out of the rocks, carry out research, etc but they are not allowed to go in the caves. The caves are out of bounds to tourists. This is because the caves are very deep and dark, and wild animals/reptiles may be hiding in them. It’s advisable to watch the kids closely to make sure they don’t try to live out any Batman fantasy in those caves. It is important and advisable that you wear comfortable clothes and shoes if you plan to go rock climbing. The rock and the history surrounding it, the water spring, and the cool environment are the main features of this tourist attraction. The best time to visit Kwartarkwashi Rock/Water Spring is during 8AM and 7PM when there's enough daylight to enjoy the sights. Kwartarkwashi Rock is a popular place. Its cool and relaxing atmosphere attracts a steady stream of tourists, students, indigenes, visitors from neighboring towns, and researchers. Kwartarkwashi Rock/Water Spring has a blend of everything: nature, history, and magic (if you wish). The environment is cool and relaxing and it almost has a healing effect on you.
- Kanoma Hills (Maru Local Government Area). It is approximately 479 metres or 1,571 feet high. During tribal war in 19th century, the hill provided protection to Kanoma hunters who settled on top of who lived right on top of the hill against enemies. It was a major advantage as it meant the enemy forces had to charge uphill to attack them, while they could easily. The first inhabitants of Kwatarkwashi settle around the foot of the mountain because of the presence of the rock, believing the rock possessed great spirit. hide and lay in wait. Kanoma hill is about 34km away from Gusau. Umaru Nagwamatse who is the grandson of Usman Dan Fodio, and founder of Kontagora and Gwamatsawa Dynasty attempted to conquer Kanoma but he failed. Kanoma hill offers great protect to people during battle times. They used the hill to their advantage in battle.The hill is quite a safe location but visitors are advised to be careful when climbing up and down the hill. The best time to visit the hills is during the day when there is enough light to climb up and down the hill. The most common visitors of Kanoma Hills are adventurers, hikers, researchers.
- Dashi Natural Tunnels (a 2-km natural tunnel in Dashi, Kwatarkwashi district of Bungudu Local Government, Gusau). This tunnel is wide enough to accommodate three people walking side by side at the same time. It is also high enough for a person to walk upright. The best time to visit the tunnel is during the day when there are tour guides on site to make your visit a memorable one.
- Sambo Dan Ashafa Tomb (Wonaka, Gusau). It is one of two burial sites that are popular tourist attractions in Zamfara. It is the burial site of Sambo Dan Ashafa. He was the founder of Gusau, the present Zamfara state capital, and Wonaka, which is located 45km east of Gusau. Sambo Dan Ashafa’s tomb.
- Kiyawa City Walls. Once the most powerful city situated in the eastern plains of Zamfara State. The City walls were ancient walls constructed purposely to secure the Zamfara against any external oppression. The ruins of the city walls which is dated back to about 250 years ago are still visible at Kiyawa about 35 km from Kauran Namoda. The width of the wall is about 2 meters, and the height about 10 meters. The ruins of the city walls which is dated back to about two hundred and fifty years are still visible at Kiyawa about 35 km from Kauran Namoda. The width of the wall is about 2 meters and the height about 10meters.
- Mu'alledi's tomb.
- Kokowa Wrestling Festival is one of the major festivals of the Zamfara State. It is an annual festival that is usually celebrated during the dry season in the village square. During this cultural festival, young men engage other young men in a wrestling match in order to show their supremacy over them. The young men who are willing to compete in the wrestling will come out in the middle of the square where they will be commanded to show their strength. The wrestler that first falls the opponent on the ground automatically wins the match and he is rewarded handsomely. The winner of the wrestling match command high degree of respect among his peers and also among women. Spectators hang around the square, charting songs to cheer the wrestler they like up to victory.
- The Durbar Festival dates back hundreds of years to the time when the Emirate (state) in the North used horses in warfare. During this period, each town, district, and nobility household was expected to contribute a regiment to the defence of the Emirate. Once or twice a year, the Emirate military chiefs invite the various clans in the community for the festival.
- 1 Delight Super Stores, Tudun Wada, Kaura Namoda Road, Gusau, ☏ . 8AM-11PM daily. Groceries, beverages, gift items, household items etc. Also delivers.
- 2 Rogo Super Store, Shopping Complex, Ahamadu Bello Way, Gusau. 24 hours daily. Provision and grocery store.
- 1 Bilkebab Chops N Coffee Gusau, Old MTN Office, Zaria Rd, Gusau, ☏ . Daily 8AM-10PM. Local and inter-continental cuisines.
If you are in Zamfara and you are looking for a bar joint to chill and have a few drinks, you might want to rethink again because consumption of alcohol of all sorts is frowned and prohibited. Any one that defaults by consuming alcohol stand the risk of being flogged publicly.
- 1 Green Scenery Hotel, Gusau, Zamfara State. Check-in: 9AM, check-out: 2PM. Restaurant, bar, parking space. ₦10,000.
- 2 Karma Guest Inn, Gusau Sokoto By Pass, Gusau. Check-in: 2PM. ID required, check-out: noon. A budget hotel in Gusau in a serene environment. It features a restaurant, event hall and bush bar. Each room is tastefully designed with modern art and ornate rugs. The rooms are fully furnished, fitted with air conditioning, armchairs, center table, refrigerator, cable TV and a private bathroom.Guests can order meals and drinks from the onsite restaurant and bar. Dining room is available. The hotel has a gift shop. It also have a multipurpose hall which can be rented out for various events and ceremonies. The hotel premises is fully guarded by security personnel and has ample parking space. Dry cleaning, car hire and 24-hour room service are rendered. Also babies and kids under the age 16 years can stay in the hotel for free. ₦12,000.
- 3 Crystal Merit Suite and Apartments, No. 14 Olusegun Obasanjo Dr, Unguan Yerima, Gusau, ☏ , . Check-in: 2PM.mID required, check-out: noon. A 3-star hotel. It has restaurant, bar, air-conditioned rooms, laundry services, dry cleaning, garden etc. ₦9,440.
Although there are civil disturbances within the state at intervals, the crime rate in Zamfara is relatively low. This is because of the strict sharia law which makes people to refrain from dubious activities such as stealing, murder and other nefarious offences and this makes Zamfara a safe place for visitors and tourist to stay in.
Just like most states in Nigeria, visitors would most likely find a reliable coverage of the 2G/3G mobile networks in zamfara but reliable network coverage of the 4G network might be somehow limited. Signal strength might diminish further away from cities' centers, and you might occasionally experience a network outage for all or some of the mobile phone service providers in some remote areas in the region. Different networks tend to be more stable and reliable in different locations of the region at different times.
GLO, Airtel (Zain), MTN and 9Mobile (formerly Etisalat) are all available service providers in the state. Therefore, if you are planning a visit to Zamfara, you should endeavour to come with more than one phones or a phone that has multiple SIM card ports, since you can't tell which will be more stable and reliable at a time in your location during your visit. And if you will risk not having any of them, you might be better off not risking the MTN network, because, from indications, MTN perform better than the others and it's rates may be high and its offers and services might be stringent, but you are less likely to be concerned of erratic voice and data connection compared to other networks.
From Zamfara, you can go to other states and countries like: