Abuja may be the capital but Kano is actually Nigeria’s second largest city after Lagos. It’s a place bustling with trade, military officials and vibrant cultural traditions equally. With a recent history of terrorism, Kano is not for the faint-hearted.
However, if you look beyond the headlines, you’ll find a metropolis that’s as culturally connected and rooted in its past as it is forced to live in today’s hectic world of terrorism. Kano is a destination for the greatest of travellers who can see both good and bad in a place.
Here at Cheap Nigeria Travel, we reward these visitors with the most affordable flights from Abuja to Kano, leaving you free to save your money for the hidden delights of fascinating Kano!
Kano may be just a 45-minute flight away from Abuja but it couldn’t be more different. Due to the presence of terrorism in the region and the consequent military presence, Kano has the feel of a border town. The city also bustles with commercial activity and is full to the brim with history.
Kano as a settlement dates from the 7th century, making it the oldest city in West Africa. It’s a unique destination for the visitor: evocatively medieval, as well as forcefully contemporary. Although English is spoken, the main language in Kano is Hausa.
Flights to Kano
As Kano is such a popular city with Nigerians, there’s no shortage of flights. Follow our tips to ensure you have a safe and comfortable journey:
Best time to fly to Kano
Peak season in Kano is spring and summer (March to August). The famous Durbar ceremony also takes place this time of year, during Eid. You’ll find lower prices in the low season, however, particularly during winter. You won’t even have to compromise on the weather as Kano remains hot year-round and rain is actually a rare event in winter!
Cheap Nigeria Travel guarantees the cheapest flights from Abuja to Kano so don’t worry about comparing airlines! To drive prices even further down, book your flight in advance.
Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (KAN) is the gateway to Kano. It’s also one of the oldest Nigerian airports and has just two terminals.
The airport is about a 20 minute drive from Kano’s city centre. For security reasons, try to get a shuttle service from your hotel.
Airlines flying to Kano
Azman Air Services are the most popular in this region, although Air Peace, ArikAir and Med-View Airline also make the journey from Abuja to Kano.
Visas and customs
Since Abuja to Kano is a local route, there is no need to pass through immigration. However, you are advised to keep all your travel documentation on hand. For Nigerians, this simply means either your identity card or passport.
Each airline has its own baggage policy, however there are standard allowances. You’re normally allowed three bags: one under the seat in front of you, one 7kg bag for overhead hand luggage and one checked bag that weighs 30 to 45kg. After booking your flight to Kano, you will be informed of the baggage allowance of that particular airline.
Should you have any queries or special baggage needs, let us know and we’ll be happy to help.
Those who visit Kano are often blown away not just by its contrast with other Nigerian cities but by its unique charm. It may make headlines around the world for real time news but most of Kano’s attractions come from its rich past.
Kano has been ruled by an emir for hundreds of years. While today’s emir is more of a community leader than a political force, he is still widely respected and central to the city’s life.
Visitors to the Emir’s Palace have never been disappointed by the imposing building from the 1400s. The best time to see it is during the Durbar Festival, when horse riders from all the local villages process towards the palace.
The Great Mosque
The Great Mosque of Kano is actually a copy, built after the original mudbrick one was destroyed in the 1950s. Kano has historically been an Islamic centre of scholarship and culture. Pay tribute to this history at what has been the city’s iconic landmark for over half a century.
Kofar Matar Dye Pots
Kano is one of just a few cities in the world which can lay claim to extant medieval dye pots. Kano’s Kofar Matar Dye Pots were established in 1498 and have been operational ever since.
Sadly (and ironically), the business has become a dying trade as demand has dwindled in recent years. The pots, however, are still there and some artists continue in the same tradition as their ancestors did for over five hundred years.
Gidan Makama Museum
Before we even mention what’s inside the museum, let’s talk about the mud-walled building itself. The museum was built in the 15th century as a palatial residence for the Emir’s heir (who is locally called the ‘Makama Kano’) and is recognised as a National Monument. The present-day Makama Kano still uses part of the building today, over six hundred years later!
The collections inside the museum are absolutely fascinating! There’s an exhibition on the architecture of Kano, as well as beautiful explanations of the Durbar Festival and the foundation of Kano.
Anyone can tell that this is a museum created out of love; there is amazing detail in the exhibitions and the museum is actively involved in sustainably developing today’s Kano, as well as preserving its past. Don’t miss this little gem: no-one will believe you were in Kano if you can’t talk about a visit to the Gidan Makama Museum!
Another unmissable stop on your itinerary must be Kurmi Market. It’s as old as it is large: in fact, it’s one of the largest markets on the African continent! It’s open from 8am to 6pm and believe us when we say it’s entirely possible to spend the entire day shopping at Kurmi!
Kano has been a trading hub for as long as it’s existed. Back then, precious metals and slaves were some of the offerings. Today, the slave trade is gone but, fortunately, the precious metal trade remains! Gold, silver, bronze…Kurmi Market has just the metal for you.
With literally thousands of stalls, there’s a lot to excite your eyes and lighten your pockets: traditional Hausa fabrics, intricate beadwork, spices, leather accessories, wood carvings and much, much more…set a budget before you enter!
Health and safety
To make the most of your stay in Kano, it’s important to take certain precautions. It’s recommended that you ensure that your vaccinations are up to date. Some of the most vital vaccinations are those against polio, yellow fever, cholera and hepatitis A.
Stay on the safe side when you’re in Kano: like much of northern Nigeria, the city has been plagued by terrorism. Remember, however, that many top tourist destinations around the world have also experienced terrorist attacks and that the media coverage is very harsh on Nigeria. The key to enjoying your trip lies in minimising fear and increasing understanding.
Nevertheless, we cannot emphasise enough how important it is to take precautions. Kano is not the type of destination you can visit spontaneously and take a casual, aimless stroll around. Stay on top of the news and try to schedule your trip during periods of relative calm. Planning your itinerary is key! Choose which attractions to visit, secure reliable and safe transport, and always tell someone where you are going. There are numerous other safety tips that will help you enjoy Kano as much as possible in the present situation.
It’s worth bearing in mind that photographing government buildings is illegal in Nigeria. Kano is also a predominantly Muslim city so dress and behave respectfully to avoid attracting attention.
Cost of living
Although you’ll have to splurge on safety measures like good hotels, Kano’s prices are really very attractive.
- Cheap meal: 500 NGN = 1,38USD
- McMeal at McDonald’s: 2000 NGN = 5, 53 USD
- 3 litres of fuel: 556,46 NGN = 1,54 USD
- 1 night in a double room, budget hotel: 21 312, 12 = 68,54 USD
Kano has the usual array of public transport services. However, with safety in mind, we advise that travellers to Kano secure private forms of transport. The best idea is to choose a hotel that has good security and offers secure transport to guests (this is not a place where you want to skimp on accommodation!).
Having a guide who has good references is another great precaution as they will be able to procure safe transport and choose the safest routes. Again, ask your hotel.
Some of the greatest things in life can only be experienced after hard work. Much like you can only enjoy the views from the top of a mountain after climbing it, you can only really appreciate Kano after you’ve navigated its turbulent environment.
The disjuncture between Kano’s illustrious medieval past and its harsh contemporary environment produces a unique experience for visitors. In Kano you can simultaneously experience the past, present and future as this antique trading centre navigates conflict towards a united future.
So if you’re looking to transcend time, Kano’s your city and Cheap Nigeria Travel is your ticket!