Port Harcourt is the capital and largest city Rivers State, Nigeria. It lies along the Bonny River and is located in the Niger Delta. The port was built in 1912 by the colonial administration of Nigeria to export coal, transported by rail from Enugu. It was not until August 1913, when the Governor of Nigeria, Sir Frederick Lugard, named it “Port Harcourt” in honor of Lewis Vernon Harcourt, then the Secretary of State for the Colonies. In 1956 crude oil was discovered in commercial quantities at Oloibiri, and Port Harcourt’s economy turned to petroleum when the first shipment of Nigerian crude oil was exported through the city in 1958. This discovery of oil heralded the growth and development of Port Harcourt. Even now many oil firms have their offices there. Port Harcourt is also known as the Garden City, with its lucrative oil industry Port Harcourt has become a melting pot for many different cultures. There is always something new to see in Port Harcourt City.
1. The Pleasure Park
Sited along the busy Aba road. just after the 6 Division HQTRS of the Nigerian Army, The Pleasure Park is a one-stop spot for fun-seekers in Port Harcourt. The park boasts a wide range of facilities including an extensive children’s playground, a miniature soccer field, 5 person paddle boats, each designed for drivers and 3 passengers and water steps.
The golf course consists of a series of holes characterized by their short length.
The park is also filled with various exercise machines ranging from simple walkers and massage machines to elliptical trainers. There is a parking lot, a jogging track, restaurants and a climbing tower.
2.Rivers State Cultural Center.
A very great place to appreciate the culture of this city is at its cultural center. Located on Bonny street, the Port Harcourt cultural center is completely devoted to showing the rich diversity of the Port Harcourt people and their culture. Various exhibits to be found at the Center include local artifacts from as far back as before the founding of the city of Port Harcourt, African figurines and pottery, as well as a theater where cultural dances and plays are regularly held. Souvenirs of local artifacts can also be easily purchased here.
3.Rivers State Museum
The museum is in the secretariat complex of Rivers State Government. The museum contains artifacts related to various ethnic groups indigenous to the state including masks, pottery and carving.
4.Isaac Boro Garden Park.
Isaac Boro Park is a public park and outdoor recreation area located along the Old GRA neighbourhood of Rivers State capital, Port Harcourt. The park is named after Isaac Boro, who was one of the pioneers of minority rights activism in Nigeria. He fought against exploitation of oil and gas from the Niger Delta regions. He died in 1968 during the civil war.
The park is a great place to spend a day with friends. Statues of military personnel and various weapons are amongst a few of the sights to see in the park.
5.Port Harcourt City Mall.
One of the latest attractions in the city of Port Harcourt. The mall like in most big cities is a hub of activity and a lodestone for fun seekers. With a shopping complex, cinema and various food courts, there is a little bit of something for everyone at the mall.
5.PortHarcourt Golf Club.
The PH Club Golf House was established in 1928 as a prime recreational destination in the old eastern region. The 18-hole golf club is open to the public all year round and its serene location within the Old GRA region of the city positions it is a perfect haven for tourists. And for those who don’t play golf there are other facilities to enjoy within the club like the restaurant, lounge area, table tennis hall, bar, clubhouse, internet facilities, swimming pool, football pitch, tennis, squash courts and gym facilities.
6.Port Harcourt Zoo.
The Port Harcourt zoo was officially opened to the public on October 1, 1975. Situated approximately 23 km from the airport, the zoo is home to many uncommon animal species such as lions, cobra, monkeys, chimpanzees, turtles, crocodiles, ostriches, donkeys, gazelles, peacocks and many bird species. The weekends are the time of the week when the zoo is most patronised, and for good reason. On Sunday visits you get to witness the feeding of the animals, especially the Lions. There is nothing like watching the once majestic lions in a feeding frenzy. Within the zoo, you will find the museum where two large lions and lioness were embalmed. These two creatures were killed by electrocution when they attacked and ate the zoo attendant who came to feed them and forgot to lock the cage. A definite must see on your list.
7.Port Harcourt Tourist Beach.
One of Port Harcourt’s oldest tourist attractions. It was commissioned in 1988. Ever since it has been a go to relaxation spot for tourists and residents alike. It has a museum within its premises and tour guides are available to take you through. Also a great place to enjoy fresh or not so fresh palm wine along with other local delicacies, whichever way you like it.
8.Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium.
Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium is a multi-use stadium in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, on the north end of the city in the Omagwa neighbourhood. The stadium has a capacity of 38,000 people. Built in 2015, it is different from other Nigerian stadiums, it features a hockey pitch, a shooting range and 25 emergency exits, among other features that backs its boast as the most equipped stadium in Nigeria.
9.Yakubu Gowon Stadium.
Yakubu Gowon Stadium (formerly Liberation Stadium) is a multi-purpose stadium in the Elekahia suburb of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. It is currently used mostly for football matches and is the home stadium of Rivers United F.C. formerly Dolphins F.C. The stadium has a capacity of 30,000 people.
A trip to Port Harcourt is not complete without a taste of bole and fish. There’s no better place to get this than at Bole King. One of Port Harcourt’s most successful start up restaurants, Bole King has taken the roadside delicacy of roasted plantain from its usually unhygienic environment to a classy and more befitting conditions without losing any of its deliciousness.
11.Charcoal and Spice.
If you’re jonzing for some delicious barbecue, Charcoal and Spice is your stop. With a variety of dishes to choose from Charcoal and Spice is one of the best restaurants to eat out in Port Harcourt.
I know what you’re thinking pizza place. Well yes and no. Piazza does offer pizza and delivers but that’s a tip of the iceberg. Piazza is your classic Italian themed restaurant with a bar and swimming pool at the back. A great place to eat out. They serve Italian dishes and other great continental meals. Do try their fantastic pasta.
13.Mile One Market.
One of the biggest open markets in Nigeria, shopping in mile one is a big part of the Port Harcourt experience. Located in the Diobu area of Port Harcourt City, there are no fixed prices here. Prices can go as low as your haggling skills and as high as you’re willing to pay. Fair warning though everything you purchase is at your own risk (caveat emperor).
14.Go Ferrying on the Bonny River.
The Bonny River lies southward of Rivers State. Bordering Port Harcourt, water taxis and ferries move about the river and are quite an experience. You can’t say you’ve been to Rivers State without being on a river.
Just about 30 minutes ferry over the Bonny River is Bonny Island. Surrounded on the west and south by long stretches of beaches. The beautiful beaches attract tourists and fun seeking inhabitants alike on sunny days and festive periods like Christmas and Easter. On 26 and 31 December of every year, thousands of people visit the beaches for beach carnivals. There are very few better ways to end your visit to Port Harcourt.