Gboko is one of the busiest towns in Benue State. Aside from Makurdi the state capital, Gboko is one of the other important commercial, administrative headquarters of the state. It is also where the highest traditional ruling head, the Tor-Tiv (King of the Tivs) sits.
The town of Gboko lies alongside the route leading from Katsina-ala to Makurdi. It is a major commercial centre in the state as most of the commodities sold (yams, cassava flakes, vegetables, rice, beans) are transacted in large quantities. It is home to 500,000 people, predominantly the Tiv people and various other tribes, and to migrants and dwellers from across the country. The town is home to very beautiful sceneries and landscapes, industrial complexes and companies.
Gboko does not have an airport. The nearest airport you will find is the Makurdi Airport, which is located in the state. It receives flights from major cities in the country.
- 1 Makurdi Airport (MDI IATA), Off Gboko Road, Makurdi, ☏ +2348065355583. Makurdi Airport is on the southward bank of the Benue River, Benue state. It is a joint civil/military airport and is home to a number of squadrons of the Nigerian air force. As of 2021, the airport is undergoing extensive development in order to attract scheduled commercial services. Full commercial operations began at the airport in 2020. Luckily for tourists and visitors, this airport is positioned near hotels, lodges and guesthouses.
Travellers or visitors can get in by road. Whether you plan to use a bus or taxi, you can easily find the taxi prices or book bus tickets online.
For people coming in from Lagos, the distance between Lagos to Gboko should be around 793 km if you are driving. From Lagos, it would take a bit over 11 hours and cost around US$140-240.
From Abuja, a taxi would take about 5½ hours with a distance of 368 km. The time might be longer depending on the vehicle you boarded and the traffic on the road. There are different interstate bus services that plys the route from Abuja to Benue state, few however goes direct to Gboko. The state run transport company, Benue Links runs a direct service fr Abuja to Gboko, while others will stop at Makurdi from where you will board another vehicle going to Gboko. The transport fare ranges from ₦4,000 - 4,500 for a bus, to ₦5000 for the more comfortable cars. If you are going to take a private service, it will cost you more and depends solely on which company you will be using. Benue Links is located at Area 3 junction, Abuja.
If you want to get in by train from Abuja, you will have to alight at Makurdi then take a taxi to Gboko.
In Gboko, one of the most popular means of street transport are tricycles. These tricycles are also referred to as "Keke Napep". They may not be safest or fastest but they are the most convenient. Kekes are light and can help you beat traffic as they can easily maneuver and get into tight corners. If you put the bad roads into consideration, tricycles will be the best option as a means of commuting. They are also affordable and provide more space.
Within the township, the role of buses as a public transport cannot be underplayed. They provide services that aid the movement of people and their goods. These buses have conductors who accompany the drivers on trips around town. Sometimes these conductors might use vulgar language so do not be surprised if they put up an attitude.
Motor cyclists also popularly called Okada. Cyclists can take you to your destination faster but they are infamous for over speeding due to their impatience. They are also notorious for illegal U-turns and extortions especially at night. The FRSC (Federal Road Security Commission) have tried to curb this issue by introducing stern regulations against road use and related offenses.
Some cyclist and drivers are rude, lack discipline and respect so avoid having squabbles with them. The number one rule is that, always agree on the price and make sure they know exactly where you are going. Bike ride is particularly useful if you are running late and cannot afford to wait for taxi.
- 1 Mkar Hill. Mkar Hill is the highest and most prominent mountain in Gboko. Mkar Hills falls in the east and the scenery is a fascinating one. Mkar has a spectacular hill formation of two distinct peaks and the twin hills stand at a height between 800 and 1,000 meters above sea level. It is a safe location and affords locals and tourists the opportunity for rock climbing, sightseeing and picnics.
- 2 J.S Tarka Tomb (Gboko East LGA). The tomb is a monument complex built in honour of J.S. Tarka who was a political leader, senator and traditional ruler of Tiv extraction who died in 1979. J.S. Tarka was a political icon whose political ideologies contributed immensely to the emancipation of the Nigerian people. The tomb is housed in the J.S.Tarka Institute for Political and Strategic Studies.
- 3 Tor Tiv Palace. Tor Tiv Palace is home to the ruler of the Tiv people. The renovation was completed on April 8, 2021. The new Tor Tiv Palace is a striking architectural masterpiece as the Tiv traditional colours of black and white as well as other symbolic Tiv cultural symbols and elements were architecturally incorporated into the design and finishing of the palace. This was done to add the historical contributions of culture and tradition that Benue bequeaths to the world. It definitely is a must-see in Gboko.
- 1 Wooded Trench, Tser Mker. This wooded trench is a heavily wooded natural trench at Tse Mker. It is a site whose origin has been lost to history, but the deep trench-like valley is believed to be a natural inhabitant of pythons, lions, hyenas and exotic birds. This makes it a good site for hunting, gaming, bird viewing and adventure. .
Gboko is full of mountains, hills, rocks and water good for sightseeing. You can visit the cement company along the road.
- Gboko Markets: Gboko comprises 5 districts which have several markets scattered all over the districts. Most of these markets sell products mostly produced in the district and little of other products sold or produced in their neighbouring district. The markets open at different days to help transaction and congestion of people because you can not expect people to move their produce. For example: in Ipav, Ortese market (on Saturdays), and Ameladu (Sundays).
Gboko predominantly consist of farmers and these districts have fertile lands that favour different crops produced. Their products are sold in the market of such districts. This also has an influence on the food they eat. Popular food eaten in Gboko includes yams, soya-beans, cassava produce such as garri (cassava flakes) and akpu, groundnuts, fresh and dry fish. There are also restaurants that offer amazing services. Do not be surprised if you find restaurants whose menus have a mix of both local and international dishes. Some restaurants in Gboko include:
- 1 Top chef Kitchen and Grill, Gboko. Daily. Unlike other restaurants, Top chef Kitchen and Grill offers dine in and takeout option.
- 2 Sena Restaurant, Gboko Road. M-Sa 8AM-6PM. Sena restaurant is a go to if one is on a budget and does not want to splurge. The food is great. They also serve drinks alongside their meals so no need going to a bar afterwards.
- 3 Lady F Restaurant, Makir Zakpe Way. M-Sa 9AM-6PM. Lady F Restaurant is a great place to dine if you want to enjoy the delicacies that Gboko has to offer as they specialise in local dishes.
- 4 Super Plaza Eatery. 7:30AM-9:30PM. Super Plaza Eatery is a very busy place as it is popular amongst locals. This gives guests the opportunity to make friends with locals while dinning.
- 5 Elite Eatry And Lounge Restaurant. M-Su 8AM-8PM. Elite Eatry and Lounge Restaurant is an restaurant with a lounging area for social or business activities They offer not just dine in and take out but also delivery services.
You can find bars and local inns where drinks are sold. The local bars sells locally brewed drink made from sorghum, commonly called Biketti or Burukutu. In the bigger bars alcoholic drinks common in the country are also sold while few will have international brands. These are found in expensive hotels within the town.
- 1 Level Chops, 3 Old Post Office Rd, ☏ +234-703-968-0959. 24 hr. Dine-in. Takeaway.
- 2 Innovation Pub, Mkar Rd. Daily 6PM-midnight. Dine-in. Takeaway.
- 3 Abu Family Bar, Gboko, ☏ +234-803-288-1760. Daily. Takeaway. Dine-in.
- 4 Mkar Stop Over Bar, Akpasher/UMM Junction,Mkar. Daily. Dine-in.
- 5 Cheers Restaurant Bar, Adeka Market,33 Capt Dawn Rd, ☏ +234-803-256-7966. Daily 7AM-10PM. Dine-in.Takeaway.
- 6 Wantor outdoor Bar, Gboko. Daily. Dine-in. Takeaway.
- 7 Jumat Guest Inn & Bar, Gboko-Makurdi Express Rd. Daily. Dine-in. Takeaway.
- 1 Wishden Hotel, Near New General Post Office, G.R.A. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. Wishden Hotel is just an hour drive away from Makurdi Airport. The hotel offers a secure environment to guests during their stay in the hotel. At Wishden Hotel, each room has a study desk, an air conditioner, a sofa, a refrigerator, and a cable connected LCD TV set. The hotel also has an on-site restaurant and a bar available. Additional services include a 24-hour front desk, concierge services, room service, and laundry services free parking, and adequate security on request. Pets are not allowed and all payments must be in cash.
- 2 Hotel Jovina, Behind NNPC Mega Filling Station. Hotel Jovina has a bar/lounge and a restaurant where guest can dine.
For a night, the hotel rooms and prices are:
Classic Rooms - ₦5,000 avg/night, Super Deluxe - ₦6,500, Executive Double - ₦8,000, Mini Suite - ₦10,000, Execuitve Suite - ₦12,000, Jovina Hall - ₦23,000 to ₦30,000, Open Space - ₦40,000.
- 3 Winika Hotel Limited, New Post Office Road, Gboki, Gboko, Benue State, Gboko, Benue. noon. The facilities available at Winika Hotel include free Wi-Fi access for checked-in guests, elevator access, automated doors, a café, a sizeable swimming pool, ample parking space, restaurant and bar, events hall, a keep-fit gym and watertight security aided by CCTV cameras. The hotel room varieties are only four. The rooms and their prices are:
Standard - ₦6,900, Deluxe - ₦11,500, Executive Suite - ₦17,000, Pent house - 45,000.
Another advantage of staying at this hotel is that children are allowed to stay for free.
- 4 Kings Inn, 30 Damjor Street, Off Gyato Hospital Road GRA. Kings Inn will be perfect if you are on a budget. whether you are there for a vacation or a business trip, their facilities are definitely going to help relieve accumulated stress. Amenities include 24 electricity, a lounge/bar, restaurant, gym and event hall. The hotel rooms prices are really affordable compare to others in the area. They are: Royal Room - ₦4,800, Executive Room - ₦6,100, VIP Room - ₦8,400, Ambassador Chalet - ₦10,500, Executive Suite - ₦12,600.
- 5 Mount Horeb Hotels, 1 John Mark Inienger Road G.R.A. Mount Horeb Hotels is an ultra-modern building at the serene GRA which provides guests with a mix of both traditional and modern.
Most places have 2G/3G/4G mobile network coverage. Some hotels even offer free wifi. Service can be disrupted the farther you go away from the town center, and you might occasionally experience network outage for all or some of the mobile phone service providers in those remote areas of the town. And different networks tend to be more stable and reliable in different locations of the town at different times.
if you are planning a visit to this town, you should consider having multiple SIM cards preferably for all the mobile service providers, 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, it seem to perform well than the others, though its 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 others.
Of the service providers is Glo (or Globacom), which boasts of fast network speed for internet browsing activities, but that might not be enjoyable in some locations in Gboko. Airtel is fairly satisfactory for all you might need to connect to the world, including rates and network stability. And 9mobile usually also performs well in internet browsing speed but not without locational limitations.