Yankari Game Reserve located in Bauchi State, Nigeria, covers an area of about 2,244 square kilometres. It’s history dates back to 1956 when it was established for the preservation, conservation and management of wildlife. It was opened to the general public in January 1962. It is a place of beauty filled with various categories of flora and fauna. It’s Nigeria’s biggest Park and a great place to visit if you are a Tourist, Eco-tourist, Adventurer, Researcher, biological or Tourism student etc.
It had always been on my plan to visit this place so when an official trip took me to Bauchi I made sure, I fulfilled the desire. After finishing my official business, I started making inquires from people in the hotel I lodged and on how to get to the Reserve. From the feedback I got, going by hired taxi was the best option. I negotiated through an intermediary (as I don’t speak the Hausa language) and a sum of N10,000 was agreed. The driver would take me there and come back for me the next day.
So off we went but the problem of communication was still there. He doesn’t speak English and I don’t speak Hausa. I was a little bit nervous as we drove off but as we progressed the young man probably realising my discomfort started to communicate with me with signs and gestures and before we arrived at Yankari reserve, my nervousness (which wasn’t necessary) had disappeared.
I was a bit nervous at the beginning of the journey
Took some great landscape shots as we drove on.
After almost 2 hours of driving we arrived at the resort. I paid for my room and released the driver to go only to discover later in the night that he didn’t leave but decided to sleep in his car. I asked my new friend (Ismail Ibrahim Haruna) one of the officials at the Resort to find out from him concerning why he didn’t leave and the response was something like there was no point going back since he probably would have missed his turn at the Bauchi Motor Park.
My take on the Resort
This is a great place to visit I just hope the Government will do more in advertising it.
I didn’t see any of the big five (Lions, Elephants, etc) you would normally expect to see. I actually refused to go on a Safari for two reasons despite all the assurances of safety I was given. One is because I didn’t want to sit in an open truck because I was imagining what if a lion or leopard jumped into the truck and before the guides could cock their guns ……..blah blah blah. Secondly, there was no assurance of what I would see if went so I thought it may be a waste if money.
Trucks used for safari
Okay, the truth was, I was scared. Forget my excuses. I will return to Yankari reserve again someday and do the Safari.
Don’t go to Yankari on a Sunday except it’s a festive period. I arrived on a Sunday afternoon at a time when over 90% of the guests who spent the weekend there were checking out. I travelled Solo so it was a lonely time for me. It was because Ibrahim noticed I was lonely that he took his time to show me around, answering all my questions/made sure I was okay. If you visit Yankari, check him out. (See also my YouTube video on Wikki Warm Springs link at the end of this blog. He is the one explaining details concerning Yankari in that video).
He even gave me his personal phone to use for the entire duration of my stay because as at the time I visited Yankari, MTN was not working. Thank you so much Ibrahim. I remain indebted to you for such great kindness.
Watch out for the Baboons especially if you are carrying anything in your hands. They may snatch it from you if you are negligent. I was told to put up some “shakara and gra gra” to scare them whenever they come around which I did and they ignored me. I even saw them operating in groups checking doors and windows to see if anyone left their rooms open. Once they find one, the smaller ones will enter to pick things for the bigger ones outside. Also, there are Warthogs on ground but they don’t have the “area boy” attitude of the Baboons.
Hitching a ride on a Warthog
Wikki Warm Springs
There are actually five water springs at Yankari but I only visited one which is the wonderful Wikki Warm Springs which is 31.1 degree centigrade constant temperature and is open for use 24 hours everyday. At first, I thought it was an ordinary swimming pool but it’s actually nature’s creation devoid of human manipulation. The water comes from beneath the earth and its pure and undefiled.
This way to Wikki Warm Springs
Thrashing around in the water.
See my YouTube video on Wikki Warm Springs by following the link below
Accommodation is great and there are various categories so you pay according to what you can afford. You can have Presidential suites or go for the Youth hostel if it’s a large group.
My room for the night
Yankari Reserve Museum
Don’t miss a visit to the museum. So much history and good documentation concerning the flora and fauna of Yankari. It is stucked with different stuffed game from the park. I had the opportunity of lifting an Elephant femur which was so heavy etc
Ismail Ibrahim Haruna explaining things to me in the Yankari Museum.
See my YouTube video in the link below for more details.
Lion and Leopard skins on display at the Museum
If you are a Photojournalist or any type of Researcher, I would advise you come with a zoom lens at least something like a 70-300 mm. I went with a 55-200 mm lens and missed a lot of shots . I still managed to get a “keeper” out of my Water Buck shots.
These are wells dug by some ancient people to store water. They are 139 wells in number with interconnecting shafts dug in the sandstone area.
I couldn’t visit the Marshall caves as I was told there was a problem with the terrain at that time.
The staff at Yankari are very kind/courteous and I have nothing negative to say about their services. Food is okay and also not expensive like I observed in some other places I had visited as a tourist.
Have you visited Yankari before or would you like to visit. Let me know in your experiences in the comments section below. Are there other places in Nigeria you have visited, feel free to share your experiences too.
With beautiful thoughts on my mind, I flew back home.
Nigeria has a lot of wonderful places that a Tourist can visit and Yankari Game Reserve is one of them. I intend to do an encore on this great place again but this time it will be during a festive time to avoid the quietness I experienced on this visit.
You can get in touch with the Reserve directly through this link if you want further details by following this link Yankari Game Reserve, Bauchi
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