A Traveller’s Guide to Yankari Game Reserve

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Unwinding comes in different ways and forms , it could be; a session at a spa, a day out in a café catching up with friends and having a good laugh, travels, reading a book in the quietness of their home, and for others, it is simply watching their favorite TV series.

However form it takes, it is important to not get caught in the unending web of plans and actions. A break from routine might just be what the mind needs to get cracking like day one.

A typical “up and running” Nigerian is characterized with such things as; inadequate time, running to meet schedules, endless meetings, everyday hurdles enough to make one lose sanity. Here is what I have to say on this matter, taking a vacation after all these times is rewarding. A relaxed mind – one of the benefits of vacation is imperative for productivity. Mental health is equally important as much as physical well being; a focused and alert mind is key to successful living.

Perhaps, you find yourself not getting enough free time to tick your bucket list, well, summer is here and happens to be the best time of the year to travel and be outdoor. Travelling has a magical way of rejuvenating one’s body.

Nigeria and Africa at large is swelled by numerous tourist attractions. Top on our list is Yankari Game Reserve in Bauchi State, Nigeria. Appropriate for basically everyone, most importantly to collect one’s thought and regain that glow for as long as possible.

Photo by Martin Fennema on Unsplash

Yankari Game Reserve

Occupying a total land area of 2,244 square kilometres (866 sq mi), YGR is a wildlife park located in the south-central part of Bauchi State, in North Eastern Nigerian. Majestically, it sits a half an hour drive away from the main Bauchi township. It heralds calm and naturally conserved ambiance.

A group or family tour will mostly likely guarantee maximum fun, after all, the more the merrier, however, solo tours are great options as well. Due to distance, a great option would be to implore 2 modes of transportation; say a flight to a neighbouring city (Kaduna, Abuja or Jos), from any of these locations, it is easy to continue on a road trip to Bauchi. Jos being the closest to Bauchi state, a 2 hours drive to Yankari. Abuja and Kaduna peg at a 5–6 hours drive.

Driving up north for the first time, I had my head out of the car the whole time, the breeze making play with what is left of my low cut. I was immersed in the beauty that Nigeria is. Uniquely different is each region and I couldn’t but feel proud about being a Nigerian on a whole new level. The dry, sun-baked expanse of landmass, mountains rising massively to dot the skyline at the horizon; these I still picture in my head. I saw a camel, locals paused to wave at us on their way back home from farm; the look of all sufficiency on their faces.

The facility on arrival will make you question if truly it is managed by the state government or privately held. Forgive me, but am used to the Nigeria that abandons infrastructures and landmarks to lay in waste.

Photo by Jennifer Latuperisa on Unsplash

Accommodation close to Yankari Game Reserve

Carefully lawned is the garden that surrounds the facility, a picture freak such as myself couldn’t hold back. The accommodation is structured accordingly to suit individual budget; it ranges from Student price to VIP treat. The student lodge goes for as low as N1800 per night. Fully ACed room manicured to taste with furniture and monologue décor. Secured garage for vehicles and guaranteed 24 hours power supply. The park has a well functioning and homely website.

You can be sure to get the best hotels near Yankari Game Reserve through Jumia TravelFor the best hotel deals around Yankari National Park and for Yankari National Park accommodation price, you will find them on Jumia Travel. There are many Yankari National Park Hotels nearby where you can lodge. You can see the prices of Yankari National Park Hotels, read reviews and see pictures.

Wikki Warm Spring

Everything you might have heard about a natural clear water body that flows at 3 degrees Celsius temperature aka Wikki Warm Spring is very true. Well, except you have not heard about it before now which is more reason why you should go. Following a quick unpacking and rushed meal, the excitement to explore each part of the facility was building and it is hard to contain.

Up next, Wikki Warm spring! Everything ever told or written is true and even more beautiful seeing it physically. The water depth does not pose a problem for non-swimmers. It gradients from deep to shallow, a safe place would be the latter where you can do as much as one would in the former.

This particular facility has attracted naturalist and curious minds both at home and abroad. The spring holds a different view at night; that, is an additional topping on a cake. At night, turquoise, which the water holds naturally is mixed in light drops settling above and one can see the bottom as the water flows slowly along. The night provides the perfect scenery to play in the water with one’s significant other. I will say, girl, pack your bags, throw those heels aside and head to Yankari today.

Photo by Mark de Jong on Unsplash

Safari

Safari! Yes, you heard right! A tour guide leads a truck full of tourists to explore the game aspect of Yankari in batches. The sight of an animal will have him explain briefly what the animal is alongside other details. On one of the ride, a snake was sighted (I want to say a cobra or anaconda) at a respectable distance from the road path. While the Machos in the team came down to have a proper look and confirm its size, you bet I sat still. The thing with the animals is this, the sight of human movement makes them run but with enough time to catch an appreciable look at them.

That truck that has opening on every end which allows you a great view of the environment…yay! The last thing anyone would do is let fear overtake their curiosity; the ride went miles away from People part of Yankari to middle of nowhere with wild animals roaming freely at every turn. I couldn’t possibly be the only one who had wild thoughts.

Also enclosed in the game aspect of Yankari is an ancient cave. Recorded as a refuge during ethnic frictions and colonial era years back; only now it stands as a tourist attraction. It is covered up in thick forestation. The massive dome-shaped structure is segmented into rooms worthy of unraveling.

Worthy of mentioning is the kitchen which provides yummy food selections on budget. You might want to bring your booze along on the trip; I don’t recall seeing it on sale anywhere in the premise throughout my stay. There is also an art and culture talk shop which opens 24hours for sales of different items ranging from locally made bag, hats, bracelet; one would definitely find a souvenir.

It might interest you to know animals roam the non-game aspect of the reserve. Baboons and a small pig like animal. Harmless, but, lurking in a corner waiting on anyone walking by with colorful nylon. So fierce and swift, the experience sent fear down my spine on my first encounter. Subsequently, away from bright nylon, cookie or bottle of drink, we hung out together, stood to watch them back their baby and display, took pictures together. It takes 2 minutes for these guys especially baboons to turn a room upside, leaving a room open at any point might not be such a good idea.

Fashion Pick

Ladies:

  • Colourful, silky, armless, breezy dresses are most appropriate.
  • Strapless bra
  • Slippers / sandals; gladiator or strapped
  • Mini-purse/ side bag
  • Bangle earrings
  • Leggies
  • Hat
  • A copy of a lifestyle magazine
  • Camera
  • Little to no makeup
  • A pair of sunglasses

Men:

  • Short
  • Wrist accessories
  • Hat
  • Fly shirts or statement tees
  • A pair of sunglasses
  • Hiking boot

Enjoy!

This article was sent in by Ibukun Samuel.
Ibukun tweets @vennypoppin

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