Africa is considered the El Dorado of intoxicatingly beautiful nature and untamed wildness. Explorers and writers about the continent have often written almost exclusively on the natural aesthetics of the continent, describing it with flowery words so sweet you can almost taste them off the pages.
Often, when people tour Africa, it is these things they are focused on. They want to experience the wildness, the waterfalls, the diversity of its flora and fauna. This accommodates the construction of only one narrow narrative. It is seen as the place to go to be closer to nature, to find oneness with the elements. Most times, this is all the reach of this narrative.
More than its physical allure, Africa is a place of history. It has seen the birth of civilizations, witnessed the dawn and night of great empires that left the world with great art and, their people, a colourful heritage to identify with. Its history is entrenched in sweat and grit. It is punctuated by wars, and stories of wars, conquests, mysticism, and ancient wisdom. And we know how well tough and unstraight journeys make for great stories. They entertain, but they are also very important in understanding history, to make sense of our past and forge our future with clarity breasted by the gift of retrospection.
Nigeria holds within its borders, a fine amount of everything: nature, beauty, stunning art, landmarks, and very rich culture and history. Whether you’re looking to be immersed in the natural aesthetics of this place, are simply trying to get a slice of the Nigerian experience, or looking to better understand and appreciate the country and the stories that have shaped it, here is one of them:
The Yankari National Park
It’s almost cliché how this game reserve is on nearly everyone’s list of must-see places in Nigeria. Nigeria’s Safari, The Yankari, is located in Bauchi, Nigeria. It is home to a diversity of animals and flora. The experience with the wildlife here beats anything you can find at a zoo and many other places within the country. The park provides safari rides from the comfort of which you can view the animals in their natural habitats—elephant herds, hippopotamuses, lions, gazelles, monkeys. It is like watching NatGeo, but up close.
The Wikki warm spring is another attraction. It’s the biggest of the four warm springs in Yankari. It’s a good relaxation spot with beautif]ul crystal clear waters you can swim in. You also get hiking and sightseeing opportunities. The restaurants serve Nigerian food and there’s provision for an overnight stay.
There is a museum within the park, a bar and souvenir shops that sell fine local artwork to tourists and visitors. It is best to visit the Yankari during dry seasons. During the rainy season, the animals migrate to drier grounds which may be quite difficult to access with cars because of the muddiness