Nigeria’s largest national park is a favourite among tourists within and outside the country. Ever since its creation in 1956, the Yankari Game Reserve has served as one of the most popular eco-destinations offering sightseers and adventurers a peek into the lives of natures most treasured species.
Also known as the Yankari National Park, the game reserve is located in Bauchi State, Nigeria covering an expansive area of 2242 square kilometres. Wild animals roam the reserve without a care in the world, and every turn stimulates you with the chirp of an endangered bird or the swing of a baboon monkey, wildlife that would be almost difficult to spot anywhere else.
If you’re planning your next outdoor escape, you wouldn’t be wrong to make the Yankari Games Reserve number one on your list.
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Wikki Warm Springs
The Yankari Games Reserve holds four warm springs but the Wikki Warm Spring stands out as the largest. The clean and clear water from the spring maintains a constant temperature of 31.1 degrees Celsius thanks to the thermal activity beneath the rocks that form its foundation. It supplies a massive 21,000,000 litres of spring water into the Gaji River daily and is mainly used for fun and recreational activities.
The Gaji River is the major river serving the Yankari Games Reserve. Large wildlife gather at the Gaji River during the dry season from October to April to grab a drink in the midday sun. This makes it the perfect time for spotting animals such as the buffalo, hippopotamus, elephant and lion.
As more and more tourists visit the reserve to discover its unique ambiance, untamed wildlife and vast flora, the Wikki Camp was built to create a relaxing atmosphere for them; one where they could see the animals from afar and bathe in the sunlight after a midday swim.
The Wikki camp sits beside the Wikki Warm Spring to give tourists a one of a kind experience right at the centre of the Yankari Game Reserve. At least two safari tours leave the camp daily inviting all that stay there to explore the flora and fauna around them. The Wikki Camp which stands for “Where are you?” in Duguri language contains 110 chalets providing royal, presidential and executive accommodation at affordable rates.
Restaurants Exotic continental and African dishes like Nkwobi, Isiewu and eba are served at the numerous restaurants, perfect for enjoying a meal while gazing at the wildlife that surrounds you.
Shopping You wouldn’t find fancy clothes or gadgets here, but the stores at the Wikki camp feed your curiosity with animal tusks, skins, bones and traps used by poachers, all things worthy as souvenirs.
Hotels Visitors can stay at the Wikki Camp but if you would like to have a taste of the great outdoors and also mingle with the old and the young in the city, then book one of the best hotels in Bauchi on Jovago.com
Getting Around Troopers are provided for tourists who want to see the vast woodlands. They are rugged and sturdy with a shade and open sides providing great views of the engaging scenery.
Safety The Yankari Game Reserve is relatively safe but watch out for those mischievous baboons. They can be a source of entertainment but can also rob you of your food and other belongings.
Money Nigerian Naira.
Main Airport The recently commissioned Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa International Airport in Bauchi is just over 100km from the Yankari Game Reserve. Other airports close by are the Gombe Lawanti International Airport and the Yakubu Gowon Airport in Jos.
Visa Requirements http://portal.immigration.gov.ng/pages/visaguidelines
The Marshall Caves are a set of 59 interconnected dwellings believed to have provided shelter to ancient people during the slave trade in the 19th century. It was dug out of sandstone escarpments found in a gorge 7km north-east of the Wikki Camp in the Yankari Game Reserve. One can find rock paintings and writings on the walls of the caves which further suggest that the caves may have been inhabited by prehistoric man.