The 6 Amazing Experiences You Can Have at Nigeria's Yankari National Park

2C10KC1 One baboon has found a fruit and eats it
2C10KC1 One baboon has found a fruit and eats it | © Eugen Haag / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Anne Adams
5 April 2018

Home to more than 50 species of mammals and some 350 species of birds, Yankari National Park in northeastern Nigeria is the country’s most revered and premier wildlife park. If you’re planning a trip and want to know more, check out our guide to the most amazing experiences around.

Wikki Warm Springs

If you’ve been longing for a magical and refreshing experience in the warm hands of nature, then Wikki Warm Springs in Yankari National Park might just be the perfect fix for you. These naturally warm springs located in Yankari National Park flow from underneath a sheer rock cliff into a wide rock basin leveled with clear white sand, which varies in depth from 1ft (0.3m) to 7ft (2.1m), and are available 24 hours for tourists who love swimming. The springs are associated with many different varieties of flora and fauna, which makes it a fascinating site for tourists and holidaymakers to observe wildlife in its true habitat. The water at Wikki Warm Springs has a constant temperature of 31°C (88°F) all year round, and is so pure that it is bottled and sold, with thousands of gallons flowing out every day.

Wikki Warm Springs | © Bill and Nelle / Flickr

Yankari Game Reserve and Resort

Staying here lets visitors absorb the park experience to its utmost. The Yankari Game Reserve and Resort has affordable rooms that come with facilities including private bathrooms, television station options, and free wifi access. Guests can also take in the tennis courts, squash courts, and museum, as well as the outdoor pool, and the bar/lounge and restaurant with a menu of local and international cuisines.The site has top-notch security boosted by well-trained security personnel, in addition to car parking spaces, constant power supply, and children’s playground, plus extra services such as laundry and ironing, and daily newspaper delivery.

Marshall Caves

Your trip to Yankari isn’t complete until you pay a visit to the famous Marshall Caves. Legend has it that local indigenous people used the caves to hide from wildlife and slave raiders. The caves feature rock paintings and engravings in various lines, presumably created by initial inhabitants. Discovered by wildlife expert Philip Marshall in the late 1970s, the Marshall Caves feature 59 dwellings dug into sandstone escarpments – each cave has a length of 200m (656ft), depth of 10m (33 ft), and width of 30m and 80m (94ft and 262ft).

An encounter with rich wildlife

Yankari has rich and abundant wildlife resources. The park is an important habitat for over 50 species of mammals including African bush elephant, olive baboon, patas monkey, Tantalus monkey, roan antelope, Western hartebeest, West African lion, African buffalo, waterbuck, bushbuck and hippopotamus. It also has a large and diverse freshwater ecosystem around its freshwater springs and the Gaji River. Don’t be surprised when a monkey comes to your window to wake you up early in the morning! There are also over 350 species of bird found in the park. Of these, 130 are resident, 50 are Palearctic migrants and the rest are African migrants that move locally within Nigeria. These birds include the saddle-billed stork, white-rumped vulture, guinea fowl, grey hornbill, and the cattle egret. You can take a safari ride with trained guards for an amazing tour in wildlife, who knows…. you could be lucky enough to spot the African bush elephants!

Yankari elephants | © Tsumo9 / WikiCommons

The wildlife museum

What better way to preserve history and tell the story of a people than a museum? Located in the Wikki Camp, the educational museum also acts as a conservation centre, and has exhibits such as spears, hunting items, and camping gear from the 19th century up to the present day. The older items are largely from legitimate hunters, but the newer ones have been taken from poachers.

Hiking the Kalban Hill

The Kalban Hill is the icing on the cake at Yankari. Kalban Hill means ‘flat place,’ and stands northeast of Wikki Camp as a common stopping area for the daily safaris in the park. From the top of the hill, tourists can get a clear view of the park, and if you have a good eye, you can take in herds of animals from up on high.

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