For all you wanderlust people out there who are in love with nature, you’ll be pleased to know that Yankari National Park has a lot to offer; from a rich array of animal life to calming water springs. Yankari National Park is located in Bauchi State (north-eastern Nigeria), and was established as a game reserve in 1956 and officially became a national park in 1991. In terms of size, the park covers 870 square miles (2254 square km). Savanna vegetation, swamps, grasslands, and thick bushes characterize the park’s terrain. The animal life includes antelopes, elephants, hippopotamuses, giraffes, baboons, hyenas, lions, leopards, and crocodiles to name a few. With over 500 elephants, the park serves as home to the largest population of elephants in West Africa.
Even though Yankari National Park has amazing views and is rich with wildlife, there are still some conservation challenges. First of all management of the reserve has been underfunded since 2006 when Bauchi State took over the responsibility of running the park. Poaching remains a problem because elephants are hunted for tusks to produce ivory. The Ministry of Tourism and Culture of Bauchi State manage Yankari National Park, and since 2009, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has introduced anti-poaching patrols as a form of aid to the park.
So if you are planning a trip to Yankari National Park, here’s a list of fun things to look forward to in the area:
- Game Viewing: There are daily safari trips. If you are a morning person, you can catch the 7:30am trip (local time). For those who like to sleep in a bit, there is an afternoon trip from 3:30pm (local time). These trips last for about 2 hours each and you are bound to enjoy the variety of animals in the park as well as other activities.
- Wikki Spring: This is a man made lake that is open for swimming 24/7. It is 200 meters long and 10meters wide. The water is crystal clear and retains a good temperature all year round.
- Museum Tour: There is a museum within the park with an incredible exhibit. The museum is educational but also serves as a conservation center to enlighten people on the measures taken to protect the park.
Yankari National Park is not just a tourist destination; it is a national treasure that must be preserved. If you are against poaching like I am, you can play your part by donating what you can to assist the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Nigeria to preserve and keep the animals safe. To find out how you can get involved please visit their website https://nigeria.wcs.org to get more information and donate towards a great cause.