Game Viewing at Yankari National Park
Yankari National Park, the most popular of the eight national parks in Nigeria is rich in wildlife. Its location in north-eastern Nigeria in the heart of the Savannah enables visitors to view wildlife in its natural habitat. Over 50 species of mammal can be spotted here including African Elephant, Olive Baboon, Western Hartebeest, Lion, Buffalo, Waterbuck, Warthog, Bushbuck, Patas and Tantalus monkeys, and Hippopotamus. Yankari is home to the largest populations of elephants in West Africa with estimates of around 500. Over 350 species of resident and migratory birds, such as the White-rumped Vulture, Guinea Fowl, Grey Hornbill, Saddle-billed Stork, and Cattle Egret, have been recorded. The dense vegetation of the area makes game viewing best between February and April. Visitors can arrange walking tours or guided tours on specially adapted trucks.
Several springs dotted through the park including the most popular Wikki Warm Springs, are created by the underground geothermal activity. Wikki is located near the park lodge and contains magnificent crystal clear spring water at a comfortable 31 degrees Celsius open 24 hours a day. Visitors are often treated to an up-close experience with baboons and elephants that come down to drink at the springs.
The park also contains several archeological, cultural, and historical preserves including the Dukkey Well System and the Ampara and Shanshau iron smelting works and furnace shafts which date back many centuries. Accommodations at Yankari are varied, from hostels for youth and budget travelers to “presidential” chalets. Indoor and outdoor sports facilities, a restaurant, bar, museum, and a conference center located within the park. “Safari” trips leave from Wikki camp twice daily.
How to get to Yankari National Park
There is no direct connection from Lagos to Yankari National Park. However, you can take the taxi to Jibowu Terminal, take the bus to Port Harcourt, take the walk to Port Harcourt, take the train to Bauchi, then take the taxi to Yankari National Park. Alternatively, you can take the drive to Yankari National Park from Abuja which is 340 km from the capital.
Where to stay at Yankari National Park
Wikki Camp is the tourist center of the Park located about 42 kilometers from the main entrance gate beside the Wikki warm spring. There are 110 furnished chalets with varying size and quality, ranging from suites to a youth hostel, all of which are being upgraded in phases. The camp also has a restaurant and bar.
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