Nigeria is a nation of incredibly enchanting beauty. Pristine beauty and spellbinding natural wonders. From the Wase Rock to the Assop Falls, both in Plateau State to the heavenly heights of the Obudu Mountain Resort in Cross River to the vast Oguta Natural Lake in Imo State, Nigeria is full of awesome scenery and unforgettable sights. At one point, I was on my way to Abuja and while passing through Kogi State, the sights of some rock formations and the deep-green scenery of the expansive rolling hills left me utterly speechless. I could not mutter even a single word as my soul soaked in the raw natural beauty of the environment. The beauty was truly angelic and I will do anything to savour it again.
How we manage to conveniently overlook such majestic wonders and attractions in our land and fight over petty things is what I still don't understand. Anyway, while we refuse to notice or even appreciate these natural wonders and prefer arguing and to shamelessly throw tribal/religious missiles at one another, foreigners and tourists from all over the world are silently slipping in and having the loveliest and most memorable times of their lives in Nigeria, one of the world's most enchanting nations. Today, Abiyamo is zooming in on the Yankari, Nigeria's most popular national park and one of the most prominent spots of eco-tourism in West Africa. Grab your binoculars and hop in the jeep. Oh! You almost forgot the camera! Ok, let's go!
AREA AND LOCATION
A symbol of national pride, the Yankari National Park is located in the south central part of Bauchi State (Alkaleri Local Government Area), in the northeastern part of Nigeria in a swathe of the West African savanna, about 225 kilometres to the northeast of Jos. It is a vast wildlife park covering some 2,244 km² (870 mi²). The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified Yankari as a Category II National Park. A national park (Category II) is defined thus: Large natural or near-natural areas protecting large-scale ecological processes with characteristic species and ecosystems, which also have environmentally and culturally compatible spiritual, scientific, educational, recreational and visitor opportunities.
Unlike wilderness areas (Category IB like the Serengeti in Tanzania), natural parks are managed in such a way that the economy of the local communities are boosted as a result of the tourist and recreational activities. Do you know the importance of this? It means that our own dear Yankari is on the same level with the famed Yellowstone National Park in the US (Yellowstone is the first national park in the world), and nothing stops the Nigerian government (shebi we have a ministry of tourism sef plus including the National Institute for Hospitality & Tourism Studies at Lake Bagauda, Kano) from hyping Yankari more than the Yellowstone and also get millions of tourist visiting per year, and that will be a great boost not just to the economy of Bauchi State but to the nation as a whole. Others within and outside Nigeria and in Category it is (at par with Yankari) include:
-Gashaka-Gumti National Park, the largest national park in Nigeria at 6,402 km². It is located in Taraba State.
-Kamuku National Park, Kaduna State.
-Okomu National Park, Edo State.
-Old Oyo National Park, Oyo State.
-Kilimanjaro National Park, Tanzania.
-Rondane National Park, Norway.
-Akagera National Park, Rwanda.
-Arusha National Park, Tanzania.
-Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda
-Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia (the largest game park in Africa and fourth in the world).
-Karkaraly National Park, Kazakhstan.
-Amboseli National Park, Kenya.
-Bantimurung – Bulusaraung National Park, Sulawesi, Indonesia.