Game viewing is an adventure that involves viewing wildlife in their natural environment from the comfort of usually a safari vehicle. It is also a unique experience which is quite different from visiting a zoo in the sense that the animals are at liberty to move and express themselves in their natural environment whereas the game viewer is confined to the safari vehicle. In Nigeria, there are a number of National Parks ( Usually owned by the federal government) and game reserves (usually owned by the state or local authorities) which afford game viewing.
This tourism potential is under-harnessed in Nigeria as the practice is not yet a mainstay in the public domain. The advantage of visiting a national park is enormous, with benefits to family, communities and academics. Most people even in the area are not aware of or concerned with this wildlife-viewing treasure in their backyards.
Here is a list of National Parks/game reserves in Nigeria;
Yankari Game reserve
This is one of the most popular wildlife viewing parks in Nigeria. It is located in the South Central part of Bauchi state. Yankari host a number of Fauna and Flora, and it equally has the Wikki warm springs; one of the main attractions of the park.
Gashaka-Gumti National Park (GGNP).
This national park was gazetted from two game reserves in 1991 and is Nigeria’s largest national park. It is located in the eastern provinces of Taraba and Adamawa to the border with Cameroon.
A large portion of of the northern GGNP is savannah grassland, while the southern GGNP sector of the park has a rugged terrain characterized by very mountainous, steep slopes as well as deep valleys and gorges, and is home to montane forests. Chappal Waddi, Nigeria’s highest point is located at the park’s southern sections. You have to admit that all that expanse of land makes for an amazing wildlife-viewing experience.
Cross River national park.
This national park plays host to one of the oldest rainforest habits in the world. It’s a lush green canopy rainforest with many wildlife life including endangered species. This biodiversity hotspot equally has a number of primates as gorilla tracking is one of the popular attractions there.
Kainji National Park.
Kainji National Park is located in Niger State and Kwara State, Nigeria. The park generally includes three distinct sectors: a part of the Kainji Lake in which fishing is restricted, the Borgu Game Reserve to the west of the lake, and likewise the Zugurma Game Reserve to the southeast. Nonetheless, This can make for a great family wildlife-viewing experience.
The Chad Basin National Park
The Chad Basin National Park is a national park in northeastern Nigeria, in the Chad Basin. The park is fragmented, with three sectors. The Chingurmi-Duguma sector is in Borno State, in a Sudanian Savanna ecological zone. The Bade-Nguru Wetlands and Bulatura sectors are in Yobe State in the Sahel ecological zone. It enables viewing certain wildlife only available in desertified areas.
Kamuku National Park
The Kamuku National Park is a Nigerian national park in Kaduna State. Although located in the North, the park has a typical Sudanian Savanna ecology. It is also rich with many mammals and bird species.
Okomu National Park.
The Okomu National Park, formerly the Okomu Wildlife Sanctuary, is located at Ovia South-West Local Government Area of Edo State in Nigeria. The park is about 60 km northwest of Benin City. Furthermore, it also holds a small fragment of the rich forest that once covered the region, and is the last habitat for many endangered species.
Old Oyo national park.
Old Oyo National Park is located across northern Oyo State and southern Kwara State. The abundant land area hosts diverse wildlife and cultural/historical sites. It is rich in plant and animal resources including buffaloes, bushbuck and a variety of birds. Additionally, the park is easily accessible from southwestern and northwestern Nigeria. It is an amazing spot for beautiful wildlife viewing.
What other game viewing centre isn’t listed above but is a good place to tour? Feel free to share in the comment section.