Yankari Game Reserve and Resort
Yankari Resort & Safari is a large wildlife park located in the south-central part of Bauchi State, in northeastern Nigeria. It covers an area of about 2,244 square kilometres (866 sq mi) and is home to several natural warm water springs, as well as a wide variety of flora and fauna. Its location in the heartland of the West African savanna makes it a unique way for tourists and holidaymakers to watch wildlife in its natural habitat. Yankari was originally created as a game reserve in 1956, but later designated Nigeria’s biggest national park in 1991. It is the most popular destination for tourists in Nigeria and, as such, plays a crucial role in the development and promotion of tourism and ecotourism in Nigeria. It is also one of the most popular eco-destinations in West Africa.
Yankari has rich wildlife resources. The park is an important refuge for over 50 species of mammal including African bush elephant, olive baboon, patas monkey, Tantalus monkey, roan antelope, western hartebeest, lion, African buffalo, waterbuck, bushbuck and hippopotamus. It also has a large and diverse freshwater ecosystem around its freshwater springs and the Raji River.
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 intra-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.
Yankari is recognized as having one of the largest populations of elephants in West Africa, estimated at more than 300 in 2005. The growth of the elephant population has become a problem for surrounding villages at times as the animals enter local farms during the rainy season. The elephants have also stripped the park of many of its baobab trees.
The “Wikki Camp” is the tourist centre of the park. Located about 42 kilometres from the main entrance gate, the camp is built beside, and named after, the Wikki warm spring, which is open for swimming 24 hours a day. There are 110 furnished chalets with varying size and quality, ranging from the ‘’presidential’’ suites to the youth hostel, all of which are being upgraded in phases. The camp also provides a restaurant, bar and conference centre. Daily safari trips depart at least twice from the camp.
The museum in the camp is well stocked with a variety of skins, tusks, bones and fully mounted stuffed game from the park. It is educational while also acting as a conservation centre, displaying hunting gear and traps taken from poachers.
Yankari Game Reserve and Resort is an affordable hotel in Bauchi, Bauchi.