|Nigeria is commonly visited by tourists who wish to participate in its cultural celebrations and festivals, of which there are many! The Durbar festival, for example, which is celebrated in a number of towns in Nigeria, including the most famous ones of Katsina, Kano and Bida is a very popular tourist attraction. To reach these you would take a flight to Kano.
In addition to the cultural attractions of Nigeria, the varied landscapes, geographical sites and national parks hold the biggest appeal.
Nigeria has an impressive eight national parks, including Kainji National Park, Old Oyo National Park and Yankari National Park.
Kainji National Park was established in 1976 and is the oldest in Nigeria. It includes Kainji Lake (a reservoir) which was formed by the building of the Kainji Dam in 1968. Only the western sector of the national park (i.e. west of the lake) is currently open to visitors and the landscape here is mainly Sudan-Guinea Savanna. This park is in the west of Nigeria and would involve a long journey from either Lagos International Airport or Abuja International Airport.
Old Oyo National Park is very close to the border with Benin in western Nigeria and is more easily accessible from Lagos International airport to the south. The park is home to a variety of birds, plant life and animals, including buffalo, and also contains the ruins of the historic old Oyo city, capital of the Oyo Empire until it was destroyed in the late 18th century.
Yankari National Park is in the north east of Nigeria and is the most popular tourist attraction in the country. It is the largest of the eight national parks and was opened in 1991 and eagerly promotes ecotourism. The park gives visitors the chance to see wildlife roaming in their natural habitat, such as the African Bush Elephants, and around 50 other species, including Hippopotamus, Olive Baboon, Tantalus Monkey and Waterbuck. You can also see up to 350 species of bird here.
The Yankari Nantional Park has four natural warm water springs, one of which is the Wikki spring, at the touristic centre of the park. Wikki spring can be swum in 24 hours a day by park visitors, especially those staying at Wikki Camp where you’ll find 110 chalets, a restaurant, bar and conference centre. This is the place to take a safari trip from, and usually at least two trips depart per day.
If you’re flying from South Africa and want to visit the Yankari National Park, either Kano or Abuja would be the best airports to fly to.