I wrote this article for Guardian Nigeria last month, here is my original copy with pictures included.
Hiking in Nigeria is still not much of a culture here but we are getting there gradually with numerous hiking groups that have surfaced recently especially in places like Jos, Bauchi and Abuja. Getting out into nature, clearing your head and getting fresh air – these are the things that can keep you sane and healthy in a place like Nigeria where a lot of things frustrates you. But you want to be smart doing it, too! Nigeria is blessed with a lot of beautiful nature landscape, so why not explore and hike around them. Whether under a cool shelter of trees in the forest, on a golden hillside in fall, or a tall ridge top of a waterfall, a wide variety of natural trails provide locations for leisurely strolls or strenuous mountain climbs.
Exploring places you can only get to by foot is a good way to burn fat and get your body in good shape From our numerous hikes in Nigeria- forest, national park, resort or on a city trail, there’s plenty of trails to enjoy but to fully enjoy your hike there are some things you should have.
Don’t just hop out of your bus and start hiking with no direction, this is Nigeria most forest, hills have mystical stories you need to know beforehand, that way you know the do’s and don’ts. At Idanre hills for instance, there are spots that are restricted from visitors.
So what makes hiking in Nigeria different? Well, first most hike sites in Nigeria don’t have trails marked out or hiking directions, take for example Erin Ijesha, to get to the last hike spot you need to ask locals, no signpost or whatsoever indicating you’ve gotten to the very end, so to hike always have a tour guide, and they are mostly available at the hike location for a fee (no standard price most times you have to haggle around till you agree on a price), if you don’t find one get a local that will take you around.
Our backpacking checklist is your tried-and-true guide to packing smart for hiking trips in Nigeria. The list is intentionally comprehensive so you don’t forget anything import
What to bring:
THE NECESSARY “10S”
- Closed-Toe Shoes-Light easy to move and run shoes, preferably sneakers. You don’t want a shoe that will drag you behind your hiking mates, do you? For ladies sandals, high heels are terrible ideas for hiking, no cat walk in hiking.
- Comfortable Clothing– A light t-shirt and probably trousers that you’re comfortable with, I have gone hiking once and someone wore full traditional regalia, he probably must have mistaken hiking for a wedding.
- Insect Repellent– Insect especially mosquitoes and soldier ants are never friendly especially during long hike in dense forests (like the hike to Owu falls in Kwara State), if you have insect repellents apply to skin, clothing, or other surfaces to discourage insects . A soldier ant in your pants is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.
- Camera-Yeah be it phone camera, a DSLR camera, just come along with one. You need to capture those wonderful memories and of course you will also want to “pepper” your friends after the hike.
- Power bank- You surely need this! What happens when just as you are about to capture a fascinating moment your battery beeps low?
- Water bottle and Snack Pack– You will get dehydrated and hungry for sure, always go with a water bottle and a snack pack.
- And of course a Good mood- Keep your bad mood under your pillow, come hiking with smiles, spread your laughter around as it’s contagious
We’ve compiled a list of amazing hikes to do around Nigeria. We hope to get our bodies in shape so we can hike them all in our lifetime. If we can do it, I’m sure you can too!
Which of them have you climbed?
- Udi hills Enugu
- Sobi hill Kwara
- Obangogo hills Kogi
- Kufena Hill Kaduna
- Miliken Hill, Enugu
- Kajuru Hills, Kaduna State
- Oke Marie Hills
- Rolling Hills of Okigwe
- Shere Hills Jos
- Kajuru Hills, Kaduna
- Three Sisters Hill
- Dalla Hill Kano
- Mbula Hills Bauchi
- Ososo Hills Edo
- Katampe Hills Fct
- Mpape Hills Fct
- Tula Highlands/Hill Gombe
- Dawaki hills Fct
- Tangale Dome Shaped Rock/Hill Gombe
- Olumo Rock- Abeokuta
- Igbeti hills, Oyo
- Mount Patti, Lokoja
- Oke Ado Mountain, Oyo
- Mambilla Mountain,Taraba
- Kotokorshi Hills Zamfara
- Akogba Hills, kinrin Adde Kogi
- OAU hills, Ife Osun State
- Bosso Hills, Minna
- Dumi Hills, Bauchi
Which of them have you chased?
1-Erin Ijesha waterfall – It is located in Erin Ijesha, Osun state, South-west Nigeria.
2-Gurara waterfalls – It is located in Niger state, North central Nigeria along the Suleja-Minna road.
3-Farin ruwa waterfall – It is located in Nasarawa state, North central Nigeria.
4-Arinta waterfalls Ekiti – It is located in Ekiti state, South west Nigeria.
5-Assop waterfalls – It is located in Jos, Plateau state, North central Nigeria.
6-Awhum waterfalls – It is located in Udi local government area in Enugu state, South east Nigeria. Obudu waterfalls – It is located in the forests of Obudu mountain in Cross river state, South -south Nigeria.
7-Kwa waterfalls – It is located in Akampka local government area, Cross river state, South- south Nigeria.
8-Ezeagu waterfall – It is located in Ezeagu local government area Enugu state, South East Nigeria.
9-Agbokim waterfalls – It is located in Ikom local government area of Cross river state, South-South Nigeria.
10-Ngwo waterfall – It is located in Ngwo, Enugu state, South east Nigeria.
11-Owu Falls – It is located in Owu, Kwara state, North central Nigeria.
12-Matsirga waterfalls Kaduna – It is located in Madakiya, Kaduna, North central Nigeria.
13-Ogba waterfalls Anambra – It is located in Owerre Ezukala, a border town in Anambra state, South east Nigeria.
14-Oferekpe waterfalls Ebonyi – It is located in Ikwo, Ebonyi state, South east Nigeria.
15-Ipole-Iloro waterfalls – It is located in Ekiti state, South West Nigeria.
16-Osome falls – It is located in Ukpogo, Kogi state, North central Nigeria.
17-Kurra falls – It is located in Kurra, Plateau state, North West Nigeria.
18-Mambilla waterfalls – It is located in Mambilla Plateau Taraba state, North east Nigeria.
19-Barup waterfalls Gembu Taraba – It is located in Gembu, Taraba state, North east Nigeriad.
20-Jaffy waterfalls in Borno
Adebayo Mayowa Blades- is an Adrenaline Junkie., Story Teller , loves to travel, crack dry jokes and think he is a chef.
Photo credit:Mayowa Blades & Dotun Ajibade