Scary stories by a camp fire, roasting marshmallows, listening to the crickets and watching the fireflies pretending to be constellations. These fireflies however can’t beat the actual stars in the sky and the moon throwing down its light.
What is it about starry nights and pitching a tent directly underneath makes the camp life so appealing? Could it be the closeness to nature? Getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the rustic feel to it or just the beautiful scenery that comes with choosing the perfect campsite?
In Nigeria, camping is not a very famous activity. For a country blessed with the type of landscape we possess, not a lot of people are keen on outdoor activities which involve nature. In fact, I can imagine telling my fellow Nigerian I’m going camping and they’ll say something like ‘why are you going to suffer yourself in the bush, when you can stay in your house and be comfortable?’
Camping could work in Nigeria with the right push and preparation. I am aware of the French man who got killed while camping in Nigeria, and I empathize with his family over the unfortunate event. While Nigeria does need to work on it’s security issues, we also have to be careful and research on campsites that are available and have been deemed safe.
Around the world, from America to Spain, camping is an activity that is taken very seriously. From picking the right site, to deciding what type of camping trip it will be, it continues to be an activity that is picking up pace. Regular tourists, youth organizations, Scouts and many more have implemented it into their regime as something that must be done once in a while as it helps to teach self reliance and team work. It also allows one to gather their thoughts together and add a bit of adventures into their lives.
The availability of camp grounds also allows this to grow as camping can be done in National Parks, commercial campgrounds and for the more adventurous type the wilderness is an option.
Here are a couple of places that I think would be great camping grounds in the country.
1 Shere Hills, Jos State
I’m starting with this one because I know of it personally. When I was in secondary school (high school), when we got to our 5th year, we would be sent here for citizenship and leadership training. Everyone looked forward to it.
It is located in Shere town, Jos and it’s rock formations are fascinating. It also offers an unrivaled view of the town, scenic views of rocks, hills and valleys which is really just the icing on the cake.
Hikers/Rock climbers would also love this as it is the 3rd highest point in Nigeria. A combination of rock climbing and camping would make this every nature lovers ideal camping ground.
2 . Obudu Cattle Ranch, Cross River State
Located in Cross River, this is probably the most famous on the list. It has gained recognition as being a well known holiday resort in Nigeria. Situated on a mountain, it is surrounded by lush greenery, cable cars, canopy walks, tee houses and lots more. They have guides and set walks, and as it is on the border with Cameroon, you can be sure that the view is stunning
They have accommodation on grounds, but you can opt to just set up your tent instead and have the full camping experience.
3. Yankari Games Reserve, Bauchi State
This is what camping trips are made of. Eco tourism at its finest with warm springs, savannahs, gazelles and Elephants roaming around, flora everywhere. Nature lovers get in there.
If managed properly as it was back in the day, it would be an important tourist site for the country.
Imagine setting up your tent and your camp fire and playing camp games while listening to the various animal sounds. It would definitely make for a memorable experience.
4. Gashaka Gumpti National Park, Taraba State
If you follow me on instagram then you should have seen me put this up. Covering about 6731km squared, this is the largest National Park in Nigeria. With four camping grounds on site and the possibility of siting a chimpanzee this is sure to be the perfect camping ground.
Hikes, fishing and mountaineering also take place here and as a little something for the campers, there are a couple of tourist attractions on ground such as the pre 1928 German fort & Garrison.
5. International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan
While this may seem like an odd choice, it apparently encourages camping. Half of it is dedicated to researching crops while the other is for camping, fishing and tours of the forest.
Also known as the birdwatchers paradise, you are guaranteed to feel as close to nature as possible here.
While there are no wildlife strolling around, the 1000 hectares of land is an appealing location for campers. Guides are also available to help with whatever you need.
Those are 5 potential places for camping and many more in the country if properly harnessed and maintained. Don’t forget that you must contact these places before going to pitch your tents and start your fires to avoid any issues. This also helps them to plan for your visit and advice you on what should be done.
Camping & Tourism are a perfect match, it’s a two for the price of one situation. You get to explore your camping grounds before settling to watch the sun set.
Will you be attempting to get close to nature through camping anytime soon?
*can you guess which of these have been used for the Gulder ultimate search?