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From The Horse’s Mouth | Habibah Unravels Bauchi State

Is Yankari Games Reserve on your bucket list? It was on Habibah’s and she wants to let you know what to expect.


My name is Habibah Giwa, a Doctor based in Lagos , I love to travel, absolutely crave adventure and I am a thrill seeker.


Give us a brief description of where you went and what the trip was about

I was in Bauchi State from 27th-29th of May and visited Yankari Games Reserve, Tafawa Balewa’s tomb and the Emir’s palace. The trip from Abuja to Yankari Games Reserve (which was our first point of call) took about 9 hrs by road. My trip to Bauchi was really about me ticking off another state off my list. I  had always wanted to go to Yankari Games Reserve for the longest time, so it was a win-win.


Was accommodation required for this trip? If yes, where did you stay and what was it like?

Yes, Accommodation was required. I went with a tour group Globe Jaunters. A group of 22 people went on this trip and we were split into groups of two. Each group stayed in a studio apartment.

Let’s just say the accommodation wasn’t all we hoped for. We had to have our rooms changed twice because even with the staff’s prior knowledge that we would be arriving on that day, the rooms weren’t cleaned in anticipation of our arrival.

There was no water or light on arrival, so we had to wait about an hour to take our baths after spending several hours on the road (and if you are an avid user of hot water, don’t bank on it. The water heater doesn’t work).

To make matters worse, the generator wasn’t turned on until about 3 hrs after we got there. Though the next two days were better than the first, I expected way better.


What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?

I wouldn’t quite say it was surprising as we were in a games reserve, but probably meeting PUMBA (from Lion King) up close and personal. We met him and several of his relatives. They are very quiet creatures unlike what we were led to believe.


What was your best moment of the entire trip?

Definitely swimming in the Wikki warm springs.


What was the scariest moment (if any)?

When a Baboon actually opened the window to our room and even went further to the net. For a split second, I totally forgot about the burglary proofs. They are very mischievous animals.


Did you find any sights or activities a bit off the beaten track?  i.e beyond the tourist traps?

Nahhh, none.

What are two interesting facts about where you went that the average person doesn’t know?

  1. The colours surrounding Tafawa Balewa’s tomb represent the different ethnic groups in Nigeria.

  2. In Yankari, there are some caves (marshall caves I think) deep within the safari trail that people used to hide in during the slave trade era to avoid being captured.

tbs tomb

Did you meet any locals? If yes, what were they like?

Yes, alot of the staff at the reserve are locals. But we only interacted with our tour guides who were quite informative and friendly.

What was the strangest/funniest/most insightful thing a local said?

Don’t think there was anything.

Did anything go wrong that seems funny now?

Nope, the whole trip was hitch free.


Did you eat anything locally? If yes, what was your favorite?

Thanks to a friend I made on the trip, I tried ‘dates’ and Coconut together for the first time and now it’s a must have in my fridge.

What’s the strangest thing you ate?

Nothing strange.

What were the cost implications of this trip?

I paid N30,500 ($96.96) for the trip which included lunch en route Bauchi, some snacks while on the trip, accommodation in Bauchi, transportation to Bauchi, within and from Bauchi back to Abuja. It also included tour costs and breakfast for 2 days. The only bill I incurred was paying for lunch on both days which amounted to N2,000 ($6.36).

Now that you’ve been there yourself, when you think of your trip what’s the first image that comes to your head?

The first image that comes to mind is definitely the spring, it was wonderful.


Would you revisit or ever move there?

Move there? nope. Revisit, maybe if they guarantee me I’d actually see some animals while on the safari tour. I ended up seeing just alotttttttt of Antelopes, Baboons and Warthogs which we didn’t have to go on the tour to see because they were always around the rooms.*yawn*.


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*foreign conversion is based on the current rate of the Naira and is subject to change.

*prices written are based on the time the visit was made and is subject to change by the owners.

*Reviews are based on opinions and personal experiences, and may differ from person to person

*all images were provided by the ‘horse’ interviewed. 

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