Funmi Oy Conquers Nigeria's Highest Mountain - Chappal Waddi | Part I

Sitting at almost 8ft in Taraba state near the border with Cameroon is Chappal Waddi. Located on the Taraba side of Gashaka Gumpti Forest Reserve, this mountain is said to be the country's highest point thereby being the highest mountain. (Adamawa and taraba state play host to Gashaka Gumpti Forest Reserve).


Mountain climbing in Nigeria isn't exactly something that's done regularly but Funmi Oy of TVP adventures and Show Me Something decided she was going to what I would have considered insane. I mean no one (to the best of my knowledge) had done it or even had the slightest idea on how to go about it.


Not only did she do it successfully, but now she's telling her story and giving tips to people on how they can go about it if they're interested.


Will we be planning a trip there? Probably not but you can live vicariously through Funmi's story below. The story will be split into 2 parts - the over view and the climb. Enjoy.




I may have been 24 or 25 when I first learned the specific name of Nigeria’s highest mountain (Chappal Waddi or Gangirwal). On the afternoon of International Women’s Day of 2021 - 8th of March - and only 8 days away from my 29th birthday, I summited Chappal Waddi with a group of 4 friends, 1 tour guide, 3 filmmakers, 4 rangers and 18 porters.


This climb was inspired by sheer adventure and a desire to find out how we can open up this incredible mountain to the country and the world. It is quite embarrassing that the average Nigerian does not know that the highest mountain in West Africa is in our country, and that an even greater number of people cannot call it by name. As I climbed Mounts Cameroon, Kenya and Kilimanjaro, I knew that if this was the last gift I gave my country, I would want to help explore the mountain and make it more accessible to the average person.



To get there, you have to go through Abuja. There is only one flight from Abuja to Jalingo, the state capital of Taraba. This flight is operated by Overland Airways, once a day, from Monday to Friday. This means that we had to fly from Lagos to Abuja then from Abuja to Jalingo before we started the journey across Taraba State. This was what our schedule looked like:




Every travel experience is just as memorable as the team. For this expedition, it was important to me that the group was small, intimate and voraciously thirsty for adventure because many aspects of this trip were unknown.


I wanted people I knew and trusted and for whom a surprising outcome would not mean an end to our personal or professional relationship. Also, as a physically challenging experience, the documentary crew needed to be up for the long walks and hikes and not throw in the towel at any point. Once we had a set team, we all planned for months, got COVID tested and set out! The group would become the secret sauce to our success!


In the end, I climbed with Toyeke Adedipe, Dotun Ajibade, Kingsley Obaseki, Ibinabo Oyibo, Kola Adetimole and Bethel Moseglad - our tour guide extraordinaire. I must say that if you’re ever planning to visit Taraba State, the Mambilla Plateau or Chappal Waddi, your best bet is Bethel Moseglad of Nature Connects. He knows his stuff in that state!


The best team
Mr Bethel

Everyone around the world was concerned for our safety. It is important to remind everyone that safety is in two parts - the actual safety and the perception of safety. Both elements are important because one without the other is useless. In this case, majority of the security concerns were based on the unfortunate perception of insecurity that has plagued the entire country over the last decade or so. The North is not a monolith of insecurity and the North East is not a monolith of terrorism.


This does not take away from the real issues we had to face on the ground. For example, we drove in a convoy of police officers on the Jalingo-Serti stretch because of how notorious that road has become with bandits and robbers. We also had to tread carefully on our last day because there was a clash between the park rangers and some unscrupulous miscreants and even though the clash was fatal on the side of the miscreants, it gave us room for concern. I must give kudos to the National Park Service who work hard to ensure that visitors are as safe as could be, especially with trained armed rangers who are with climbers all the way from Serti to the Summit.


In terms of difficulty, there is a stretch that requires us to get in a rugged Mambilla jeep on a dusty road for 5-6 hours. This was the most uncomfortable portion of the entire trip and the dust bath is worse than what can be described in words. I am looking forward to an alternative way of navigating this road (maybe by chopper or in AC Land Rovers) so that we can bring groups to the mountain. In fact, a chopper service from Jalingo airport to the foot of the mountain would cut out every single security or dust concern. Other than that stretch, the trip was rugged but bearable.



Mr. Abdulhameed of Gashaka Gumti National Park went over and beyond to prepare the entire NPS team for our arrival. His boss, the CP of the park gave us permission to donate the sign at the summit and allowed his team help us beyond their regular job descriptions. When I asked Tunde Morakinyo of Africa Nature Investors for a quick call, we ended up having dinner and I filled two pages of notes with his tips on how to navigate the hike from Abuja to the summit. I was surprised when Phillip Okafor offered me his sleeping bag as a sample to show that I didn’t need to import bags for the team from France. In the end, because of his recommendation, I ordered sleeping bags, made in Abuja. And when I asked Joseph Aro about tips on GPS tracking equipment, he hooked me up with the best apps.

By the time we got to Gashaka Gumti, Mr. Chidi Ukoha and Mr. Dauda were supplying coolers of rice and yam and whatever else we needed. Of course, there were still some surprises but I am so thankful to everyone who made this experience a lot more seamless for us all.


Sign post by yours truly

It was also important to me that our summit had a clear sign post, as all major mountains do. I was honored to have gotten permission to do this and my friends were too. So, even though my carpentry skills are horrible, I almost cried for joy as we hammered the sign in place and lifted up the Nigerian flag at the summit of our country. P.S: carpentry is an underrated skill. All my nails kept bending :(


It was 100% worth it and how it went day by day will be broken down soon.

We don't know about you guys but this was interesting to read and we can't wait for you to read the next part. A big well done to Funmi and her team. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram or follow her stories on Show Me Something and TVP Adventures


What do you guys think about her adventure? Will you be summiting Chappal Wadi or any other mountain in Nigeria soon? Let us know in the comment section



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