Nigeria is largely a landscape of tropical rainforests, mangrove swamps, a diverse system of rivers and small water streams that drain at the Gulf of Guinea. The thick forest canopy covers much of the south and the central parts of the country.
Other attractions on Nigeria safaris include the undulating hills, cascading waterfalls, lakes, water pools and people, the most fascinating attractions include the exotic flora and fauna that this country has protected in its 8 national parks and different game or nature reserves namely; Old Oyo National Park, Chad Basin National park, Yankari National park, Cross river National Park, Okumu National park, Gashuit-Gumti National park, Kainji National Park and Kakumu National Park.
List of Nigeria National Parks
Yankari National Park-
is one of the best wildlife reserves and habitats in Nigeria. Yankari game reserve covers 2, 058sq km of dense rainforests and savannah woodlands. Some of the wildlife in this reserve includes hippos, bushbuck, buffalo, crocodiles, lion, elephants and more than 200 different species of birds. Game viewing in this park is best during the months of November to May. Other attractions in Yankari include the Wikki warm springs. There is accommodation near the springs, a lodge with tennis courts, fuel station, museum and restaurant.
Gashaka-Gumti National Park
-covers an area of 6,000 sq km in the north eastern part of the country on the foot hills of Mount Chapal Wadd (2490m). This Nigeria National Park drained by different rivers and water streams such as river Benue, Taraba and Kam among others.
Animals found here range from buffalo, roan antelope, chimpanzee, colobus, monkey, hippos, hyena, giant forest hog, lion and leopard. The water catchment system attracts several birds from neighboring countries while 100 are resident in the forests of Gashaka Gumti National park.
Chad Basin National Park
-is found in the northeastern part of Nigeria between Borno and Yobe States and covers an area of 2258sq km. The park covers 3 eco-regions of Chingurmi-Duguma, Bade Nguru Wetlands and Bulatura Oases. The park contains some rare desert wildlife like giraffe, ostrich, red fronted gazelle and many other species of mammals.
Cross River National Park
– Created from two existing forest reserves of Bashi-Okwango and Oban Forest Reserves, this park is famous for its rain forest vegetation and it is a home to a herd of forest elephants, the white-faced monkey (found only in Nigeria), buffalo, leopards and lowland gorillas.This Nigeria wildlife park is located in the south eastern tip of the country in the cross river state. The Cross River National park shares an eco-system and biodiversity with Korup National park in neighboring Cameroon.
Kamuku National Park
-Kamuku Park located in Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State of Nigeria in the north-central part of Nigeria. It is the closest Nigeria National Park to Abuja, the capital of Abuja. Kamuku National Park was initially by gazette of 1936, a Native Authority Forest Reserve under the defunct Northern Nigeria Government. It boasts of a land area of about 1,120sq km of typical Savannah Woodland vegetation.
Kainji National Park
-Kainji Lake, Nigeria’s first National Park, is located in the north central part of the country. 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.
Okomu National Park
-This Nigeria national park is found in Ovia south west area in Edo state on the banks of Okumu river. The park is one of the smallest of the Nigeria’s national park covering an area of just 200sq km including the former Okumu forest reserve. The park was first gazetted as a forest reserve in 1935 and evolved into a protected national park later in 1940. Today the park is habitat for numerous endangered flora and fauna species.