Touring the Northern parts of Nigeria has always been a major bucket list item for me. I thought why don’t I explore some Northern States this year during my annual leave though I have been to Kaduna and Bauchi States as well as Abuja.
My focus this time was North Central. Though for security reasons, Benue and Plateau States were off my list. This left me with Five States (Kwara, Kogi, Niger, Nassarawa and the Federal Capital Territory – Abuja) to explore.
First task was to research tourist sites in the various locations. I needed adventure filled trips but not so rugged where I would have to hike across States like I did when I toured the West. After getting the places of interest, next task was finding the right tour company to outsource the logistics to. This was quite easy as I already knew about @Motleytravels, renowned for their multiple State tour packages. The arrangement was straight forward and easy. Best decision here. They curated the perfect trip and delivered excellent service.
Another major task was finding a travel partner as I’m not a fan of solo travels. I pitched the idea to couple of friends and acquaintances who have mentioned they’ll like to go on a tour with me. As usual, I got a lot of excuses though for a few persons, they seemed to have valid reasons why they couldn’t make the trip.
But generally, people need to understand that to live the life we dream about takes actual conscious effort, much more than daydreams.
I recently came across this on twitter – “Stop missing out on traveling just cause your friends can’t go. Leave their ass.” – @YourGirl_IsAFan
I was ready to do the entire trip alone if no one wanted to sign up but thankfully my brother, Valentine, came on board.
Travel not only gives you memories, but also educates you. I’ve always had an ignorant opinion of Ilorin but I got enlightened during the city tour.
We spent two nights in Ilorin, but the main attraction was the visit to Owu waterfalls. To get to the waterfall we had to park the car at a point and hiked 3km through the jungle to the waterfall and then another 3km back. See ehn, this was some serious waterfalls
chasinghunting. But it was all worth it the moment I set my eyes on the waterfall cascading down in all its glory.
The main attraction was Mount Patti. Getting to the top of the mountain entailed another hike, though not as rugged as we experienced in Kwara State. Mount Patti is historically relevant as it was here Flora Shaw looked into the River Niger and named our dear country Nigeria. You’ll also find Lord Luggard’s resting house here.
I’m always intrigued when I see settlements atop a hill or mountain. Right there at about 1500 meters above sea level is a functioning radio station, NTA station and several masts. Oh there is also a gym, sharwama spot and several farms.
I never expected to get an amazing view of Lokoja city from the mountain top. I mean this is hardly written about on travel blogs. Most just talk about Lord Luggard and Flora Shaw and the little house they went to during weekends for relaxation.
The views were out of this world. It reminded me of the epic views from the top of Idanre Hills. We chose to hike down the mountain instead of using a motorcycle which is the common choice.
Gurara falls was the main focus. Well, the lesson I learnt long ago about having an open mind when traveling came in handy on this leg of the tour. Life as we know it never really goes according to our plans. Its best to travel with an open mind, lower your expectations and look on the bright side of whatever goes off with your plans.
Due to the constant heavy rainfall the last few days the water level at Gurara was high. For safety reasons we were advised not to go in. This is after I had prepared to really dive in and relive the euphoria of what I experienced at Owu waterfalls.
Fourth Stop – Abuja
I finally got the chance to visit Usuman dam, located at Bwari area of Abuja.
The pictures I kept seeing on the gram brought me here. Those pictures don’t even do the place justice. Beautiful is the word I use to describe Usuman dam. I stood watching in awe, dreaming I had something like this close to my house. So serene and peaceful.
Though getting in can be quite tricky, as you need to discuss and cajole the security guys to open the gates for you. The alternative is to hike through the nearby community to get to the dam.
Fifth Stop – Nasarrawa State
This was aptly placed as the last stop of the tour. I thought the hike to Owu waterfalls was something, but the hike to Farin Ruwa waterfalls takes it all!
This one was truly waterfall hunting in all sense of the word.
Three things you should know before embarking on a visit to Farin Ruwa waterfalls :
- Don’t wear your best clothes.
- If possible wear a rubber shoe, you are going to cross three streams before getting to the waterfall.
- Be born ready! This isn’t for the faint heart.
Those who have hiked the 7km to and fro respectively are the true MVPs of hiking. For us mere mortals, its best to board a bike. They are readily available to take you up and back the waterfall.
Though the logistics was handled by a company, the tour still felt personal to a large extent. I was able to take in everything, practice photography (mostly explore phone photography) while I still had the adventure I needed to make me feel alive.
Valentine made that comment on one of my Sayi Takes the West blog post. That was in 2017 and here we are. Though we both forgot about that comment, but its been done and dusted.
Really looking forward to Sayi Takes South East Series, care to come along?