Hiking is slowly gaining ground in Nigeria and it’s no surprise as it is a hikers paradise with various hills and mountains. Some have been conquered and others are just waiting for the brave ones to put on their gear and hike away.
There are many beautiful landscapes and a lot of breath taking views. This is sure to make the sometimes arduous climb worth it.
For those who have caught the hiking bug but are worried or not sure about how to go about it, this is a guide to help you from our little experience.
Where can I go hiking in Nigeria?
There are a lot but we’ll start with the ones we’ve been to. Idanre Hills – Ondo State, Oke-Ado Mountain – Oyo State, Lido Hills – Kaduna State, Beetle Hill – Ogun State, Erin Ijesha Waterfalls – Osun State and Arinta Water falls – Ekiti State. (A bit of hiking is required to get to both waterfalls and there are about 7 levels). Other hiking spots include Mount Patti – Kogi State (we will be visiting in 2 weeks), Shere Hills in Jos, Obudu Mountain in Calabar State, Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary in Cross River State etc. *please note this isn’t a comprehensive list of hike-able trails.
Do I need to be fit to go hiking? What can I expect?
Hiking does require a bit of stamina but it’s really nothing that can’t be handled. All that is required is a bit of pacing. Stop to rest when you’re tired, wear suitable clothes so that you don’t feel restricted or uncomfortable while climbing. On most hikes, the trail isn’t usually smooth all the way through. Sometimes a bit of crawling, hopping and looking for things to hold on to will be required but the view when you get to the top is usually worth it. Going up is the hardest part of any hike. Getting back down is usually a breeze. It’s also a lot of fun when you go in a group as you’ll all encourage each other. Most of our unravellers aren’t the fittest people out there and if we can can do it, so can you.
How long does it take?
It all depends on the pace being used and your fitness level. The time of the hike also matters as its much easier to set out on earlier in the day. When the sun is out it makes it much harder. Most of the hikes we’ve gone on take about 1.30 – 2hrs. Beetle Hill would have been a 4 hour hike if we had started from our camp ground but it was cut in half as we hitched a ride along the way. I’m sure there are trails that take much longer but we are yet to conquer those.
When is the best time to visit?
Definitely during the dry season. You don’t want to be hiking during the rainy season especially if you want to visit the waterfalls. The trails can become extremely slippery and this can be dangerous. Hiking during harmattan season is also possible but you’ll have to deal with a lot of dust so ensure you’re well equipped.
What happens when I get to the top?
Depends on what you’ve planned. You can have a barbecue, a picnic, dance around, take pictures or just sit down and take in the views of the landscape below.
Do I need a guide or can I hike alone?
For most of our trails, you need a guide. We haven’t gotten to that level in this country where trails are marked out or rescue lines are available to get you out of whatever bind you might find yourself in. Guides are available at most of the places listed above for a fee (be sure to haggle properly as some most places do not have standard prices).
Are there any facilities available along the trail?
No. Just you and the great outdoors. Erin Ijesha has toilet facilities at the bottom of the trail but that’s it. Idanre Hills has rest stops for you to catch your breath, but that’s pretty much it facility wise. There are no cafes or restaurants so you should carry your snacks and drinks along. Parking is available.
Can I camp on the mountain/hill or at the foot of the trail?
Camping is definitely entertained on Beetle Hill. However it is undergoing renovation at the moment so we had to pitch our tents on their office grounds before going on our hike. Shere Hills in Jos also encourages camping. The other hills report that people often come and sleep there for religious purposes but as there is no form of security or accountability we would not recommend them for now.
What to pack
Food/snacks Hiking shoes – Do not hike in flip flops, this is dangerous. First Aid Kit – Because accidents can happen. Sunscreen – the sun might just come out to play during your hike. Camera Phone – You might not have signal during your hike but it’s good to have it in case of emergencies. Water Bottle Sticks – sometimes they help with the walk. Luckily this can be gotten during the hike. Whistle – this can come in handy if you get lost and injured. Change of clothes if you’re hiking at a waterfall. Binoculars – for a bit of bird watching or animal spotting Tent, sleeping bag, torchlight, wipes and more food if you’re going camping at a hill that permits it.
The most important thing about hiking is to be mentally prepared. A hike most of the time is not a leisurely stroll in the park. Be ready to push yourself, listen to your guide so you’re taking the safe paths and most importantly, have fun.
Have you gone hiking in Nigeria? What was it like?