In all honesty, there is not much to do apart from wildlife viewing and lazying about or playing water games in the Wikki Warm Springs. During busy periods, cultural events are organised by the park authorities. The park also boasts of a tiny museum, which houses relics of the native bio-diversity.
Also, educational seminars and conferences do hold regularly at the park's conference hall. Within the park, but away from camp, there are historical sites, which could be explored with a guide, for those who are interested in the area's former inhabitants. These are situated at Marshall Caves, Ampara smelting sites, Dukkey Wells, amongst others.
Apart from that, there is a great sense of community bonding and frendliness amongst visitors at the Wikki Camp.
The setting within the restaurant is suprisingly decent considering that you are in the middle of the West African bush. The food on offer varies from Western styled food to Nigerian cuisines. Even such non-Nigerian recepies like chicken and chips, tomatoe ketchup, omelett, ceareal, cornflakes, are all available. The restaurant is completely comfortable, boasting of fans, ample and organised dining structures, and cable television.
There is nothing particularly outstanding about the restaurant, except that it is the only one of such calbre around, for over two hours by road.
Favorite Dish: Rice and Plantain, with tomatoe stew.
To get to Yankari, the best way is to use your own transport.
Alternatively one can also hire a vehicle from the Yankari office in Bauchi own. Do not expect a top of the range saloon or four -wheel drive. The car is likely to be a car from the early or mid-90s. Nevertheless, it will still be able to make it to camp. I've never had any problems using the hired vehicles that they provide.
The two shops are located inside the bar complex, and to be honest I dont think they have names. Just ask for the shops at the bar.
They sell all the basics you need in Yankari, these include :antiques, books, snacks (including noodles), swimming trunks, art, local crafts, stationery, Yankari t-shirts, things for bathing, etc. Both Shops sell identical things, and are run by some Hausa guys.
What to pay: Things are very cheap, and is similar to prices that you would pay in other parts of Nigeria, if you exclude Port-Harcourt and Abuja.
No matter how often you see a park officer leave the vehicle and wonder into the bush, please do not follow without them giving you the appropriate instructions. These officers are well trained in their duties and only take such risks because they know what to do in the event of a risky situation.
I once met a group of Americans at Wikki Camp, who told me that they felt so safe, that they "wondered around and walked in the bush around Marshall Caves" (in Yankari), because "since they arrived the park they had only come across antelopes and primates".
Well, I thought their behavior was quite naive, because in Yankari, looks can be deceptive. Due to the dense wooded vegetation of the park, often an animal can be only thirty meters away from you without you noticing. If your stood in the middle of the bush, and you're lucky, you may only meet antelope, monkeys, etc. However, if your're unfortunate, chances are that you could be face to face with a wild lion, buffalo or elephant herd, or any other potentially dangerous animal. Please..........IT IS NOT WORTH THE RISK..
A teenage girl that ran into the bush from Wikki Camp was killed in by a lioness in the mid eighties. If you stick to the rules and regulations, you would have a safe and wonderful time in the park.
For many individuals, the Wikki Springs is the main reason for visiting the Yankari. The spring is warm and crystal clear, with white sand at the bottom of the springs.
The water at the springs comes from a seepage at the buttom of a large rock. Often, especially in the afternoon, the spring is full of visitors, playing water games and so on. From the rest of Wikki Camp to the spring and vice versa, one has to descend or ascend a flight of stairs carved into the area's rocky tarrain
Wildlife is often difficult to take a photo of, so a Zoom-Lens camera is what is needed. The difficulties are primarily because the animals are often spotted at a distance from the vehicle. It is even worse if you are trying to use a conventional camera to take a picture of an animal that is 30 meters away from you, and in the midst of plenty of foliage. Better still, a video-cam will be excellent. Films for cameras are sold at Wikki Camp, so too are batteries. You can also rent a zoom-lens camera from the park authorities, if it is not already rented out to another guest.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: I forgort to mention this in my accommodation section, but there is a camp-ground at Wikki Camp, complete with a standing water pipe that functions. However, you will need to bring your own camping gear.
For those interested in swimming at Wikki Springs, all kinds of swimming gear are sold at the two little shops in camp.
In Yankari there are several ways in which to embark on a Safari. Firstly, you may use the Parks old Mercedes 911 diesel truck, which does a two hour trip in the morning, and then again in the afternoon. However, the disadvantage of the 911 is that the area covered is limited in terms of time and geography.
The second and third options are to hire the park's Toyota Hilux pick-up truck, or to bring in your own SUV with a full tank. The advantage of the latter two options is that you can explore the park thoroughly and come across a wider variety of bio-diversity.
For instance, the park is home to about 3000 buffaloes, but if you restriced your game-viewing excursions to the 911's morning and afternoon trips, you would rarely come across them. On the other hand, if you had the flexibility of using the hilux or your own vehicle, you have a higher chance of comming across buffalo, spotted hyena, hippo, lion, and so on, in addittion to other warm springs and historical sites of interest.
Also, at the Daban Maje Salt-Lick there is a hyde, which over -looks the River Gaji. Hidding in and viewing wildlife from the hyde, gives one an excellent opportunity to view wildlife as they came to the river to quench their thirst, or to lick the salty sand at the salt-lick.
Some people come to Yankari for the Wikki Warm Springs. However, others like myself, are here for the wildlife.
If there is any place in West Africa were you want to be 90% sure of seeing alot of elephants, then Yankari is the place. In all my visits to the park since 2001, there has never been a single evening safari where I dont encounter large herds of elephant. We once counted two hundred in a single group, back in December 2002.
An antelope called a 'waterbuck' is even more common. There are waterbucks everywhere in the park - around every corner. After a while you begin to get bored with comming across nothing but groups and groups of waterbuck.
Another antelope - the bushbuck - is also a certainty. So too are baboons. Those that you have a good chance of seeing include warthog, patas and tantalus monkeys, crocs, monitor lizard, amongst others. You will most likely come across fresh lion prints, and a 50% percent chance of the actual lion. Lion viewings have been increasing over the past few years.