As adults, we need at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week to stay healthy.
In the early days, our forefathers were mostly farmers. They would walk a long way through the thick forest to get to their farms. Unknowingly to them, this method to meet their practical needs, was also a good way to keep fit. They didn’t have machines and gyms like we have today, and yet were in better shape than we are and as a result, lived longer. If you want to be healthy while avoiding the gym, a good solution is to hike through nature. Although Hiking is very common in the West, hiking and outdoors culture was not something you would find present among Nigerians. But gradually a new wave is blowing across the country, with many Nigerians now interested in having outdoor adventures. In Nigerian states like Abuja, Enugu, Jos, Bauchi with numerous hills and scenic terrains, hiking is the new cool. Even the commercial capital Lagos is not left out, with the bordering Hilly towns around it. There are a number of growing hiking communities around Nigeria you could join.
What are the types of hiking available in Nigeria?
Day Hikes ~So just as the name suggests, day hikes are where you set out for a day of hiking a trail, usually with a backpack of water, snacks, and comfy sneakers. Most of Nigeria’s hilly terrain and trails can be covered in just a day. Oke Ado Moutain in Oyo, Mount Patti in Lokoja, Obangogo Hills in Kabba, Idanre Hills in Oyo, Owu Falls in Kwara are places with an average of 2-3 hours hiking duration (in and out).
Long/Overnight Hikes ~Again, as the name suggests, you start hiking one day, spend the night out on the trails that night and return the next day. This kind of hikes typically requires a tent, so you can pass the night along your long walk. Places where you can experience this kind of long hikes are Gashaka Gumpti National Park in Taraba (the largest national park in Nigeria), Obudu Holy Mountains and Omo forest in Ogun state. For such hikes, it best to go in groups and with a tour guide or park ranger that has good knowledge of the terrain. For such hikes, the backpacks are usually bigger and heavier due to longer time spent on foot.
If you’re new to hiking, you might want to start with this hiking advice:
- Join a hiking community in Nigeria or find your ideal hiking partner.
- Buy hiking gears you will be needing for your hikes; sneakers or sandals, water bottles, hiking stick, knapsack, binoculars, a hat.
- Understand your body; for beginners always hike at the pace comfortable for you. Don’t rush it.
- Learn how to interact with nature as you hike; look out for the beautiful flowers, the weird insect, the unusual rock. You could even play scavenger hunt as you hike to make your hike more fun.
- Plan; research about the location weeks before your hiking trips and plan around your free days, holidays and weekends.