Backpacking in Nigeria: Tips and Guide

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As adults, we spend a huge amount of our lives indoors-from waking up from your bed, off to work in a car and then into your office space. From my statistics, most Nigerians spend about  87% of their time indoors (religious places, weddings, work) and an additional 6% in an enclosed vehicle (on average). So when was the last time you sit to watch the sunset or check the sky to see the star?  Adulthood in Nigeria gradually becomes a trap if we take it that path. We let the outdoor fun end with our childhood. There are some who would fancy an outdoor weekend but still don’t know how to go about it. What about you pick up some few items, a knapsack and spend the next the weekend or the next public holiday with nature.

Backpacking! Do people backpack in Nigeria? What is backpacking? Yes, people now backpack and wants to backpack. Nothing compares to covering miles and miles through nature powered by your own legs during the day and camping somewhere safe at night.

If you aren’t familiar with backpacking, it’s the practice of packing so light and minimalist for travel that everything can be carried on your body in a single wheelless bag and off you’re gone for a few days into nature away from the noise and bustle of the city.

  1. PICK A DESTINATION

Nigerian is blessed with Waterfalls, Beaches; Mountains hills and uncharted terrains. Some of these most beautiful places are enclosed in secured parks. The biggest questions about backpacking and camping in Nigeria are safety and security. Is Nigeria secured enough for such?

Before setting out to camp anywhere in Nigeria, have someone at hand at your camping destination and as a rule of thumb, always camp in groups. You basically have two options when it comes to sleeping at the park or a beach after a long day hike.  You can either camp or you can rent one of the location apartments. Personally, I would suggest you buy a tent and camp securely right at the heart of the location. So instead of staying in a fancy hotel, ask for a secured spot and pitch up your tent with other friends. Enjoy the green vegetation and watch the beautiful stars from your tent.

Suggested places secure for tenting and camping:

  • Obudu Ranch
  • Epe resort,
  • Badagry,
  • Yankari Park,
  • Lufasi Park
  • Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Jay Beach Tarkwa Bay
  • Idanre Hills and Resort
  1. DECIDE WHAT TIME OF YEAR TO GO

For parks, it safer to go during the dry harmattan season, so no rain to disturb your hike or camping. Here are some national parks in Nigeria:

  1. PLAN YOUR MEALS

Food is your fuel. You don’t want to pack heavy, so drawing up a table with your daily meals is important—Noodles, cookies, beverages something you can easily prepare outdoor that won’t spoil fast. And yes some chocolate bars!

 WHAT TO PACK?

Clothing:

  • 1 Pair walking boots/trainers (strong, broken in with ankle support, compulsory)
  • 2 Pairs walking socks
  • 2 Tee shirt
  • 1 Outdoor shirt
  • 1 Pair walking trousers (warm; NOT jeans)
  • 1 Pair of trainers/outdoor sandals (optional)
  • 2 Pieces of handkerchiefs
  • 1 Pair of Flip Flops (local name is “slippers”)
  • 1 Hat/Cap (compulsory)
  • 1 pair of shorts (if appropriate)

Personal Kit:

  • 1 Large backpack for long trips (50l or 70l), medium for a short trip (40l)
  • Tent
  • 1 Blanket
  • Torch and Spare batteries for headlamp/flashlight
  • Pocket knife or multi-tool
  • Sun protection (glasses, sunscreen)
  • 1 Sleeping mat/blanket (compulsory)
  • 1 Survival bag ( a drawstring bag)
  • 1 Personal First Aid Kit (and your regular medications, if any)
  • 1 Watch
  • 1 Whistle* (compulsory)-in case you get lost while hiking
  • 1 Notebook & pen/pencil (compulsory)
  • 2 Water bottles (e.g. strong plastic, to hold 0.5 to 2 litres; compulsory)
  • 1 Knife, fork, spoon (to eat with)
  • 1 Plate/bowl (compulsory)
  • 1 Mug/cup
  • A small stoves and pot
  • Fire making kit (waterproof matches or lighter, fire starter or candle in a  waterproof container)
  • 1 Wash kit (sponge and soap)
  • 1 Towel (small)

Happy Backpacking!

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in The Spark Magazine. Find the magazine here to read other articles.

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