Kainji National Park is one of the largest parks in Nigeria, sprawling across over 5,000 km². The recreation center incorporates three unmistakable areas: a piece of the Kainji Lake wherein fishing is limited, the Borgu Game Reserve toward the west of the lake, and the Zugurma Game Reserve toward the southeast.
Dominated by the savannah grass, the Kainji National Park is scattered with streams and waterfalls across its length. The Park is home to over 30 species of animals and reptiles and more than 350 species of birds. Wild hogs, Cheetahs, monkeys and crocodiles are some of the many animals that can be spotted here.
The Kainji National Park is a shining example of Africa’s natural wealth. The merger of Zugurma game reserves and Borgue, created the park in 1978, covering an area of 5,341 km² (2,062 sq mi). The park consists of three separate areas; the Kainji Lake, the Borgu Game Reserve and the Zugurma Game Reserve. Since 2005, the protected area is considered a Lion Conservation Unit together with Yankari National Park. The park is owned by the state and managed by the Federal National Park Service (FNPS), receiving direct government funding. This means that enforcement actions against poachers can be pursued under national park law and not in the local courts.
The park is a normal inselberg scene with round slopes wide pediments/fields isolating them and etched waterway channels slopping down towards the River Niger valley. A portion of the rivers in the park incorporate: Oli Menei, Doro and Manyara Rivers.
Flora and fauna
This study revealed that KLNP harbours diverse flora, fauna, hydrological, cultural and human resources. The estimated fauna density noted that Baboon, Patas monkey, Green monkey, Lion, Buffalo, Grimm's Duiker, Elephant, Warthog, and Redflanked Duiker are the major representative species.
The climate shows wet and dry seasons from April to November and November to April individually. The mean yearly precipitation is 1100 to 1200mm around 200 days.
The temperature ranges somewhere in the range of 10˚C and 30˚C (mean is 30˚C) and the normal relative moistness are 53%.
The fastest way to get to the Kainji National Park is by travelling by air to Ilorin, Kwara State. From the Ilorin International airport, visitors can hire a taxi to the park. Or if you prefer to spend a night in Ilorin and head out to the park first thing the next morning, visitors can seek accommodation in Ilorin hotels.
- Minna Airport: 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) northwest of Minna, the capital of Niger State in Nigeria. This airport only serves local flights.
- Ilorin International Airport: serving Ilorin, a city in Kwara State. This airport only serves local flights.
Several bus companies like Agofure God Is Good Motors, ABC Transport, Ifesinachi and The Young Shall Grow offer daily services from almost all major cities around the country as well as international destinations in West Africa. While buses usually are quite comfortable, journey times are very long.
Fees and permits
The entry fee for the Kainji National Park varies depending on the visiting time. During normal calendar dates the gate entry fee is ₦1000 while during holidays the fee can vary from ₦1000-1500 per person depending on rush-hour.
The best way to get around Kainji National Park is on foot. Kainji National Park is the perfect place to ditch the car and get outdoors. Guided tours are also available.
Don’t leave Kainji National Park unless you have visited the Wildlife Museum, where the skins of wild animals are on display for your spectacle. Not to worry, these skins are from animals that either died of natural causes or killed by poachers. Aside from the animal skins, other things insight at the museum are; the skin of a big python that stretches from the floor to the ceiling of the building, a huge glutted crocodile, a big egg of an ostrich, snakes and large spiders. The hides of many animals can be seen on the wall, alongside posters with the inscriptions the park hope will help discourage poaching in the park “No hunting in the park”. This inscription is to inform visitors of the dangers the wildlife is exposed to by poaching activities of local hunters in the region.
Kainji National Park, one of the largest game reserves in West Africa, integrates the Borgu Game Reserve as well as the Zugurma Game Reserve which is to the southeast in Niger State which contains several florae and fauna resources of Nigeria.
The park houses a lot of wildlife like elephants, lions, buffaloes, antelope, hunting dogs, hippos, patas, monkey, lion, python, Nile crocodile, leopard, hyena, buffalo, kob, cobra, green snake, bushbuck, tilapia, mountain reedbuck, red flanked duiker, oribi, Grimm's duiker, warthog, mongoose, stone partridge, snakehead, hadada ibis, Bee-eaters, electric catfish, clawless otters, hartebeest, turtles, manatees, roan goanna, baboons, antelopes, kobs, ape, Ducker, crocodile and so many others.
There are varieties of bird species, approximately 180 species of birds have been recorded. These include Secretary Bird, Ground Hornbill, jugglers, oriole warbler, great white pelicans and other rare pale arctic migrants
The Bourgu area alone covers a space of more than 3,929 km² which comprises savanna woods. The Zugurma district covers a space of very nearly 1,370 km². The Kainji National Park is additionally home to the Kainji Dam, which is a man-made lake – the town of Old Bussa used to be in this area. It is accepted that the explorer, Mungo Park, experience extraordinary sadness in this area in 1805. It is therefore that this lake was constructed so it could disguise the location of the mishap.
Lake Kainji is 136 km long, and travellers would be happy to realize that voyages through the dam are accessible, extraordinary authorization ought to simply be acquired from the Nigeria Electric Power Authority. The Borgu Game Reserve office, at Wawa, can likewise organize stumbles on Lake Kainji. To diminish the expense, it is prompted that few guests plan these excursions together. Guests are additionally permitted to fish on Lake Kainji.
The Lake Kainji National Park likewise flaunts various creatures which incorporate the large five, a sight that many need to encounter in Africa. Different creatures incorporate gazelles, roan elands, jackals, primates, hartebeest, monkeys and crocodiles. This park is open from December until June and an unmistakable must-see.
The exquisite water highlights and wild bird life puts this park on a stage over the rest. The convenience at the park incorporates 49 standard chalets and a gathering office that can have 140 individuals.
If you're wanting the outdoor market experience, you will have to travel to Ilorin the capital of Kwara state. You could try the following local markets;
- Yoruba Road Market Ilorin. a public market located on Sulu Gambari Road, Ilorin.
- Baboko Market. a public market located at Oja Tutun, Ilorin.
- Ipata Market. a public market located at 28 Amilegbe Rd, Ilorin.
- New Kulende Market. a public market located at Jebba Road, Ilorin.
For a more cosmopolitan experience you will need to travel to Ibadan, the state capital to shop at various supermarket and stores;
- 1 Mamtess Super Store, Dugbe (Ibrahim Taiwo Rd), ☏ . 9AM-6PM daily. A store where you can shop for varieties of products including children toys and groceries.
- 2 Shoprite Kwara Mall, M.K.O Abiola Way, Ring-road (Plot 1 Fate Rd, in Kwara Palms Mall), ☏ . 9AM-9PM. Supermarket chain with brand-name & house-label groceries, a bakery and a deli.
Eat and drink
- 1 Crystal House International Hotel..
- 2 Our Garden Restaurant & Bar, Radio Kwara, No 5A Ilofa Rd (Radio Kwara, No 5A Ilofa Rd), ☏ . 9AM-midnight. Chinese Restaurant in Ilorin.
- 3 Whitefield Hotels Limited.
- 4 The Sidney Ilorin, 9 Catchment Close, Ilorin (9 Catchment Close, Ilorin), ☏ . 10AM-10PM. Offers varieties of drinks and food.
- 5 Chronicles Restaurant & Karaoke Bar, The Palms Shopping Mall (The Palms Shopping Mall, beside NTA ilorin, Fate Rd, Ilorin), ☏ . 8AM-11PM daily. Great place to eat, drink and relax.
There is no lodging within the park, but numerous hotels can be found in the town of Ilorin. From the Ilorin International Airport, visitors can hire a taxi to the park. Or if you prefer to spend a night in Ilorin and head out to the park first thing the next morning, visitors can seek accommodation in Ilorin hotels.
- Whitefield Hotels, Plot 37 Gerewu Road, Off Western Reservoir, 234031 Ilorin. An inn that highlights an eatery, wellness focus, a bar and nursery. This inn offers an ATM and attendant service. The convenience gives a 24-hour front work area, air terminal exchanges, room administration and free WiFi. The lodging offers a smorgasbord or Full English/Irish breakfast. The closest air terminal is Ilorin Airport, 4 km from Whitefield Hotels Limited. Free WiFi. Single Room with a solitary bed for US$50-55 (₦ 26,450) every evening, Superior Single Room for US$70 (₦ 34,500), breakfast included.
- Crystal House International Hotel. A lodging that includes a café, wellness focus, a bar and a common parlour in Ilorin. Flaunting family rooms, this property additionally gives visitors a patio. The convenience includes a 24-hour front work area, room administration and money trade for visitors. All rooms are fitted with cooling, a level screen TV with satellite stations, a refrigerator, a pot, a hot tub, free toiletries and a work area. At the lodging, the rooms have a closet and a private washroom. Visitors at Crystal House International Hotel can appreciate a mainland or a smorgasbord breakfast. The closest air terminal is Ilorin, 9 km from Crystal House International Hotel, and the property offers a free air terminal transport administration. Deluxe Double or Twin Room with Garden View with 1 extra-enormous twofold bed for US$50-41 (₦ 20,997).
At Kainji Lake National Park you can enjoy camping at the park's camping ground with additional camping options available outside of the park on public land.
While in the park or its vicinities, you should be able to connect to the 2G/3G/4G mobile network coverage. But be aware that service may be disrupted and you might occasionally experience network outage for all or some of the mobile phone service providers while in some locations. Different networks also tend to be more stable and reliable in different locations at different times.
If you are planning a visit to the park, you should probably consider having multiple SIM cards preferably for all the mobile service providers, since you can't tell which will be more stable and reliable at a time in your location during your visit. And if you will risk not having any of them, you might be better off not risking the MTN network, because, from indications, it seems to perform well than the others, though its rates may be high and its offers and services might be stringent, but you are less likely to be concerned of erratic voice and data connection compared to others.
Of the service providers is Glo (or Globacom), which boasts of fast network speed for internet browsing activities, but that might not be enjoyable in some locations. Airtel is fairly satisfactory for all you might need to connect to the world, including rates and network stability. And 9Mobile usually also performs well in internet browsing speed but not without locational limitations.