Beauty they say lies in the eyes of the beholder but every visitor to Bauchi lends credence to the wonders of nature and warm hospitality of the people which combined to give its slogan “The Pearl of Tourism.” Are you still wondering why the slogan? Let me carry you along in unravelling the Nigeria’s pearl of tourism.
Bauchi State was created in 1976 from the then North-Eastern State of Nigeria. According to 2006 population and housing census, the State has a population of 4,653,066. The state is located in North-East geopolitical zone of Nigeria and covers a total of land area of 49,596sq kilometers, about 5.3% of Nigeria’s total land mass. Bauchi State is therefore in a strategic position and the gateway to the remaining five states in the zone. The state is bordered by seven other states which include Plateau, Taraba, Gombe, Yobe, Kano, Jigawa and Kaduna State.
Bauchi State has twenty (20) local government areas while the state comprises of six traditional emirates which include Bauchi Emirate, Katagum Emirate, Misau Emirate, Jama’are Emirate, Ningi Emirate and Dass Emitate. The people predominantly engage in agriculture and trade. Agricultural produce like rice, sorghum, maize, millet, beans, soya beans, sesame, vegetables etc are found in abundance. In terms of mineral resources, the state is the first northern state to start petroleum exploration for commercial use by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC, other minerals include, columbite, tin, limestone, cassiterate, coal, etc.
Bauchi State is largely heterogeneous state consisting of Hausa, Fulani, Jarawa, Sayawa, Gerawa, Bulawa, Kare-kare, Warjawa, Zulawa, etc., a total of 55 ethnic groups. They have varied customs, festivals, historical backgrounds, occupational patterns and beliefs. However, there are cultural similarities in the people’s language, occupational practices, festivals, dress and there is high degree of ethnic interactions especially in marriage and economic existence. The most widely spoken languages are Hausa and English which are treated as official languages Nevertheless, Fulfulde is also widely spoken. The people in the state are predominantly Muslims, but Christianity is widely practiced in every part of the state. Also, other ethnic groups from other states and from southern part of Nigeria are largely spread all over the state, ethnic groups like Yoruba, Igbo, Ebira, Igala, Tiv, Idoma, Efik, etc are living in harmony, tolerance and peace with the people of the state.
Bauchi is fascinating when it comes to hospitality, and food/cuisine makes it part of the state’s hospitality. Traditional cuisines such as Tuwon Shinkafa da Miyan Kuka and popular snacks and street foods like Masa, Kilishi, Fura da Nono, Tsire (suya) makes visitor’s time a lovely and amazing one.
Tourist sites and attractions are spread all over the state. A trip around the local governments revealed that wonderful sights, spectacular landscapes and monuments attract everyone and tourists too. The attractions are not peculiar to only one single part of the state but everywhere in the state there is something that captures attention. Indeed, Bauchi State has been providing fascinating heaven of tourism to visitors from across the globe. Academic researchers and tourist enthusiasts especially bloggers and vloggers have documented a lot about tourist sites, monuments, cultures, arts and crafts, ancient historical relics, but most importantly, hospitality which combine to give Bauchi State an enviable position and image as the centre stage and one of the fastest growing tourist heaven in Africa.
Amongst many tourist destinations in Bauchi State, here are few “must visit” for tourists and visitors in the state.
Sumu Wildlife Park is a MUST SEE ! A first imers experience is usually “wow” or “is this even Nigeria?”. The park is located in Kafin Madaki town of Ganjuwa Local Government Area in Bauchi State. The park is about 30 km from the town of Kafin Madaki passing through few small villages on the way. I know Yankari National Park is one famous park for safari and game or wildlife viewing but Sumu Wildlife Park offers the best of it. It is only in this park that you will be guaranteed to sight or come in contacts with wildlife in their natural environment. These animals include giraffes, zebras, gazelles, wildebeests, deer, monkeys, variety of colourful birds . I would recommend a safari ride any time and any day. Soaking in this experience is just out of this world.
Dumi Hill is located in Dumi village, southeast of Bauchi city. It is an outskirt settlement of about 10km to the industrial area via Railway Road. This hill wins over every adventure junkie due its calmness and magnificent view from both peak and base, especially at sunset. The amazing features of the hill are its easiness to hike and the view of fishpond from below which amplifies its beautiful views. Be sure to wear your comfortable track suits and sneakers, and have your camera charged and ready.
Gidan Madaki Monument is another hidden gem for culture and history lovers, as well as adventurers. Many visitors and tourists do not know about it while others forgot to add it on their list. YES!!! On your way to Sumu Wildlife Park, there is Gidan Madaki Monument in Kafin Madaki town of Ganjuwa Local Government Area. This beautiful edifice has been standing firm since 1860 (160 years). It was built by the famous ancient architectural builder in the then Hausaland named Babban-Gwani who also built the emir’s palace in Zaria and Bauchi, the ancient mosque in Birnin Gwari and other view prominent ancient Hausa traditional architectures. You will be blown away by its beauty and sustainability in standing the taste of time with a natural air condition that makes you explore it in style.
The Gubi Lake and Hills is one site that rings bell for any tourist especially nature lovers. It is located in Firo, a small village of about 12 kilometers from the main city of Bauchi. Don’t confuse Gubi Lake with Gubi Dam, they are basically two different sites but connected to each other side by side. Both the lake and the dam are located within the same place where the dam is straight ahead on the road while the lake is adjacently by left when entering Firo village. The dam is more of water supply to the state while the lake is more for fishing by the locals and other activities by visitors and tourists. The environment is so scenic where solid rock formations stand side by side with the lake. It is amazing to watch local fishermen in their canoes paddling around and listen to the beautiful sound of water mixed with chirping birds. Sunset and sunrise are super beautiful and picturesque from the lake. Therefore, you can have picnic or barbecue with family and friends while enjoying the scenic views.
Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Tomb is a mausoleum where the remains of Nigeria’s first and only Prime Minister rests. Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was among the strong front nationalists who fought for the independence of Nigeria in 1960. He therefore, became Nigeria’s Prime Minister from 1960 to 1966 when he was assassinated and killed during a military coup. The tomb is situated on Ran Road within Bauchi metropolis. It was constructed in 1979 and declared open to public. The tomb has a striking feature and a beautiful architectural design which was designed to reflect the simple life of the late prime minister and the struggle for Nigeria’s independence.
Mbula hill is a very high elevated and fascinating hill located in Dass town of Dass Local Government Area, a 59km dive from the city of Bauchi. Dass town is surrounded all over by huge hills and mountains. Mbula hill is an outstanding hill among all the hills as you can view its pointed peak from a far distance when heading to the town from whatever angle and due to the history attached to it. Oh my goodness, the formation of this hill is exceptionally beautiful and huge. Historically, as far back as the period before the Fulani Jihad of Uaman Danfodio in 19th Century, Dass people settled around the foot and top of the hill. The early settlers who are the Jarawa people came in search of security and protection from external aggression, which made them to hide in caves and on the hilltop to strategically dodge attacks.On the foot of the hill there is an old medieval-like structure which is said to be a treasury in the olden days. Inside the structure is a very huge ion saver-looking container that is attached all sides by decking. Nobody knows what is inside the container as it cannot be broken. Hiking on Mbula hill is not for the fainthearted. It requires courage, endurance and professionality. However, the locals hike it with ease and style.
Babban Gwani Building is located inside the Bauchi Emir’s Palace in the centre of Bauchi City. The building is named after the famous royal and traditional builder in the then Hausaland, Babban-Gwani because is regarded as his master piece. Babban-Gwani’s building talent is mysterious as many locals believed he was assisted by angels. Popular accounts even explain that he built only at night while his labourers were said to be hundreds of slaves who would spend the whole day gathering mud and thatched clay. History shows that the slaves used to throw a hundred mud blocks for him to catch and lay without any single piece of sand or clay dropped down. According to one version of history, Babban-Gwani was killed by the Emir of Birnin Gwari after completion of Birnin Gwari’s mosque so that no mosque would ever be built to equal the one in Birnin Gwari. In another version of the history, he was said to be killed by Emir of Zazzau (Zaria) after building the Emir’s palace so that there would never be any replica of the palace the whole world.
Could all that be true? For many, it serves as an explanation for why his building still stand strong, firm, super beautiful and colorful for almost two centuries. You can feel the texture of ancient genius works when touching the building. Woman visiting this beautiful palace, are expected to cover their hair. Kindly bring along a shawl or headscarf to respect the culture in covering your head. Also, do get dressed up in bright colors as the building provides a beautiful backdrop for the most instagram-worthy pictures.
Tips for travelers/tourists visiting the state/tourist sites.
Bauchi is connected with all major means of transportation, road, railway, airways. Even though, the trains routing to Bauchi has not been working for a decade and half, luxury buses, cars and flights are your guaranteed lines. With regards to flights, it is important to know that only two airlines operate to/from Bauchi, they are Arik Air and Max Air, all via Abuja. Kindly contact your agent for any inquiries.
Accommodations are readily available in any angle of the state depending on your budget and social class. If you cannot find any suitable one online, kindly contact any local you may know or advisably call agent for advises and recommendations.
Generally, when visiting Bauchi State, it’s important to have made your personal research and perhaps a prior call either with a local you know or advisably a tourist agent like us, who will advise and provide all sorts of recommendations. PS: We are available for you any time, any day, not only for Bauchi State but all the 19 Northern States.
Don’t be told, come, visit us in Bauchi and witness for yourself the tremendous resources of the state and expand your horizon with amazing experience.
Mohammad Adamu is a full time university lecturer with Department of Economics, Bauchi State University Gadau. He bagged his PhD in Economics from Universiti Utara Malaysia and a First Class Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Bayero University Kano Nigeria. He loves travelling, meeting new people and exploring new things in life. He believes that travel and tourism is an education outside the four corners of school, and it opens the mind to better understand the world and appreciate nature while contributing to economic growth and development of the nation.
For the above reasons, Dr. Mohammad founded Bauchi Friends Tours Ltd., a social enterprise that promotes responsible tourism and culture sustainability while improving people’s lives especially at grass root level. Through the enterprise, they had hosted travelers and tourists from different angles of the world which include Australia, Spain, Colombia, Tunisia and many Nigerians in both group and private trips and tours to different states in Northern Nigeria.
Dr. Mohammad built relevance for himself in the area of domestic tourism development in Nigeria; he has partnered with different tourism brands within the country for trips and tourism research works helping government policies.