Saturday, 3 October 2009
BY ANDREW IRO OKUNGBOWA
BAUCHI, capital city of Bauchi State, is one of the eight cities hosting this edition of FIFA Under-17 World Championship.
Known as ‘Home of Peach and Hospitality,’ the state has a lot to offer visitors to Nigeria during the championship.
The people, culture, tradition and the scenic beauty of the city are some of the elements that a visitor should look forward to.
Yankari Park: Formerly one of the eight national parks in the country, it’s now run by the Bauchi State government, and it remains the prime tourism attraction of the state. It is also the most visited park in the country due to its rich and diverse attractions. Visitors to the park have a lot of leisure activities to engage their attention beside the traditional safari for which the park is well known for.
Located in Duguri and Alkeri districts of the state, the Yankari Park covers an area of 2,244sq kilometres. It is home to many wonders such as the Dukke Wells and Marshal Caves.
Located near Mainamaji, the gateway to Wikki Camp, the wells, numbering about 11 with holes, and interlinked from inside, measure 10 to 15 feet.
Marshal caves where the former abode of the local people and served also as a defensive hideout during the wars.
The caves are about 13 in numbers and are of different sizes. Their length is put at 200 metres; depth at 10 metres; and width ranges between 30 and 80 metres.
The entrances to the holes and the inner chambers are circular in nature while the floors are plain and flat.
Tsohongori is another interesting section of the park to visit. It is an old town of the Dass people of Bauchi.
Some other attractions include the palace of the emir, the treasury house, the Dass sacred rock and Jakiri rock.
There is also the Takwalkwal rock, which was once a safe haven by people.
Apart from the camping ground, other facilities in the park include chalets of different categories, a standard restaurant, conference hall, in-door and out-door sport facilities such as table tennis, squash racket and badminton.
There also exist different species of fauna such as elephants, herte beasts, hippopotami, lions, baboons, rhinos and giraffes. Bird watch is also one of the most attractive activities at the park as it has a rich array of birdlife.
Wikki Warm Spring: Is another attraction in the park, which has a constant temperature of 31.1 degrees Celsius all year round. The spring gushes water out from underneath a limestone escapement surrounded by vegetation that boosts the ecology of the warm spring.
Sumu Wildlife Park: Is one of the newest tourist sites being developed by the government as part of efforts at improving leisure and entertainment in the state. Located in Ganjuwa Local Council, the park has diverse flora and fauna riches that would interest the visitors. It also has many tourism support facilities such as accommodation lodges and restaurant.
Tafawa Balewa Tomb Complex (Mausoleum): Is one of the gigantic edifices in the city that is dedicated to the memory of the former Prime Minister of Nigeria, Alhaji Abubakar Tafewa Balewa. The Mausoleum houses a library, tomb of the late Prime Minister, reception area and offices.
Unity Park: Is a vast complex located in the city centre and is fitted with different fun filled facilities for both children and adults.
State Museum: Is a rich repository of the people’s cultural and political evolution.
Emir palace: With all its glitz and artistic bend, is another place to visit for excursion into the rich culture and art of the people.
Rock paintings: Dating back to hundreds of years, the rock paintings, which are found within different localities in the city and state, is a reflection of the sophisticated and rich art of the people.
The rock paintings are rich historical relics that are marvelous to behold. Other locations to visit include Geji Rock Paintings in Toro Local Council and Shira Rock Paintings (Dutsen Damisa) in Shira Local Council.
Expect to be treated to exciting and memorable period by the state art and culture troupe and other cultural groups in the city. The state boasts of a rich repertoire of dance and music. The list include Kyaro war dance by the Warji ethnic group, Afizere dance by the Jarawa people of Toro Local Council, Takai dance, which is popular among the Hausa-Fulanis, Ngat-al-Bajar dance by Dass people, Lawurba dance by the people of Sayawa and Bogoro local councils. Also expect of a dose of traditional entertainment with traditional wrestling (Kokowa) and boxing (Dambe) leading the pack.
Arts and crafts:
Bauchi is also home to creative art and craft works of various make. The list includes embroidered caps and gowns, fibre craft and decorative items such as calabashes mats.
Others are agricultural tools, pottery and leather works. All of these serve as souvenirs, which can be purchased at any of the art and crafts centres and markets within the city.
City walls and gates:
Just like every other city in the north, Bauchi also boasts a lot of city walls and gates.
What is most appealing about these city walls is their massive and intriguing nature as earthwork solely created by man.
There are about nine of these extant gates, with Kofar Nasarawa as the most popular and of historical import to the people as it was through this gate that the European invading forces came to the city. Other areas of attractions in the city include the first mosque building and central mosque, central market, games village.
The list of hotels within the city includes Zaranda Hotel, which enjoys a pleasing architectural appeal, Protea VIP Suites, Bauchi State Hotel and Awalah Hotel. Others are CFA Hotel, Bauchi Terminus Hotel, Alias Hamdala Hotel, Plaza Hotel, Muri Guest Inn, Sogiji Hotel and Tolu Guest Inn.