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Thursday, 22 August 2013

Ecotourism in Nigeria for a Healthier Country By Sade Adebayo

Nigeria is the perfect place to go for those who want to embrace ecotourism, which entails the respect for the environment and the well-being of local people: unspoiled forests, breathtaking landscapes, magnificent beaches and animals of different species will guarantee an unforgettable holiday away from the city.
The best eco-friendly way to move around cities in Nigeria is by bicycle, and instead of buying a new one you can ask a neighbor or a friend to lend you one or buy a second hand bike online. If you can avoid it, do not use cars or other motorized vehicles to reach places as they would contaminate the air and risk ruining the amazing natural areas which characterize this country. 

To immerse yourself and your family in nature, you should visit one of the numerous national parks in Nigeria, such as the famous Yankari Reserve and Wikki Warm Springs, which are located next to the Gagi River in Bauchi State, North East Nigeria. In this beautiful reserve, you would be able to see elephants, baboons, crocodiles, monkeys, but also various species of plants typical of the savanna woodland or you can choose to relax in the warm water of the Wikki Warm spring and swim in the bathing area of 600 feet. Remember to always leave the land as it was when you arrived. Avoid making loud noises that can disturb surrounding animals and make sure you remove all types of waste you might create.

And if you want to keep your body fit while on holiday, you can take long walks, do sports or swim into the ocean on the most amazing beaches in Africa. Tarkwa Bay is a very beautiful beach near the harbor in Lagos, South West Nigeria near the border with the Republic of Benin. Thanks to the perfect and safe swimming conditions, this bay is accessible to families with children who can play in the ocean and on the beach with no risks or dangers. Moreover, being close to the city, it is possible to find and purchase typical products and food from the locals, such as fruit like pineapples and coconuts or rich and colorful handicrafts that depict the history and culture of the area. Instead of going to restaurants and fast food places, try local shops and stands since they usually grow and cook their own food and in this way you help local business stay alive and flourish. If possible, try to avoid taking your vehicle near the beach and again try to access it on foot or by bike.

In short, ecotourism is the new frontier. Many countries have already started pushing towards that direction following some simple tips in order to keep their land as healthy as possible, and although Nigeria is not one of the first ecotourism destinations we must learn to try to preserve our beautiful country.

(Sade Adebayo is an Eco-tourism enthusiast and freelance editor)

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