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Gurara Falls, Niger State – Untapped, Unexplored

| June 4, 2013 More

A recent visit to Gurara falls shows that the place, which holds the potential to be a world-class tourist destination, lies undeveloped. Damilola Oyedele writes…

As many states seek ways to boost Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to augment the usual federal allocations for more sustainable development, some have looked inwards to develop the tourism potentials in their states. An example is the acclaimed Obudu Cattle Ranch in Cross River State, which has become a favourite destination for Nigerians and foreigners alike. The Ikogosi Warm Springs Resort in Ekiti State has also undergone massive development and would soon be taken over by a resort management company from South Africa who has agreed to manage it.

Yankari Games Reserves in Bauchi State held sway for a long time in the Northern part of the country, but has now experienced less patronage due to dilapidation of structures.

Getting to the Waterfalls

Gurara Waterfalls, located in Gurara Local Government, between Suleja and Minna, the capital city of Niger State, is about one and half hours drive from Abuja. The cut off road that leads towards the fall is newly tarred and a visitor is allowed through a makeshift gate after paying N500.

The only structure, which seemed to have been put into the place by the government, apart from the tarred road, are the steps, which were carved into the very steep rocks to assist visitors descend and ascend with ease. There is also a shed where cool drinks can be purchased and there is also a signpost that warns visitors against swimming in the falls. The only toilet has no flushing facilities despites its proximity to water.

The environment, however, holds a lot of potentials, which lie unexplored. For starters, there is ample space, just like is obtainable at the Obudu cattle ranch, for the construction of a resort to allow for visitors who wish to run away from the hustle and bustle of Abuja, Minna and other surrounding cities and spend time at the waterfalls.

The atmosphere would also be conducive for exotic animals from other climes to serve as extra attraction for visitors. Hiking trails can be outlined for the adventurous who wish to fully immerse themselves in the ambience of natural surroundings with camping facilities.

Mr. Lawal Mohammed, a journalist, suggested that a resort can also provide conference facilities so that conferences and seminars can be held at Gurara. Development of the area would be a huge source of revenue for the government and create employment for the local people.

“Unfortunately, even if a place like this is handed over to a private developer in a concessionary arrangement, a new government can suddenly decide to revoke when they discover how much money is being made from here. That would discourage a private business to take it over,” he said.

Nature Lovers’ Delight

A lover of nature can, however, enjoy time spent at Gurara. In the absence of facilities, a shoe with a good grip is best or going barefoot (before the weather gets hot) would suffice for walking on the rocks. It is also better to carry one’s refreshment; food, snacks and drinks.

The waterfall itself is a beauty with small streams emanating from the Gurara river running around the rocks on the cliff, converging and falling into a pond about 20 meters below. In the dry season, the water has about six fall points, but the whole cliff gets covered and falls at one powerful point during the rainy season.

Yusuf, a local guide, guided this reporter to meander the rocks to the base of the waterfalls, at about 12.30 pm. That was his seventh time guiding a visitor to the base of the waterfalls he said, as even though there is not much to do, people continue to visit the falls.

Speaking in Hausa, he disclosed that the falls gets more visitors during any festival or during the holidays especially from Abuja.

“I assist people to bring down their food and drinks to this lower part because it is easier for me and my colleagues to navigate the steps cut in the rocks. During the dry season when the current is not strong, some people swim here and we stay with them to watch them and warn them not to venture directly under the falls. People also fish here,” he said.

Yusuf, and many other local guides like him, depend on the money from the visitors to meet their upkeeps.

It is also a good place for bird watching, and lovers of nature would find the serene environment captivating with lush of greenery interspersed with little hills.

Category: Bauchi State News

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