For someone like me whose favourite past time activity is being a tourist, being in Nigeria has not been the easiest. The tourism industry in Nigeria is majorly under-developed, and is literally crying for some attention. And so, NexTours decided to create an entire tourist experience. All NXTours had to do was find a Nigerian tourist attraction, find a group of people who weren’t too scared of having such an experience in Nigeria, and find a safe mode of transportation – this is how the NXTours Gurara Waterfalls experience came to be.
The drive from Abuja to Gurara Waterfalls wasn’t too tedious. The waterfalls is actually located in Niger State, but is very close to the Abuja border, so we estimated that it would take about 2 hours to get there. However, given the lack of awareness of the actual location of the waterfall and the fact that there were no signposts along the way directing us to the waterfall, we ended up getting there after about 2 hours and forty-five minutes. Thank goodness the drive there was so much fun! The prettiest part of the road trip was driving past Zuma rock… but other than that, the villages and roads leading up to the waterfalls wasn’t anything to write home about.
We got to the waterfalls and although we knew we had to pay a gate fee, we weren’t expecting the fee collectors to be normal clothed village boys. Try looking unofficial, and demanding a gate fee of N500 per person from a bus full of lawyers and law students. The backlash was epic!
Who are you? Show us your I.D card
Who talk say na five-hundred Naira we suppose pay you? Call ya oga!!
Nex, don’t hand over any money so we aren’t ripped off
Where are the receipts?
We eventually got in after receiving all fourteen of our receipts, and we were greeted by some local “tour guides” who quickly helped us carry our things and direct us to the best view points of the water fall. We could hear the sounds from the gushing waters and so we naturally gravitated to them. The views were just absolutely breath-taking.
It’s the rainy season, so the waters were flowing with full force and gushing at quite some speed – none of us dared swimming for the legitimate fear that we would get carried away. That didn’t stop us from getting our feet (and some of our legs) wet when we got to the bottom of the waterfalls though!
- On your drive to the waterfalls, if/when you get to any police security checkpoint, stop smiling, and stop laughing. Just look sober, switch off all music or any signs of enjoyment, wind your windows down and pretend like you have not been enjoying any cool air conditioning. This we learnt (the hard way) is the only way to not get stopped at a security checkpoint, commanded to all step out of the bus, and be harassed with a whole host of pointless questions.
- At different points, you’ll be hiking through stones, grass, sand and/or water. Be sure to wear appropriate footwear – whether it be trainers, sneakers, flip flops or your bare feet.
- Only swim during the dry season (November to March)!! Don’t even think of attempting to swim during the rainy seasons (April to October) when the waters are fully active.
- It’s always cool to have a little picnic with lots of food and drinks etc. But remember you’ll still have to move around, hike up, down and around the waterfalls. Don’t get so intoxicated that you impair your abilities to walk/hike.
- Understandably, this may be your chance to be a Nigerian Tarzan, or a Nigerian Lara Croft. Nonetheless, listen to the local tour guides when they tell you what routes to go through, what rocks to step on, and what paths through the waters to go through. One second of not listening to their advice, and you just might end up falling and getting soaked.
How could I have fallen in? I thought I had this!!!
- Given the possibility of falling into the water at any point, it is advisable to put your phone in a zip lock bag or a nylon bag to protect it from water damage, lest you are without a functioning phone for hours after your trip and lest you go through the torture of not being able to share your experience on all social media platforms immediately after your trip.
- GENEROUSLY TIP, TIP, TIP AND TIP THE TOUR GUIDES! They are really good, their knowledge of the intricacies of the waterfalls is absolutely sound, they offer an invaluable service, but are not adequately financially supported due to the little amount of tourist activities that takes place here. Feel free to also give them some food too whilst you’re at it!
Our local tour guides. The youngest of them is 10 years old
- Don’t be scared! Don’t worry about “jungle juju“! Just have a great time getting splashed with the natural waters and get carried away taking pictures!