Bauchi’s a city caught between both the contemporary world and the glorious past. The city is close to Yankari National Park, Nigeria’s prime safari lodge, and has beautiful traditional architecture. Bauchi also gave birth to Nigeria’s first prime minister. Although the city’s past is more interesting than its present, the government is turning this around by improving infrastructure and refurbishing landmarks. Get there before the crowds come with a flight from Lagos to Bauchi!
Bauchi City is the capital of the eponymous state, situated in the north-east of Nigeria. The area was once home to the formidable Bauchi Empire and still retains vestiges of this majestic past. The city is situated in a plain, surrounded by rich farmland and, further away, the savannah of Yankari National Park.
The main languages in Bauchi are Hausa and Fulani, although most people speak English, as well.
Flights to Bauchi
The journey from Lagos to Bauchi is 5 hours and 55 minutes, with stops in either Abuja or Gombe.
Best time to fly to Bauchi
Peak season in Bauchi is December to April due to enhanced game viewing conditions. Most visitors to Bauchi come to see the animals at Yankari National Park and this is the best time to find the animals as they congregate at major watering holes before the rains. Another popular time to visit is during the Durbar, a celebration after Eid, which takes place around June. There’s a horseback parade through the streets and a very festive atmosphere.
We advise visitors to make their trip to Bauchi during other periods of the year if they wish to save money since prices are lower. Another good idea to lower costs is to book your flight well in advance.
Bauchi State International Airport (BCU), formally the Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa International Airport, is a brand new gateway to Bauchi State.
The airport is 22 km from the city centre. Car hire is available at the airport.
Airlines flying to Bauchi
ArikAir recently launched this route, as well as Overland Airways.
Visas and customs
Because Lagos and Bauchi are both within the Nigerian borders, there is no need to go through immigration again. However, you should always have your travel documents on you, particularly your passport. Nigerians will need an identity card or passport.
Although each airline has its own baggage policy, most conform to the industry standard of three bags: a checked bag of 30 to 45 kg, hand luggage of 7kg and a handbag that fits under the seat. You’ll be informed of your baggage allowance once you’ve booked your ticket on Cheap Nigeria Travel.
Not many people come to Bauchi but those that do will find some wonderful attractions, most of which lie inside Yankari National Park.
Yankari National Park
Yankari is Bauchi State’s landmark tourist attraction and Nigeria’s main wildlife park. Although it’s about an hour and a half outside of the city and not all visitors are impressed with the facilities, it is host to many fascinating sites.
Flora and Fauna
The main reason visitors flock to Yankari is to see some of Nigeria’s best wildlife. The herd of 300 elephants is a real drawcard but there are also lions, buffalo, buck and baboons. Another highlight is the birdlife which includes egrets, vultures and fowl. The park runs safari tours twice daily and while you can take your own vehicle, you must hire a guide.
The on-site museum houses a small collection of animal remains with explanations of the fauna and flora of the park.
These 139 wells are the evidence of prehistoric civilisation in the area. The wells formed an underground water storage system as they are all connected by underground shafts.
Nice and warm at 31 ℃, Wikki Springs is the ideal place to unwind after a day’s safari. The springs have formed a lake 200m long and are in a secluded location. Perfect!
The 39 Marshall Caves were once a refuge for locals fleeing the slave trade. There are some intricate paintings and engravings on the walls.
Tunga Dutse Rock Paintings
Not everyone who visits the Marshall Caves is impressed but Tunga Dutse tends to do the trick! The 4m long sandstones are clearly and intricately engraved, however, it’s unknown who the artists were.
Tomb of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa
Balewa was Nigeria’s first prime minister after Independence. He was much-beloved and known as ‘the Golden Voice of Africa’. In 1966, however, he was assassinated as part of the military coup that would lead to the Nigerian Civil War.
Balewa’s tomb is an architectural masterpiece. The impressive walls stand over 5 metres tall and are brilliantly decorated with copper-coloured traditional symbols. The interior is equally beautiful, with a marble tomb and impeccably well-maintained decorative walls.
There’s also a small museum beside the tomb. On display are personal items of Balewa’s, including his watch, radio and cap. It’s put together a bit clumsily but the exhibitions are interesting and the museum is spacious and clean.
Palace of the Emir of Bauchi
The Emir’s Palace was built two hundred years ago by Babban Gwani, a famed architect who designed many of northern Nigeria’s finest mosques and palaces. It was first constructed of mud but has since been renovated to include modern features. It is still used for ceremonial events, such as prayers and the Durbar festival. Although the emirs were once absolute rulers, today they are appointed after a careful selection process.
Health and safety
Visitors to Nigeria need to get quite a few vaccinations to stay on the safe side. Some of the most important vaccinations are those against polio, yellow fever and hepatitis A.
Foreign governments advise visitors to avoid all non-essential travel to Bauchi, although the state governor has assured tourists that the area is safe. Research current affairs in the area before you visit Bauchi and take the usual safety precautions.
It’s also important to avoid photographing government buildings since the practice is illegal.
Cost of living
Bauchi’s got some really great deals on accommodation and food for tourists.
- Cheap meal: 1000 NGN = 2,74 USD
- McMeal at McDonald’s: 1500 NGN = 4,11 USD
- 1 kilometre taxi ride: 1000 NGN = 2,74 USD
- 1 night in a double room, budget hotel: 11 605,57= 31,82 USD
The best way to get around Bauchi is to take taxis which are readily available. It’s important that you negotiate your fare upfront!
Another option is to take the Okada, a motorcycle with a driver that is only legally allowed to carry one person. This is for the truly daring!
Bauchi is a rather rough diamond: although it has a suburban atmosphere and a traditional outlook, it’s also home to some splendid architecture, stunning scenery and proud history. As the government invests more in tourism, the city’s true shine is beginning to show, with the new airport being just the beginning. We’ve got the perfect, affordable flight to Bauchi to get you into the humble city before its gems are discovered by the crowds!