Kainji National Park

Kainji Park
A local minding his business at the lake in Kainji National Park. Photo: eco Warrior Princess

Kainji National Park; Established in 1979 and located in Kwara State, the wildlife park is one of Nigeria’s most flaunted resort centres and is one of the largest game reserves in the West Coast. It incorporates the Borgu Game Reserve and Zugurma Game Reserve to the southeast in Niger State. The Bourgu sector of the park alone covers an area of about of 3,929 sq. km. of savanna woodland, and Zugurma covers an area of about 1,370 sq. km. The park also contains the Kainji Dam, an artificial lake which covers the town of Old Bussa. The lake is 136 km long and tours of the dam are available on request from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) formerly Nigeria Electric Power Authority. Boat trips on the lake can be arranged by the Borgu Game Reserve office at Wawa.

To reduce the expense, several visitors are advised to move together so as to share the cost. Fishing is allowed on the lake. The park retains a robust animal population including antelope, lion, hippopotamus, buffalo, roan antelope, jackal, baboon, monkey and crocodile. It is usually open from December to June, with the best time to visit towards the end of the dry season, when the grass has dried out and the animals move closer to the water. Tourists expect Harmattan (dry wind) from December to mid-February[i]. The Kainji Dam in Nigeria was almost certainly affected by the drought of 1973 with obvious consequences for private and industrial electricity supplies. Four states out of six have been declared “disaster areas as the Niger River dwindled to a trickle in the region of its “Bend” in Mali, a few hundred miles above the Kainji Dam[ii].



[i] Nigerian Compass June 13, 2009

[ii] AFRICA August, 1973

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer