April 20, 2024 3:58 am
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Adventures Unveiled: Abuja’s Hiking Craze Takes Off!

Discovering the Natural Beauty of Abuja: A Hiker’s Journey

Over a decade ago, during my first TV job training, I was struck by a trainer’s observation about the Nigerian flag. The dominant green color suddenly made sense when he arrived in Abuja. The city’s landscape and careful planning showcase the beauty of Nigeria’s political and administrative center. With its mountains and lush greenery, Abuja’s natural features are truly extraordinary.

Social media posts from Abuja residents document their hiking experiences, revealing hidden corners of the city. As I delve into the world of hiking in Nigeria, I am intrigued by what motivates people, especially in regions where security concerns are prevalent. To find out, I join a hiking group.

On a cloudy Saturday morning, I arrive at a muster point in Asokoro, Abuja, to join one of the hiking groups. Despite the weather casting shadows over the experience, we set out on our adventure. After a 15-minute drive, we reach Nyanya, a community on the border of FCT and Nasarawa. Here, we prepare by gathering lightweight hiking gear and necessities. The journey begins, and as a first-time hiker, I am amazed that I am casually walking into a new state I never planned on visiting. The sense of exploration and discovery is exhilarating.

Hiking has a rich history, with early European hikers documenting their journeys in the late 1700s. Walking for pleasure became popularized thanks to writers and influential figures who published works about their walking tours in the UK and Europe. Today, hiking has evolved into a recreational activity enjoyed by people of all backgrounds.

“Hiking keeps the body and mind fit,” says Fidelis Mbah, a journalist based in Abuja. “Apart from making friends, it serves the purpose of all sorts of exercise I would have been doing in the gym or spending money on.”

For frequent hikers, the allure lies in wildlife observations and breathtaking landscapes. Timi Oke, an experienced hiker who has explored beyond Nigeria, finds joy in appreciating the wondrous works of nature and God.

As we walk through the remote natural landscapes, pathfinders lead the way, ensuring the group stays on track. The physical and mental support is provided communally, with pathfinders looking out for everyone’s well-being. Resting near a rock oasis, I realize the toll this trail is taking on my body. However, caution and safety are paramount, considering a fatal incident that occurred in 2020. The hiking community has become stricter in adhering to safety measures.

“Hiking has great potential for tourism,” says Abel Ozigi. “FCT administration can do a whole lot to improve tourism by developing these locations and boosting internally generated revenue.”

At the end of the day, the group records the day’s hiking data – 48 hikers, 15,343 steps, and a distance covered of 10.71km. As a first-time hiker, this journey has been insightful and worthwhile. I have made new friends and captured the essence of Abuja’s hiking community through a TV piece highlighting their motivations, security concerns, tourism potential, and the benefits of hiking for Nigeria.

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