Taraba State is located in the North-East geopolitical zone of Nigeria. It was carved out of the old Gongola State on August 27, 1991, by the former military government of General Ibrahim Babangida. The state derived its name from the Taraba River which crosses the southern part of the state, and both the river and the state are rightly called “Nature’s Gift to the Nation.”
With 16 local governments which comprised of Ardo Kola, Bali, Donga, Gashaka, Gassol, Ibi, Jalingo, Karim Lamido, Kurmi, Lau, Kurmi, Sardauna, Takum, Ussa, Wukari, Yorro, and Zing; the state has a population of 2,300,736 (2006 population figures). It is bordered to the west by Benue and Plateau States and to the east by Cameroon. Jalingo is the capital city of Taraba State.
There are several tourism potentials within the state, and some of them are examined hereby:
1. Mambilla Plateau
The Mambilla Plateau is about 1,830 metres above sea level and arguably one of the highest mountain points in Nigeria and Africa. It is located in Gembu, Sardauna local government area and made up of mountain chains of Adamawa, Obudu, Shebshi and Atlantika. Driving up the winding road up the plateau takes between 20-30 minutes of careful driving, and you feel welcome to the cold mountainous air at the peak on arrival. The peak is free of all insects, temperate crops such as avocado pear and strawberries are widely grown on the plateau. Mambilla plateau is considered the coldest place in Nigeria.
2. Gashaka-Gumti National Park
Covering an area of 6,731 square metres, the Gashaka-Gumti National Park is arguably the largest national park in Nigeria. The name is composed of the Gashaka park in Taraba State and the Gumti park in Adamawa state – but both were merged into one in 1991. There are various flora and fauna that fascinate visitors to this park, and some of the common animals here are elephants, chimpanzees, lions, hyena, roan antelope, wild dog, and giant eland among strange birds and other fascinating creatures.
3. Donga River Basin Forest
The Donga River is located at the southern part of Buru village with a distance of about 10 kilometres from the border with Cameroon. It is largely lowland and one of the best lowland forests used for bird-watching in the country. There are over 190 bird species in this river basic forest, and here you can be certain of seeing rare birds like the forest francolin, dusky long-tailed cuckoo, white-belied kingfisher, spotted honey guide, hartlaub’s duck, green hyla, African pied hornbill, and the red-headed malimbe among others.
4. Ngel-Nyaki Forest Reserve
The Ngel-Nyaki Forest Reserve is nearly 60 kilometres west of Gashaka-Gumti National Park, and it is much closer to Yelwa in situated between Serti and Gembu. There are over 50 species of tall, emergent trees in this forest reserve, and you stand a chance of seeing the 86 bird species which have made this reserve their eternal home. Wild creatures to see at this forest reserve include Apalis, banner man’s weaver, cross ley’s ground thrust, chimpanzees, buffalos, various monkeys, antelops and other attractive creatures.
5. Marmara Crocodile Pond, Wukari
The Marmara crocodile pond is situated in Wukari and reputed to be an ancient pond full of legendary crocodiles which are largely sighted on Fridays. There is a fable making the rounds that these crocs in ancient times went into town to pay homage to Aku Uka, the supreme head of the Jukuns. If you’re ever in Taraba State, then you mustn’t leave until you’ve seen these legendary crocs that live at peace with animals and humans without hurting anyone.
6. Kpambo and Fikyu Rock Formations
If you wander where you saw a rock formation that has a human appearance with a flowing gown, then it must be the Kpambo and Fikyu rock formations in Taraba State. This is a sprawling rock formation that begs exploration and you’d enjoy exploring. Taraba State is largely a land of hills and mountains and lowlands that fascinate visitors all year round.
7. Barup Timga Waterfalls
With tens of natural waterfalls in Taraba State, the most popular is the Barup waterfall as well as the Tunga waterfall situated within the Gashaka-Gumti national park. The federal government is proposing constructing a hydroelectric dam project for the Mambila plateau at the Barup waterfall, and it is a site to behold any day.
8. Bitako Hills
The Bitako Hills is a sprawling rock formation situated in Zing, and the sight as well as the spread of the formations is enchanting to both natives and visitors alike. It is a must-see tourist attraction that you must see when visiting the state.