Mambilla Plateau: The Unexplored Haven

Many affluent Nigerians troop out of the country to visit tourist destinations in Europe and America, in complete disregard for lots of destinations in Nigeria. Many people do not even know that wonderful places exist in this country. One of such tourist destinations is the Mambilla Plateau. It has one of the best weather conditions in the country which is cool and always accommodating all year round, unlike other parts of the country where there are temperature extremes during the day and night. The best aspect of Mambilla Plateau is that the region is free of mosquitoes and tsetse flies. Located in the highland region of Taraba State of Nigeria, Mambilla Plateau houses Chappal Waddi Mountain considered the highest point in Nigeria with an average height of about 2,419 metres (7,936 ft) above sea level. Daytime temperatures hardly exceed 25°C on Mambilla; the driest months are from December to January with relative humidity dropping to about 15 per cent while the wet season usually starts from August.

Five major ethnic groups with different cultural heritage inhabit the Mambilla Plateau. These ethnic groups are Mambilla, Kaka, Fulani, Panso and Kambu. Just as the weather is accommodating, so also are the people of the Mambilla Plateau, welcoming and so hospitable. At an altitude of some 700m, these villagers live in a different ecological zone where oil palms grow and gallery forest is found. The Mambilla language is an amalgam of dialects and related languages. The beauty of Mambilla plateau is the journey, which starts on a snake-like road from the foot of the mountain to the top, about 25 to 30 minutes drive where you start savouring the beauty of the plateau. There are rolling hills, backdropped with exotic flora and fauna. It has many scenic views to behold, which while watching the mountain chain and the curvaceous valleys you will have a breath of fresh air that is uncommon in many other parts of Nigeria.

The major tourist attraction sites on the plateau are the mountain chain, the plain green view, and a magnificent waterfall. Then there is the historic site, which is the famous cave in Mbamnga, “Ndumyaji Cave”. There is the rock with a giant footprint of an ancient warrior at Kabri, the rock with a horse footprint at Hienary, the historic site of the ancient blacksmith that existed before the modern one at Killa yang. There is also the historic rock of the Mbar people that looks like a woman and her daughter. The Mambilla Plateau is richly blessed with fertile land, and various crops grow well there. The crops include banana, plantain, pineapple, yellow pepper, kola nut, red and white carrots, peas, cassava, cocoa yam, sweet potatoes, Irish Potatoes, Coffee Arabica, and many other fruits. In addition, three or four types of berries grow there. It also has the second largest tea plantation in the world, second to the one in India. Livestock like cows, goats, sheep and rare birds thrive on the plateau. There are also natural forests like the Ngel Yaki mountain forest and the Ndum-yaji forest that are home to very rare species of birds and trees which have attracted lots of researchers from around the world.

Because of the remote location of the plateau and lack of properly tarred roads that are still under construction, utility vehicles are recommended and visitors should make sure that essential camping equipment and food are included in their journey.

 

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