Annually, Nigerians spend millions to experience the Desert Safari in Dubai. But do you know we have that same picturesque location right here in Nigeria? Most northern states in Nigeria are in the Sahel Savannah, which puts them close to the Sahara Desert.
This means the same experiences of sand dune bashing, camel riding, and having entertainment with a buffet or picnic that you get in the Dubai desert, can be gotten right here in Nigeria. And at a cheaper cost, you can replicate those experiences in an actual Nigerian oasis!
We have a few oases in Nigeria. They include the Bulatura oasis near Niger border, Kajemarum Oasis, Kuluwu Oasis, and Kaigama Oasis. But our focus today is on a hidden gem in Tulo Tulowa Town in Yobe State. Tucked away in Yobe’s Yusufari Local Government Area is an oasis of immeasurable beauty surrounded by the rolling sand dunes and desert plains. Some call it the Yusufari Oasis, Oasis of Yusufari or Tulo Tulo Oasis.
Of course, tweets about this oasis’ potential were online as far back as 2013. Tour Nigeria had tried to draw attention to the sand dunes in 2018 with a photo taken by Irene Becker. But its potential was first captured in August 2019 when Muhammad Bukar Umara, a Nigerian digital storyteller who specializes in documentary photography, released pictures of it on Facebook. Since then, people have been checking it out and tweeting more about it.
The oasis and the Tulo Tulowa village are in a low valley. The name Tulo Tulo means marshy land with abundant water. The clear water in the pond is constant throughout the year.
Surrounding the pond is luxurious green vegetation with palm trees pitched against the warm hues of the desert sand dunes. The sand dunes form five hills around the oasis, giving it an undulating topography. Its beauty shines because of the vastness of the desert area.
Tulo Toluwa town, which is home to the Kanuri people, was a camel caravan stop among nomads a century ago. A 4-wheel drive vehicle can access the town. Are you worried you won’t find standard accommodation in Tulo Toluwa town? You can opt for a hotel in Damaturu, the capital of Yobe. Tulo Tulowa town is a 3-hour drive from Damaturu through Damaturu-Gashua and Nguru-Gashua-Damasak road.
You can also stay at Potiskum town and drive approximately 2hours 19mins through Jakusko-Potiskum and Gashua-Jakusko road to Tulo Tulowa town.
If you intend to visit, know that desert temperatures soar from April to May and harmattan winds make the desert very cool from November to February. The town may not be ideal for a sleepover. But if domestic tourists frequently visit the place, things will change.
It will motivate private investors to set up the necessary infrastructure to enable more tourists access to the bare minimum needed for an amazing experience.
The Oasis of Yusufari is not yet an official tourist hotspot, but it can be if it gets viral publicity. If we did it for Sumu Wildlife Park, we can do it for the Yusufari Oasis.
Sources: African Bird Club Nigeria Galleria, Connect Nigeria
Featured Image Source: Jelani Aliyu, MFR, Moha Sheikh