The Old Oyo National Park is one of the most exotic national parks in Nigeria bordering Oyo State in the North and Kwara State in the South.
This park is one of the main reasons why Nigeria is considered the beauty-rich country in Africa.
Plenty of eye-catching sights, tourist spots, soothing greenery, and the well-maintained tracks make this national park stand out as compared to its peers.
If you want to experience and enjoy a blend of hilly areas, jungles, plants, and wildlife, Old Oyo national park is meant for you.
It provides an exciting opportunity to observe plenty of animals and birds that are on the verge of being extinct from the world.
As the park is situated well above sea level, it gives a fantastic feeling of enjoyment in a steep hilly area.
The peak height of this park is more than 500m above sea level.
Area, Location and Timing of Old Oyo National Park
It is located in Bayo, Oyo state, Southwest Nigeria. The park is open to visitors and tourists every day from 8 am to 6 pm.
The area of this park is 2512 sq. kilometers. The area is majorly covered with green trees, bushes, and wildlife.
There are some lakes, rivers, mountains, rocks, and waterfalls to add beauty and variety to its natural attractions.
Virtual Visit to Old Oyo National Park
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Let’s get started.
The finely maintained path would take you to the entrance of this national park.
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You will see a board of National Park Service that marks the “Old Oyo National Park Boundary”.
This path will move you across the main gate and you will start exploring the green and pretty locations on your left, right and all around.
You can travel on foot or by vehicle to take a tour of the park. Go to the northern side of the park to treat yourself with the historical and cultural remains and you can follow the physical map or Google map for the other attractions of the park.
Just put the names of the places mentioned in this article on the map and follow the directions to visit those places.
The name of Old Oyo national park is inspired by Oyo-Ile that was the previous capital city of the Oyo Empire that dates back to the 12th century.
This park is basically an amalgamation of the Upper Ogun and Oyo-Ile forest reserves when the government of Nigeria decided to preserve the historical, cultural and natural values of these locations.
Old Oyo National Park Office
The administration and booking office of the Old Oyo National Park is located at Oyo-Isokun, Oyo, Nigeria.
You can reach this location via Oyo-Iseyin road. The booking information regarding the accommodation and reservations can be inquired here.
This office also assists visitors if they want to make any special arrangements for meetings, events, sports, and other occasions.
Tourist Attractions at Old Oyo National Park
This is one of the few parks that has to offer a lot of reasons why you should pay a visit here.
From the group of friends to couples and families, this park promises to be a must-visit place in Nigeria to get a real feel of refreshment.
Have a look below at some of the highly demanded tourist attractions that this park contains. We are sure that you would definitely love them all.
- Live fishing experience in the lakes and rivers of flowing water.
- Tremendous hiking opportunities within the park at various locations.
- Couples and families can find multiple spots for the bonfire.
- Camping opportunities at various places to enjoy nature at its full. You can check out camping details from the Ibuja camp at River Ogun.
- Steep rocks and hills provide extensive and remarkable trekking locations.
- The oldest remains of the ancient civilizations will present the touches of Stone Age in front of you.
- An exciting experience of live and free birds watching of more than 30 kinds.
- Opportunity to observe some of the extinct animals like crocodiles, python snakes, monkeys, chimpanzees, buffalos, and lions.
- Plenty of mountaineering activities to enjoy with your friends and families.
- Observe old and cultural remains of the Oyo Empire. The ancient walls of Oyo-Ile city will take you back to the 12th century to give you an ancient experience.
- Various sports and outdoor games facilities at multiple locations of the park.
- A variety of picnic spots to spend leisure time with your loved ones.
Major Points of Interest in Old Oyo National Park
The Old Oyo National Park is not just another park that would have plain greenery and wildlife.
You would be stunned to see the diversity of this park when you would visit the following important places.
1. The Wondersome Agbaku Cave
Do not forget to pay a visit to the great and magical Agbaku Cave in this national park.
This cave is made up in a way that would even surprise the modern archaeologists due to many reasons.
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The shape of the rocks and the way they are placed to give a unique look to the Agbaku Lake will definitely leave you stunned.
2. Gorge Lake
The park also has a dam named Ikere Gorge Dam and it has some of the most exciting activities to offer.
People can roam around the dam enjoying the deep water and the massive water flow at specific times. It is famous for the following activities.
The museum is located at Akoto Base Camp and is a must-visit place while at a visit to this national park.
It is different from the general museums in many ways.
The following are among many distinctions that this museum offers to its visitors.
- Oldest potteries of ancient Oyo civilization.
- Rare animal skins and horns.
- Photos and sketches of the old animals and birds.
- Skeletons of the remains of extinct species.
- Old guns.
- Ancient musical instruments.
- Antique water containers etc.
4. Central Park
You can enjoy mountaineering activities in Central Park. Apart from the outdoor activities.
It also offers visitors to enjoy their time in indoor activities. There are a variety of food spots and shops to buy things that you would need here and afterward.
5. The “Kosomonu” Hill
The steep and heightened Kosomonu hill also catches the attention of many visitors.
You can have a mountaineering and hill-climbing experience while at this place. You can also have a look at the major portion of the whole park while being at the top of this hill.
6. Alaafin’s Palaces
You can explore the luxurious ways that emperors used to live in ancient times.
The palaces of Alaafin would give you a unique experience of discovering pretty interiors, rooms, and offices where the Alaafin used to live and run his empire.
Rivers and waterfalls in Old Oyo National Park
The Old Oyo national park is also abundant with the presence of rivers and natural water flow.
The water flowing from steep sites to downward spheres always keep providing life to the plants, vegetation, wildlife, and people.
The water of these rivers also transforms into waterfalls that further add beauty to the park.
The main rivers in Old Oyo Park are listed below.
- Ogun river
- Owe river
- Tessi river
- Owu river
Flora and Fauna of Old Oyo National Park
Nigeria takes special care to preserve its flora and fauna. The Old Oyo Park carries forward the same mission of the country. There are numerous vegetation and wildlife stories in the park.
Some of them are hard to find anywhere else, especially in urban life. The main features of flora and fauna of this park have been described below.
Flora of Old Oyo National Park
There are excessive trees and vegetation in the park. A variety of plants, bushes, trees, and grass have been maintained in the park.
You will also find some of the unique plants and trees in the Park which the administration plans to preserve and grow.
Consider going through the forest-savanna of this park described below to explain the vegetation belt of this park.
Vegetation Belt of Old Oyo National Park
Vegetation is also found in the hilly areas along with rocks and the sides of the rivers. The forests have plenty of woods.
The streams and the water flow from the upper sides to downward plays an important role in the growth of outcrops.
The vegetation can be divided into four zones described below:
- Southeastern zone – It contains excessive woodlands in the forests along with the trees and greenery in the forests outliers.
- Central zone – This zone contains a variety of woodlands in the central region of the park. The crops, trees, grass, and plants can be found in this zone.
- Northeastern zone – Excessive vegetation can be found here. It has plenty of outcrop vegetation. This is the part that is full of fruits and vegetable plants which the park administration intends to increase.
- Ogun river zone – Because of the excessive water in the surroundings of this zone due to the water-rich Ogun River, this zone is full of grassy areas and woodlands along with the vegetation-rich forests.
Fauna of Old Oyo National Park
This natural park is a blessing for animals, birds, and wildlife lovers.
It is among a few of the parks where you can see some of the endangered animals like ostriches, deer, and patas monkeys roaming around and grazing freely.
You can walk past them and enjoy watching them playing around you.
Animal lovers will be excited to see the list of the following animals that this park has preserved.
- Endangered species of monkeys like patas monkeys and tantalus monkeys.
- Red river hog
- Serval Cats
- Rock Python
- Hunting dogs
- Olive baboon
In addition to the animals, this park has a huge variety of birds. They are also free to fly around you.
This park provides a rare opportunity to see some of the rare birds sitting at the branches of trees.
Their mesmerizing sounds will surely leave you in awe. Some of the rare birds that you can see here are listed below.
- Senegal parrots
- Bush fowl
- Grey hornbill
The park administration and management are very keen to preserve endangered wildlife and bird species.
The Nigerian government also has a special focus on preserving the natural beauty of the country that is why this park bears the utmost importance for the government of Nigeria.
Old Oyo National Park Challenges
Apart from being one of the most important national parks in Nigeria, it faces many challenges to date.
The government of Nigeria does not pay the required attention to the management and well-being of the park. There is a scarcity of funds to develop and improve the infrastructure.
Keeping in view the potential and diversity of the park, the government needs to invest more in order to raise the attractions of this park to international appeal.
A few of the challenges concerning this park have been mentioned below.
- Insufficient measures to preserve the natural resources of this park.
- Non-allocation of the required funds to maintain the roads in and around the park for safari experiences.
- Ineffective control over hunting and poaching activity in the park that leads to wildlife extinction.
- Concerns regarding the preservation of the endangered species.
- Non-utilization of international tourists in spite of the full potential of the park.
- The deteriorating situation of the attractive spots in the park.
- Lack of required awareness regarding the diversity of the park.
- Non-allocation of sufficient funds to the management of the park for further development.
- Lack of research and studies to contribute to sustainable development.
- Scarcity of hotels and restaurants in and around the park to attract local and international tourists.
- Uncontrolled growth of crops to support the local community and the country at large.
- Non-preservation of the traditional and cultural assets of the national park.
The government of Nigeria needs to take serious measures to take care of the natural park so that it contributes to the country’s economy and preserves the ecosystem, social and cultural values of the country.
Old Oyo National Park Summary
The Old Oyo National Park has much more to be talked about. While this article has attempted to cover the most notable features of the park, you need to visit this park for the exploration of the complete range of natural gifts it is blessed with.