A Final Trip To Gurara Falls!
A few weekends ago, Sheila and I went to Gurara Falls probably the last time. The Falls have been associated with my time in Abuja since 2014. Each time we have visitors, we drag them to Gurara Falls to witness the majesty of the rapids as the water cascades over the rocky cliffs. And each year, the road to Gurara Falls become more and more difficult to traverse. In 2014, our only problem getting to the fall was probably having a driver that wasn’t sure where he was going. In 2019, the road to the Falls was gridlock because of potholes, tanker trucks queuing for the gasoline depot and road construction that has been ongoing since I arrived in this country. It was a very frustrating day. When we finally arrived at the fall, there was camera crew from one of the national television channels filming various aspects of the falls and the parklike area. When they spotted us, they made a beeline to see if we would be interested in giving our opinions on the falls. I was too eager to offer my opinion of the area and the road to the falls. Sheila and our friends declined the interview but I had pent up frustration after the nearly three hour ride to the falls.
I think Gurara Falls will be one of the places I will miss when we eventually leave Nigeria. While there is so much that Nigeria and the government of Niger State can do to make this an exciting attraction for tourist, it’s an amazing testament to the power and consistency of nature. Between May and September, the falls are powerful as the Gurara River races to the drop-off that creates the falls. Between November and April, the falls become a trickle as the water levels decreased because of the dry season. It is amazing and a sight to be behold.
L to R: Gurara Falls (March 2019) and Gurara Falls (September 2019)
In many ways, the trip to Gurara Falls is like my time in Nigeria. When I arrived in May 2014, it was Boko Haram that had everyone’s attention. However, I freely moved around the country by road. However, each year since, while the government has pushed Boko Haram to the north eastern corner of the country, the security situation along the roads has deteriorated. Driving between Abuja and Kaduna is no longer an easy drive because of the potential kidnapping and armed robbery. People are now traveling to Kaduna by train, creating chaotic scenes of Nigerians trying to purchase tickets and train workers raising the price of the tickets because of demand. And while the state of the roads have gotten worse in Nigeria, so has the security situation. Sheila and I live in the Abuja bubble and until we leave that bubble, we often forget how difficult it is to live in Nigeria. And as we prepare to leave Nigeria, we will be forever reminded of Nigerians ability to adapt and survive in an environment that sometimes goes out of its way to remind you just how challenging it is to live in Africa’s most populous country.