Exploring Lagos – Lekki Conservation Centre
Welcome to one of my major throwback posts! I’m on a mission this year to put up some posts I meant to write when I travelled to new places for work (which I don’t do anymore) but didn’t have time to do. So today’s post is a guide to Lekki Conservation Centre in Lagos, Nigeria.
It’s been about 18 months since I visited Nigeria with work and I had a great time. It’s not necessarily an obvious destination of choice, but I really enjoyed the week I spent in Lagos and Abuja as it gave me the chance to discover some completely new places and culture. It was also really exciting as this was the first (and only) time I’ve travelled to sub-Saharan Africa. During the few days my colleague and I spent in Nigeria’s biggest city we found ourselves with the luxury of a few spare hours one day before meetings in the afternoon, so we decided to make the most of it.
Lekki Conservation Centre is located very close by to the main part of Lagos so it didn’t take us long to get there from our hotel. It covers 78 hectares of land and is a beautiful oasis to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. It was established in 1990 as a conservation to help protect some of the local wildlife from urbanisation in Lagos. The area itself is largely swampland and is home for a huge range of flora, fauna and wildlife as well as the longest canopy walkway in Africa. Whether you’re travelling to Lagos for business or pleasure, I’d recommend spending some time here to appreciate the beauty of the region.
Getting there and entrance fees
Lekki Conservation Centre is located east of central Lagos and it took about half an hour to get there by taxi from our hotel on Lagos Island. The entrance fee is 1000 naira per person, which is equivalent to around £2.20/$2.80. When you arrive you can buy tickets at the entrance and then you’re free to wander around the nature reserve as you please.
Flora, fauna and wildlife
The wetlands in the Conservation Centre are the perfect environment for lush green plants as well as a whole host of wildlife. It’s honestly one of the most beautiful nature spots I’ve been fortunate enough to visit in the world. There’s a boardwalk trail that you can follow through the swampland that’s set out for visitors to encounter the local residents. I heard that there are crocodiles and snakes lurking beneath the water but I didn’t see any myself (kind of disappointing, kind of not!). Instead we saw a lot of mona monkeys all around, plenty of birds and even a tortoise at the entrance! The 1.8km-long boardwalk snakes underneath a canopy of trees so provides a welcome respite from that hot Nigerian sun as you’re enjoying your nature walk. Some of the Conservation Centre also encompasses savannah terrain, where we stopped off for coconut refreshments before finishing our wander.
The longest canopy walkway in Africa
Lekki Conservation Centre’s biggest claim to fame is that it’s home to the longest canopy walkway in Africa. And I have to say this was quite an experience! If heights aren’t your thing then I’d probably recommend sticking to ground level but if you’re feeling brave then give this a go. It’s another 1000 naira to go on the walkway, which I’d say is worth it for the incredible treetop views and adrenaline rush you’ll get from being so high up in the trees. The walkway is 401 metres long and can feel somewhat unstable at times, but you can always grab the netting at the sides for support! It felt like such a great way to get close to nature and was certainly an interesting part of our visit. Although somewhat of a relief to get our feet back on solid ground!
General tips for visitors
- Make sure you have plenty of water on-hand. We probably spent around 2/2.5 hours wandering around and there aren’t really any facilities other than at the entrance.
- It goes without saying really as you should be practising excellent mosquito prevention at all times when you’re visiting Nigeria, but take extra care; Lekki Conservation Centre is built on a swamp.
- Make sure you have suncream on or with you to top up. Most of the time we were in the shade but there is some savannah terrain which is completely exposed.
- Don’t eat food near the monkeys – this is a general tip whenever you’re near monkeys anywhere in the world but they will probably try to snatch your food if they’re given the chance!
- Pay for your driver to wait for you during your visit so they can take you straight back when you’re done as it could be tricky to get hold of a taxi out there away from the main part of Lagos.
Africa is definitely a continent I’d like to visit again – where would you recommend for my next Africa trip?