Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Conservation Center

A friend of mine had mentioned that there was a conservation park in Lekki and since then I'd been dying to visit. I finally made it there today, in between the day's very heavy rainfalls. I figured that at least it wouldn't be too hot (one of my excuses in the past when I had almost made it there). My brother and I went together and driving through the gates brought back memories of Ghana's Aburi Botanical Gardens. I'm not sure why - they look nothing like each other. I guess it was the thought of nature unfettered.

The entrance fee is two hundred naira per adult and as we paid we scanned the long list of To-Dos and Not-To-Dos. My brother claimed that the list stated that we had to have a guide with us at all times. I wondered why. Hadn't the man at the entrance said that there were no wild animals that would "come for us"?

Just as we started on the trail, we saw a peacock - some might say one of nature's most beautiful creatures. I would not! I shuddered at the sight of it. I hate peacocks - please don't as me why. They may certainly boast beautifully-hued plummage, but they emit the most grating and ugly cawing sounds. Moving very swiftly on.

The trail wasn't too long (took us about 25 minutes to cover), but it was almost surreal walking in this jungle, which is so out-of place with the rest of my day-to-day Lagos. A wooden walkway runs the entire length of the trail and, at times, feels a bit rickety and unsafe. In some places, planks were missing, but I'm still here - safe and sound. The man at the entrance said that we might be able to see monkeys, antelopes, crocodiles, squirrels, snakes and lots of birds. Well, we heard some birds and saw one monkey sitting high-up on a tree branch with its long tail dangling beneath it and curled at the end like an umbrella handle. I couldn't tell you what type of monkey it was, but it was fairly small, with brown and white hair. Sadly, we didn't see any antelopes. And to our immense relief, we didn't see any crocodiles or snakes.

The trail loops through a part of the park and just as we returned to the start the sky opened-up and a deluge of rain poured down. It was great spending time with nature. It's funny how the 'bush' that I would have shunned in my younger days is now a source of much fascination and excitement.


Anonymous said...

Lucky you! What a way to spend part of one's weekend! especially in Lagos!!! I wish I had such an opportunity ... I think our local governments should spend a bit of money on parks, gardens, zoos and conversation centres for masses to enjoy - and that mean they should have adequate budget for their maintenance.

Life is beautiful and can be more enjoyed when you have these relaxed environments to go to. I guess as time goes on, private initiative will invest in leisure/tourism industry in Nigeria which will be a benefit to all, only if they are affordable though.

I'm sure you've kicked-start your week in a right mode - have a great one!

Nkem said...

I would really love to see some parks in Lagos, but the place is built up. An philantropic (read insane) individual would have to buy swathes of built-up area, demolish, and plant lush grass and trees. I wish it would happen, but the words pig and fly come to mind.

Ore said...

Yes, it was a beautiful start to my week. I've decided that I will hit the beaches next. I haven't been to a beach in a long, long time and there are several pretty and clean beaches along the Lekki-Epe expressway.

LOL @ Nkem, but I wouldn't be too sure. I think a lot of people appreciate nature and it would only take one enterprising individual to build a gorgeous park (maybe in one of the less developed areas of Lagos, or in the rest of the country) and charge entrance fees. I can definitely see it happening sometime. The conservation park I visited is run and maintained by the National Conservation Foundadtion and Chevron.