The Lekki Conservation Centre, Lagos State

Anyone who lives in Lagos can attest to how chaotic it can be. You don’t even need to have lived here to be able to attest to its chaotic nature. If you’ve merely visited, even for a day or some hours laying over in the airport, you may have quickly deduced that Lagos city can be a madhouse. But one thing about Lagos is that it is possible to find little pocket locations of sanctuary-like peace and calm, away from the hustle and bustle of it all.

And so on this hot (read as blazing hot) public holiday Monday, NXTours and our NXTourists visited the Lekki Conservation Centre.

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Given that it was a public holiday, the roads were pretty clear and so getting there wasn’t a problem. As we suspected, the conservation centre was particularly busy on this day… but we weren’t complaining. So long as we were able to pay for our tickets without any undue delay, we were good. More so, the peacocks and the primates (we weren’t sure if they were bush babies or monkeys, but I think it was the latter) were entertaining us, so we were pretty chilled. At about 2.40pm, we decided to get a crack on with things and so we started our walk through the conservation centre.

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Walking through the conservation area, we were reminded that this part of the world is actually a humid swamp and all the urbanization and industrialization only conceals this fact. There was so much greenery that eventually we couldn’t distinguish between most trees. Plus some of us were more concerned with our “forest” photoshoot and pretending to be Tarzan (i.e. finding sticks and loose branches from trees and posing with them) than observing these delicate details of nature. We weren’t too lucky with sighting animals though – we only saw more monkeys (/bush babies), so all our hopes to see turtles, snakes and even crocodiles were quickly turned into fantasies.

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And then we got to one of the most impressive parts of the conservation centre – the canopy walk. Luckily, everyone in our group was game to walk through the canopy, and the little fears some people had were extinguished by the extreme eagerness and courage of others.

The canopy is long. Lol!! We were debating how long it actually was before we started the climb, until we realized it’s actually the longest in Africa! And it went pretty high up as well! The exact measurements are actually 401 meters long and 22.5 meters above ground level – make of that whatever you will!

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When we finally made it back down to ground level, we watched some kids complete the obstacle course and walked past a few picnic parties. Then we started having a good time playing around ourselves (like grown up adults of course). Some of us went the intellectual route and played chess whilst some of us goofed around getting jump shots (instead of playing human snakes and ladders like we set out to do). After some grown up cartwheels, we decided we were hungry and sweaty enough to leave.

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Strategising
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Our champion!!!

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Tips

– Be time conscious! You’ll need about two hours (give or take) to go round the centre. You may choose to go there when the sun is setting, but beware of the closing time.

– If you are scared of heights, don’t bother doing the canopy walk! If you are indifferent to heights, go right ahead and do the canopy walk – it’s loads of fun! But beware that the canopy walk wobbles – up, down, left and right. So make sure you have a good grip on the handrails and you maintain your balance.

– There are many spots for picnics and general group bonding over food and drinks. Plan properly ahead of time if you’re planning on doing this because you won’t be able to carry a lot on your person if you’re doing the canopy walk.

– Water and sunscreen. Water and sunscreen! Water and sunscreen!! I can’t say it enough times! You could easily get dehydrated walking around the centre even if it’s just for two hours! And your lovely skin may get burnt if it’s a particularly hot day.

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