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Folu Oyefeso

Lekki Conservation Centre, Lagos

The Lekki Conservation Centre is a 190 acre natural resource conservation centre in Lagos. Located just outside of Lekki, it was set up in 1990 to protect a patch of nature from the rapid urbanisation of Lagos. It has a stunning amount of biodiversity and is a great tool for educating people about the importance of conserving the natural world.

At LCC you are immediately plunged into the cool and serene atmosphere of a natural forest, and if you live in Lagos you can understand that peace and quiet is a rare commodity. As you move along the canopy you can see breathtaking views of swamp and secondary forest. It also swings a bit, but its nothing to worry about and there are also frequent rest stops for you to catch your breath before moving to the next bit.

The park is home to a variety of mammals, reptiles and birds. The resident Mona Monkey community are the bravest of the bunch and I dubbed the one pictured below "Femi". I didn't get to see many other animals as most of them were either nocturnal or in the deep forests below. Crocodiles, monitor lizards, snakes, duikers and hogs are just a few of the other animals that live in the reserve.

There is also a bird hide on the trail for people who want a glimpse of rare birds native to Lagos. The NCF (Nigerian Conservation Foundation) has a bird club for professionals and amateurs and if this is something you'd want to be a part of, click HERE for more information. Memberships cost at most N2,000 ($5.16) for this and no skills are required, just a passion for wildlife.

Once you're done with the canopy walk, you'll end up at the open grassland area which has been set up as a relaxation spot. Here, you can barbecue, lounge in the shade and play some life sized board games and relax. An ideal location for a family or work bonding trip.

We must make conscious efforts to protect the natural world from human activity. It is vital for economic growth and poverty reduction. Countries such as Rwanda, Kenya and South Africa make a lot of money from wildlife tourism. The Rwandan tourism board charges upwards of $1,500 for a Gorilla trek tour for instance, and there is really nothing holding Nigeria back from doing the same (except unseriousness).

I definitely recommend visiting the Lekki Conservation Centre. Adult tickets cost N2,000 ($5.16) only and the things you'll learn are priceless. The walk can be quite a workout, so bring your trainers, comfortable clothes and some water. Please pick up your trash.

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