Lufasi (Lekki Urban Forestry and Animal Shelter Initiative) is a pocket of natural paradise about an hours drive from Lekki phase 1. It's a relatively new park, officially opened in late 2016 which functions as an animal and forest reserve. A nature trip with animals involved was a no-brainer for me, so I called a few friends and we made the trip!
As soon as we got into the park, we were blown away by the amount of vegetation present. Plants of varying sizes and the pops of colour from the flowers painted a lovely picture regardless of where you looked. Butterflies were fluttering around the gardens and I had to do a double take on the last time I had seen a butterfly as we went to purchase tickets. The park is right off the express way so you can still hear the traffic, but the deeper you go the more tranquil it becomes.
We then spotted the most knowledgeable looking face, Mr Eric (pictured above) and he explained more about the park. It is a 20 hectare home for all kinds of animals - donkeys, horses, a tortoise, monkeys, pangolins and a civet (yeah, go look it up). Being a forest, it serves as a home to birds like vultures, hornbills, kingfishers, etc and they pride themselves on educating people on the importance of conserving the natural world.
We continued exploring and noticed the huge playground, table tennis, beach football, volleyball and taekwondo facilities. We also noticed ample space for picnics, parties and other things.
The park is huge and as we kept on exploring it, I was impressed by how clean it was. It looked like there was no part of Lufasi that hadn't been raked or trimmed. The have designated spots across the park for proper waste disposal. The care of the surroundings carries over to the animals. Many Nigerian shelters/zoos don't do the best job in maintaining their animals, but every animal I saw here was well-fed and groomed - the donkey wouldn't even eat my carrots.
Lufasi has a pangolin sanctuary, which really surprised me. Because of the bush-meat and Chinese medicine trade, all 8 species of pangolins are endangered and 2 are critically endangered. The enclosure is built around giant ant-hills (8ft tall) which is the pangolins main source of food. It would have been great to see some of the last few members of the species, but unfortunately we didn't.
We continued the walk through the forest and got some spectacular views while our park guide provided a lot of interesting facts and titbits. It's a short walk and you barely even notice the time go by.
Comfortable clothes and shoes, some water and a hat are all recommended. Unfortunately they did not have any options to purchase food so you should either eat before you come or bring food with you. Admission tickets cost ₦1,000 ($2.59) for adults and ₦500 ($1.30) for kids, not bad for a priceless experience.
You can reach them on +234 818 668 8485 and on their instagram. They are always happy to receive you with a smile here.
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