Lagos has it all when it comes to tourism in Western Nigeria. From beautiful beach resorts to world renowned art galleries; From the smokey walls of Fela’s New Afrika Shrine to the busy streets Balogun Market, Lagos has it all. However, Lekki Conservation Center (LCC) is probably the most popular tourist attraction in Lagos.
I’m always excited about visiting a new location, especially renowned ones. So when Yolar Tribe Lagos organized a trip to LCC, it was my opportunity to explore the place that houses the longest canopy walkway in Africa.
Yolar Tribe is a global community of adventure seekers who explore their world together, share their stories and live their dream. With different hubs across several cities in Africa, Yolar Tribe is building the largest network of TEC (Travelers, Entrepreneurs and Creatives) individuals.
This is the story of my first visit and impression of Lekki Conservation Center and my tour of Nike Art Gallery. In the morning of our tour, I’d rushed out of my home to meet up with the rest of the group that I had forgotten to eat. Touring LCC isn’t what you want to do on an empty stomach, trust me. So I grabbed snacks and soda on my way, and it ended up being all I had till I came back home.
About an hour later, I met up with the rest – Allwell, Erik, Christopher and his wife Florence. Allwell and myself are Nigerians, though Allwell is UK based. Eric is from the US but lives in Nairobi (he offered to show me some cool places when he heard I was visiting Kenya soon). Chris and Florence are French.
Before I continue my story, let me tell you some fun facts about Lekki Conservation Center. LCC is like the icon of nature Conservation in Nigeria. It is one thing I’m really seeing Nigeria maintain to high standards. As you already know, it has the longest canopy walkway in Africa, and arguably the only reserve with the largest collection of Mona Monkeys. They’ve got snakes, crocodiles, antelopes and some wild cats but spotting those other animals is purely out of luck, that is, if they happen to be strolling casually the day you visit. Of course, because of the kind of vegetation there, the place is heavy with various species of birds. So if you’re visiting, come with your binoculars. I mentioned something about the vegetation earlier: LCC was designed to have two different types of vegetations. There’s the Savannah (man-made) and the tropical rainforest. The cannopy walkway is about 401 meters long. The height is 22.5m which is about the height of a 7-Storied building with the main purpose of the canopy being for bird watching.
The canopy walkway goes really high into the sky before it begins to descend. There are about four stops before you reach the peak of the canopy, then about three stops before you reach ground level again.
We started the canopy walk very excited and by the time we were done, which was roughly about an hour later, we wished the walkway was longer. Apart from the adrenaline pump while walking a swaying metal walkway suspended meters above the ground, there was this peace that came with being surrounded with nothing but thick green vegetation, mischievous monkeys strolling the ropes of the canopy walkway while marking their territory, and rare birds. It often felt like I was playing George in the movie, George of the Jungle. You truly feel like you’re one with nature. Obudu Mountain Resort gives you that same feel, except you it’s even more real.
From the canopy walkway, we headed to the Family Park with barbecue, games (tennis, chess, checkers, volleyball, etc), and a really big fish pond. We spent some cool time there though. I played chess with Erik. The Family Park is very good for picnics as it have everything you need.
Going back meant we had to pass the tree house which is the tallest tree house in West Africa. The tree house is as high as the highest part of the canopy walkway, so it’s really high. When Allwell saw I was climbing it, he was like, hey bro, I’m coming too. Because once your heart leads a way, follow it. People with come with you on your journey.
Because once your heart leads a way, follow it. People with come with you on your journey.
One thing you can’t miss on your visit is how mischievous the monkeys are. Now, there are so many of them and they walk about like the landlords of the land. They will grab anything you have and climb up with it so you better hold on to it tightly. So as we were walking back, we saw a group of tourists watching a monkey with very weird expressions on their faces. That was how I met the beautiful Alexa. One of the moneys had snatched her passport and she was to leave Nigeria that evening. While the rest of the guys there were making calls so the staff of LCC to go after the money, I climbed over the walkway, found the passport and returned it safely to the owner. She was so happy, she wanted to buy me a drink, but I declined. Anyways, she promised to buy me the drink anytime I visit the US.
Entrance: It costs N1000 to use the Walkway and another N1000 if you want to use the Family Park.
Transportation: You can use an Uber directly to the place. Or you can find your way to CMS, then take a bus going towards Chevron for N200.
NEXT: NIKE ART GALLERY
I was sweating profusely after we were done with the walkway, and I was so relieved when we finally made it back to where we could at least get some nice air. Eric ordered an Uber and soon we were our way to the biggest Art Gallery in Africa with over 7,000 artworks. I tell you, that place is a place of beauty.
Before I continue the story of how Erik was almost married off at the gallery, let me tell you a bit about Nike Art Gallery.
Nike Gallery is owned by Nike Okundaye. And I met her! I was so excited! Let me tell you why I was excited about meeting Nike:
Nike is regarded as the Fela of Arts in Africa. She’s a woman with no formal education yet she lectures doctorate degree holders in Harvard. I’m not kidding, google her. Her works were selected by the biggest museum in the world – Smithsonian National Museum Of African Art in Washington DC, USA for permanent display. She has been invited by two different American presidents for special visit – President Bill Clinton and President Bush. By the way, she has been awarded one of the highest awards of merit by the Italian Government for her work in the use of arts. Her works are displayed all over the world including the white House. She’s the goddess and icon of African Arts and Culture. Actually, she’s one of Africa’s biggest icons, and I met her! So yes, it’s a big deal!
Alright back to the story.
So at Nike Art Gallery, you can take as many pictures as you want with the art works as your background, but you must do it with a phone not a DSLR. It was here that we met Adaora. She’s a Nigerian living in the US and she was traveling back that same say. Mama Nike learnt of it and wanted to introduce her to Erik as her husband since they are both from the States. It was a weird moment of fun.
Erik also got a Nigerian name as a gift. Mama Nike had given him three packs of cards representing the three major tribes. She asked him to pick a name at random and he picked, Jamilah from the Hausa tribe. We told him it was a female name so he picked another. And this time, he got Usman and he loved it.
To have the perfect Lagos-in-a-day tour, LCC in the morning, Nike Art Gallery in the afternoon, and The New Afrika Shrine at night would sum up a perfect day of cultural immersion and adventure.
Have you been to LCC and/or Nike Art Gallery? What was your experience like? If you enjoyed this article, please leave a comment below and let me know what you think.