Trip to: Okomu National Park
The convoy to Okomo National Park left Lekki Conservation Center at 1:05 on Friday November 30, 2007. The convoy consisted of 11 NFS members, 4 drivers, 1 cook and 1 guard. After passing 22 police checkpoints we arrived at the rubber plantation. Driving through the plantation was relatively easy except for a couple of spots where the 4wd was necessary. We took some time to examine the rubber trees and everyone found the pots full of raw rubber to be very interesting.
We arrived at the park chalets around 7pm. The original plan was to camp that night but due to the late hour we decided to stay at the chalets. Our cook made a tasty meal of lentils and BBQ’d chicken with fruit and chocolate for dessert.
The next morning we had a breakfast of fruit/omelets/bacon. After breakfast 3 members decided to walk to the camping area (~4hrs), 5 members mountain biked and the remainder drove. The park road was generally good except for 4 or 5 areas that were in terrible shape (recommend trip be done later in the dry season). Four wheel drive was absolutely necessary through these sections.
The camping area was within 200 m of a creek that was crossed by an old bridge (the “Iron Bridge”). After arriving nearly everyone went for a swim in the creek (including drivers, cook and guard) with some jumping off the bridge into the water. After swimming six members went for a walk through the nearby palm plantation while the others remained at the camp. The tents where set up after the walking group returned and dinner was prepared. The camping area is mostly exposed rock and provides a number of suitable (if not ideal) camping spots. Dinner consisted of ones choice of pork/beef/chicken along with potatoes and veg with brownie for dessert. After dinner the campfire was lit and we sat around till bedtime.
The next morning 9 of the 11 members went in search of elephants. We left the camp at 4:30 am and walked for ~50min to lake 50. Upon arriving at the lake splashing was heard (the guides identified this as elephants; I do not think it was). We sat in silence waiting for an elephant/animal sighting (some monkeys passed by and peed on us) and then we decided to walk around the lake (~30 min). Although we did not see any big animals the walk and excitement of potentially seeing something was fun. The walk back to camp took about 40 min where we had omelets and brownies for breakfast.
After breakfast we packed up the camp and started the long trip back. Two members biked to the park exit while the convoy slowly made its way out of the park. On the way to the park exit one Prado got stuck twice and this same Prado had 4 flats (not punctures but leaks by the bead, luckily we had bike pumps that could be used to fill the tires). At the first town outside the park the tires were fixed by a vulcanizer. The trip back to Lagos was much faster than the trip down as the police stops were mostly gone. Total damage to the vehicles consisted of 7 flat/damaged tires, crushed running boards (easily repaired), damaged mud flaps and scrapes along sides.
All in all a great weekend.