Nigeria is not known as a tourist destination however the experience at the Afi Drill Ranch was on a par with a similar destination I visited in Panama. Primarily a conservation centre for the elegant Drill monkeys, the ranch has six screened cabins which are rented out for about £15-£20 per person per night.
It is definitely a location for the more adventurous: nestled at the foot of Afi Mountain in rainforests, bathroom facilities are reached by walking 50m down a jungle track (but are well built tho' simple when you arrive). Guests do their own catering under a central covered area equipped with all the staples, gas hobs and (importantly in the land of limited electricity) a solar powered fridge. The one drawback to those choosing to travel by public transport is that you need to bring your own food (that, and possibly travelling 14km on the back of a small motorbike to return to find transport on the main road).
The ranch itself has five expansive Drill compounds and a chimp enclosure where you can visit these primates in their natural environment. All the staff work very closely to conserve the species and will give you a detailed description of the intricate social relationships between the groups. The cabins (each isolated from each other) overlook the enclosures so that you can watch the monkeys, and other wildlife from your balcony.
There's also the nearby Afi Mountain to climb with an informed guide - but be aware - it's a strenuous rainforest climb without a view at the end (you're in the middle of a rainforest) however highly enjoyable.
For the (slightly) less adventurous is the canopy walk which is about 400m long and reaches heights of 25m and affords a great view of the forest. Although the reserve is said to be home to the world's rarest gorillas, we (not surprisingly) did not see any - or in fact any notable wildlife.
After the canopy walk you can go for a dip in the nearby pool before heading back to the ranch for a cool jungle shower, a beer and a chat with the staff, or like-minded guests.
Nigeria itself is a wonderful country described to me once by someone who knew as 'ramshackle, happy but oddly effective', and it has been a joy to live in and explore although it can sometimes be a challenge. However the experience at Afi was truly 'international' whilst being of a basic standard. Do visit the website for more information or to help the organisation and definitely take the trouble to visit for 2-3 nights if you find yourself in this marvellous country!
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