The Road Chose Me – The Afi Mountain Canopy Walk
In an attempt to capitalize on the huge success and popularity of the Drill Ranch, the Nigerian government spared no expense building an enormous canopy walk in the adjacent jungle. To give an idea of the significance of the site to the country, the former President of Nigeria visited Drill Ranch, a huge honor.
After a short walk through the jungle, we arrive at the beginning of the canopy walk. A series of aluminum structures, stairs, and walkways has been constructed by latching everything to the enormous surrounding trees. Immediately we climb, and soon find ourselves hundreds of feet above the jungle floor.
During my time in West Africa, I have frequently felt as though I have stepped into Jurassic Park, and that feeling has never been more present than on this canopy walk. The aluminum boardwalk and rope handrails are very overgrown with moss and fungus, so everything looks as if it has been abandoned. I am assured the entire structure is inspected monthly by the original team that constructed it to ensure that it is in fact safe. The enormous trees appear prehistoric, and the views from the top are simply breathtaking. While standing on the platform peering through the swirling mist, I realize I would not be at all surprised to see a dinosaur walk past – I am actually keeping an eye out!
This canopy walk is certainly not for anyone afraid of heights – the boardwalks all swing from side to side when walking on them, and the handrails move around when I attempt to lean on them for support. Looking directly down is staggering – the view through the perforated aluminum is difficult to comprehend. More than a few times I have to take deep breaths and calm myself before continuing on; wiping my sweaty palms on my shirt in at attempt to get more grip on the handrails.
The jungle and trees here are spectacular, and seeing them from such a height is magnificent. I am once again jealous of birds, who spend their days at these great heights – virtually a different world than the one we ground-dwellers are used to.
Unfortunately, a section of the boardwalk was destroyed a few years ago during a massive flash-flood. Even more recently, during one of the huge storms common in the area, a tree fell on another section. This prevents us from completing the “loop” as it was originally designed. I am sure the damaged sections will be repaired so many more visitors can enjoy this amazing experience.
Rising hundreds of feet into the jungle canopy, this canopy walk is not to be missed.
I have immensely enjoyed my time at the Afi Mountain Drill Ranch, and the canopy walk has been the icing on the cake.
This mountain paradise has genuinely been one of the highlights of West Africa for me, and has defined my time in Nigeria.