Excursion: Coke with Primates

An excursion it was to the Songhai Zoological Garden, Owerri, Nigeria.

The weather was mild and sunny. Our bus rode through the dusty hills leading to the garden. The dust followed the bus for miles. Now those hills stood ageless like a wallpaper surrounded by green forests. I can still picture it all.

On the entrance to the Zoological garden I heard the growls and cries of different animals. My excitement knew no bounds for I was a wildlife lover.

A ranger picked us from the truck as we alighted. After introductions he took us around the Farm. It took a while before we proceeded to the first cage at the Zoological garden. The first animal we saw was the spotted Hyena. I remember the sign showing his Zoological name as “Crocuta Crocuta”. And there it stood staring at us. I won’t be tutored much about this exotic creature- with red glowing eyes and those ferocious tattoo-like looks it could pass for a demon. We moved on to the next cage and there was some fine peacocks. Each trying to display her feather. The next cage held an African Python. The skin designed with black, red and white stripes. We walked around his cage, listening as the snake hissed. We saw wild pigs and Nile crocodiles. There was the African Civet, Giant Rats, West African Dwarf Crocodiles, all kinds of rodents, different bird species like the Crown Bird and Ostriches.

The sight that amazed me most was the different species of monkeys that the garden kept; Baboons, Chimps, Rhesus and other smaller monkeys. It was a place to be and I really enjoyed the coke.

There are many farms, Zoological/Botanical gardens, parks and resorts in West Africa. If you will be visiting West Africa, don’t forget to check one out.

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