Whether you’re visiting just the Mangroves, the community surrounding the mangroves, the fish market or all three, this guide will help you plan your trip to Epe.
After deciding to explore Lagos for the rest of 2020, I embarked on my next adventure with a fellow adventurer to the Epe Mangroves and ended up visiting the Ibaoloja community, which surrounds the mangroves and learning about the Garri (friend cassava flakes) making process, the Epe Fish Market (Oluwo Fish Market) and stopping at a local Palm Wine tappers home to see how Local Gin was made.
- Your Local Guide to Epe
- How to get there & the best time to go
- Start at Epe Mangroves
- Ibaoloja Community
- Oluwo Fish Market ( Epe Fish Market)
- Final stop – see how local gin is made
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YOUR LOCAL GUIDE TO EPE
Mr. Mufu is your Epe plug! He took us everywhere. From the mangroves, to the Fish market to the Palm Wine tappers home. He knows the ins and outs of Epe, where everything is and the best time to visit.
For 5000 naira (you can negotiate depending on the number of people) he can be your guide for all things Epe. That’s a great bargain considering he accompanied us everywhere.
When visiting a new place it’s always a good idea to enlist the help of a local guide who knows their way around.
You can contact Mr. Mufu on this number +234 803 481 9471
Make sure to contact him at least 5 days before your chosen date so he can make adequate plans.
HOW TO GET THERE & THE BEST TIME TO GO
Mr. Mufu (your Epe Guide) will give you directions on where you should meet him the morning of the day you plan to visit.
Road tripping in Lagos always means accounting for how much time you could possibly spend in traffic.
The duration of your trip to Epe will depend on your proximity to Epe. The closer you live to the Epe axis, the shorter your trip time.
I would recommend you visit on a Saturday. The traffic is not as heavy and everything you plan to see in Epe will be open.
I visited on a Sunday and although there was ZERO traffic, I was unable to see certain things as Sundays are regarded “The Day of Rest”.
START AT EPE MANGROVES
Start your trip at Epe Mangroves.
Try to get to the Mangroves as early as possible, latest by 9:30am so you are able to enjoy the canoe ride through the mangroves and back before the sun reaches its peak.
Trust me, this is the most serene canoe ride you’ll ever be on. Just sit back and enjoy the amazing views.
The ride begins in the narrow part of the mangrove which is very marshy and can be hard to pass through, so a long oar is used to row which can make the canoe rock a bit.
Don’t worry because before long you will get to the open waters.
The tranquillity the canoe ride provides is one you can’t afford to miss.
Things to note before you go
Before you start planning your trip to the mangroves here are a few things you should keep in mind:
- The earlier you go, the better. Make sure to go as early as possible, so you’re done with the canoe ride by latest 10am. Once the sun reaches its peak, its scorching
- Life jackets are provided in case you have concerns about going on the water
- Have your hand fan, bottle of water and sunscreen handy – you will need to beat the heat
- Best to wear sandals, slippers, nothing covered so they don’t get wet when climbing in and out of the canoe
- The canoe does rock a bit when going through the marshy parts but it’s over before you know it so try to enjoy the ride
- The mangroves are crocodile infested waters. But don’t be alarmed, they are said to only surface when the mangroves dry
- And of course check the whether forecast before going, no one wants a rainy canoe ride.
Views from the Canoe
Wherever there’s a great view, I’m there.
The views of the mangrove from the canoe are incredible! Don’t believe me? Take a look and decide for yourselves.
This Community is one of the few surrounding the mangroves. The canoe ride can stop at this community if you wish to see and understand their everyday life, and have an interest in community outreach.
Community outreach, volunteering, and donating is a part of travel I am passionate about. So, if you have an interest in any of this; the Ibaoloja community is definitely worth a visit.
Garri Making Process
Another plus to visiting the Ibaoloja Community, will be learning the process of making garri (fried cassava flakes).
From the harvesting of the cassava, to the grinding process, to the drying, sieving and finally frying the sieved cassava which is then the end product – Garri.
I went on a Sunday so I was unable to see the active garri making process but I did see the equipment and I had the opportunity to sieve a bit of the dried cassava.
OLUWO FISH MARKET (EPE FISH MARKET)
Our third stop after the Mangroves and seeing the garri making process was the Epe fish market.
I mean, you can’t go to Epe and not visit the fish market, it is after all the fishing capital of Lagos State.
This is the spot for fresh fish, prawns, snails and “bushmeat” (meat of wild animals). Since I went on a Sunday and the market was pretty much empty we didn’t find any bushmeat, but we did find:
- Snails: sold for 350 naira for 1 (you can negotiate the price)
- Fish: all types of fish are sold
- Prawns: the quantity sold depends on how much you are willing to pay.
Don’t be alarmed
While idly walking in the market we spotted a bucket filled with turtles – not to be sold as pets, but as food! The poor turtles were trying to escape the entire time.
Another animal for sale were alligators, yes, you read that right. Alligators! The prices range from 7,500 naira to 150,000 naira depending on the size.
FINAL STOP – SEE HOW LOCAL GIN IS MADE
Last stop on the mini Epe tour was a visit to a local Palm Wine tapper.
Unfortunately, we did not get to tase freshly tapped palm wine (he needs at least 4 hours’ notice to go to a nearby forest to tap it in readiness for your visit).
However, we did get to see the process of making local gin.
It’s a very simple process where the palm wine is cooked on a very high flame in a machine along with water (which is used as the cooling agent). The end product is the gin.
The gin made is very strong and very potent, so I didn’t have a taste.
Road tripping and exploring Epe for the day was extremely enjoyable. I highly recommend it!