If you know somebody that knows somebody that knows a highly placed NLNG staff (really really high up), you can get a seat booked for you on a plane that flies from the airforce base in PH to Bonny. This is the best way to make it to Bonny. It’s also the fastest way to get there at 15 minutes. That’s not counting your check-in and wait times at the airport though.
Alternatively, if you know someone who knows someone who’s an NLNG big boy but not big enough to get you on the plane, you can get a seat on an NLNG yacht that goes to Bonny several times a day with naval escort boats so you don’t have to worry about pirates. This service takes an average of 90 minutes, and that’s not counting the check-in and wait times before your journey actually starts.
If you do not know anybody high enough like most of us, you will have to use what I call the “na God hand we dey” service. The reason I call it the above is because everyone you ask seems to agree that there are risks you have to contend with if you decide to use speed boats. Risks such as sea pirates and the condition of the boats. Some friends that had to use one of these boats recently had to switch boats a few minutes after their journey started, on water. Someone else told me how she had to switch boats twice on water. When you tell people who use these boats about the above risks, they shrug and say “na God hand we dey.” So that’s why I call it the “na God hand we dey service.” Others might choose to call it the “manage am like that” mindset of Nigerians. One benefit of this option is that there isn’t a lot of waiting time, and the actual journey takes about 45 minutes. With speedboats you just show up, pay and leave.
You can get speed boats to Bonny from several jetties in PH. The most popular jetty is probably the Nembe/Bonny waterside jetty on Creek Road, Old Port Harcourt Township (Town for short). You can also get a boat from the jetty at the Marine Base area of PH. It is also possible to get boats you can hire for a group trip at the old PH Tourist Beach (it is not an actual beach) also located in Town. The NLNG boat service leaves from their jetty on Odili Road, PH. Those are your options for getting to Bonny.
Once you’re in Bonny, getting to the park shouldn’t be difficult. There are cabs, buses and motorcycles on the island so getting around the island is easy (shockingly for a Nigerian Town, the roads have road signs with speed limits that even bus and taxi drivers adhere to). If you make use of the NLNG yacht, there’s a bus service that takes you to a roundabout that’s a short walk from the park.
Access to the park is free, you don’t have to pay for anything. You’re just required to sign in and maybe fill a feedback form before you leave. The park is currently being managed by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF, which also runs the Lekki Conservation Centre in Lekki, Lagos) on-behalf of NLNG.
You can get a canoe ride in the pond; use the walkway in the rain forest that’s longer than 4km (great for group walks and picnics); and there’s also a long trail through a different part of the park. I was told the park has several animals but I really didn’t see any wild animals. I could hear the noise being made by Mona monkeys but couldn’t catch sight of any.
One side of the park ends at the beach. You can only get access to the beach during low tides. There are several fishing ports along the shore which you can get to using a motorcycle when the tide is low. I was told by the park ranger who also acted as my guide that the island has already lost 150km of shoreline to the rising ocean.
I’m going to stop here so this doesn’t get too long, and I don’t think many of you will actually read up to this point. So, in summary, the park is great. I really enjoyed my visit and will be going back. You should consider visiting too.