Situated in what was once the heart of the Bubi Kingdom, the Moka Wildlife Center (MWC), is the on-island research headquarters of the BBPP. Since acquired in 2005, the BBPP has transformed the property into a field station, eco-tourist lodge, and an example of a rural, yet comfortable and sustainable, alternative lifestyle to the bustling city life of Malabo. Aside for hosting over 1,000 visitors from 45 different countries, each year the MWC also provides logistical support for field biologists, engages in community outreach activities, and undertakes various research projects to better understand the flora and fauna of the Moka region.
The MWC compound is located just 1 km outside the town of Moka. For centuries, Moka was considered the cultural center of Bioko Island, but in recent decades has become its agricultural capital due to rich soil content and a temperate climate. Consistent rainfall and an elevation of 1300 m provide favorable conditions for produce production most months out of the year in a region that is generally distinguishable by its oppressive tropical heat and humidity. Although quite possibly one of the more rainy areas of the world still inhabited by humans, Moka’s geographic and climatic characteristics also prevent the proliferation of many pesky insects and diseases.
The MWC consists of 2 main buildings, the staff house and education building. The staff house was originally built as a Basque style vacation and the education building as a caretaker’s residence for a Spanish family during the colonial era. The refurbishment of the education building was finished in 2010 and now includes a fully functioning guest scientist quarters equipped with modest kitchen, bathroom and bedroom, as well as a laboratory and storage area for research equipment. In addition, the front of the building houses a gift shop, a visitor’s education center, and a classroom space for Drexel University and UNGE students participating in field ecology programs twice a year as well as for Moka school children who come to participate in a combination class of local wildlife and basic English skills.
The MWC actively maintains 3 trails that are frequented by visitors wishing to see the natural beauty that the Moka area has to offer:
A formidable uphill climb from the center, Lago Biao is the larger of 2 lakes on Bioko Island. On this 8 km roundtrip hike one can see egrets and dabchicks (little grebes), palm nut vultures, turacos, chameleons, duikers, and many of the 7 monkey species found on the island. More adventurous hikers may opt to hike down the crater to the water’s edge.
- Total Trip Time: 5-6 hours (To overlook), or 6-7 hours (To water edge)
- Total Distance: 10 km
- Terrain: The trail is a long and steady, although not particularly difficult, climb to reach the overlook. The return trip is all downhill.
Another popular outing for guests visiting the Moka area is the cascades. After a 3 km hike, the jungle trail emerges into a breath-taking view of three separate branches of the Iladyi River plunging over the edge of a 250 m (800 ft) canyon. There is great potential for similar wildlife encounters to those on the Lago Biao trail, but increasing hunter and trapper traffic is quickly diminishing populations of many important species.
- Total Trip Time: 3 - 4 hours
- Total Distance: 6 km
- Terrain: A few hundred meters of this trail are very steep, and there is one river crossing with water almost knee deep in the wet season.
MWC Nature Trail
Located just behind the center, the MWC Nature Trail is a perfect option for those not looking to commit to a full days outing. The trail diverges at ½ a kilometer, giving the option of climbing the ridge for a spectacular view of the Moka valley, or continuing along the base of the valley through Bubi sacred areas, farmland, and more rainforest.
- Total Trip Time: 30 mins. - 1 hour
- Total Distance: 1 km
- Terrain: Some steep sections.
Questions about guide availability and pricing for day treks can be to directed to either the Moka field station supervisor by telephone at (240) 222-08-88-58 or (240) 222-73-65-73, or through email firstname.lastname@example.org. Our on-island manager can also be contacted at (240) 222-56-57-88; email@example.com. Visitors are always welcome at the center for an informative tour on Bioko’s biodiversity, the surrounding Moka Area, and the MWC grounds themselves.
Support for MWC
The Research Center owes its existence in part to the generous grants presented by the ExxonMobil Foundation to aid The BBPP’s research, education, and conservation efforts on Bioko. These grants have helped pay for everything from field research to renovations of the MWC to local wildlife patrols . While the majority of our fiscal funding comes from ExxonMobil, we also rely heavily on smaller grants as well as individual donations from guests visiting the center.