This post is a direct consequence of the efforts of ERINLE KOLADE EMMANUEL [a.k.a. Official_KMS]... Head of contents management of aimtoget.com
Olumo rock, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Nigeria, West Africa, sits in the ancient city center of Abeokuta – a name which means “Under the rock”. Abeokuta was originally inhabited by the egba people who found refuge at the Olumo rock during inter-tribal wars in the 19th century. The rock provided sanctuary to the people as well as a vantage point to monitor the enemy’s advance leading to eventual triumph in war. The town of Abeokuta eventually grew as these new settlers spread out from this location.
Abeokuta is just about an hours drive from the bustling metropolitan city of Lagos providing convenient access to an array of hotels, restaurants, clubs, casinos and various nightlife activities. Lagos is also home to the closest airport to Abeokuta, the Murtala Muhammed International Airport. Hotels in Abeokuta within minutes drive from the rock include Gateway Hotel and Olumo Guest House.
Tourists to Africa definitely need to consider putting Olumo rock on their travel plans. New renovations completed early 2006 upgraded the infrastructure of the site to include a new museum, restaurants, water fountain and an elevator that will provide even the climbing-challenged a wonderful view of the surrounding city.
The ancient Itoku market where local artisans and traders enjoy to haggle over price just as much as the customers like to find a bargain ies just outside the Olumo rock premises and is a must-see. The market is the center of the indigenous Abeokuta industry of tie-and-dye, locally known as adire. Adire crafters, usually women, both old and young show off their designs in sheds alongside the roads. Behind these sheds are buildings where many of these crafters live and work and their parents before them. In places where the plaster has cracked off the walls, you may see traces of the mud bricks used in the original construction. The locals are very friendly and if asked, will often give tourists and visitors informal tours of the dyeing processes. Other popular items to watch out for include local beads, bracelets, sculptures and musical instruments like the sekere and talking drum.
A trip to Olumo rock usually commences with a climb up the man-made stairs carved into the rock. While this sounds easy enough, it leaves many breathless and ready to take a break to rest on the benches under the trees growing from the rock and enjoy some clean breeze. The journey continues with climbs on irregularly sized rocks (or ladders which are now thankfully provided) through a narrow corridor that leads to the top of the rock. All along the way, catch sights of carvings in the rock, cowrie-studded statues and the ancient abode of the priestesses who live in huts on the rock. And yes, it is not uncommon to catch a sight of the very aged women who live there and mutter greetings or blessings as people make their way through.
It is often helpful to enlist the services of a guide who possess vast knowledge of the history of the rock and the culture of the people. This makes for an interesting climb as every twist and turn will reveal a significant story making the trip a truly memorable one.
On the way back down the rock, the sight of the Ogun river running like a silver chain amidst a forest of aged red corrugated roofs bordered by thick green forests which melt into the horizon is breathtaking.
The rock is an historical monument which served as shelter and fortress for the Egba people who at 1830 had settled under the rock during the intercity wars. The rock is a monument of Faith, Unity source of strength and unfailing protection for Ebga people.
The highest point of the rock is 137 meters above sea level with existence of a muster tree growing for over 200 years and surrounding caves.
Olumo rock tourist complex has modern infrastructures of a heavy duty glass escalator running through the different levels of the rock with a well-constructed stair way for visitors with phobia for climbing mountains.
Also, included are eatery/restaurant, a museum, conference hall, multi-purpose hall, garden, parking space and a heavy duty generator.
Things to do at Olumo Rock
Tourists who visit the Olumo Rock have several interesting activities they can engage themselves in, as a tour guide, who is versed in the history of the rock and the culture of the people, would be available to show you around the interesting places at this tourist location. The presence of the tour guide would make your adventure an unforgettable one, as almost every curl and turn at the rock tells a story. Thus, when you visit Olumo Rock start your adventure by climbing up the man-made stairs carved into the rock. While the use of the word ‘man-made’ may make it sound a bit easy, it leaves many breathless and ready to take a break to rest on the benches under the trees growing from the rock and enjoy some clean breeze.
Also, climb the uneven sized rocks on the narrow corridors leading to the peak of the rock. While climbing up the rock enjoy the sight of the cowrie studded statues, the carvings on the rock and bid greetings to the 131-year old priestesses (Iya Orisa) living under the rock. Do not forget to visit the ancient Itoku market which lies outside the Olumo Rock. This tye-and-dye (Adire) market is a commercial hub located around the Olumo Rock. It would be an interesting sight to see how the local artisans and traders d**ker over price with customers, who are always looking to buy goods at the lowest price.
Also, take a tour of the new museum and relax at the recreational park, which is at the foot of the rock. Serenade your senses with nature’s beautiful scenery by going to the taking a peek at the Ogun River flowing down the rock. Let the water caress your skin with the soft therapy of Mother Nature. Maintain peace between the warring factions in the abdominal enclave by visiting the fast food restaurant located at the base of Olumo Rock.