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Adventures in Abeokuta (Olumo Rock) 

Last weekend (Saturday) was my fourth time in Abeokuta, third time on the rock and arguably my best time there because, I had a great squad. It was a trip organized for the young people in my church and I was one of the organisers, the organizing part was hectic especially because the trip was hosted at almost a give away price of #1,500 (one thousand five hundred naira) per person. This fee covered their transportation and lunch. Thanks to sponsorship, we eventually made up for the shortage.

It was a one day trip. We left Lagos by 8:30am and were back by about 6:30pm

The trip was one with a group of about 60 people, we had to hire one of the Red Lagos BRT buses for the whole day. The bus cost us 80,000 Naira (eighty thousand naira) but that’s because it was taking us outside Lagos. It’s relatively cheaper if you’re hiring for within Lagos.

We settled for donuts and meat pies because we needed quick food and we didn’t have so much time for preparations anymore. We got our snacks from Luncheonette (83 Adeniyi Jones, Ikeja). I picked up that morning before I headed to our take off point and their service was awesome.  Each person had a pack of meat pie and donut, a drink and a bottle of water and maybe God multiplied our food, but somehow we had more than enough to go round!

There’s a restaurant on the premises and other sellers hanging around incase you don’t want to go through the stress of organizing your own food.

The regular gate fee to the premises is #700 but we got a discount to pay #500 each. (a large group of people is automatically entitled to this discount)

You’re expected to pay a tour guide fee, price depends on how large your group is. We paid #1,000 per group of 20 people.

Driving through the city of Abeokuta, I noticed that 90% of the houses on our way to and out of the rock had rusty zinc roofings.Another thing I noticed was that there was tye and dye everywhere.

Our first stop was the Olumo art gallery just by the rock. This was my first time in the gallery because on my first visit in 2005, the gallery wasn’t there yet. And for some reason, on my second visit in November 2016 during the Aké Festival, we weren’t taken into the gallery.

The gallery was a ‘No Picture’ taking zone, so no pictures from there. But it had really beautiful paintings and crafts.

We were introduced to our tour guide and our climb started. The rock is an easy climb to some extent and the view once you’re at the very top is BEAUTIFUL. 

There’s also an elevator(at an extra cost) for those who for some reason(s)  can’t climb, (maybe children) and some stair ways for those who aren’t willing to risk the climb.

The elevator

The path leading out of the elevator to the peak of the rock

I didn’t exactly pay attention to the tour guide because I had heard all the talks twice already and this time I just wanted to enjoy the view and have a good time while taking pictures, lots of them.

It takes 120 stairs from the base to the first landing of the rock called ‘Lisabi Garden.’ The garden was named after a past warrior who fought for Egba’s independence from old Oyo empire in the war that lasted 3 years (1830-18330). The garden holds the flamboyant tree (panseke) and the Dogon Yaro tree (Leem tree).

From here we moved to the main shrine of Olumo where the people perform sarcrifices to show appreciation to the gods for answered prayers. A festival holds every year in celebration of the rock and during this festival sarcrifices are offered at the Olumo shrine. Entry to Olumo is FREE on this day! The feathers on the door of the shrine is from the sacrifices offered. From there we moved to the cave where the people of Egba also dwelt, hid and cooked their meals.

Olumo Shrine

The Cave/Egba war hide out

The Rock is one of Nigeria’s most famous tourist attraction site. In the ancient city of ‘Abeokuta’which translates to ‘Under The Rock.’

From my latest visit, I noticed some things that weren’t there during my first visit in 2005 like the water fountain and the museum.

The Fountain

At some point during the climb, it’s usually advised to take the stairs instead of going through the the narrow path that leads to the top most part of the rock. I always go through the narrow path because, I didn’t go all the way to Abeokuta to climb stairs (there are stairs in my house). Just at the foot of this narrow path, there are statute carvings on the rock with cowrie studds.  The top of the rock also provides a view to the running Ogun river, the entire city, the first church in Nigeria, Baptist boys High School, family house of late MKO Abiola, the Central Mosque etc. Also by this upper most part is a 300 years old Iroko tree.

The adventurous narrow path

The view from the peak of the rock

The carvings

The 300 years  Iroko tree

Another interesting part about the peak of the rock is that there’s an ice-cream guy there and what better time to have ice-cream than after rock climbing? Best part, the guy has a POS!

The exact address of the rock is between Ijemo-Alape Road and Ita-Bayinbo street. It’s not more than 2 hours drive from Lagos. When we got into Abeokuta, a bike man led us to the rock for 200 Naira. You can also visit Abeokuta by train. My first visit was by train but my journey back was not pleasant because the train broke down in the middle of no where at night and we were stuck there for hours till help came (that was in 2005 so you may want to test your faith in the current train system), but as for me,  never again. It costs not more than 250 Naira by train.

During our climb, someone among us did instant sketches of some parts of the rock and they were beautiful.

Iya Olumo as she is popularly called is a 132 year old woman who has lived on the rock almost all her life. Chief Mrs Sinatu Aduke Sanni is also known as Iya Orisa’ of Olumo (meaning the mother goddess) of the rock. In a recent interview, she had this to say

“I have been here almost all my life and although it was not easy at first, there was nothing we could do other than stay here until the end of the war,” Iya Orisa told the correspondent during conversation in Yoruba. 

We were not scared of any dangerous animal attacking us at the time, despite the fact that we were surrounded by bushes then. 

The god of this mountain has kept protecting us over the years and we get everything we want from the rock. Anything you want in life, just ask.

The rock is the protector of every Egba indigene till date and we are proud of what we have,” she explained further.”

132 year Iya Olumo

At the peak of the rock!

Altogether, this was my best visit out of 3 to Olumo Rock.

Have you been to Abeokuta, what other attraction sites are there to check out? 

Please let me know so that when next I’m there I’ll check them out. 

How did you spend your weekend? 

Have you visited Olumo Rock? What was your experience? 

Are you planning to visit the rock in a smaller group and you don’t have a car?  I have recommendations, ask me.

If you’re on my snapchat, you would have watched all about this trip in my stories. If you aren’t links to all my Social Media accounts are below. 

Let’s connect! 

Have a productive week ahead.

 

XOXO

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