So, finally I got to visit Olumo Rock. It is a popular tourist attraction in Ogun State, Nigeria but I had never been. I think once in primary school, there was a school trip to the rock but I didn't go. My parents were pretty paranoid about such road trips.
Tee is actually from Abeokuta and I had visited the town a couple of times, but couldn't make it to the rock.
Abeokuta, translated literally means "Under the Rock!". Generally, the people of Abeokuta are referred to as 'Egbas'.
We had to pay N700 each as admission fee, and there was a tour guide who was happy to show us the way. There was also a photographer who offered to take our photos. But since we had a camera, we handed that over to him and he had a good time snapping us while we toured. Obviously we knew we had to tip both of them at the end of the tour.
About the Rock
Olumo Rock is an irregular formation of igneous rock, which at its highest point is 137 metres above sea level. The rock has three main caves, and it is said that during a war between 1830-1833, some settlers lived under the rock. Olumo means "all the troubles and sufferings are over".
It's interesting to note that since it became a tourist attraction in 1976, there has been no casualty and no one has ever fallen from climbing the rock. I know it's a short time, but still, good to know! So fear not and climb!
There's a Myth that some European geologists visited the rock to blast it and to obtain precious metals. However, blood gushed out from the rock and blinded the geologists. Do you think that could have happened?
There's a shrine in the rock where the 5 kings of Abeokuta, led by the Alake (paramount ruler of the land) go to worship the gods at the rock, every year. Apparently, they believe that the gods protected the ancient settlers during the war. In the past they used strangers as sacrifice, but now they use big black cows, pigeons and some other animals. Visitors are allowed to visit on the day of the worship and they can look into the shrine, but cannot go inside.
At the end of the climb, I was totally knackered and dripping with sweat. But I made a quick stop to the art gallery which has some art and cultural pieces for sale. Our photographer of the day was through with us and I was too tired to take any photos. But I got some shea butter, and according to the sales lady, it's the best around. I havn't tried it, so I can't confirm.
That's it folks. It's a bit hard to describe how much of a good experience it was and it's one of those things you better experience yourself. So if you can, make time to go! Abeokuta has a pretty cool history. The first church and the first hospital in Nigeria are located in Abeokuta. Two of Nigeria's president's (Obasanjo and Sonekan) are from Abeokuta, as well as other notable Nigerians like Fela, Wole Soyinka, and MKO Abiola. So see, lots of history!
We also made a quick stop at the Alake's Palace and I also got some adire clothes (tie and dye fabric).
Have you've been to Olumo Rock, how was your experience?
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