Fisayo and Seye.📸Okiki
If you have ever been to Olumo Rock, you should be able to navigate your way round the rocks, possibly recount why the rock is being referred to as “Olumo”,tell the Egba’s story, and sing the anthem without a flinch once you get to the peak of the rock.
And if you haven’t been to the rock before, you definitely will find the experiences on the rock worthwhile most especially after reading this.
I first visited Olumo in 2006, courtesy of a school excursion. The Ikija/Itoko rock was my first visited tourist site.
But beyond this second visit to Olumo, I began to wonder what really makes the rock one of the most visited tourists’ sites in Nigeria. Even in my quest to understand, and celebrate Africa’s culture, arts and destinations.
The nostalgic feeling at the mammoth gate recalled my mind to the monuments I had seen on the rock during my first visit. Monuments of culture, history, tradition and people-the Igun women who had lived most of their lives underneath the rock.
However, this visit became more of a discovery and observation.
I found out
History do repeat itself, most definitely with different players or perhaps same players having a recycling phase.
This time, I beheld the rock who still sits like an attractive woman no man could resist. Olumo is indeed the irresistible rock of the West.
And while I sat waiting for my touring companion, Fisayo, I began to observe the various legs being brought in by different sized wheels which was the harbinger of my deep reflection.
What really makes this rock one of the most sort after? It’s definitely not the height nor its caves. I thought. But while on the peak of the rock, and aha! I found out that, Olumo gives tourist a god-view of Abeokuta, its motherliness nature and one of the few places you can have firsthand historical and cultural references still in preservation.
Tourists can testify of the 360 glance of Abeokuta once they get to the peak of the rock which is one of the beauties of climbing to the peak.
On Olumo, you see notable buildings
that has historical relevant to the town, streets, Ogun River, the first mosque and the church, notable schools, etc.
The peak of the rock makes one feel like a god who sees all things. The green vegetation, the mud houses, the tiny humans walking and the vehicles like toys. It’s like a virtual city.
Also,Olumo gives tourists a motherly warmth.
Beyond my second visit, I observed for once what I had missed during my first visit. Olumo rock consummates every of her visitor like a mother. As an ancient rock, she is strong, and soft. This mammoth natural edifice is no difficult to climb. Yes, with the steps and proper guide, everyone unperturbedly feels safe.
I noticed aside the grown-ups present on my last visit, tourists. The majority of the excursionists were children ages 4-6. And the confidence beaming in their eyes can only be seen than imagined.
The feeling of warmth and safety is feminine, little wonder Olumo has been described to have the shape of a sleeping woman.
Lastly, tourists always have a taste of Abeokuta’s culture and history.
Almost everyone including visitors becomes a storyteller after the climb.
This explains why the culture, practices and history of the rock is still well preserved, and highly referenced till date.
Talk about the yearly sacrifice to the God of the rock every August, the till date cultural practices of the Igun Women (The God of longevity), and their abode under the rock-the caves which I see as a symbolism to the truth of how the mountain enwombed the Egbas, during the warring times, just to mention a few.
This makes Olumo one of the best places to experience a first-hand culture and tradition. And like they say, you haven’t visited Abeokuta until you climb the rock.
Aside my findings, I also observed that the Igun women have started taking pictures with tourists and excursionists.
It is of interest to note that 13-years ago when I first visited, no pictures of them were allowed.
I could remember, the 122 years old woman then, now 134years, Sinatu Aduke Sanni, the chief priestess, emphatically warned and cautioned that our school camera-men shouldn’t take a picture of her less, it goes blur or spoilt.
The cameras were kept in their bags as she told us the story, and the usefulness of Ewe Apoko, the only leaf used to crown the Alake of Egba Land. But now, cameras were allowed.
I peered to see the priestess again after 13-years, lying in her section of the cave asleep. We were only told not to disturb “mama” and pictures were not frowned at. I’m still wondering
The Igun women are one of the celebrities on the rock, especially “mama” who people find unbelievably still hale and hearty.
Besides, these Igun women worshippers are custodian of history and heritage preservers.
This time on the rock was most enjoyed.
Yes, not without the fun, the questions, findings and observation.
The standard gate pass is now N1000 for adult and N500 for children.
I personally won’t advice a date on Olumo, because of the many distractions. Well perhaps an excursion date, if your spouse isn’t the traditional shopping or eatery oriented one but an orophile. The love birds I saw must have learnt.
The rock is friendly and I can recommend its visit for: family; solo; or a group trip. Don’t worry about your kids. Olumo bore hers during the warring time. She’s experienced.
And for culture promoters, it is a good documentary site, a very rich interview you will get and make.
Also, take pictures because they are one of the monuments set when you visit a place.
Climbing the rock was beautiful again. So many beautiful places in Nigeria to tour and experience nature.
So many beautiful places to experience the culture and tradition of the people which Olumo is one.
I hope you enjoy your visit to Olumo should you visit Abeokuta, Ogun State Nigeria.
I hope you enjoy not only your visit but find the culture and tradition of the people appealing.
For indeed, Oluwanifimo, ( literally translated as: It
is God that molded this) or Olumo for short.
Kindly drop a comment, I love to hear from you.😍