8 January 2017
Almost everybody knows Olumo Rock, the popular tourist attraction in the city of Abeokuta, Ogun state, that has now become a slang.
You’ll hear an Igbo or a Hausa guy say “you’ll last like Olumo Rock.”
If you are a little familiar with Olumo rock, you’ll know that was used as a fortress by the Egba people in the early 19th century during intertribal wars.
The rock provided sanctuary to the people as well as a vantage point to monitor the enemy’s advances, leading to eventual triumph in wars.
The town of Abeokuta, which means “under the rock,” eventually grew as these new settlers spread out from this location.
In case you don’t know and wish to visit this ancient town, Abeokuta is just about an hour drive from the bustling metropolitan and mega city of Lagos, providing convenient access to an array of hotels, restaurants, clubs, casinos and various nightlife activities.
Hotels in Abeokuta within minutes’ drive from the rock include Gateway Hotel and Olumo Guest House.
Ogun river can be seen right from the rock. 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.
Mysteries about Olumo Rock
#1. The 131 years old Iya Orisa
There’s a 131 years old woman who is the mother goddess “Iya Orisa” of Olumo. She goes by the name Chief Mrs Sinatu Aduke Sanni. The woman has witnessed the coronation of about four Alake of Egbaland. She grew up in the rock with three others who are now dead. One of them still has her grave situated under the rock and her house still stood opposite the grave.
#2. The Serpent that turned into stone
The snake was said to have crawled onto the rock and doing so is an abomination. It is for that reason that it turned into stone. Another myth have said that it was an enemy who turned into snake to discover where the Egba people were hiding. So the spirit of the Olumo rock turned it into stone. When you visit, you’ll see the snake lie on top a round rock in an obvious attempt to slither its way across the rock surface.
#3. The Magnificent Height
Olumo Rock has a height of 137 meters above sea level. That’s pretty high and is half the height of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (300 meters)! However, it’s nowhere near as high as Zuma Rock, which is 725 meters above sea level. Perhaps Olumo Rock is lacking in height but this means that it’s easy to climb. There are in fact man made stairs carved into the rock, making the climb fairly easy even for less fit visitors to the Olumo Tourist Complex. For those who don’t want to do any climbing, an elevator to the top of the summit has been installed for visitors but you will be charged extra for this luxury.
Once you reach the summit, you will be able to see stunning views of Abeokuta, including the First Church of Nigeria, the Central Mosque, the River Ogu and the family house of the late Moshood Abiola.
If you’re planning a day trip to Olumo Rock, keep in mind that there’s a whole host of other fun things to do in Abeokuta such as the Abeoukuta Museum, Centenary Hall, Oyan Dam, Old Manse and many others.