Olumo rock, which is one of the major tourist attractions in Nigeria is such a captivating embodiment. This is proof that Nigeria is blessed with an abundance of resources. Olumo rock in Abeokuta is a classic that stands out among other tourist attractions in Ogun state. With its surrounding lush history, Olumo rock will never cease to bring tourists to wonder at how rocks can tell stories on their own.
One thing stands out in particular; the blessings of nature. It cannot be faulted that at least every state in the country, including the F.C.T, has something naturally distinct about it. It is in this light, Ogun state, one of the six states in the southwest geo-political zone is unique for its own beautiful piece of nature strategically located in the state capital, Abeokuta.
The state capital Abeokuta, translated into English means “Under The Rock”, is known for this beautiful piece of nature standing at a height of 137metres and strategically located at the centre of the state capital – Olumo Rock.
History of Olumo Rock
From History, Olumo Rock was discovered by a hunter by the name Adagba, who used the rock as means of fortress during the intertribal war in the 19th Century. The Egbas were part of the Oyo Empire before the empire collapsed. The rock also served as a vantage point for the inhabitants at the time as it enabled them have a clear view of enemy’s advancement in a war they eventually triumphed.
The name “Olumo” is the combination of two words – “Olu” (God) and “Mo” (Moulded), the combination of these words is translated as “God has ended our troubles and sufferings”. Olumo Rock was turned into a tourist site in 1976 and commissioned on the 3rd of February 2006 by the former president of the country, Olusegun Obasanjo.
The rock comprises of statutes of Egba past heroes and different symbols of the Egba warriors like Ilesha Abi Agbongbakala, Agaba – the great hunter, Okonkenu – the first paramount ruler in Egba land, and Jagun Jagun – the sharp shooter and general in command.
During the rainy season, it was noted that Olumo Rock produced water that could be used by herbalists to cure diseases and sicknesses. However, it stopped producing water over 50 years ago and beside this point is the tomb of a chief called Sonni Osi-Toko who died at 122years old on the 3rd of January, 1956.
Another fascinating fact about the rock is the presence of a tree that is claimed to be over 200 years old. This tree neither sheds its leaf throughout the year as it flourishes in dry and rainy season.
A woman Chief Mrs. Sinatu Aduke Sanni, popularly called Iya Orisa has lived almost all her 133years on earth dwelling in the rock. She has witnessed the coronation of four kings of Egba Land – Alake of Egba land. She believes the god of the rock protects them and gives them everything they ask for.
In recent times, the tourist attraction has been renovated and an elevator has been added for those who do not wish to climb the stairs between the rocks to get to the summit, it also has a museum, an eatery, market where different types of tie and dye clothing materials are sold to visitors, and also a water fountain as side attractions.
The Height of Olumo Rock
As mentioned earlier, Olumo Rock stands at a height of 137metres above sea level which is almost half the height of the Eiffel Tower, Paris which stands at 300metres. Also the height of Olumo Rock cannot be compared to Zuma Rock in the state capital, Abuja which stands at 725metres above sea level.
One of the attractive thing about Olumo Rock however is the fact that it is easy to climb. Even before the recent renovations, Olumo Rock had stairs carved into it for easy climbing. For those who do not wish to go through climbing through the rocks can use staircases or elevators to reach the summit.
At the top of the rock is a beauty to behold. One will be able to see the view of Abeokuta all covered in red corrugated roofs paralleled by thick green forests that melts into the horizon. Some distinct monument one will see includes the First Church of Nigeria, the central mosque, the family of house late Moshood Abiola (M.K.O), the River Ogun and Baptist Boys High School.
Location of Olumo Rock
Olumo Rock is located at the heart of Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital at exactly the intersection between Ijemo-Alape Road and Ita-Bayinbo Street in Ikija area, under Abeokuta North local government of the state.
Driving to Olumo Rock from Lagos will take approximately 1 hour 45 minutes if you use the A5 route through Papalanto.
For those who want to visit using public transport can get a cab from Kuto Motor Park all the way to Ikija, Olumo Rock for about #100 – #150. Or get a cab to Sapon or Itoku and then another to Ikija for a total of the same price.
Gate Fee at Olumo Rock
Olumo Rock generates its revenue from tourists. Prices range from 700 naira for adults and 500 naira for children. However, the prices go as high as 2000 naira if you want to use the elevator. There is also a fee to use the car park for those who drive for as low as 300 naira.
Get a Tourist guide at Olumo rock
On arrival at Olumo Rock, you are faced with the beautiful water fountain and sweet sensation eatery to your right as you approach the stairs. For those interested in history, there are very friendly locals who are always ready to take you on a journey and tell you all you need to know about the amazing piece of nature. They even have other shortcuts that take you to the summit faster than the visible stair cases. They are ready to tell the stories of the caves, tombs and shrines all scattered at the base of the rock.
Most of them do not charge you but will tell you to tip them as you deem fit.
Try wearing a fitted trouser if you wish to maneuver the rocks and stairs to get to the top. As mentioned earlier, even an agbada clothing would not be an issue as long as you are using the artificial stairs or elevators.
Do not wear slippery footwear to climb the rocks. It is said that no one has ever died climbing the rocks since it became a tourist destination. Do not be the first.
Go with a bottle of water either in a small backpack or side strap. You will need it at the top.
Do not forget your camera.
Accommodation at Olumo rock
There are several hotels for those who want to lodge upon visiting. They include Daktad Suites, Off Quarry Road, about 20minutes drive from Olumo Rock, Dusmar Hotel, Kuto beside June 12 cultural centre, which is approximately 10 – 15 minutes drive from Olumo Rock.