10 Things You Need To Know About Olumo Rock, Abeokuta (No. 5 And & 10 Will Shock You)

Olumo Rock, Abeokuta

1. Olumo Rock, Abeokuta

Olumo rock, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Nigeria, is located in the ancient city of Abeokuta – a name which loosely translated to “under the rock”. Abeokuta was originally inhabited by the Egba people who found refuge at the Olumo Rock during inter-tribal wars in the 19th century.

The rock provided sanctuary to the people as well as a vantage point to monitor the enemy’s advance leading to eventual triumph in war. The town of Abeokuta eventually grew as these new settlers spread out from this location.

2. About Abeokuta

Abeokuta is just about an hour’s drive from the bustling metropolitan city of Lagos providing convenient access to an array of hotels, restaurants, clubs, casinos and various nightlife activities.

Lagos is also home to the closest airport to Abeokuta, the Murtala Muhammed International Airport. Hotels in Abeokuta within a minute’s drive from the rock include Gateway Hotel and Olumo Guest House.

3. Tourists @ Olumo Rock

Tourists to Africa definitely need to consider putting Olumo rock on their travel plans. New renovations completed early 2006 upgraded the infrastructure of the site to include a new museum, restaurants, water fountain and an elevator that will provide even the climbing-challenged a wonderful view of the surrounding city.

A trip to Olumo rock usually commences with a climb up the man-made stairs carved into the rock. While this sounds easy enough, it leaves many breathless and ready to take a break to rest on the benches under the trees growing from the rock and enjoy the clean breeze.

4. Olumo Rock Elevator

Olumo Rock elevator

Climbing the rock could be extremely challenging most especially for the old-aged people.As a result, the state government has installed elevators to convey tourists from the base of the rock to the top.

The installation of this facility has greatly helped to attract more visitors to Olumo Rock as it has now made the attraction more accessible to everyone.

5. The hide-out points and shrines

Olumo rock hide-out points

These are tiny natural caves with holes on the floor where the Egba warriors were said to have hidden their wives and children during the inter-tribal or Yoruba civil wars.There are hole-dug on the floor which were said to have provided a device for grind pepper, tomatoes, onions and other ingredients during the war.

There are also some shrines of Yoruba gods located just by the caves.

6. The panoramic view of the city

City's panoramic view from atop the rock

This is one of the features of Olumo Rock that visitors would not want to miss.The rock presents visitors an enchanting and panoramic view of the city from atop the rock.

The old St. Peters Cathedral (first church in Nigeria), the Ogun River, the city’s beautiful central mosque, the Alake’s palace (royal king’s palace) and many others can all be sighted from atop the rock.

7. Museum

Olumo rock museum

At the base of the rock situated Olumo Rock only museum of history where tourists and other visitors can learn about the history and importance of the rock to the people of Abeokuta.The city is culturally and historically enriched with many artefacts relatively important to the establishment of the city and the museum at the Olumo rock is one of the places to learn about the past.

8. St. Peters Cathedral
St. Peters Cathedral is the first ever church to be built in Nigeria by the missionaries when they arrived at Abeokuta. The Cathedral being in its original form, serves as a place of worship as well as a religion monument. Your visit to Abeokuta will not be complete without a visit to this old British architecture.

Ojude Oba Festival9. Ojude Oba Festival
In Ijebu-Ode, this is an annual festival usually held two days after the Ileya festival (muslim festival of Eid-El-Kabir) while the Ojude Oba festival of Ijebu-Isiwo is usually held three days after the Eid. It is a festival whose main purpose is for the people of Ijebu to come together as one to honour the traditional ruler and it is regarded as one of the biggest in West Africa.

10. Sungbo Eredo – Yoruba Lost City And Nigeria’s Hidden Wonder

Sungbo Eredo

Sungbo Eredo, situated off the main road in rain forest, south-western Nigeria, has been claimed to be Africa’s largest single ancient monument. Sungbo Eredo is one of the biggest monuments in sub-Saharan Africa. It’s a 100-mile-long wall and moat whose construction is believed to have began a millennium ago.

The Eredo, which encloses an area about 25 miles from south to north and 22 miles from west to east, is only about an hour northeast of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital.

The monument was erected around a kingdom of the Yoruba – one of the three main ethnic groups in present-day Nigeria – and surrounds several towns and villages.

The Sungbo’s Eredo earthen bank rises 70 feet in the air from the bottom of a wide ditch, its reddish, vertical wall glistening with patches of moss and it encloses an area of about 25 miles from south to north.

Sungbo Eredo’s association with the Islamic Queen of Sheba legends may date to the same period and it is the first definite proof that state formation occurred in the rainforest zone at the same time as in Africa’s savannah zone.

Traditional folklore links the construction of this impressive boundary to the legendary Sungbo, a wealthy childless widow, giantess, priestess/goddess, devil woman or even erstwhile Queen of Sheba, to whose grove and magically bare grave flock many long-distance pilgrims. This and the links with the present Awujale dynasty and its Odo settlements require more study.

According to local legends, the Eredo was built by Sungbo, a wealthy, childless widow who wanted to be remembered by ordering a great monument. The Eredo, which was probably constructed over three centuries, served less as a physical barrier than as a spiritual one, Mr. Darling said.

Sungbo Eredo vertical sided ditches of hardened laterite (natural soil mixture of clay and iron-oxides) show how the ditch profiles were originally dug.

Together with the bank of spoil heaped up on the inner side, the combined height can be as much as 20 metres. Trees above this gigantic ditch help protect its sides from the forces of nature.

Where these trees have fallen or been cut down, partial collapse has been the result.

Sungbo Eredo
Sungbo Eredo over the last decades has been repeatedly popularised by a team of Nigerian and British archaeologists and preservationists who have succeeded in mapping the structure after the work of an earlier archaeologist piqued the curiosity of Patrick Darling, an archaeologist at Bournemouth University in Britain.Still, this outstanding monument, a witness of ancient West African rain forest states, is waiting to take its well-earned role in history books just like numerous other lesser known monuments on this planet.The monument was submitted into UNESCO World Heritage sites tentative list in 1995 by the National Commission for Museums and Monuments under Cultural category in criteria: (ii),(iii), (iv) and (v) of UNESCO World Heritage submission guidelines.Criteria of submission

  • (ii): To exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design;
  • (iii): To bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared;
  • (iv): To be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;
  • (V): To be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change;

The protection, management, authenticity and integrity of properties are also important considerations. Since 1992 significant interactions between people and the natural environment have been recognized as cultural landscapes.