Welcome to the ancient site of Olumo Rock
Southwestern Nigeria bears the promise of many cultural heritage sites and Olumo Rock is one of them.
Finding it is pretty easy and by hopping on a bike you can get there from Kuto, which is the center of Abeokuta in Ogun state. It is located not far away from the city center and if you wish to stay a few days, there are affordable hotels around the location to stay at during the duration of your visit.
Olumo Rock is said to be 137 meters above sea level but that isn’t much of a problem as there are man-made stairs and crevices to use to climb the giant collection of rocks. From the top of the rock, you can view other tourists’ locations in Abeokuta like First Church of Nigeria, the Central Mosque, the River Ogu as well as the family house of the late Moshood Abiola.
What is the historical reference to the Ogun state people?
Olumo Rock used to once upon a time serve as a fortress and hiding place of the Egba people in the 19th century at about 1830, now it serves as a site that reminds the Egba people of their history and also as a tourist site.
Although it is still used for festivals which happen annually at the traditional shrine, the site is generally always just a peaceful place to go to and take in the panoramic view of the rusty roof city.
What is there to do at Olumo Rock?
Going to Olumo Rock there are a variety of things to do like rock climbing (which is the most obvious one), observing the attractions like natural tunnels, unusual trees, natural cantilevers, gardens on the rock, broken pathways, monuments of the belief system of the rock’s primeval settlers etc.
You can also visit the museum slash gallery at the foot of the rock. In the gallery, you can purchase art that has strong cultural and traditional ties to Abeokuta while also looking at historic artifacts in the museum. There is a museum guide and also a gallery guide who will narrate the details of each attraction.
What are the pricing and charges?
The only charges for this tourist attraction is a gate fee of about N1000, camera fee of N200 and a parking fee of N200 which are all paid at the entrance. There is a discount fee for NYSC corp members with ID cards, children and also very large groups.
Everything else, like entrance into the museum and gallery, is completely free. You may need to purchase drinks and food which is sold in a shop for a small hike in prices but that is all. If you are feeling very appreciative then giving your Olumo Rock guide a small token is okay too. Olumo Rock is a perfect budget trip to make.
What are the improvements that need to be made?
Although the ancient site holds the promise of fun on a budget, there are a lot of improvements to be made at the tourist attraction to make it of high enough national quality. There are three levels of stairs which can take you to the top of Olumo Rock in case you are unwilling to climb the rocks or you are opting to not climb down when you have climbed up. While this is great for kids and tired adults, this is not disability friendly as the lifts at Olumo Rock have been long out of use and appear to have no plans to repair them.
Also, the rest rooms are unclean and do not have running water in them. On close observation, as you climb the rock, you will find that refuse has thrown down the side of the ancient site and little or nothing is done to tackle littering.
One of the most important improvements is that there are little or no safety precautions except red lines painted at the edges of the rocks at the peak of the rock which is already fading so it is advisable that one is extremely careful.
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