“Mayo, Mayo, Mayo oo, lori Olumo”, simply translated as “rejoice, rejoice on the rock.”If you’re on a tourist visit and you happen to be in Abeokuta, it will be incomplete if you do not stop by at the fortress of Abeokuta; the Olumo Rock. This enormous beauty has served as a fortress for the people of Egba land since the 19th century. In fact, the story goes that the people of Egba land hid from enemies during wars. At the Rock, you would be treated to attractions like broken pathways, the monuments that held the belief system of the rock’s primeval settlers, unusual trees, natural tunnels, three escalators as well as the aerial atmospheric view of the old city of Abeokuta.
The Beauty of Olumo Rock
This beautiful natural rock stands at a height of 137meterss above sea level. It is also easier to climb than the Zuma Rock which is at a height of 725 meters. Inside the Olumo Rock are man-made stairs carved into the rock which makes it a bit easy for less fit visitors to the climb. From the top of the rock, you can see some places like the First Church of Nigeria, the River Ogu, the Central Mosque as well as the family house of the late Moshood Abiola. If you intend to stay back, there are cheap hotels which are also a few minutes’ drive to the rock.
History of Olumo Rock
The name Olumo simply means “sufferings and troubles are all over.” The story begins in the 19th century at the Old Oyo Empire. At the time, Abeokuta was inhabited by Egba people who found refuge at the Olumo rock during the inter-tribal wars. The rock stood as a place of hiding as a place where they could entrap their enemies and eventually win the war. It Is the most significant representation of Egba nationalism and a monument linked with their freedom and heroism. In 2006, the rock got remodelled to include water fountains, a lift and restaurants.
Olumo Rock’s Peak Periods
One of the best times to visit Olumo Rock is in March. Apart from it being the dry season, you also get the opportunity of enjoying the razzmatazz of the Lisabi and Olumo Festivals. In addition, Abeokuta is just an hour plus drive from Lagos. You can even visit and go back that same day to Lagos. However, if you intend to stay back, you will find the town welcoming and peaceful.
Things to do at Olumo Rock
Tourists who visit the Olumo Rock remember it as an unforgettable experience. Usually, there is a tour guide who gives you the interesting history of the rock. Also, if you have dreamed of an adventure, then be prepared for one. Olumo’s rocky steps are sure to give you a thrill and leave you breathless after you get to the top.
While climbing, remember to enjoy the sight of the cowrie studded statues. Also you can bid greetings to the 131-year old priestesses (Iya Orisa) living under the rock, as well as seeing the carvings on the rock. Also, there is the Itoku market which is just outside Olumo. It is a tye-and-dye- (Adire) market which has since become a commercial hub. It is a sure beautiful sight to see people negotiating prices and conversing with the locals.
There is also the new museum as well as the recreational park at the foot of the rock. In addition, there is the Ogun River which flows down the rock. You can get your feet wet and enjoy the freshness of the water as they touch your skin.
This is a beauty that I must say, I cherished.
I made it…