I stretched on the bed, my eyes flickered the room. Across is the closet left ajar, aside is my aso-oke of many colors, a traditional attire. On the table is a bowl of oil palm fruits and a bottle of water with a handwritten label, “Owu Waterfalls, Kwara State, Nigeria”.
The train left by 1.00pm. I, in the company of eleven friends, eight ladies, three guys went on a tour. It was my first train experience in Nigeria.
The engine bellowed. Onboard, we partied, played games and other passengers joined. The ride took a while. Out of the train into the early morning, the town seemed hazy and peaceful, a cool breeze brushed past my face, there I figured the adventures had begun.
A Journey to the unknown
Located in Owa-Onire village, Ifelodun local government area, Kwara state. Owu waterfalls is one of the tallest waterfalls in Nigeria, 120m above sea level, gushing 330 ft down an escarpment with rocky outcrops at the base as a natural swimming pool. According to oral history, a local hunter, Jimoh Aremu discovered Owu some centuries ago when he went in search of animals but found the waterfall.
Myth claimed there used to be a rainbow and a mysterious anaconda at the fall and also, the louder you screamed, the more the intensity of the fall.
With high expectations, accompanied by a local guide, we meandered through the rugged terrain with tropical rainforest vegetation, dense, lush and evergreen into the unknown. Petrichor! the earth breathed out the rain the night before. Consequently, down the hill, we discovered a tree had fallen on the road. in an attempt, the driver made a diversion but unfortunately got stuck in a ditch, oh, no!.
Push Until Something Happens!
I pushed along with my friends while the driver accelerated. As a result, the earth buried the tires deeply. I pulled out my phone but phones were out of network. we only had ourselves in the middle of nowhere.
The Mysterious Oil Palm Tree
The tree was an oil palm tree, Elaeis guineensis, with reddish palm fruits. It fell as a result of the heavy rain. The palm fruits, highly nutritious, serve various purposes, for example, the palm oil (cooking oil), red in color, derived from the fruits, is used in cooking delicious meals. Also, the fruit has an inner kernel where the palm kernel oil, colorless, is extracted. Zero cholesterol and rich in antioxidants, kernel oil improves hair growth and nourishes the skin radiantly with anti-aging benefits. The fruits are also used for making soaps and as feed for animals. Edem mentioned the fruit is packed with all shade of awesomeness, the Banga soup as well Banga soup is a tasty delicacy indigenous to the southern region of Nigeria.
The Fulani Herdsmen
The sun was scorching, tensions were high, meanwhile, it’s over an hour and still no headway. Are we ever going to find a way out? Two Fulani nomads moved with their cattle. Help us! we pleaded. The fulani herdsmen chiseled the tree out of our way in no time, supported with some stones and sticks to aid as balance while the driver started the ignition and accelerated. We pushed harder and harder. Zooooooom! Alas! fortunately, the bus was out. Thank Goodness! We screamed for joy. The bus moved.
The two herdsmen? they were so warm and receptive, not the stereotype presented in the media. Eventually, they gathered their cattle to graze around the fall and later joined to experience the waterfall and perhaps witness the joy tourism brings.
The Cascading Water
Finally, to a stop. Our guide led us through an unguided path. Twist and turn. Watch your steps!, I beckoned to my friends.
Tshiiii…, the continuous rustling sound of the fall welcomed us to her abode from afar. Lo and behold, I lifted my gaze at this magnificent African beauty, cascading freshwater from a source on top of the hill forming a natural swimming pool by the base, oozing with pride.
Wow! Owu, you are indeed a beauty!… The lush green vegetation and its cool breeze calmed my nerves. Moreover, a shower is all needed at that moment.
Yes!, Owu poured out her contents vigorously on us as we screamed loudly and as a reward for the encounter, the showers were truly refreshing. I didn’t get to see the giant snake, the story continued that it became a terror and the villagers appeased the gods, it vanished…
I found an empty bottle by the sitting arena.
Sunset, we headed to the hotel.
With a full bottle and palm fruits in my backpack, I bided the Fulani herdsmen farewell.
Guess what? I got the best souvenir ever!…