ABEOKUTA TOURIST CENTER
The name Abeokuta means ‘beneath the rock’ as it is situated beneath the olumo rock. Abeokuta, also known as the “Gateway State,” Ogun State is located in the southwest of Nigeria. The word Olumo is derived from two Yoruba words “Olu” which means god and “Mo” which means mould. Thus, literally Olumo means God mould. It is the most visited tourist center in Ogun state by both local and foreign tourist.It was created out of the old Western State in 1976, and it borders Lagos State to the south, Oyo and Osun States to the north, Ondo State to the east and the Republic of Benin to the west. It was first discovered by a hunter named Adagba and he found the rock to be a natural place of refuge from wars and threat of wars. The state is predominantly occupied by the Yorubas with six major ethnic groups: Egba, Ijebu, Remo, Egbado, Awori and Egun. There are also sub-groups like the ikale, Ohori, Anago among others.
Olumo rock is a massive outcrop of granite rocks of primitive formation from which Abeokuta the capital of the state derived its name.
The following pictures are as well part of Olumo Rock:
The hideout for Egba people during war time Shrine
Another representation of deities
Olumo Rock is the most popular tourist attraction in Ogun State. The rock is an historical monument which served as shelter and fortress for the Egba people who at 1830 had settled under the rock during the intercity wars. The rock is a monument of Faith, Unity source of strength and unfailing protection for Egba people.
The highest point of the rock is 137 meters above sea level with existence of a muster tree growing for over 200 years and surrounding caves.
Olumo rock tourist complex has modern infrastructures of a heavy duty glass escalator running through the different levels of the rock with a well-constructed stair way for visitors with phobia for climbing mountains. It is now beautified and upgraded to allow for international visitors to tour its facilities.
The hide-out points and shrines
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
The panoramic view of the city
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.
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.
KEMTA ADIRE MARKET
One of the biggest commodity exported from Abeokuta is the Adire, which means ‘Tie & Dye’. The Kemta Adire Market, at the centre of Abeokuta, is home to the famous Egba women who ensure that the Adire (Tie & Dye) industry does not die by passing the intricate designing skills to their daughters. It is not unusual to see traders adorn themselves in the traditional Adire Bubas and towering headgears to match. The market is considered the largest Adire market in Africa. The market is one of the tourist attractions in the state. If you plan on visiting, you would like to have a camera to capture the beautiful market of colours and also lots of money to buy Adire products.
Ogun State is one of many states in Nigeria with a rich history and culture. The Lisabi Forest is another tourist attraction in Ogun state. According to history, the forest is named after a warrior, Lisabi Agbongbo Akala who liberated the Egbas during the inter-tribal wars. It is said that he led his men through the forest. His heroic exploit is celebrated by the sons and daughters of Egbaland with an annual march to the Lisabi forest. The forest is also considered to be home to rare species of birds and plants. Also, there are rumours that the warrior’s remains can be found in the forest. The Lisabi forest has over the years received both local and international visitors. It is one of those places you should have on your to-do list if you are in Ogun state.
OSUN TOURIST CENTER
Osun State was created from Oyo State in August, 1991. It is located in south-western Nigeria with its capital situated in Osogbo. The name of the state derived from the River Osun, the venerated natural spring which is the acclaimed manifestation of Osun, a Yoruba goddess.
Osun State has several important towns and cities which include Ila Orangun, Ijebu-Ijesa, Ede, Iwo, Ejigbo, Modakeke, Esa-Oke, Ilesa, Ifetedo, Ifewara, and Ikire among others. The state consists of 30 local government areas and these are: Aiyedaade, Aiyedire, Atakumosa East, Atakumosa West, Boluwaduro, Boripe, Ede North, Ede South, Egbedore, Ejigbo, Ife Central, Ife East, Ife North, Ife South, Ifedayo, Ifelodun, Ila, Ilesa East, Ilesa West, Irepodun, Irewole, Isokan, Iwo, Obokun, Odo Otin, Ola-Oluwa, Olurunda, Oriade, Orolu, and Osogbo LGAs.
The origin and story of Osun festival started over 700 years ago when a group of settlers led by one great hunter, Olutimehin settled on the bank of the river to escape the famine in their former dwelling place. Osun, the water goddess was said to have appeared to Olutimehin and requested him and his group to move up some bit to higher ground – the present Osogbo town. Osun pledged to protect the group and make their women fruitful if they would offer an annual sacrifice to her in return. The group agreed, vowing to sacrifice annually to the goddess trusting that she would honour her promise. Today, the annual sacrifice has gone past just offering sacrifices to a river goddess, it has become an international celebration of cultural events attracting people from all over the world.
The Osun Osogbo festival is celebrated every year, for two weeks in the month of August. The festival begins with Iwopopo, the traditional cleansing of the town of evil. After three days, the Ina Olujumerindinlogun, a 600-year-old, 16-point lamp is lighted. Following this, is the Iboriade, where all the crowns of the past kings or Ataojas are assembled for blessing by the sitting Ataoja of Osogbo, the Arugba, the Yeye Osun, and a committee of priestesses. The ‘Arugba’ also known as the ‘Calabash carrier’ is the key figure of the Osun Osogbo festival. She is a votary virgin, a cultural version of the Virgin Mary, who bears the Osun calabash on her head. The calabash contains sacrifice for the goddess.
The Arugba is not only seen as a virgin maid but also as a goddess so people pray and tell her all their problems as she leads them, with the calabash on her head to the river.
The story of Osun Osogbo festival includes the role of Susanne Wenger, an Austrian who worked towards its present development and to bring it to international attention. From the early 1950’s, she devoted the rest of her life to the restoration of the abandoned shrines. She remodelled the gods in sculpture and ceramics, and made over 75 cultural gods in artful representations. Wenger stopped people from abusing the integrity of the groves and prohibited hunting, fishing, felling of trees there. She personally rebuilt the customary shrines and groves again until her death.
The Osun festival started as an annual sacrifice to the river goddess. Presently, it is an international celebration of cultural events. The Osun Osogbo festival is no longer a cultural event of the Osogbo or Yoruba people, it has become a global event with people attending from Cuba, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Spain, Canada, and the United States.
SUSAN WENGER’S SHRINE
Susan Wenger was an Austrian artiste who arrived Osogbo in the early 1950s and chose the Osun river groove as her abode, turning the place into an international tourist attraction with various works of arts. She later became the Adunni Olorisa because of her dedication to the worship of the Osun goddess which she revived.
The Oranmiyan State is located in Ile-Ife and is said to be the fighting weapon of Oranmiyan, one of the sons of Oduduwa, the founder of the Yoruba nation. The staff is reputed to possess great powers and worshipped by many traditional worshippers in the state. The Oranmiyan staff is a historic object which represents Oranmiyan, the third Ooni of Ife, who was the youngest son of Oduduwa, the father of the Yoruba people. Oranmiyan was a powerful warrior credited with founding the Oyo and Benin Empires. The 5.27 metre-high Oranmiyan staff made of granite with iron studs is in a grove he was buried in, located within the Mopa area of Arubidi in Ile-Ife. Whenever a new Ooni (king) comes into power, he receives his staff of office from the grove.
Ife bronze was made in the early 18th century and now a great collection of natural arts which international tourists to the state want to see. The Ife bronze collection was possibly made when the neighboring Benin bronze were also being fashioned, making them one of the best in the world.
ERIN IJESHA WATERFALLS
Erin Ijesha (Olumirin) is a seven step waterfall in Osun State, Nigeria, the waterfalls is a whole new exciting and awe inspiring experience with nature. Each step of the waterfall has a flowing fountain that marks the mystical nature of the place. The waterfall is a stunning assemblage of seven unique levels, with each level providing a whole new outlook when compared to the previous level. The water fall exudes a therapeutic ambience which only something natural can produce.
Climbing the levels of the waterfall is quiet a daunting one for any climber but one that is really exiciting and worth the effort. The first level is so beautiful and astonishing; I have never seen anything like it before in my life. The water flowed with a rhythm and just watching it gives you a soothing feeling.
KIRIJI WAR MUSEUM
This is a museum featuring the ancient weapons and history behind the Kiriji war as well as the Ekiti-Parapo war in which the legendary Ogedengbe participated.
The Ikogosi Warm Springs is a tourist attraction located at Ikogosi, a town in Ekiti State, southwestern Nigeria. Flowing abreast the warm spring is another cold spring which meets the warm spring at a confluence, each maintaining its thermal properties. These attributes make the spring a tourist attraction in Nigeria. Research suggested that the warm spring has a temperature of about 70oC at the source and 37oC at the confluence.
It was said that Ogangan, a farmer, years ago, married two wives who never saw eye-to-eye; Awele was hot tempered, while Awon was calm, demure. Failing to agree on anything, one day they got into a fight using their magical powers, and they eventually turned into water, says the Legend.
Awele became the warm water while Awon is said to be the cold water at Ikogosi.
Idanre Hill is about 24 kilometres southwest of Akure, Ondo State capital, the ancient Idanre Hills had been a home for the Idanre community for almost 100 years, one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in Nigeria. Added to Idanre Hill beauty, which fires human curiosity is the fact that the entire people of Idanre lived on these boulders for almost a millennium.
Idanre Hill is a cluster of intimidating and imposing hills that surrounds the town of Idanre. The hills house some wonderful things which confound the senses. It contains very important bio-physical and landform features whose interaction with the physical features created an enduring cultural landscape.
There are other places that serve as tourist center. We have Yankari Game Reaserve which is located in Bauchi, Lekki Conservation Center & Hi-impact Planet is located in Lagos State, Zuma Rock & Abuja National Park can be found in Abuja (FCT), and The Ogbunike Caves are located in Ogbunike, Anambra State, southeastern Nigeria and lot more.