Abeokuta - The Town
Olumo Rock is a popular tourist attraction in the city of Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria. It was used as a fortress by the Egba people in the early 19th century. Olumo rock, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Nigeria, West Africa, sits in the ancient city center of Abeokuta – a name which means “Under the rock”; it has a height of 137 meters above sea level. Abeokuta was originally inhabited by the Egba. People who found refuge at the Olumo rock during intertribal 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. 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 minutes' drive from the rock include Park Inn by Radisson, Green Legacy Resort, Miltro Residences.
New renovations completed early 2006 upgraded the infrastructure of the site to include a new museum, restaurants, water fountain and conveniences. The ancient Itoku market where local artisans and traders enjoy to haggle over price just as much as the customers like to find a bargain just outside the Olumo rock premises and is a must-see. The market is the center of the indigenous Abeokuta industry of tie-and-dye, locally known as Adire. Adire crafters, usually women, both old and young show off their designs in sheds alongside the roads. Behind these sheds are buildings where many of these crafters live and work and their parents before them. In places where the plaster has cracked off the walls, you may see traces of the mud bricks used in the original construction. The locals are very friendly and if asked, will often give tourists and visitors informal tours of the dyeing processes. Other popular items to watch out for include local beads, bracelets, sculptures and musical instruments like the sekere and talking drum.
A trip to Olumo rock usually commences with a climb up the man-made stairs carved into the rock. The journey continues with climbs on irregularly sized rocks (or ladders which are now provided) through a narrow corridor that leads to the top of the rock. All along the way, catch sights of carvings in the rock, cowrie-studded statues and the ancient abode of the priestesses who live in huts on the rock. Guides are available.
On the way back down the rock, the sight of the Ogun river running like a silver chain amidst a forest of aged red corrugated roofs bordered by thick green forests which melt into the horizon is breathtaking.
Jimoh Babatunde (August 17, 2012). "Olumo Rock: Egbas' shelter, fortress". Nigeria: Vanguard. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
Jump up^ Ayodeji Ayodele (14 May 2014). "Olumo Rock: An American tourist destination". Nigerian Tribune. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
Jump up^ Kola Tubosun (16 April 2014). "Abeokuta's Living History". KTravula.com.