Olumo rock has been on my travel list for a long time now. Although I was there as a child, I still wanted to experience it and have a fresh memory of the place.
I set out early on Saturday morning got to the park, and before 9:30am I was already on my way to Abeokuta. Abeokuta is less than 1hour from Berger Park, Lagos but I ended up spending close to 3 hours due to traffic, I eventually got to Kuto park in Abeokuta by 12pm.
Abeokuta is a very beautiful old city (old because most of the structures and building are old but are still very beautiful and they seemed really strong. It is the capital of Ogun state (one of the states in western Nigeria). The road network is easy and the roads are good, although some were still under construction which made everywhere dusty but it was better than going on a bumpy ride. Abeokuta is filled with mountains; they are actually surrounded by mountains and big stones even in the middle of the city. This is where the name Abeokuta originated from, it means “under the rock” Olumo rock is the state’s most tourist attraction and it sit inside Abeokuta.
Olumo rock was used as a natural fortress during the inter-tribal wars in 19th century. It provided protection to the Egba people during this time. It was later renovated in 2006 by the then governor of Ogun state, Otunba Olugbenga Daniel. He upgraded the infrastructure by including a museum, water fountain, elevator, restaurant and a few other things, most of which are not functioning anymore. Olumo rock is a place every tourist in Nigeria and outside should add to their bucket list in 2019.
The rock is safe for both children and adult. I saw some children climb the rock very easily and I was impressed. Some younger children had to take the stairs up since the elevator wasn’t working (guess it stopped working a long time ago).
Entry fee is 1000naira, packing fee is 200naira for those coming which their vehicle.
Set Out Early
It’s important to leave your house early especially if you have the intention of going back home that same day (if you live outside Abeokuta). Olumo rock can get very busy and crowded but if you get there early enough it is less busy and this helps you enjoy the rock and your climb better.
Before setting out, you should get a light meal, preferably snacks. You don’t want to eat too much or have a heavy meal that would make you feel uncomfortable while climbing the rock. I advice you get whatever you want to get before you get to Olumo rock although they sell some snacks and there’s a restaurant there too (I didn’t go there so I can’t really say how much the meal cost). They also sell palm wine and peppered meat which I really wanted to try but something inside of me said NO.
There is a fee for taking in digital camera. If you intend on bringing out your camera from your bag at the gate, then be ready to pay 200naira. Although this may seem small but I feel it’s a bit ridiculous. I always get angry when I go to tourist sites and I am asked to pay a fee that shouldn’t even be at all. I mean what is the point of going to a tourist location without having the intention of taking good quality pictures.
Get a tour guide
Yes! You need a tour guide, how do you even go to a new place as such and not feel the need to get someone familiar with the environment to give you details of what the city is about. Olumo rock is one of those places you go to and get a tour guide. You definitely need a tour guide. They are locals of the place and know everything about the place. My tour guide was super helpful, he showed me around and even took most of my pictures, and the guy is good with the camera. They do not ask for money or anything but I think it’s just nice to give them a little tip (plus I don’t think they pay them for what they do). I would have recommended him but I can’t remember his name.
My tour guide gave me a detailed history of the rock. He showed me the shrine where the Orisa (chief priest) stayed, the Egba war time hide out (where the people of Egba kingdom hid themselves during the period of war), he explained how they survived inside the rock and I just couldn’t stop wondering how human beings could live inside a rock for that long.
Take your time
You don’t need to rush; there is so much to see in Olumo rock so just take your time. Its best you get there on time so that you don’t rush.
Wear comfortable clothing and shoes
I’ll advice you wear shorts or trouser with a light top/ t-shirt to make you feel light and comfortable enough to climb the hill. Sneakers are the best foot wear to wear. I wore a pair of sandals and I kept slipping just had to take them off. So its best you put on something with a firmer grip.
On my way down the rock I saw the Art Gallery and the Historical and Cultural Gallery. The Art gallery had some really nice art works which had price tags on them so I immediately figured they were for sale. I don’t have any pictures of what the Art gallery looks like because pictures are not allowed to be taken inside.
The Historically and cultural gallery on the other hand is just like its name implies, everything inside screams history and I couldn’t stop asking questions of what everything and anything symbolizes. They also sell some things like Shea butter, black soaps, herbal teas and so many other things there.
I left Abeokuta by 3:15pm and to I was in Lagos just few minutes after 4pm.
Olumo rock is definitely somewhere you should visit soon, I promise you will have a great time, (lol….Dami says so).