Nigeria is blessed with many beautiful landscapes. For this edition of BrandSpark, we compare two beautiful and culture-rich hills in Nigeria, Idanre Hills vs Oke Ado Awaye
By Iyosayi Omozuhiomwen
Hiking is one activity I love so much. The thrill of conquering rocks, hills and mountains gives me life. The amazing views when you finally hike to the top of that hill/mountain feels like a prize well deserved.
I have been privileged to hike to the peak of both Idanre Hills located in Ondo State and Oke Ado Awaye Mountains in Oyo State. Both are famous tourist sites in Nigeria and of course, you know that means they suffer neglect from the Nigerian government.
It will take you climbing about 667 steps to get to the top of Idanre Hills, about 3,000 feet above sea level. Luckily there are about five resting points for you to take a break. A community is said to have existed atop the mountain for over 800 years before descending due to civilization.The King’s palace courtyard, old primary school building, native court and Queen Quarters are some of the structures still standing (although they have been rehabilitated for conservation).
Back in the days, the hill provided refuge for the people during wars. The topography of the hill, adorned with surrounding valley and smaller hills and various flora/fauna is a beauty to behold. The Agun River which is said to have healing powers is also located on the hill.
Idanre hill is listed as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
One good thing about Idanre hill is the reception building at the base. I mean, after the hike, the only thing that will register on anyone’s mind is that of food and most importantly, water!
Oke Ado Awaye
To get to the top, you’ll have to climb about 300 steps which take you to three quarters of the hike, after which it is advisable to continue up the mountain with the aid of a stick. En route the mountain peak, you will see the Ishagi rock that stands on its own without any support. The rock is famed by the piece of white cloth tied around it by the Chief Priest whenever there is severe drought in the land. This brings a heavy downpour once the ritual is concluded.
As you go higher, you will see the ‘elephant tree’. A tree that fell and somehow its trunk mangled thereby forming an elephant like shape.
Going further up the mountain there are visible depressions on the rock which the locals refer to as footprints of the elders.
On getting to the peak of the mountain, you are greeted by one of the only two known suspended lakes in the world (A suspended lake is a lake located at the top of a mountain). This is the main attraction.
The lake is said to have healing powers. Locals come to fetch water from the lake, but no swimming or dipping of one’s feet, as anyone who does will disappear and the body will never be found.
Unlike Idanre Hills, Oke-Ado Awaye Mountains has no reception at the base. So imagine after the hike, you are only greeted with just bushes. Nowhere in sight to get a decent meal; not even water.
Also, there is a language barrier, as most of the tour guides are only fluent in Yoruba. There is only one tour guide who speaks English language, if you are lucky you will meet him the day you visit. I was not lucky to meet him.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in The Spark Magazine. Find the magazine here to read other articles.
Iyosayi Omozuhiomwen is a banker by profession. He is a travel enthusiast and music junkie. He has interests in writing and photography.