Olumo rock as a tourist attraction is situated in the city of Abeokuta, Ogun state, Nigeria. In the early 19th century, it was used as a shield by the Egba people. Olumo which has a height of 137 metres above the sea level. The real inhabitant of Abeokuta which means ‘under the rock’ are the Egba people who seek refuge at the Olumo rock during inter-tribal wars in the 19th century. The rock serve as a protected area and also a hidden arena to monitor the enemy’s movement. With the help of the rock, the Egba people triumph over their enemy.
History also had it that it was an hunter named Adagba that discovered the rock in 1830 during the time of war with the Dahomey (now Republic of Benin) and also during the struggle for independence from the people of Oyo. It was during this period that the name ‘Egba’ was ascribed to them because they kept on shouting egba wa o, egba wa o (Save us o, save us o) as they ran towards the rock. During the war, the Dahomey believed that they will be able to overpower the Egba’s because they comprise of only four families which are; Egba Ake, Egba Oke-Ona, Egba Gbagura and Egba Owu but reverse is the case. The warriors will leave their wives in the caves beneath the rock and go to the top of the rock to see if their enemies were approaching or not so that they can know when to lay ambush for their enemies. When the war ended in 1833, the Egba’s consulted the oracle to know whether they should go back to Oyo or to stay put. Ifa reveal to them that; this was where God wanted them to dwell. That God has decided to put an end to their sufferings and troubles there which means ‘Oluwafiwahalamo’ which brought about the name Olumo or Oluwa lomo meaning ‘God molded it’.
A trip to Olumo rock starts with the climbing of the locally made (Man-made) stairs carved into the rock. This may sounds so easy but it leaves many breathless,and ready to take a break to rest on the benches under the trees growing from the rock and enjoy some fresh air. The journey continues with climbs on irregularly sized rocks through a narrow corridor that leads to the top of the rock.
Tourist to Africa definitely need to consider putting Olumo rock on their travel plans. New renovations completed early 2006 upgraded the infrastructure of the site to include new museum, restaurants, water fountain and an elevator that will provide even the climbing challenged a wonder view of the surrounding city.
PEOPLE AND THINGS TO BE SEEN IN OLUMO ROCK
- Cowrie studded statues.
- Ancient hut of the priestesses.
- Aged woman that tells story of the rock.
- The ancient Itoku market.
- The Adire crafters.
- Local beads.
- Sculptures and musical instruments like sekere and talking drum.
- A shrine where pries came to honor the deity of the rock.
Olumo rock in 2006, were upgraded with new infrastructural facilities been put in place like a new museum, restaurants, water fountain and also the primitive Itoku market where local artisans and traders enjoy to haggle over the price of commodities. Also in Olumo rock, Adire crafters showcase their skills and designs been made alongside the roads. They also live in the buildings behind their shed.
On the way back down the rock, one can sight the Ogun river running through the forest of aged red corrugated roofs bordered by thick forests. Aside this, the first church in Nigeria and West Africa which was built in 1844 can be seen, the first central mosque in Abeokuta which was built in 1925, chief M.K.O Abiola’s family house, the first TV station in Abeokuta; N.T.A Abeokuta and the old Baptist Boys High School where the likes of Obasanjo, Gbenga Daniel, Dimeji Bankole schooled.
Olumo rock is a nice place to visit as a tourist.