Olumo rock is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Nigeria, Its peak is at 137 metres above sea level. It is located in the ancient city of Abeokuta – a name which means “Under the rock”.
Abeokuta was originally inhabited by the egba people who found refuge at the Olumo rock during inter-tribal wars in the 18th 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.
In summary, oral traditions have it that Olumo rock was discovered by a hunter named Adagba, who retreated to the safety of the rock with his wife, whenever the need arose. Egba reconnaissance men (consisting of three hunters) who met with Adagba where brought to the rock and were convinced that their search for a new secure home base was over. With the surrounding fertile wooded savannah and the presence of Ogun River, they believed that they had arrived at the promise land. People from far and near began to seek refuge at the rock, and within a short period of time the inhabitants of the surrounding low lands had greatly increased. In 1830, shoeke, a hunter and leader of Egba refugees from Ibadan area founded the town of Abeokuta which means “beneath the rock”. The rock was later named “Olumo” which had two levels of meaning. The first is “Olu” (God) “Mo” (Molded) the second is “Oluwa fi mo” (God has put an end to our wandering and suffering).Several other interesting stories surround the tales of Olumo rock.
I as a person has visited olumo rock four different times and I must say that all the visits had different experiences.In the time past, the road leading to olumo rock was in quite a distasteful condition but this anomaly has been rectified. Renovation of this road was necessary due to the fact that majority of the foreign tourists coming to olumo rock come from Lagos state, and would be spending around three hours on the road; two hours from Lagos to Abeokuta, and about an hour within Abeokuta. Good transportation network as we all know is key to tourism development in any country.
Within my four visits to olumo rock, I witnessed how the entry fee increased from 500 naira to 1,000 naira, without no corresponding improvement to the tourism site; not until recently when new attractions were added to the site and non-functioning ones rejuvenated. These attractions include the construction of a gift and souvenir shop, a mini museum and a functioning restaurant. This i must say is quite commendable and a step in the right direction.
The site can also boast of one or two tour guides; who are quite professional and quite knowledgeable about the history of the site, the surrounding community and Abeokuta as a whole; they do also make the rock climb an exciting one. After the climb, visitors are expected to tip the tour guides after the tour, as a form of appreciation.
What is tourism without photography? Photographers are also readily available right from the entrance of the site, so you can as well start taking pictures from the ground to the steps, up the rock. The picture qualities are quite good and they cost between 100 naira to 200 naira depending on your bargaining power.
On arrival at the peak of the rock, there is a place to sit and relax, which has some tablets written on about certain historical accomplishments. At the peak of olumo, it feels like one can see all of Abeokuta; well that's what the tour guides say. Other notable places can also be seen from the top of the rock.
PROBLEMS HINDERING THE GROWTH OF OLUMO ROCK
1) Poor awareness about the tourist site: a site like olumo rock should have a functioning website, where information, bookings and tour packages for all toursit sites in Abeokuta and even Ogun state as a whole can be assessed.
2) Poor and lackadaisical attitude of the management, state government and federal government to tourism development in the state and Nigeria as a whole.
In conclusion, Olumo has quite a clean environment, lovely rock to behold and climb, well trained tour guides and photographers, beautiful museum, gift shop and restaurant. It truly has improved but more still needs to be done.
RATING POINTS: 7.0/10
READ ALSO: Nigeria Hospitality and Tourism Reviews
In case of any omission, errors, suggestions or requests, you can drop these in the comment box below