Climbing Olumo Rock

I remember visiting Abeokuta as a young schoolgirl but I don’t actually remember the visit itself. So I figured it was about time I refresh my memory and also got out of Lagos to do a bit of exploring. I roped in a friend of mine, who roped in her hubby and one rainy Saturday morning, we were off. 2 hours later, we had arrived in Abeokuta.img_8535 image imageThe mission was to climb the famous Olumo Rock, but with the grey skies and pouring rain, it seemed perhaps we had picked the wrong day for our mission. It was also a little tricky finding out way to the famous landmark, but with the aid of Google Maps and some friendly locals giving directions, we got there in the end. We decided to commence our visit at the Olumo Rock contemporary art gallery. Fela Kuti remains one of Abeokuta’s most famous indigenes so obviously there was a lot of Fela-inspired art. Other notable citizens include the musician Ebenezer Obey and former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Ernest Shonekan.image image image image imageAbeokuta, the capital city of Ogun State, is very similar to Idanre as it is a city built on rocks but way more developed. Olumo Rock is one of the many rock formations all over the city. The Egba people settled in the city, after taking refuge in Olumo Rock during the war with the Oyo Empire and the Dahomey slave traders, giving the city its name Abeokuta (literally translated as “underneath the rock”). Lisabi Agbongbo-Akala, the great Egba warrior that led his people to victory and freedom from oppression is celebrated every year at the Lisabi festival which just so happened to coincide with our visit! I had noticed that the streets and market stalls looked completely deserted which struck me as odd. Surely Saturday mornings would be the busiest market day of all. Well, upon arriving at the Olumo Rock complex, we were informed that our visit had actually coincided with the Lisabi festival and as such people were warned to stay indoors for fear of ritualists! That certainly put paid to our plans to visit the adire factories, markets and the king’s palace!image image image image image image image We were shown the Orisa Olumo Chamber which only the Alake of Egbaland and the chief priest are allowed to enter. This is the site of a sacrifice every year on the 5th August. I’m not sure about visiting around that time – apparently they don’t do human sacrifices anymore but you can never be too sure!image image imageimageGetting up the Rock was tricky in places but easier (and quicker!) than I thought! And looking out from the top at the sea of brown roofs is amazing! Do be careful not to cross the red lines for anything, even if you drop your phone or something. That drop is not a joke!image image img_8520 img_8525 img_8529img_8534 image img_8528 img_8489 image img_8530 img_8559I would really love to head back to Abeokuta and see more of the city including the adire factories and the palace. There’s also the Ake Books and Arts Festival which is always really cool! So gutted I couldn’t make it, but if you had the chance to, please share your experience in the comments – it looks like it was so much fun!image


  • Amarachi

    I assume Lisabi festival doesn’t apply to tourists then? Beautiful pictures of Olumo and Abeokuta.

    • abiia

      Thank you! Re Lisabi festival – it applied o! The markets were completely empty, no traders in sight and the adire factories were shut. We thought about trying our luck going to the palace but considering the way we were dressed (shorts and t-shirt), we thought it wasn’t the best idea. I need to go back again soon actually…

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