A journey to Abeokuta is incomplete without a visit to Olumo Rock. Period.
The story goes that the people of Owu fled the Oyo Kingdom and settled in the place that is now Abeokuta during the inter-tribal wars of the 19th century (1800s). They sought refuge at the rock we now know as Olumo, meaning “Gold molded it”.
Today, for a few naira notes, you get to talk a work through the history of Olumo Rock.
The first stop when you’ve climbed the flight of stairs leading up the rock (over 130 stairs), is the main shrine of Olumo Rock.
This Shrine has an interesting story. In the past, human sacrifices were made here every year as part of the ritual rites in a yearly festival to thank the deities. Thanks to modernity, human sacrifice has now been replaced to animal sacrifice; black cows, goats, cocks, and snails to be specific.
Moving forward from this spot leads you to one of the most important parts of Olumo Rock, the wartime hideouts.
It’s a hollow under the rock that had chambers. It’s where the women and children lived and spent most of their lives for three years.
They made groves in the rocks where they ground pepper and food. The ceilings are so low you’d have to crawl to get in.
Away from the hideouts. We move to the place of the women.
The women here are worshippers of various deities, including Ogun (god of Iron), Sopono (god of smallpox), and the deity of the rock, which they attribute to their longevity. Talking about longevity, a photo of “Iya Olumo” was taken last year.
She was 151 years old when the photo was taken. When people pass by, they pray for them. Your prayer back to them should be some token money as a thank you, kinda. Moving on.
The next place is the old route to the top of Olumo.
At the base of the rocky stairs to the peak is this statue, along with others. It symbolises the warriors of the old Egba land, like Lisabi, who fought to protect their people. The rocky trail led to the peak of the rock which served as a good vantage point for warriors.
It really was just a narrow path between two rocks, now it’s a good place for selfies. If you’re scared of this route, there’s a staircase alternative.
Finally, to the peak of the rock. The view is breathtaking.
No matter what side of the rock you look from.
Looking at how far Olumo Rock has come, from being a place of refuge, to become a sight to wonder, a link to the past, it’s safe to say it hasn’t done very badly at all.
You should drop by and say hi.