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Abeokuta - Seize the day!
You can go to Abeokuta by train, really? This realization activated the Ajalaress button in me and I asked myself for the umpteenth time why I hadn’t visited Olumo Rock, one of the tourist attractions in Western Nigeria. I guess I had that syndrome to always go out of Nigeria as I could see what is in Nigeria anytime, I wanted. This decision changed during the covid year as I decided to do as much tourism as I could both within and outside Nigeria. So far, so good, I have been loving it
I always thought that to visit Olumo Rock, I needed to stay over for two to three days in Abeokuta. When a friend visited recently and told me I could do a same day trip from Lagos, I started planning my visit. The option to go and return by train was also a big attraction for me.
One beautiful drizzling Saturday morning, I and a fellow travel lover decided to visit Abeokuta. I couldn’t wait to experience the train ride, alas, my research on the train time was incomplete. I had mixed up the timing, hence we had to settle for a pleasant road trip. When we arrived in Abeokuta, we headed straight for Olumo Rock. On alighting I spotted the unmissable sight of an art gallery and instantly fell in love with the place. First stop, we joined other tourists to listen to the history of the Egba People and to sing and dance to their anthem. We also got introduced to the products on offer in a fun and engaging way. After our delightful session we visited the Memphis Art Gallery, where beautiful works of art were on display and for sale as usual. I fed my eyes fat, uuuhhhhing and ahhing at the lovely pieces. We definitely took some pictures before heading to begin the climb
The Olumo Rock climb is 220 steps in total, but there is a much needed rest point after 120 steps. At this point we got to see where the Egba people hid under the rock during the Egba Dahomey war in 1851. We crept in to get a good feel (The height was about three feet) and it was loads of fun walking under the rock. We took more pictures and continued walking on our trail.
There was a tight passage between two rocks to get to the top, and you either use that route or the stairs. We opted for the stairs and before long we were at the top of Olumo Rock.
It was so exhilarating to join the lots of people in the non-stop picture taking and joyous dancing to the Egba Anthem. Our guide pointed out the first church and the first mosque to us from our vantage view at the top.
Then it was time for our climb down which turned out to be eventful as a heavy downpour began without warning. Luckily, I had a mini umbrella which we used to minimize the effect of the downpour.
As we waited the rain out at the fast-food restaurant, we inquired from one of the Curators where we could get the best Amala – the local dish – to eat. He swore by a place called ‘’Surulere’’ and we made our plans accordingly. We decided to visit the Adire Mall, a huge mall where large quantities of tie and dye fabric was being sold before heading to Surulere. Adire Mall indeed had a lot to offer, sadly we didn’t purchase any. It was at this point we realized two very important tips. One, it is better to use the local taxi than app-based taxi while in Abeokuta. Two, you have both Surulere Street and Surulere Restaurant in Abeokuta so you must be specific with your location. I told the driver Surulere, and he took us to Surulere Street. Finally, we landed at the Surulere Restaurant where a friend and his family joined us for a delicious lunch of Amala and lots of proteins
After the meal, we mentioned we would love to head back by train. He assisted us with the accurate train schedules and took us to the train station. The station was big, bright, and beautiful, and also very comfortable. We got our tickets and waited for our train to arrive. The train ride was smooth and swift as we arrived timely in Lagos. At this point we were totally exhausted but it had been an amazing day.
So, Travel Lover, have you been to Olumo Rock? Has my experience piqued your interest a little bit? Would you be heading to visit Abeokuta any time soon? Awaiting your responses in the comment section.
Till Next Time