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Olumo rock, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Nigeria, sits in the ancient city centre 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 19th 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.

This was indeed one of the most visited excursion destinations in Primary School and we couldn’t get enough of it. However there are a few facts about Olumo we’re certain you knew not of.

1. According to history, the massive edifice of nature which was named ‘Olumo’ – meaning ‘God molded this’, was a safe haven for Egba indigenes during war times in the 19th century.

2. The Rock perfectly hid the people such that the enemy – warriors from Dahomey (now present day Republic of Benin), could never get to locate them.

3. From the top of the rock, you can view almost the entirety of Ogun State; landmarks such as the Ogun river, the first TV mast and old secondary schools and family buildings where popular Nigerians grew up could be seen from the top

4.  There’s a popular Myth of a Serpent that turned into stone. The snake had somehow crawled onto the rock which was somewhat a taboo or an offence for such an animal and so the deity of the rock in anger turned the snake into stone.

5.  The Rock used to have some elderly individuals who were guardians of the rock but had passed on with time. One of them still has her grave situated under the rock and her house still stands opposite the grave.

6. During the raining season, Olumo rock produced water that could be used by local herbalist to cure sickness and diseases but it stopped producing water 50 years ago.

7. The rock is said to be about 137 metres above sea level.

If you’ve never been, this should definitely be your next holiday/excursion destination.  Did we miss out on a particular fact? Do let us know in the comment section below.

Chris Opara

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