Olumo Rock

Shrine in Abeokuta

The founding site of Abeokuta, famed Olumo Rock has a rich history and great spiritual significance. Hire a guide and climb the rock – at one point it is smooth and quite steep, so go via the steps if you're not confident. You'll see shrines, sacred trees, tribal war-time hideouts, and ultimately, at the top, an astonishing view of the city.

On the way up the rock the guide will point out Olumo Shrine, which opens just one day a year – on 5 August – for a festival and a gathering of chiefs, priests, local leaders and townspeople. During the rest of the year offerings are made at the shrine: you're likely to see chicken feathers and dried blood stuck to the door. Further up, a blue painted rock signals another shrine, where the apparently extremely long-lived priestesses will welcome you; Afrobeat star Fela Kuti used to worship here.

There's also a historic hideout under a rock used by people fleeing tribal wars and slave hunters. At the summit, look down on the corrugated iron roofs of the town; you'll see St Peter’s Baptist church – built in 1840s, it's the oldest church in Nigeria – and a brown building housing a mosque which dates back to 1925.


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