At the entrance of the ancient Esa cave magnificently sitted at the outskirt of Iyin-Ekiti. The cave is located at Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government Area of Ekiti State which is about 6 kilometres from Iyin Ekiti and 3 kilometres from Ado-Ekiti, the state capital of Ekiti State, Nigeria.
I actually did not plan on visiting this site on my way to Ado Ekiti. I had plan to go to somewhere else at Ilupeju Ekiti. Unfortunately, things did not go well as I planed as I was not given good access to my site of visit. So, on my way back I checked google and I saw the Esa cave as part of the historical place to visit when you are around Ekiti state. So I visited
The cave has an age long history of having been the safe harbor for the Iyin and Ado-Ekiti warriors during the inter-township fight with the Ikere-Ekiti people of Ekiti state. The warriors and the people would run to the cave for safety till the land is restored back to normalcy. On the long run many of the people decided to stay back and live in the cave instead than running about anytime there is a war. Gradually a lot of Iyin Ekiti people abandoned their main town and started living in the cave till about the 1930’s when few of them begin to return back to their town. The cave has a capacity of about 35,000 people at a time. For now the entrance is closed and blocked deliberately with a giant rock to avoid entering or trespassing. Also, because it is believed to harbor wild animals that only skilled hunters can capture. Which have to be hunted from a safe distance on top the rock. To get to the top of the mountain, there is a wiggled tree to climb through. Which if one is not fit or well balanced can lead to a serious accident.
The site is meant to be an advanced tourist centre but unfortunately it can even go unnoticed as nothing makes it look special from just viewing it except the story behind it. I got to know there is a guide assigned to the site, an 82years old village chief whose forefathers were believed to have been the first dwellers of the cave. For him to guide you here you have to first go to the Oba’s palace, bring a signed letter, and have some agreement before being led to the cave.
Well I did no go through any of that process. I got to the town and interacted with the locals I met at the park and related to them my intention. One of them directed a bike man to take me to the site. There I met an aged man, by name Baba Bose whose cocoa and palm-tree farm is located close to the cave. He has just finished work for the day and was gathering his cocoa pods to go home. I greeted Baba Bose and told him of my intentions to find out about the cave and it’s history. He was glad to see a young lady interested in the story of his town. So he was the one who related the story to me while I jotted down.