Traveling through the western states in Nigeria you might decide to pay a visit to Idanre town, a serene town hovering with mind-wrenching mountian as high as 3000ft tall. The town is reputably known for it’s tentative UNESCO world heritage site, the famous ‘ Idanre Hills’ which is unarguably one of the most visited tourist attraction in the country.
Idanre Hills fondly called Oke Idanre is a beautiful landscape that sits at the top of a hill in Idanre town, Ondo state Nigeria. It is significantly known for the remains of the ancient settlement that existed with clear evidence of inhabitants that lived on it’s summit. The hill which also serve as a resort is known for it’s majestic view and the mysterious stories of chiefs and warlords that comes with it’s storytelling.
Listening to the story of Idanre hills I felt a connection to reality with this story than it being just a mere folklore being told. It is believed than one of Oduduwa sons had embarked on a journey out of the ancient city of Ile-Ife with some group of followers to go settle somewhere else and start a town of theirs, but not without taking a sacred magic crown called the ‘’Ade Omo Oduduwa’’ along with them which their had stolen from the king’s son.
This act made the kinsmen and the people of Ile-Ife angry and set out to pursue this group to restore the crown back to Ile-Ife. The pursuit made the group run farther into the thick forest till they were out of sight and safe.
For years they wandered in the forest but kept on moving till they stumbled upon an area covered with hills and finally decided to settle at the top. They had exclaimed in surprise at the beauty of the hills saying ‘’Idanre’’ meaning this is wonder. Civilization was brought about by a team of missionaries led by Rev Gilbert Carter in the year 1894 to the settlement up the hill that brought about the building of the old primary school on the hill, and also the old courtyard and prison yard.
The group and it’s later generations settled on this hill for 800years before migrating to live in the new Idanre town down the hill. An annual festival is held in reference of the Ogun diety which is highly revered in Idanre town. The festival is being celebrated as a dance procession to the top of the hill by the King of the town and his chiefs.
The hill is reputably known for it’s ‘’Nine wonders’’ of which I was privileged to see most of them.
** The 660 steps to the hill called the ‘’Ibi Akaso’’ that is great steps.
**The ‘’Arun river’’ which is believed to have mystical healing power.
**The ‘’Ancient palace’’ of the king that still sits well with it’s courtyard on the hill.
The ‘’tourist chalet’’ built as a resting point for tourist by the white men in 1954.
At the house of Ojomu…the third person to the king in those days lay a giant stone called the “Osokogbe” stone that a male must be able to lift in order to consider him fit for marriage.
The traditional chief priest house located on the ancient town. The chief priest still comes here to perform traditional rites and also during the annual festival.
An entrance to a old hut in the ancient king courtyard.
The old primary school built by the white missionary and an old courtyard
Climbing through the hills can be strenuous if you did not come well prepared. It is like hiking through a mountain only that this has steps and a clear path to follow. I had planned on going to a different location before making up my mind to come here. I had left home and headed to Ijebu-Ode only to be told the site I would have love to visit is not accessible to women.
As to that, I left home with the wrong set of outfit. A flowing trouser is not suitable to climb neither was the slip-on shoe I had on good enough. One should come here with good hiking boots and short. A water-bottle, snacks, drinks, a music plug and definitely a hiking partner aside the guide to have a good fun of the place.
They are about five resting point that leads to the top of the hill before the ancient town for hikers and tourist to relax before proceeding. At the first resting point there is a bar that sells chilled drinks and water for hikers to take along with them to sustain the climb. I got one bottle water and to tell you I finished it before even getting to the final resting point.
Entry passage to the resort comes with an entrance fee of 1000 and then you have to pay your tour guide a particular fee you both agree on for his/her service. I was told by my tour guide the site has been renovated from time to time to make it more appealing to tourist. More works can still be done tho to make it more attractive like having an art centre or a mini cultural centre or market for tourist to buy Nigerian made crafts and arts.
More-so, the guide I was assigned was not really into the job, I didn’t feel the African passion in him. But, he was at least knowledgeable about the place, that I was okay with. They are hotels around at affordable prices for people willing to stay over and enjoy the town a little before leaving.
I had fun visiting this site and would love to visit again soon and probably complete all the other points of attraction I did not get to. To be honest, the place is a large expanse of land and I was literally dead tired from the hiking that I could not see all the places. Would you like to visit?? Let me know…**cheers**😍