People that say no to a road trip with me, have no idea of what they are missing. The independence weekend was another time to get on the road and Henry was delighted to join in on the trip. Read his recap below:
It was a rainy Saturday morning and I had to wake up earlier than my usual time. The long-awaited day was finally here with the exploratory trip to the picturesque Idanre Hills and Erin Ijesha waterfalls. Even as the rains poured, I was undeterred. The very thought of the trip fired up my adrenaline levels. I picked up my knapsack with a few supplies I needed, waved goodbye my family and headed out to the pre-agreed meeting point.
At the meeting point, I waited patiently for my partner in crime, Ayodeji, and her awesome sister, Abiola, and upon their arrival, we set out on a trip that would test everything in us and still provide us so much fun, bundled with an opportunity to learn much more about the rich cultural heritage of our beautiful country Nigeria.
The journey was smooth, as we all chatted about work, life and other interests we had while driving through Lagos and Ogun states before we finally entered Ondo state via Ore, and made our way to Ondo town before we got to Erin-Ijesha town in Oriade local government area, Osun State, Nigeria.
Erin-Ijesha town is rather rustic and agrarian, and I was surprised to notice on the faces of the locals the near absence of excitement as opposed to those of us who were rather expectant of what lay ahead. Perhaps they’ve gotten so used to seeing the influx of people that the excitement no longer held for them. We made our way down the bumpy road, towards the site of the waterfall, I could not but imagine to myself how much the community would have developed if the tourism potential of the site was properly harnessed.
I was lost in my thoughts until we finally got to the gate. The only thing that signified any form government presence as far as my eyes could see was a signpost that read “Welcome to Olumirin Waterfalls Erin Ijesha. Ministry of Home Affairs, Culture, and Tourism, State of Osun”. Getting through the protocols of entering the site was rather swift. We paid the entrance fees and got the safety briefing from the “Chief Security Officer” at the reception area. One very curious observation I made was a bold sign stating use of photo or video cameras attracted additional cost. I could not but wonder to myself how I was supposed to capture the experience without those. Nonetheless, we got things sorted and voila, our hike towards the waterfall started.
We went through a flight of stairs to arrive at the first level of the seven we were told made up the waterfalls. I basically struggled for breath as I made my way but was rewarded with the beautiful sight of the waterfall. We rested, took pictures and continued to the second level. Nothing ever tested my endurance levels as the climb I had to embark on so that by the time I made it to the third level I could barely breathe and I immediately knew I had reached my limits. I bade my crew farewell as they journeyed on while I rested.
After about 45 minutes of rest, I decided to explore the third level so I went down to the waterfall area to savor the rich virgin landscape while admiring other hikers and tourists as they swam the pool created by the waterfall. As I sat with my legs cooling off in the pool, my mind wandered off again, this time with thoughts of how this lovely site could be turned into a tourist haven and a major revenue earner for the state. I kept asking myself why the Osun State government could not work with private investors to develop this place. All I could see was potential for income generation begging for exploitation.
Three hours later, Ayodeji and Abiola made their way down from the seventh level with stories, pictures, and videos of their experiences and while I felt sad I couldn’t make it to the top with them, I still am happy with the little I was able to experience. I will come back better prepared for the climb and will make it to the seventh level.
Nonetheless, it was a great experience worth having.