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Ado Awaye: The quiet town and mountains sitting pretty

If you’re thinking of the next place to tour in Nigeria, get in here, you might just be in luck.

The town of Ado Awaye is fascinating for not only its tourist sites but also its historical mythologies.

This review will help enlighten and prepare you for the trip to Ado Awaye with Lagos as the take-off location. This means your interpretation of logistics for this trip should be measured based on your current location.





Preparation

When preparing to tour the town of Ado Awaye, these are a few things to take note of:

1. What to take


Because you’re touring, it is important to travel as light as possible. This means while packing, you should go for only essentials. Try assessing each item you intend to pack with these two questions: ‘Do I really need this?’ and, ‘Do I have another item serving the same purpose this said item offers?’.
Usually, 80 percent of the time, if you find yourself pondering over the above-italicized questions, the item in question will usually not be important.

On average, the town of Ado Awaye is warm except during the night and dawn, when, especially close to the mountainside, the weather becomes foggy and cold.

A cardigan, pair of socks and muffler are more than enough to keep you warm during any surge or extreme weather condition during your trip.

Also if you’ll be hiking, you’d need to stay hydrated. The most sustainable way of ensuring you have water covered for your trip and hike is to get a water container; preferably one that can be attached to your backpack. (Honestly, just do it your own way. You know yourself more).

The town of Ado Awaye is not blessed with your favourite snacks and junks, hence, it is also important to come along with junk or snack supplies.

Because of the unavailability of some phone networks (Etisalat for instance), at Ado Awaye, you’d need to get an MTN, Glo or Airtel sim as these networks work better in the small town.

2. How to go


If you’re leaving from Lagos, and wish to go to Ado Awaye on a road trip, it is less stressful going in a private vehicle although it is not an abomination going by commercial vehicles too. You can get vehicles going to Ado Awaye at Oshodi. If you're driving, use Google Map to navigate for possible traffic ahead, alternative and fastest routes.

Depending on when you wish to begin hiking, it is always advisable to be at Ado Awaye town hours before hiking. The best time to hike is usually in the morning because then, the sun is not fully out. Hiking in the afternoon after 1 pm would get you more exhausted as opposed to following the former option.

3. Where to stay


On arriving the town of Ado Awaye, it is important to note that presently, there are only two below-the-average motels available.

The first is called Treasure and the second Trinity. These available accommodations do not see a lot of travellers and as a result are mostly uncatered for.

Hence, it is important to book beforehand and probably request a thorough cleaning of the allocated rooms. I would recommend going with extra sheets if you have the tendency to have skin irritations easily. Also and very very important, is to carry enough mosquito repellents.

Do not expect any fancy services like flushable WC’s. running shower heads or breakfast in bed. The locals of Ado Awaye rely on fetching water from water supply sources and sometimes doing their number ones and two's in the bush (LOL).

4. Who to ask that important questions


The official tour guide, Atabo David is readily available for tour bookings. Any questions you may need answering can be directed to him. Also, the hotel managers, locals and other tour guides are generally ready to help out with questions you might have.

5. Budget


The fees you should be planning towards are for accommodation, transportation, feeding and the tour guide's bill.

Presently, the two available motels go for between N5,000 and N3,000 each. Also, depending on what location you’re arriving Ado Awaye from, your transportation fare would likely be hitting averagely N 10,000 per person by road. Depending on how good you are at trying new recipes, the cost of getting a meal in this small town is on average below N500.

The myth surrounding the town of Ado Awaye


The locals believe the town of Ado Awaye was founded by an offended Prince of Oyo. This Prince had left his kingdom of Oyo after he was denied the right to the throne as a result of his impure roots. (His mother was from Ota)

This Prince’s younger brother was crowned instead and angered, he would leave for Ota- his mother's homeland. On his way, he would stop by the town of Ado where he met war refugees, who on discovering his heritage, would request he become their king.

In no time, the town of Ado became prosperous and would amalgamate with a smaller Awaye town to form the present day Ado Awaye.

The Hike


The drive from Treasure motel to the foot of the mountain is between five to ten minutes.

When you get to the foot of the mountain, the guide would hand you a wooden stick or staff. Please hold on to this stick very well as it’d be a very important support during the climb.

To begin the climb, you’d have to walk through a 365-stairway from the foot of the mountain. Because of lack of funds to maintain this mountain, the stairways are broken and
unrepaired.


The Ado Awaye mountain houses seven wonders:

Oke Ishage (The Ishage mountain)


This is the first of the seven wonders of the mountain you’ll come across. The Oke Ishage is a boulder rock possessing great powers according to locals.

This rock has been feared to fall off by locals because of its position on the mountain. However, since the history of the town, the Ishage has never moved.

Whenever the town of Ado Awaye experiences drought, the chief priest ties a white cloth to the rock and performs some rites. As a result of this, the town experiences rainfall for three to four days non-stop.

According to local’s mythology, if one touches the rock and makes a wish, it will usually come to pass.

Esè àwon Àgbà


Esè àwon Àgbà literally translates to ‘Footprints of the elders’. These ‘footprints’ are scattered all over the mountain in either clusters or singular forms.

The locals believe the gods once walked over the mountains and hills leaving behind these large footprints behind.

However, tourists and historians might tend to lean to the more logical explanation that these ‘footprints’ were actually grinding stones used by the locals 200 years ago while living on the mountains among serving other purposes like tye and dye pots.

The Elephant


During the hike, you’ll come across the ‘Elephant’ which is actually a fallen tree trunk forming the illusion of an elephant’s head.

This tree trunk has been on the mountain for years now and will remain so because the fallen tree still has its roots firmly sunk in the soil.

Ìyá-Aláró Lake


When the Ado Awaye locals lived in the mountains, Iya Aláró lived among them. According to mythology, She was an excellent tye and dye artist earning her the title, ‘Iya-Aláró’ which loosely translates to ‘Tie and Dye woman’.

Tie and Dye is one of the celebrated art forms in Western Nigeria putting women like Niké Okundaye on the world’s map.

The mythology has it that Iya Aláró used this dedicated lake to wash her tie and dyed products. Upon her death, this lake would be dedicated to her.

Recently, the lake assumes a green colour, which is probably as a result of algal reactions but locals insist on sticking to the mythology that the lake's unusual colour is a result of Iya Aláró's tie and dye activities.

Despite conflicting ideologies to the colour of the Iya Aláró Lake, its beauty cannot be ignored or underrated.

Iyake Lake


The Iyake Lake has been researched and reported as being the only suspending lake in Africa and second only in the world.

Its depth has also unfortunately never been determined to date.

But this modernized and scientific theory has nothing on the local myth surrounding this peculiar lake:

The legend surrounding the Iyake Lake is that spiritual beings exist (most significantly, the goddess of fertility) within the depths of the lake. This means that it is forbidden for mortals to enter the water. The myth is that anyone who defiles the order and goes into the water is sucked into its depth to a parallel existence and will never be heard of again.

Rumours are that a foreign company had sent three engineers to determine the depth of the water. This assignment the rumours said, would cost the lives of two out of the three engineers as they were sucked into the water. Leaving the third to narrate the story.

The tour guide would have sounded several warnings about this lake. Please listen and pay attention.

Quite fascinating also, is that this same sacred lake has healing powers according to this same myth. On a good day, you might come across locals with jerrycans, buckets or containers filling them with water gotten from the lake.

It is believed that anyone who bathes with the water from the Iyake Lake will be relieved of any ailments or diseases. This means that the water although to the physical eyes looks dirty, can be ingested and will cure any disease.

Rumours are also that tourists who either drank from or bathed with water from the Iyake Lake were healed of their ailments.

Agbómofúnyàké


Agbómofúnyàké loosely translates to ‘collects child and gives to Iyake (referring to the Iyake Lake). The Agbómofúnyàké is a little hole of water (marked off with wood by locals) just beside the Lake.

Mythology says anyone who steps into the Agbómofúnyàké, is drawn in and fed to the Iyake Lake.

However, some people believe this feeding might be spiritual and mean ‘feeding of the soul’.

Esè kan Aiyé Esè kan Òrun


The loose interpretation of Esè kan Aiyé Esè kan Òrun to ‘one leg in, one leg out’, does not cover this part of the mountain.

This part of the hike believe me is not for the faint-hearted as it marks the end of one mountain and the beginning of the last lap of the mountain to hike.

Before last month, the only way to go through this part of the hike was to move while sitting on the mountain here is steep, slippery and dangerous.


Thankfully, a wooden bridge constructed by locals makes this part of the journey easier. In less than the previous record time of 30 to 45 minutes, the Esè kan Aiyé Esè kan Òrun can be crossed.

Unfortunately too, it might be harder to experience the ‘one leg in, one leg out’ feeling so if you’re feeling up to it, tell the tour guide to take you through this part of the hike without the bridges.



At the end of the hike, at the top of the mountain, do not forget to take lovely pictures of yourself to brag with later on. And yes, enjoy the view, it might be the most beautiful thing you’d be seeing this holiday.


Do not forget to explore the town of Ado Awaye and ask your tour guide lots of questions. Ado Awaye is indeed a place of beauty and hidden treasures.




If you like this piece and would love to read more travel writings or contact me for travel writing projects or jobs, please email me at: bonjour@graceokogwu.com

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