Abeokuta, known for its ancient heritage, is the capital of Ogun State. People consider Abeokuta a calm city, more rural than urban. Its appeal draws in tourists, causing them to walk away with great memories worth testifying about.
So if you find yourself in Abeokuta this Christmas, here are 5 things you can do to have more fun:
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1. Climb Olumo Rock
Olumo is the most popular tourist attraction in Abeokuta and the best place to start all tourist activities when you visit. At the base of the rock are restaurants, shops with artefacts, arts, and crafts, and places were people can relax. This government managed tourist site has a heavy glass elevator for people who can’t walk up the stairs to the top. For the brave souls willing to hike up, there are the three levels of stairs to the top of Olumo Rock. Also, there are carvings on the rock, small statues and small caves to be seen along the trail. The aerial view of the town and Ogun River makes the stress of the hike feel worth it. With a tour guide up the mountain, you will hear tales surrounding the rock from the 19th century.
2. Shop for fabrics
Abeokuta’s local markets are vibrant and beautiful because of the array of the tie and dye materials sold there. The Kemta Adire Market is king when you want to go adire shopping. The Egba women in this market keep the tradition of indigenous adire-making by passing the skill down to their daughters. If you are in luck, you might witness the making process of indigenous fabrics live at the markets. Another cool indigenous fabric you can easily find in Abeokuta markets is batik. You can find these Nigeria-made fabric in Itoku Market along with other handmade handicrafts which make for perfect souvenirs.
3. Go on a city tour
When you drive around Abeokuta town, make sure you visit the National Museum. Then take cool pictures at the iconic Centenary Hall built in 1950, the June 12 Cultural Centre, and the Oyan River Dam. You should also visit the the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL); it has a resort, art gallery, a pool, bamboo groove, hotel, conference center, amusement park, museum, and restaurants. If you are fortunate to visit Abeokuta during the Egungun Festival (celebration of ancestors and the spirits of the departed), you might see another side of Abeokuta. Oh and don’t forget to stop over at a local restaurant for a meal.
4. Explore nature
Olumo Rock isn’t the only natural site to see when you visit Abeokuta. Other natural sights include the Arakange Nature Reserve, the OOPL Wildlife Park, and the FUNAAB Zoological Park. Arakanga Nature Reserve is a forest reserve with a small path leading to the old railway lines, thus, it is great for forest bathing. On the other hand, the OOPL Wildlife Park is a small zoo of animals such as lynx, porcupines, pythons, camel, bald eagle, and ostrich; it is an animal sanctuary.
The animals at the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB) zoo are as close to being in their natural habitat than in captivity. Animals found there are the African grey parrot, antelopes, crocodiles, lions, toddy cats, monitor lizards, etc.
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5. Visit the Alake’s Palace
A trip to Abeokuta is not complete without a visit to the Alake’s Palace. This culturally rich location tells the history, traditions and culture of the Egba people. It holds figurines of their deities and relevant historical figures. The palace has both a new building and an old building, both of which are architecturally intriguing. The majesty of the old palace is the first thing you will see when you enter the Alake’s Palace; it is a monument worth seeing.
Featured image source: Cities of the World – Youtube
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