by Tomiwa Makinde, on May 5th, 2022
The social, cultural and economic phenomenon which entails the movement of people to countries or places outside their usual environment for personal or business/professional purposes is what is commonly known as tourism. However, tourism is more than this as it is also an effective therapy that enhances freedom from mental and emotional stress. It is the act of exposing oneself to various places with different ways of life. Apart from the recreating ability, it also enhances psychological improvement such that one is not limited to things around him or her only but to other information across the globe.
"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." - St. Augustine. It is no longer news or is it a rumour that tourism is a platform for exposure and more.
The board of Nigeria tourism lovers in conjunction with the sponsors came up with an initiative to sponsor at least 100 tourists all over the country to a single destination, a place of interest that depict the beauty of Nigerian tourism intending to promote tourism, especially in Nigeria. The annual event which has the first of its kind on April 17, 2022, an Easter Sunday was aimed at exploring and hiking the Idere hills.
The meeting point was at Ikeja city mall Ikeja, Lagos state. To gather the tourists all over the country and beyond for the adventurous trip. Luxurious buses were provided by the Organizers(NTL) which comfortably contained every tourist available and took off at the stipulated time, all thanks to the tourists who stick to the scheduled time. The buses and other vehicles took off after every arrangement has been made. However, some tourists were picked along the road as they stay along the road to the destination.
The journey from the city of Ikeja to Idere in Oyo state was a fun-filled experience. An experience that can't be forgotten for a long while. Everyone who came from different locations mingled so well and that added flavor to the already-exciting moments in the journey. The journey took us along the city of Abeokuta to Oyo state, Igboora. Idere is situated after Igboora and among the towns that make up the Ibarapas (Ibarapa mejeje). Idere is under Ibara central along with igboora.
Getting to the destination and the heartwarming welcoming ceremony was one of the greatest feelings one will experience in a while. How tourists were welcomed to Idere was top notch and this added to the exciting moment. The king of Idere also showed his excitement about the arrival of over 100 tourists that came to visit the land. The feeling of knowing that you are loved by your host community, is second to none as you feel at home in the community.
The welcoming ceremony was as well used to educate the tourists about the history of Idere .
Idere is an ancient settlement established by Osinkola, a son of the first Alaafin of Oyo. He strove with his elder brother, Ajaka for the throne after the demise of their father. However, he lost, so he had to leave the community according to the tradition. He left with the company of his mother "Aye" who was mystical and help his son protect his territory. When the legend died (Aye), she turned into a rock. Osinkola, on his way in search of a worthy settlement, came across the hills known as Idere hills today and decided to settle there. According to history, the whole Idere community was earlier situated on the hills, but as time goes on they had to spread around the hills, and build houses and market place. Idere which was once a small settlement is now a town among the seven towns in Ibarapa zone hence, Ibarapa mejeje. One interesting thing about Idere kingship is that it is historical and not influenced by the government. A legendary folk tale "Eleko Idere " is said to have its root in the Idere community, Oyo state.
From one exciting moment to the other, the night was dedicated to cultural dance and showcasing of Idere local delicacy.
Egbo, Ewa otili, Ewa iganji, Epo olooorun and Ikete, Agbado sise, Koko, Akara, Eko, Ofuloju, Moimoi, Ẹmu oguro, Mosa, Sagba, Akara elegusi, Robo, Otika, Esuuru, Sapala, Yaayi, Odunkun, Osan, Mangoro, Ibepe, oroo among others were the local cuisine enjoyed by tourists. Think about the most exciting moment and think about the moments spent in Idere .
The next day was for the hiking of Idere hills which is the main business of the trip. But before then, gifts were exchanged as part of showcasing love towards each other.
Idere Hills is one of the latest tourist attractions in Oyo State. Idere Hills was recently commissioned as a tourist attraction site in Oyo in the year 2020. It is a historical mountain surrounded by a beautiful green landscape. This mountain has an interesting story dating back as far as over 600 years. Idere Hills has one of the most beautiful landscapes in Nigeria. A view that will take your breath away keeps you wanting more. There are several attractions you should look out for when you visit this beautiful mountain.
Idere hills have lots of attractions that made the place unique and fun to visit.
Below are some of the interesting parts of the hills
Isoku Iruku: This is a sacred place in the hills that housed a diety which they worship in ancient times. However, it is harmless to visitors and is a place of history.
Olorogun Meji: These are two large potholes with water formed inside the rock. It is believed to have been formed by two rival wives. The tale behind it is they had a disagreement and the two of them turned to the two narrow pools of water.
Odi Ilu: (The old defense wall) These are defense walls that have been in existence for over 600 years, they were mounted to serve as a shield against attack on the community. It also has holes that the warrior can use as a viewpoint and for shooting.
The old Palace: Two caves served as the palace for the kings who both rule and reside up the hill. These palaces are still in existence to date.
Iho Eja: This can be translated to mean hole of fish, it is an opening on the rock with water that looks like the shape of a fish. The water is used mainly for laundry purposes.
The summit: This is the peak of the mountain and wonderful views can be seen, a place that makes you feel so comfortable that you would want to sleep and forget your worries.
The exciting moments, and views on the hills can't be exaggerated as it is visible to the blind and audible to the deaf that Idere hills is a place every tourist should visit.
Dress for the occasion, wear something smart and comfortable. Sport wears, shorts and hiking boots will be best suited for the journey. Avoid dresses, flipflops, skirts, and other fashion apparel that might not be comfortable
Get enough drinks and water that will last you throughout the hiking experience.
Get a partner to gist with along as the hiking of the hills can be tiresome
Get a good camera (phone or digital camera) because the views on that hills are ones you won't forgive yourself if you failed to take take a picture.
Nature has so much blessed Nigeria with attractive places and places worthy of a visit. However, there is a need to improve the tourism sector. The government and concerned stakeholders should help in the following aspects for tourism to blossom in Nigeria.
1. Security: This is a major problem facing tourism in Nigeria. Some routes that lead to these places are not safe to ply as there are cases of kidnapping, theft, killings, and so on. The issue of insecurity should be fixed if truly we want tourism to blossom in this country.
2. Transportation: most roads that lead to these attractive places are nothing to write home about and it can lead to discouragement to the interested individuals wanting to visit them. These roads should be fixed
3. Improving the host communities: The authority should look into the communities where these places are located and improve their social amenities. This will make them happy and ready to receive tourists in a good mood
4. Renovation of these tourists attraction sites: if these places of attraction are well taken care of and renovated, individuals will be eager to visit them, and also historical materials there will be preserved.
The main purpose for this event is to promote and showcase Idere Hills to Nigerians, Local tour operators, and International tour operators.
We hope to have a tremendous inflow of tourists to Idere Hills. Who would not want to experience the rich culture and delicious delicacies of the Idere people. Cuisine you can't get outside the Idere community.
The experience of hiking the hills is too overwhelming to be explained as it is better to experience it than to hear about it.
Even the pictures and videos all over the social media can't suffice for the experience. So, a visit to idere Hills should be your next to-do item.
Credits: Nigeria Tourism Lovers