Travel & Tourism

7 natural must-see wonders in Nigeria

Written by Akinmade

Some locations and natural elements continue to marvel and defer human imagination across the country.

Kolade Elusanmi                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Across the face of the Earth, from Stonehenge to the Great Sphinx of Giza, there have always been incredible natural creations and phenomena that always draw human attention and mind to awe.

These fascinating structures both impress and stun us, enough to command overwhelming adoration inapposite similitude to reverence by simply putting them in a reputable class of their own; a class that preserves them into classical antiquity.

In all ramifications, these mysteries, especially those made by nature’s hand, are wonders of no lesser appraisal.

The likes of the Northern Lights or Tanzania’s 260 square kilometres wide Ngorongoro crater are inexplicable phenomena that provoke our curiosity with an avid desire to know more and query that which we have found difficult to answer with either science or religion.

Nigeria, as a geographical entity, does not lack any of these natural wonders that have held locals and tourists in awe.

This is a list of seven of such wonders in Nigeria 

1. Iyake Mountain’s  Suspended Lake, Ado0Awaye, Oyo State

A suspended lake is a body of water on the mountain and there are only two such natural wonders in the world: the hanging lake in Colorado, United States and the Ado Awaye suspended lake in Oyo State. The Ado Awaye suspended lake is located on Iyake Mountains that sprawl around the rugged terrain of  Ado Awaye, a town which is about 20 kilometres away from Iseyin.

A stair of 369 steps leads through a bush path to the plains on the mountain top. There is a litany of artefacts and earth shards that are evidence of human habitation of the mountains in time past. On local accounts, there is a claim that the mountains were homes to immigrant Awori dwellers (the Ado people) that chose the mountain top as a refuge from vicious Dahomey Armies in the 19th century. At the mountains, they met the inhabitants of Awaye and agreed to co-exist, giving birth to the town’s compound name, Ado Awaye.

Iyake suspended lake

The first major tourist attraction on the mountains is the Shagi Rock, a spectacular rock formation, which the locals believe is home to a god that answers prayers. Many dwellers of the town bear the name of the god that supposedly lives in the rock.

The Iyake lake, the most popular attraction on the mountains, is diamond-shaped with clean turquoise colour water. The depth of the lake remains unknown but local folktales claim some foreign tourists who attempted to establish its depth lost their lives in the process. There is also a legend that the lake leads to another world.

Furthermore, the lake is also reputed with mysterious potency of solving personal and health problems. To date, religious bodies throng the venue for prayers, as a slew of visitors go away with bottles of the water that they believe contains medicinal properties and magical powers.

Also, about two meters away from the lake is a stunning hole called Agbomofunyake (Giver of human for Iyake). It is a foot-like formation that is believed to be accessible to the Iyake lake and will mysteriously pull anyone that steps into it into the lake.

There are other attractions like the Iya Oniru lake, which is located around the summit of the mountain. It never goes dry all through the year. There are the ese awon agba (footprints of elders), foot sized depressions which were believed to be footprints of the ancestors of the community and broken pieces of potsherds that litter the mountains. Archaeological evidence of human history domiciles on the mountains.

2. Oguta Lake, Imo State

Oguta, a town located in Imo State, shares a boundary with Anambra, Delta, and the Rivers States. The Oguta lake is a lean finger lake formed by deposits of clay, sand, and silt that dammed the lower Njaba river. Being the largest natural lake in the southeastern part of Nigeria, the lake is considerably important to the people of the oil-rich Njaba River basin including Oguta, Orsu, Mgbidi, Nkwesi, Osemotor, Awo-Omamma, and Izombe as a source of water, fishing and tourism and an outlet for sewerage.

Confluence point on Ohguta Lake

It is believed that Uhamiri, the goddess of the lake, dwells on the lake. A fascinating sight on this lake is the confluence of the blue water and the muddy Urashi river. This is a point where two distinct colours of water meet. The sight of this intriguing ecological wonder is awe-inspiring. This spot is far from shore, hence, tourists need to board a speedboat for a 15-minute ride into the creeks to see this mystery of creation. On approaching the magical spot on the lake, the water splits into two distinct brown and blue colours as they flow side by side without mixing. However, the great thing about this is that they (the two colours) are not separated by either natural or man-made barriers.

On mythical accounts of the villagers, the two rivers were male and female, man & wife. The blue water is known as Ogbuide believed to be female, while the brown water is male known as Urashi. Stories inferred that they had a quarrel and have been flowing separately ever since. A resident in Oguta also revealed that if water from the two different sources is poured into a bottle, it will explode.

 3. Miracle Stream of Nachi, Enugu State

In November 2013, a mysterious stream astonishingly appeared out of nowhere in the Nachi community in the Udi local government area of Enugu State about 42 years after it allegedly surfaced and disappeared in the same place.

It was locally reported that the stream was first noticed by a Fulani herdsman. The stream is reported to have healing powers as there were some alleged healing testimonies from sick people who either had a bath or drank from the stream.

Other stories about the origin of the stream have it that it has always been there as a mysterious substance, though ‘without evidence of water but ready to spring forth water for any thirsty upright person.’ Some say the water sometimes form a stream but would disappear in few weeks.

Nachi mysterious stream

But the latest in 2013, was the largest pool of water ever formed.

To date, it is still bewildering how a vast area of land became filled with water about 5 feet deep in minutes and speculations on whether and when it might disappear.

4. The Juju of Arochukwu

The shrine of Ibini Ukpabi is located far inside a forest in Abia State. The difficult conditions set by the keepers of the shrine have made the site inaccessible to most people. The journey entails crossing a river and a ‘point of no return’ with requisite sacrifices performed.

The shrine was believed to be a house inside a cave. Legends have it that the shrine is a sacred centre of justice deep inside the cave, where people were taken to be judged for their crimes before the Oracular Shrine of Ibin Ukpabi. There were also allegations that people were killed at the shrine for ritual purposes and the shrine was a conduit pipe route for the slave trade as there was a belief that some of the tunnels in the shrine cave led to slave trade camps in the coastal port in Old Calabar.

The Temple of the shrine

In 1901, the British become scared of the Aro imperial domination and economic control of the then impenetrable Igbo interior and ordered a military expedition that lasted for two years, to destroy the shrine together with the oracle of Ibin Ukpabi, its power over the Aro people and ultimately destroy the slave trade route.

However, evidence from archaeological finding discovered that the temple complex was not destroyed. The Aro were believed to have used their surpassing diplomacy and extraordinary tact to secretly preserve the sacred jungle where the temple was located.

Since then, the oracle of Ibin Ukpabi and the chamber presence of Chukwu have keenly remained the best-preserved secret of the people of Arochukwu.

However, it is believed that the shrine has been lost in time as no one can map out where or how to find the shrine.

5. The NOK Culture

Historically, the NOK people were believed to have lived in the present-day Southern part of the old Kaduna state in central Nigeria during the Iron Age from the 5th century to the 2nd century. The people were famous for their excellent works of arts, especially terracotta sculptures of human heads and figures; and iron-smelting technology

Some Nok terracotta figures

Their works were believed to be the first known and acknowledged culture in West Africa and were reputed to be extremely advanced with one of the most complex judicial systems of the time.

To date, archaeologists are still perplexed at the perfection and accuracy of their works, which had remained inexplicable.

In furtherance, research into the clay used in constructing these statues showed it came from a single source, but still unknown to researchers to this present day.

Another puzzling mystery about the NOK people was their disappearance from history. Apart from their works, there is no single link between the present-day people of Southern Kaduna with the NOK people that lived in the same location centuries ago with real evidence of their existence then.

6. The Ikogosi Warm and Cold Springs

Located at Ikogosi, a town in Ekiti State, the Ikogosi Warm Spring is the amazement of two springs of warm and cold water meeting at a confluence, creating a mass of water flowing onward together with each spring retaining its different temperatures. The warm spring rises from a valley while the cold spring flows down from another source separately side by side before meeting at the confluence.

The Ikogosi springs

The warm spring has a temperature of about 700C at the source and 370C at the confluence.

The warm spring is situated in a dense forest extends over a hilly landscape with tall trees around the conflux of warm and cold springs. But the warm temperature of the warm spring is constant all day long.

Legends have it that the warm and cold water were the wives of a man, who after turned into the springs after a bitter quarrel. The warm water was believed to be the quick-tempered wife and the cold water the gentle and peace-loving wife.

Many believe the warm spring has healing powers over skin diseases, infertility, arthritis, rheumatism and high blood pressure and is referred to as the source of life by the people of Ikogosi town.

As a tourist attraction, a well-designed walk trail has been built. A walk along this trail offers you the opportunity to enjoy nature at one of its best elements.

7. The Ogbunike Caves

The Ogbunike Caves, located Ogbunike in Oyi Local Government of Anambra State, are a natural collection of caves located in a valley accessible by a walkway of about 317 steps.

The main cave’s entrance is about 5m high, 10m wide and 30m long which opens to ten tunnels leading to different directions. The tunnels are of varying lengths with some of them interconnected. There are different legends about the formation of each section of the cave.

Inside the Ogbunikke caves

Inside the caves are streams, one of the streams flows out from one of the tunnels into a River Nkissa with the confluence point carrying the warm water from the caves to the rapidly flowing river.

The main cave has colonies of bats of various sizes living within but inside the atmosphere.

Stories have it that the caves were discovered by a man named Ukwa about 4000 years ago and were believed to have been created by a deity, Ogba.

The caves also have some spiritual significance for some people and indigenes still go there to worship and pray there.

Nachi mystrerious stream

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Akinmade

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