03 Sep LOCAL TRAVEL DESTINATIONS FOR THE SOLO ADVENTURER
As we are on the last vestiges of summer, give or take a couple of weeks, travel might be just the thing for some respite. You’ve probably gone on one of the usual travel sprees with friends and family earlier in the season and experienced all the excitement and eventual lag that comes with it. Fashion week in view, the back-to school rush among other things are enough to make one feel out of sync with the status quo. It does seem unorthodox to suggest travel at this point but the experts say it “heals your mind and rejuvenates your soul”. What’s more, we are not merely suggesting travel but solo travel. Ditch the crowd, pack a weekend bag and slink away or take your friends with if you somehow cannot get detached; the experiences we reference are immersive enough to give you a personal encounter and achieve the desired results. Take a train ride, bus or the ‘road less traveled’- whatever that may mean to you-and let your mind restore you. We have collaborated with NothingToDoGo, a travel blog in Nigeria best known for traipsing the country and discovering new adventures. They have provided an assortment of local destinations for the impulsive traveler from their own archives and it’s tempting enough to try at least one. Emeka Okocha of NothingToDoGo says “The silence allows you to reconnect with nature and your thoughts as everything moves slower outside of the hustle and bustle”. Sounds to me like everything you need for that pick-me-up!
Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove: Revered and as sacred as the name implies, this site is a must-see for the lover of mystery, art and heritage. Situated on the outskirts of Osogbo, the capital city of Osun state, the grove is a dense forest that serves as a sanctuary for the forty shrines contained in it. The river Osun makes a winding course through the entire forest and is considered as the abode of the river goddess Osun. Shrines, sculptures and various wor ks of art depicting the famed Yoruba deities can be found in the forest and are religious monuments for the flock of worshippers who come in droves to pay homage. Also a popular tourist site, the dense forest provides foraging opportunities for medical experts with its variety of over four hundred species of plants. So this destination offers a little awe, some sated curiosity and a wealth of knowledge.
Ado- Awaye, Oyo State: Ado Awaye is actually a consolidation of the names of the two separate communities that lived after the Ado people descended from the mountain. A feat of the body and mind, hiking up the 350 steps of the mountain requires more than effort so a gratifying picnic atop the mountain is a thoughtful bring-along for motivation. Having no clear route or destination, only the locals can show you the way. While the mountain itself could be said to be a regular hiking experience, the sights around it are far from usual, with all the mystery and distinctiveness of the sublime.
- The Ishage rock stands without support and is one of the rewarding sights on the climb up. Believed to be enchanted by a powerful deity, many come to pray at the rock. A popular practice is to bring a white cloth to tie around it. If the prayers are answered, the cloth falls off. Curious, isn’t it?
- The Iyake Lake is one of the two hanging lakes in the world (and Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon, Colorado), a geological anomaly that causes the lake to drop away from the sloping valley around it. It is purported to be the most attractive spot on the mountain because of all the peculiarities surrounding it. They say person who goes in does not come out. Legend has it that a white man once attempted to demystify this theory, went it and has not been found till date. The locals believe another world exists beneath and thus, swimming is prohibited.
- The Elephant Tree was said to drop from the sky and take its form, resembling a grotesque caricature of the elephant. Thankfully, there are no myths or special qualities so you may rest from all the hiking fatigue.
- Ese Awon Agba means footprints of the elders and is so named for the indentations that can be found strategically on the mountain sides. A tour member says it’s appears to be dinosaur footprints to her, though.
Iya Alaro Lake is named for the women in the tie and dye trade who visit to pray and worship.
If you’re brave enough to venture as far as Esekan Iku(the verge of death), you should scribble your name on the mountain to commemorate your bravery.
Gamji Park, Kaduna: Also known as the crocodile city, Gamji offers a distinct array of wildlife and chill spots as old as the city itself. It features an interesting amusement park with roller coaster rides and horse drawn carts, jealous ostriches and scary crocodiles. It is a quaint site filled with queer odds and ends but also makes for a totally relaxing and unusual outdoor experience. Best visited in the evenings.
Going on a trip in Nigeria is not as uncomfortable as it seems. No need for all the fanfare of a glam trip; simply dress sparingly for your chosen location, take some food and money and go a-venturing! TThere’s so much to see and learn from these spontaneous trips that many whose experiences are detailed in this piece want to relive at the next opportunity. So, got Nothing To Do? Simply Go!
Photo Credits: Nothing To Do Go(@nothingtodogo) and Unraveling Nigeria