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Within the belly of Omi-Ìwò cave, the hydraulic sound of a crystal clear spring mixed with the whirring calls of resident bats disvirgin the air.
A blinding beam of light pierces the torn rock and illuminates a small pool of water within the cave, from which flowed the stream which the people call “Ìwò”.
The cave opens up like a torn mouth. A village girl stands at the corner and lifts her feeble arms to the roof of the cave as if to support it from collapsing.
It’s mid-day in the ancient town of Idanre. People rarely visit the cave at this time. It’s busy hours are before dawn during which people come from far and near to fetch from the spring waters as it is popularly believed to possess therapeutic powers. This is why the cave is called "Omi-Ìwò" ("the healing water").
Omi-Ìwò Cave is a picturesque cave, bored naturally into a massive granite rock outcrop, tucked away in the inselbergs of Idanre Hills, Ondo State, Nigeria. On a recent trip to the cave, getting a tour guide from the Idanre town wasn’t a difficult task, but exploring the surroundings of the cave posed the bigger but more interesting challenge. The big rock beneath which the cave is tucked shoots out into the skies, flanked on its sides by gigantic trees and long climbers. The entrance of the cave can easily be assessed from the main road (broad street); but that wasn’t the aim of our visit on that day. We had set out to find the rear exit point of the cave, led by a zealous guide dressed in ankara buba (ankara shirt) and a pair of checkered shorts.
Numerous fallen boulders and wide clefts surround the foothills, making a climb to the rear exit point of the cave an arduous one. On getting to the entrance of the cave, we took a right and started climbing a gentle slope which winds up into a steeper one as we got lost behind the rocks. After some minutes of climbing, our tour guide finally mounted a set of fallen granite boulders, his legs wide-spread, he paused for a moment and looked around as if he wasn’t sure if he was in the right place. Then in another moment, he sprang up, and as if to inform us that we had reached our destination, he began to sprint towards a descending cleft ahead and calls out to us “e máabò, e máabò, e mú torchlight wá” (“come over here, come over here, bring out the torchlight”). In an outburst of indescribable joy, we descended anxiously into the belly of the stygian Omi-Iwo Cave.
A visit to Idanre Hills is never a complete experience without a stop over at the foot of the Omi-iwo Cave, if not to scoop from its healing waters, at least to savour its refreshing and invigorating ambience.
– … the tour guide mounts a set of fallen granite boulder…
– … as if to inform us that we had reached our destination, with the energetic limbs of a Centaur he sprints towards a descending cleft ahead.
This article was written by Folarin Kolawole
Founder of Naijatreks, Nigerian-born Folarin Kolawole is a geologist, travel writer and researcher. When not at work, he travels the length and breadth of Nigeria, exploring, taking photos and writing about her numerous hidden tourist potentials. 'Naijatreks' is a product name registered under the Ntreks brand, which is also duly registered by Nigeria's Federal Corporate Affairs Commission. The contents on this blog are re-usable. However, it must be ensured that it is linked back to this blog, and correctly attributed to Naijatreks or the author. Please do not edit, rewrite or commercialize the original works on this blog without direct and written permission from the Founder (Folarin Kolawole). For inquiries and advert placement on the blog, kindly contact us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.