Climbing the Extinct Volcanoes of Jos Plateau and getting our Pants torn and dirty!

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Descending the steep slopes of the volcano

The plains stretched as far as the eyes could see, and the sleepy horizon was obscured by massive cones of varying colours- some lush green, and others, earthly brown, jutting out into the skies and standing imposingly like enormous sand heaps on a village farm. These are none but the volcanoes that blew Jos Plateau in North Central Nigeria; they are called the Kerang Volcanoes.


Once upon  time, a first-time visitor to Plateau State was told that there exist extinct volcanoes in the region, and his mind immediately flew to the scene of an erupting Krakatau; he quickly expressed his blatant disbelief at the existence of such terrifying, but unique geologic landmarks within the Nigerian landmass. Only a road trip all the way from Jos City through the Mwaghavul area of Kombun, Kogul, Kerang, Bwonpe and Ampang west, down to the site of the Spring Waters of Nigeria (SWAN) factory, blew his ‘thomas’ mind.

Standing atop the rim of one of the volcanoes, right-about me, the landscape being lit up by the mid-day sun, was bedecked by fourteen (14) picturesque volcanoes. Their craters appeared to have been kept intact over years of in-situ weathering and erosion. Climbing the Kerang volcanoes is extremely daunting and enervating but richly rewarding as breath-taking vistas of the entire landscape hold the adventurer spell bound on reaching the zeniths of  any of the volcanoes.

Pidong lake is one of the most beautiful sights to behold on the volcanoes; formed by the accumulation of rain water in the crater of a volcano in Ampang. The water in this crater has never been known to dry up at any time regardless of how severe the dry season became within the region.

Picturesque vistas from the edge of one of the craters

The volcanic hills are of great heritage to the people. Their significance have been expressed in their folklores, myths and legends. It was said that the area round the volcanoes was once inhabited by a race of giant people who were wealthy and possessed quantities of gold. These giants and their possessions were all destroyed by large fires from volcanic eruptions that took place in the area at the time. Another legend about the volcanic hills recounted that the one at Kerang, which was a female, occasionally intermarried with the one at Ampang West, which has a crater lake and was considered the male. The place of the marriage union was at a shallow pond in Mufil (It lies between Kerang and Ampang West). After the marriage, the volume of the water in the pond increased to about 1 kilometre in diameter and the water, which has a sparkling appearance, remains there for 2 to 3 months before the marriage was broken up and both husband and wife returned to their original place, with the pond drying up. The marriage was renewed after about one or two years depending on the mood of the female volcano.

The Kerang volcano was also said to have a big hole in which the chiefs of Kerang (particularly the legendary Chief Jepnwan) hid their soldiers during fierce encounters with their enemies.

One of the most attractive volcanoes in the area is the Jiblik volcano, located near Abwor-Dyis, along Kerang-Shendam road. It rises into the misty skies pulling a world of beauty and awe around itself. Its lush slopes constitute an irrestitible bait for passer-bys. Its jaw-dropping crater is not so visible from the main expressway. It is presently being considered as a potential UNESCO world heritage site.

Bal Hill in Katul Village. Picniking at the top of the hill is worth looking forward to. – Bal Hill in Katul Village. Picniking at the top of the hill is worth looking forward to.

Pidong Lake1– Pidong Crater Lake

Pidong crater

The enchanting Jiblik Volcano – The enchanting Jiblik Volcano

warming up for the climb – Warming up for a climb up the the volcano opposite Swan Factory, Kerang.

The crater rim

Trekking the rim of the enormous volcano

Goats foraging in the crater

Exploring the crater of the volcano

vistas of the surrounding plains – Vistas of the surrounding plains from the crater edge

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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 info@naijatreks.com or naijatreks@gmail.com.


timholtwilson@onetel.com' Tim Holt-WilsonMarch 16, 2012 at 2:13 pmReply

Great photos, Folarin. It looks very hot – how many degrees?
I am interested in the age of these volcanoes. You wrote: ”
These giants and their possessions were all destroyed by large fires from volcanic eruptions that took place in the area at the time ” and this suggests folk memory of eruptions – so presumably within the last 4 or 5,000 years?? The gully erosion and soil development has presumably taken place since then.Tim Holt-Wilson (UK)

NaijatreksMarch 17, 2012 at 9:15 amReply

@ Tom…thanks for your keen in Nigeria and it’s tourism potentials…answering your question, you must first note that the story of “giants and their possessions being destroyed by large fires from volcanic eruptions on the Jos Plateau” is a myth, nevertheless, it is certain that volcanic eruptions occurred on the Jos Plateau during the Jurassic Period (geologic dating) which is around 175 million years ago (Mid-Jurassic)…and yes, alot of the volcanic cones had been worn down by erosion since then.

walshak04@yahoo.com' Walshak04May 18, 2012 at 4:18 pmReply

Wonderful…so Wonderful.
I am so Proud to be a Plateau Man

NaijatreksMay 21, 2012 at 8:33 pmReply

@Walshak04…yes, you should be proud to be a Plateau man….that region is just soo blessed.

jaguarnana@outlook.com' jaguarnanaJune 15, 2015 at 12:47 pmReply

Maybe it is me or the picture filter, but whenever I think of Jos I always remember it with this touch of greenish hue, like pictures my mum took in the 70’s and 80’s. Oh Jos! When shall I visit you again; my dream retirement location. Thanks for the pictures and the stories, and the fascinating names (I love them) and most of all for promoting Nigeria’s tourism.

NaijatreksJune 19, 2015 at 6:11 pmReply

@Jaguarnana…love the poetry in your words. Thanks for the comment though.

sukunicares@gmail.com' SukuniMay 16, 2016 at 3:58 pmReply

Great blog Fola, you just chose my next off road adventure.

I read that perlite rock is usually found near dormant volcanoes. As a geologist, did you happen to see any perlite or vermiculite rocks on your visit? Or anything that would suggest that, that area has credible potential to hold perlite deposits in usable quantities?