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Idanre Hills or Oke Idanre which means “On top of Idanre” is located in Idanre town, Ondo State. Idanre Hills was submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites tentative list in October 2007 by National Commission for Museums and Monuments

Unravelling Nigeria (remember the Olumo Rock Trip here) was organizing a weekend to Idanre Town (Idanre Hills) included. Although, I couldn’t go for the trip, Amarachi (a travel blogger who documents her journey here) went for the trip and she was able to document her experience for us.

When I received an e-mail from Unravelling Nigeria, notifying the site’s subscribers about an upcoming trip to Idanre, Ondo State, I knew that this wasn’t a trip I wanted to miss. Even though I was very excited about the thought of going on this tour, which incidentally happens to be my first group tour, I was equally nervous.

Idanre is a five hour journey from Lagos at best and Nigeria is not known for great road conditions. I sent in my concerns and got a prompt response from the organizers assuring me of good logistics in place. I later found this out to be quite false. There wasn’t just good logistics in place, it was excellent!

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The tour kicked off at exactly 9:27am from the National Stadium in Surulere, which was not a major deviation from our initial plan to set out by 9am.  Once we were settled inside the bus, we each received a goody bag containing several items such as tee-shirts, water bottles, mint gums, hand sanitizers and dried fruits. This came as a pleasant surprise to me as I was expecting nothing at all.

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Our ride began with an introduction of everyone in the bus. We were 15 in total, including two representatives from the organizers. That served as a good icebreaker and we continued the trip playing different games and having so many laughs along the way. We were also treated to some delicious snacks, sandwiches and drinks on the bus. By 10:40, we were at the Redemption Camp area and by 14:30, we arrived in Idanre to an amazing view!

We just couldn’t contain our excitement, so much so that we basically parked the bus in the middle of the road and rushed out to capture all that natural beauty with our lenses.

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We arrived at our hotel moments later and got assigned our rooms. They were quite impressive, basic, clean, had large beds and everything worked. After settling in, we gathered on the terrace for lunch. There was a lot to eat and a lot more to drink. It turned out to be a really nice way to spend the afternoon.

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As an introvert, this was a completely different experience for me. I normally dread group outings as they make me extremely uncomfortable for reasons best known to the creator of humanity. However, I looked forward to getting together as a group. Everyone was super cool! (Especially my one and only roomie, Lela! :p)

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For our first evening, we took a leisurely stroll around some parts of the town with a guide, visited a golf course, or rather the golf course which was quite beautiful and had a lovely view of the hills in the background.

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After spending some time there, we headed into town to see the old and new palaces. They were a bit of a letdown but the bus ride there was far from that. Our in-bus DJ came prepared! Oh yes, he did! He had us singing lyrics to ‘Olufunmi’ and ‘Runaway’ by Style Plus at the top of our lungs and thus, the Idanre Community Town Choir (ICTC) was formed!

The next best thing to do after our marvelous renditions was to look for somewhere to eat. We headed into town again in search of an authentic bukka that served original pounded yam and palm wine. The palm wine shop was our first stop. The woman must have prayed hard that day ‘cos we bought out all her supplies!

Then we were led to ‘Mama Chikodiri Food Restaurant’ for dinner. Some of us ate there and testified to the freshness of the pounded yam, while some others got Suya to go from a mallam outside the restaurant. Did I mention that all these were covered by Unravelling Nigeria? Yep, it was an all-inclusive tour.

 

We returned to the hotel to have another round of food and libations. The fit-fam people said a temporary goodbye to their regimes as we got to know each other some more. Everyone was so relaxed and in good spirits, it wasn’t long before a mini-party broke out. I called in quite early but the party did go on for a while longer before everyone else went to bed.

Early the next morning, geared in our hiking outfits, we set out to climb the steep steps of Idanre hills. As usual, we had enough energy drinks and water to take with us for the hike. Our tickets got sorted out and we were assigned a guide to take us up the hill.

 

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I’m not sure what I was expecting but I definitely did not expect such a tough climb! The steps were so steep, legs were aching long before I was half way up! But it was perfect mix of fun and challenge! We were told that there were 660 steps to get to the top. Luckily for us, there were five resting points along the way and views to encourage us to keep going higher.

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The climb was fun but the cherry on top of that lovely experience was the tour of the ancient city atop the hill. The people of Idanre actually lived up the hill a long time before heading down in favor of civilization.  Today, remains of the old city are being preserved.

Picture below is what’s left of a prison used back in the days.

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Also up the hill are several attractions, like the unreadable letters of the flood, the Arun River which is said to contain healing powers and a palace courtyard.

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After our tour of the old city, it was time to head back home. We went through a different route, which was just as challenging but we were already master rock climbers!

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We descended the hills safely and headed back to the hotel. Alas, it was time for us to return to Lagos. We freshened up, packed our bags and eventually left Idanre at 12pm.

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We arrived in Lagos in good time, said our goodbyes and left with new friendships formed and unforgettable memories! What a tour this was! Thanks to Unravelling Nigeria for a truly spectacular weekend!

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Photo Credit: @Ibukun_Williams

An excerpt video of the tour can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjo2yTba3UM

Note: To be added on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, you must have met 10 criteria. Idanre Hills has met 3 of the 10 criteria hence, it is on the Tentative List. Only 2 sites in Nigeria has met all 10 criteria:

About the Author:

Amarachi is an aspiring author with a passion for travel. She has been to 20 states in Nigeria and currently runs a personal writing and travel blog at www.chapterone.com.ng

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