SEARCHING FOR WATERFALLS IN THE JUNGLE
Ever been to a waterfall in Bali? You walk through the jungle, hearing the sounds of the waterfall as you get closer. You question why you’re walking through dense forests for some water and just as you’re about to give up, you see what you hiked all the way for.
Well, I haven’t been to Bali either but from all the pictures I’ve seen, I think we had a similar experience when we visited Oowu Falls in Kwara State.
Wondering what the heck we’re talking about? Well watch the video and see for yourself.
Said to be the tallest waterfall in Nigeria, Oowu Falls (commonly written as Owu), located in Owa Onire, Kwara State is commonly referred to as a ‘wonder in the wilderness’ and we can understand why.
Rumor has it that you have to hike for 20km to access the falls. You go through a village and the jungle before you’re rewarded for your hard work.
Now there was no way we were going to hike for 20km to see Oowu falls and after extensive research we found out it wasn’t necessary. People hike 20km as it is assumed that the road to the waterfalls isn’t motorable. Most of it is actually motorable till the 4km mark. We were even told vehicles could go further but it would be putting the cars at risk so we settled that we would start our hike at the required spot.
We drove down from Ilorin so it took us over an hour to get to Owa Onire which is in the Ifelodun local government area of Kwara State. After a bit of driving and getting lost, a motorcycle rider set us on the right track. (*note don’t let the motorcycle riders trick you into hiring them to take everyone there on their bikes. This is where the claim of the unmemorable road usually starts and they offer bike rides for an exorbitant fee)
When we got to the village closest to the waterfall, we got down to greet the king of the village (this is necessary as they’re the ones to grant you access to the waterfall).
The king welcomed us, gave us one of the villagers to lead us on the right path and asked us to stop by after we were done with the falls.
4km seemed like it would be a walk in the park but after a couple of steps we were starting to feel tired. The hike covers different terrains, mostly uphill so we had to keep adjusting our speed. However the views made up for it.
Most of us were about to give up as tiredness started to creep in but suddenly we began to hear the sound of the waterfall. The local guide beckoned and pointed at where the sound was coming from and our excitement was back.
We saw a bit of the waterfall and were all energised to move on. As you get closer to the waterfall, you can feel the force of the water. We were all drenched within minutes of getting there.
It was a glorious sight. There this waterfall was, in the middle of nowhere just falling from the highest point I’ve ever seen since I started chasing waterfalls in Nigeria.
We were really excited and most of us went under the waterfall. Some of us were more adventurous and tried to go directly under the source. It was amazing and we spent a while just frolicking underneath it, enjoying the scene and basking in the awesomeness of the falls.
On the left side of the waterfall, there’s a small sitting area. However, due to the force of the wind/water it’s always wet. You’ll be soaked anyway so wet seats shouldn’t make a difference.
After our time at the waterfall, we changed our clothes and started our hike back to the village.
The oba welcomed us back to the palace, asked for our feedback and then another villager proceeded to tell us about the waterfalls. He mentioned that people used to live on the other side of the waterfall from where you can see the top of the waterfall.
He also mentioned that the original name of the fall was ‘Esawu’, but when the ‘oyinbo’ people came and they told them, they said ‘Owu falls’ and the name stuck ever since.
He then went on to plead with us that we should spread the word on the waterfalls so that more can be done to elevate it. He mentioned that as a community they understand how much the waterfall can do for the community and Nigeria as a whole if more was done.
In his words ‘you may know someone in government who can do more for this place. Lai Mohammed (the minister of Information & culture) has come here and we hope we will see changes.’
After this, we filled their visitor’s book and made a donation. While there is no fee to see the waterfalls, donations are encouraged to help them do their little bit for the waterfall such as the small seating area at the waterfalls, the signboards and km marks.
It was a pleasant visit and we were happy to have ticked another waterfall off our list. It was especially gratifying that it went hitch free as some had tried to discourage us from going prior to the trip claiming there was nothing special about it.
This goes to show that while getting information and advice about a place or culture is great, people’s opinions differ and you should always go to see for yourself (except its a security issue).
*note you can hike the 20km if this is up your alley. We know a couple of people who have done it, but if you’re not particularly fit, go the unravelling way and do 4km.
What are your thoughts on Oowu Falls?
Have you been there? Will you be visiting?
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*Reviews are based on opinions and personal experiences, and may differ from person to person
*prices written are based on the time the visit was made and is subject to change by the owners.