The trip to Igbeti (Iyamopo Hill Festival) from Ibadan could be very interesting when I remembered what fascinated me during the journey. Two hours into the journey I was already tired of the bumpy roads but fascinated by the rusted brown roof in the ancient cities that we passed through all the way from Ibadan.
Igbeti was said to be about 3 hours journey from ibadan but after 3 hours of taking off from mokola roundabout we did not arrived at our destination, I asked Mr Omololu (Convener, Travelscope Magazine) who has been there before that “Are we almost there” ?…. In 30 mins, he said. Of course, the long journey could be as a result of our several stop overs for our members to take some photographs and especially our over 30 mins delayed in Ogbomosho town as most of the members wanted to have a taste of the Ogbomosho mangoes. Finally, on arriving igbeti town,we picked up our tour guide (Mr Olawoyin Adebayo), a member of YTHLF and a native of Igbeti who has been mandated by our Chief Host Hon. Bosun Oladele to make our stay a memorable experience.
Olawoyin noticed that we are tired, exhausted and hungry, he quickly suggested that we should go for lunch before heading to our hotel. Our chief host, Hon, Bosun Oladele shortly after our lunch came out to welcome us and he was excited to see us. Thereafter, Olawoyin took us to the hotel where we freshen up and set out for the main activities of the day on Iyamopo Hill, Igbeti. Igbeti means a place that cannot be conquered. It was first named AGBATI. It is located in the northern part of Oyo state, Nigeria. It is known as marble city because of its rich marble deposit. It has been in existence for over 1800years.
Iyamopo hill is located in Igbeti and is said to be one of the 16mountains that igbeti is blessed with. Iyamopo hill is the tallest and mother of all mountains in igbeti. The hill was named after a woman “iyamopo” who was a saviour of the old oyo empire.The hill is a hiding place during the oyo and Fulani war. There are lined stones which serves as a boundary in which the Fulanis must not go beyond during the war.
Oh…Its time to climb the hill, the tour guide adviced that we pair with someone so as to have a good balance, at that point i knew it wasn’t going to be easy. But then we ascended the mountain and it was a great feel of nature. Hmm, did i tell you that there was no mobile network on the hill… Oh yeah, there isn’t! Ascending the hill was a very difficult task and an adventure indeed.
It took us about 1hour before we arrived at the cave which was Iyamopo house. Not too far from the cave is a small water body which is sacred and we were told that’s it’s medicinal.
Descending the hill is not as tedious as ascending in which much energy was exerted. Iyamopo hill festival is usually celebrated every Easter Monday when members of the community visit the mountain for picnic, adventure, and to pray inside the cave. I was privileged to attend this year’s festival together with members of Youth tourism and hospitality leaders forum (YTHLF) led by Mr John Omololu and it was a great experience. Traditionally, the hill is usually worshipped but there is no specific date to worship it and it is accessible for all.
Apart from mountain climbing, I think it will be a good place for hiking. Also, if well managed, it would boost the economy of Oyo state and Nigeria as a whole.