“The first level is so beautiful and astonishing; I have never seen anything like it before in my life. The water flowed with a rhythm and just watching it gives you a soothing feeling. It was so inviting I couldn’t stop myself from having a feel of it: I needed to feel the water on my skin. And not minding my hair, I went in … how it welcomed me with a full embrace like a lost child; it took a lot of cajoling to get me out of the water.” This was an account of the experience of a tourist after visiting Erin- Ijesha waterfalls for the first time.
She further said “The second level was a beauty in itself. I thought the first was the most amazing thing I have ever seen, but when I saw the second, I had a change of mind. The water snaked lazily through the height as it picked up its velocity. And yet again, I went in to have a feel; the water slapped my flesh excitingly, pumping out like an imprisoned rebel through the thickness of the woods. This time I willingly left the water to see what the third fall has to offer.”
Erin Ijesha waterfalls is a tourist attraction located in Erin Ijesha, Osun State, Nigeria. It is the only waterfall in Nigeria and the whole of Africa that has seven different cascades at different layers, where the top of the seventh takes one to a different community called Abake settlement that is said to be in Efon Alaaye local government of Ekiti State.
The name “Abake” is a Yoruba word which is a combination of two other Yoruba words: “Aba” “Oke”, meaning “the village on the top”, suggesting the location of the small village.
Each of the seven levels provides a different and new view to tourists. The water flows among rocks and splashes down with great forces to the evergreen vegetation around. The general appearance of the natural surroundings is extremely interesting, while the full flow of the waterfall could be seen during the rainy season. Amazingly, it doesn’t look like anything out of this world until you begin climbing the levels of the ascending plains of the waterfalls.
Climbing each level of the cascades may be a daunting task, which prevents many tourists from going beyond the third level, but it is a rewarding adventure to get to the seventh level as it gives an awe-inspiring experience.
As most people begin to climb the cascades, they begin the numbering from the base to the top, whereas it’s the other way round. The first waterfall is the one at the top. The second is the largest, with waters gushing down from a 40m rock.
Said to be discovered in 1140 AD by one of the granddaughters of Oduduwa during the migration of Ife people to Erin- Ijesa, the waterfalls is also called Olumirin. According to reports, the natives of Erin Ijesha believed the waterfalls to be a sacred altar through which their souls can be purified. They carried out sacrifices and celebrated festivals on the site of the waterfalls as their belief grew stronger and convincing.
With an atmospheric temperatures range from 30 to 34 degrees Celsius, with an annual rainfall average of 1500cm coupled with the fact that the location is enclosed within the soothing hands of nature, the breeze at the site of the waterfalls is cool and refreshing. The ridge of the waterfalls is an eye-catcher for travelers who ply the Ilesha-Akure expressway as it towers into the distant skyline, forming a spectacular backrest for the sleepy towns of Erin-Oke, Erin-Ijesha and Erinmo respectively. At the top of every ridge, tourists could see the true natural beauty of the Nigerian landmass. The waterfall also serves a mountaineering purpose for tourists with evergreen vegetation around.
Erin-Ijesha waterfalls offer everything that could interest any tourist ranging from freedom to beauty, refreshment to peace, happiness to safety, waterfall chasing, hiking, camping, swimming, bird and game watching, reading, base jumping and many more.
However, it is saddening to note that the government is sitting on a goldmine as the tourist attraction could generate huge revenue if necessary tourist facilities such as good roads, escalators etc., are put in place.
Photo Credit: Google