Akure the capital of Ondo State is a city blessed with some exciting tourism sites. It was here a rock which was engraved during the Mesolithic period was discovered, also an Homo Sapien fossil, the oldest in West Africa. Some other interesting spots in Akure City:
Deji of Akure Palace
The Deji of Akure’s palace is the traditional home of the town’s ruler. This is where you will be able to find the cultural heritage that explains the people’s story perfectly.
The old palace of the Paramount Ruler of Akureland, the Deji of Akure is located in the modern day Akure South Local Government Area of Ondo State, which has housed no fewer than 47 kings. The palace depicts the rich history, values, customs and tradition of the people of the town. Historical monuments are on display there, and it is no wonder the palace was declared one of the historical national monuments in 1990. It is home to many artifacts.
The palace, according to history, was built around 1150 AD by the first traditional ruler of Akure Kingdom, Oba Asodeboyede, who came from Ile Ife, and was one of the grandchildren of Oduduwa, the progenitor of the Yoruba race.
The architectural designs of the palace, in spite of how old it is, retains its traditional use and value till date, as many traditional rites, rituals, festivals, and other ceremonies such as the coronation of a new king and chiefs are performed in the old palace. The building represents a masterpiece of human creative genius based on the level of technology at that time.
The Cave Ashes is located in Isharun, which is referred to as the home of the oldest pre-historic man in West Africa. Its skeleton was discovered by Professor Thurstan Shaw – who was at the University of Ibadan at the time.
Isarun village is about 20 minutes drive from Akure (State capital), and can be easily accessed from the Akure-Ilesha Expressway. The cave itself is about 40 minutes bike ride from Isarun village.
Located in a thick forest, more or less left in its natural form, rocks of different sizes and peculiarities surround this cave, one of which has engravings that locals believe to be Ifa oracle’s divination. This site is essentially an untapped tourist attraction around Akure.
In 1922, Chief Obele, a hunter, during one of his hunting expeditions chanced upon the elusive cave and broken pottery works scattered all over its vicinity. He returned back to the people of Isarun (descendants of the Iloro people) and broke the news of his discovery to the traditional ruler. He was officially accorded the rediscovery of Iho-Eleeru Cave, located in Isarun, Ondo State, Nigeria.
The cave has also played a significant role in the archeological history of West Africa. In 1968, Professor Thurstan Shaw of the then University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), conducted an intensive and extensive research and exploration on the site, and excavated the remains of a Homo Sapiens skeleton which was buried in a standing position, holding a pot with 16 inlets. The skeleton dated back to as early as 9200BC.
The pottery works excavated from the cave site dated back to 1000BC. The findings of Professor Shaw was published in his book, HISTORY OF WEST AFRICAN ARCHEOLOGY, Vol 1. Iho Eleeru was officially recognised as a tourist attraction in 1992. Presently, the cave and its surroundings are still very much in a pristine state and have numerous potentials for archaeology, history and tourism if properly and creatively harnessed. Still buried within the silt sands flooring the cave are hundreds of left over potsherds, cutting tools (flints) used by ancient man who dwelt at the cave as well as congealed reddish material used as paint by prehistoric man (the Yoruba people call it “apaparobo”).
Also, on one of the big rocks surrounding the cave, a long Ifa inscription is engraved which bears similarity with the one found at Old Oke-Idanre (known as “adiye kowe oyinbo kaati” inscription).
Ebomi Lake Tourist Centre
The Ebomi Lake Tourist Centre is located at Ipesi in Akoko South-East and it is about 115km from Akure – the state capital. The lake which is 1.6km long and 40m wide, has fascinating historical antecedent according to the locals. The word “Ebomi” is an adulteration of a Yoruba word “Abami”.
Situated in the pristine forests of Ipesi-Akoko enclave, are the marvelous waters of Ebomi Lake, flowing gracefully below the dense canopies of verdant forests.
The lake, located at Ipesi-Akoko, is also known as, “the bottomless lake,” because of its depth which is difficult to estimate. It stretches though a distance of about 2km and is about 45m wide, with thick forest canopies subtly camouflaging its steep banks.
According to oral history, the people of Ipesi Akoko met Ebomi Lake at Ipesi, because they couldn’t find the appropriate words to describe their curiosity about the features of the lake, they decided to call the strangely wide body of water ”Abami’, which literally means ‘mysterious’. This name, with time changed to “Ebomi” which is the name it is being called to this day.
The lake, according to the inhabitants of Ipesi Akoko, has supernatural powers for protecting the villagers during the times of war. The lake is believed to have unseen shoulders that fight battles for the Ipesi people.
In another dimension, the lake deities give the villagers different gifts such as children, fishes, fowls etc.
The Igbokoda waterfront is one of the longest body of water in the country. The vast expanse of water makes for an exciting fishing expedition and the scenery is beautiful.
This site is located about 142km from Akure. It is the longest territorial water in Nigeria and has fishing terminal. The waterfront offers an excellent location for boating, swimming, sport fishing, picnic, boat regatta, diving and many more.
This place is at Oke Igbo and has an evergreen forest that is beautiful and thick. You can shoot movies in this forest, have a picnic and generally have fun within the forest.
Igbo Olodumare is a lush and pristine rain forest tucked away in southwest Nigeria. Its name translates to ‘The Forest of the Almighty’ and it is simply mystifying. The forest was first brought to light by two novels, Ògbójú ode nínú Igbó írúnmolè and Igbó Olódùmarè written by one of Nigeria’s most excellent story tellers, D. O. Fagunwa. These two novels were later translated to English language by the Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, and describe it as a forest of witches, wizards, giant snails, crabs and other mysterious things. He wrote of creatures that make one wonder and spark the fire of wanderlust in the belly of anyone who attempts to read the book. This mystical forest exists in Fagunwa’s native village of Oke-Igbo within Ile Oluji-Oke Igbo local government area, Ondo State in south west Nigeria. A tourist delight any day.