As a child, we lived in a face-me-I-face-you apartment where Iya Bukky during one of her weekly tales by moonlight told us about a sacred spring in her hometown (Ekiti) where two bodies of water (one very cold and the other so hot that it can be used in making Eba) flowed continuously.
I have since then nurtured the ambition of visiting this mysterious site provided I still breath in air. The lifelong dream finally came to pass on the 2nd of February 2018 when Mr Tayo Sonuga of Haven Homes sponsored my quest.
All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.
– Walt Disney
The fear of repeating what happened on my trip to the suspended Lake in Ado Awaye made me wake up as early as 4:30am even though I barely slept throughout the night, I bathed and left with my bag already stuffed with my most important travelling items.
The goal was simple: get to the bus park before 6am and Leave Lagos with the very first bus destined for Ekiti. So I dashed off to Sabo bus stop, joined a bus (N150) to Ojota, where I was fortunate enough to be the fourth passenger aboard the 14-seater bus. This gave me the golden opportunity of choosing a befitting seat in the middle row just by the window. I gladly paid the required N2,500 to the bus conductor and didn’t bother about the departure time.
Departure and Arrival
Since leaving the park by 8:12am, the bus stopped only on two occasions, first was at a gas station to refuel and the second was when a woman behind me threatened that she’d poo in the bus if the driver didn’t stop for her. I remained rooted to my seat since one of the rules I learnt which worked wonders was to never eat anything until I’m half way into the journey.
* * *
Abenimenu Hotel: watery first impression 2:15PM
On alighting at Aramoko junction, about 10 bikers raced towards me. You’d think feed just poured into a catfish pond. Each with the goal of carrying the newly arrived Lagos prince. I spent about 5 seconds enjoying the moment before I finally decided on going with David because he was the most responsibly dressed.
“Take me to a Hotel”, I said as soon as I hopped on his bike. And like he already knew my intentions, he sped off without uttering a word. Whilst on transit, I asked if he knew where the popular Ikogosi warm and cold spring was, and he started a story of how he had been there more than any other biker in town. Whether or not he was lying wasn’t my concern. I punched his number on my phone on getting to the hotel’s gate, gave him N100 instead of the N150 he had initially requested as I made my way to the reception, he kicked his bike back to life and disappeared into the thick fog.
“I can’t stay here”. I muttered to myself as Tola (not the real name of the daughter of the hotel owner who also doubled as the hotel attendant) gave me a tour around the one storey building where the family also lived.
Me : when will you ‘on’ gen?
Tola: 7pm and we will off it by 10pm.
“Please come and take me elsewhere”, I blurted over the phone to David as soon as I stepped outside the gate. He must have sensed my trouble judging by the speed he arrived with. He didn’t ask me further questions.
He Took Me Straight To Agbadaoje
A night at Agbadaoje guest house (where I waited for Damola, my supposed host on this trip) costs N3,000. The rooms contained just the most basic of needs. A good bed, Fan, working table and a clean toilet, all of which the previous hotel lacked. The most important feature was that Unlike Abenimenu, they’d power the generator by 6pm and run it all through the night.
I had squatted with Damola from my 2nd to 4th year in school and I hadn’t seen him since I last hosted him in my hood. I let out a soft smile when his call came in few seconds after I had settled, so it wasn’t difficult for David to return in time to take us to Ikogosi.
At Ikogosi Warm and Cold Spring
The road which leads to Ikogosi from Aramoko was so smooth that we got tired of the ride. The more defiant the bike was at getting us to our destination, the fiercer wind forced tears out of my eyes. Shrubs of trees wiped our legs at every bend. David too didn’t disappoint as he did all he could to make us believe Fayose is the best thing to happen to Nigeria after Jollof rice.
We finally arrived at Ikogosi by 3:20pm.
“A lot of planning must have gone into the construction of this edifice”, I thought within me as we ventured into the first gate. We soon got to the main entrance where the ticketing room sat confidently in front of the reception. We were billed to pay N500 each by a woman who seemed to be enjoying her job but we negotiated N1,000 for the three of us and she agreed.
We were left to our fate (as soon as payment was made) to venture into this forest alone without any guide. I asked if there were no tour guides available and the response was that they don’t come on Fridays. I became numb.
A few other persons were ahead of us so we followed suit along a wooden walkway as the flows from the spring in a calm manner made their way joyously beneath the bridge, emitting an uncoordinated string of sharp whispers in the process. One could see what was beneath the waters.
Save for the awesome road network leading to Ikogosi from Aramoko and how stunned I was on feeling the flow from both streams, I actually didn’t find the destination all that interesting. There was no form of adventure in Ikogosi Unlike the perilous climb at Erin Ijesha or the unending trek down the point of no return in the coast of Badagry.
There exists a mini store where food and drinks are sold and there’s also a swimming pool right in front of the bar for those who fancy swimming and drinking.
Since my mission was just to witness yet another Nigerian Tourist attraction, I wasted no time in summoning my team for a few more pictures before eventually leaving for Arinta Waterfall, which was just about 15 minutes ride away. The time was almost 4:00pm.
At Arinta, we met no living thing (ok, I think we saw two butterflies mating at the gate) at the entrance because the place was locked. But we can’t afford to travel this far without accomplishing our aim, so we decided to take an alternative route just by the right side of the gate since the premises wasn’t fenced round. This was following Damola’s suggestion. though David was a little hesitant, but he later agreed to go with us.
Things became a bit scarier as I was made to lead the team. Afterall it was my course.
Before going back to the hotel, David suggested we made a brief detour to a sacred river where it was rumoured that the fishes never died. It is said that whoever catches them for food is only deceiving himself because these fishes will never get cooked, no matter how angry the fire is.
He as well advised we go with bread as that’s what the fishes love so we bought N100 bread and fed it to them before leaving.
We decided it was ideal that we went in search of food so David wasted no time in suggesting a restaurant run by Ajala, a man I guess would be in his early 30s. I opted for a portion of pounded yam, Damola said he’d be fine with Ofada and David seemed cool with jollof rice. I handed Ajala N1,050 for the food, which was N350 for each person including the takeaway packs. Accompanied with a bottle of Origin, the pounded yam and goat meat arrived their respective destinations unhurt.
I handed David N2,500 for all his troubles and he promised to come back the following day to pick me when I was ready to go to Ondo.
I don’t know what I was discussing with Damola before I fell asleep but I woke up by 11:56pm for the toilet. As I emptied my bowel. I suspected that the vegetable I took with the pounded yam were the culprit. I wrote a bit about my day and read a few pages from my book before sleeping again by 2:00am, waking up 4 hours later to prepare for my final trip in South West Nigeria to Ondo.
I’m actually thinking this trip wasn’t that fun due to my robust expectations. Have you been to any of these places before? kindly share your experience using the comment section.