If you haven’t read the first part, you can catch up here.
*Warning – Very long post.
Day 5 – Ekiti State & Ondo State
After waking up early and being disappointed by the drained swimming pool, we headed to Arinta Waterfalls which is also in Ekiti State. This time, we didn’t have to jump over the fence as the guide was there and ready for us. Arinta waterfall isn’t as famous as it’s sister in Osun State but was still a delight for Cat and Luke to see.
After exploring the waterfall and giving up on the second level, we raced back to the resort, packed up our things, said our farewells and headed to Ondo State.
Playing frisbee at a petrol station while sorting out slight car troubles.
We got into Ondo slightly after 3 pm and after a brief argument at the hotel on awful customer service (as usual), we headed to Idanre Hills. The hike up Idanre Hills as usual was tedious for the first 660 steps but smooth sailings after. We rounded up the hike to Idanre Hills with some palm wine.
Verdict ‘Why do hotels promise or advertise WiFi and then give you a tough time when it’s time to connect? Only Lagos seems to be connect you to their wiFi immediately’ (It should be noted that social media/whatsapp was the only way Cat & Luke could communicate with their family, so having WiFi access was really important to them). They thought the waterfall was really nice and it was great being out there hearing nothing but nature. They would have loved to get to the last level but the rest of us were wimps unfortunately. lol. They enjoyed the hike up Idanre Hills and especially loved the view of the town from the top. Better tour guides as usual are needed. They also felt the possibilities were endless but it’s a shame no one’s really putting in a lot of effort into them. The hotel was decent and they quite enjoyed dinner. Palm wine is different but alright. 🙂
Day 6 – Osun State
The next day, we were off to Osun State. We didn’t leave as early as we would have loved to because some of us were already feeling knackered from all the driving around. (The govt really needs to look at improving the roads).
We were the first tourists to get to Erin Ijesha Waterfalls and as it had rained earlier, the guides were skeptical about if we would be able to reach the 7th level.
With the guide at Erin Ijesha Waterfalls
From the waterfalls, we headed to Osun Grove .Cat and Luke were told the story of how the grove came to be. We were taken through the grove (apart from the areas that are forbidden to ‘mere mortals’).. Luckily for us, they were preparing for the Osun Festival so we were able to observe. Our guide got into a fight with one of the men there (the fight was based on money we were supposedly to drop. Nigerians must always show themselves), but luckily some elders were able to diffuse the situation.
Tour done and dusted, we sped off to Ibadan and lay our heads there for the night.
Verdict There really needs to be a standardization of payments. Its odd that after paying entry fees, you get to a spot and you’re asked to pay money to some deity or god. While we understand that it’s important to them, can’t it all be included in the entry fee? Also paying to take your camera is an ‘interesting’ concept. The guide at Osun grove seems to be the first proper guide we’ve had and by this we mean she knew the stories and what each thing represented. At Erin Ijesha, the guide knew the route but not the story. We also wished we had gotten to the 7th level but we can understand the guides fear of the slippery terrain. (Luke also love standing under the waterfall). We were happy to have dominos for dinner when we got to Ibadan. We love Nigerian food but it was great to have some pizza.
Day 7 – Ibadan & Abeokuta
Our road trip continued and I’ll be honest and say we were beat by this time. But we were proud that our South West Nigeria aim was being met and would end this day.
After about an hour and a half of driving, we got to Oke-Ado Mountain in Ado-Awaye. (This was where the concept for our bbq on a mountain tour was born).
After a bit of bird watching and getting to a point where we were told we could go no further (if Cat and Luke had their way they would have kept going further), it was time to race to Abeokuta.
Olumo Rock was the last point of call on our South Western tour. We got there and the heavens opened up and let down some rain briefly. During this time, we took shelter in the pansheke garden while Cat attempted to play with the goats that were also scrambling for shelter. After the rain, we got our guide, took a guy to help with our cameras and conquered Olumo Rock. After declaring our South West tour over, we headed back to Lagos, checked Cat & Luke into their hotel room and it was a wrap.
Verdict There was little or no govt presence in Oke-Ado and once again there needs to be a standardization of rates. While we didn’t have to pay to climb, we had to settle our ‘guides’ and put money down for deities which I’m sure ended up being more expensive. Also proper guides are needed as the people there just seem to take people round because they know the area and can make a bit of money from it. There was no need for the 4 ‘guides’ who followed us but this can be avoided if there’s some sort of order. We loved bird spotting from the hill. Olumo Rock was great; great story, great guide, everything was pretty straightforward there.
Day 8 – Lagos
As a thank you for choosing and trusting us with taking care of them in Nigeria, a visit to La Campagne Tropicana was put together for them. We stopped by spar to buy a couple of things and we went to have a lazy day at the beach.
After the beach trip, Luke suggested we look for a fancy restaurant to have dinner and mark the end of their visit to Nigeria. It was a great way to end our tours.
Verdict This was the cleanest place we went to apart from ‘Lola’s house. LOL. However we realized this is owned by an individual which is probably why it is so well maintained. Absolutely loved spending the day at the beach, it was a lot of fun and Velvett restaurant was a great place to have dinner. The food was great.
Day 10 – Departure
We picked them up from the hotel and took them to the airport and bade them farewell.
I am not ashamed to say I was sad to see them go and had a couple of tears in my eyes. I had spent over a week eating, travelling and exploring with these people and they had genuinely become my friends.
I learnt a lot taking them round and it was an eye opening experience on how to be better. It was also nice to hear things from an outside point of view. They also gave us serious couple goals.
Final Verdict In general, it was great trip and we went to more places than I thought we would. Our family and friends were in awe about all the places we went to and were jealous when we sent pictures over. They were also impressed with our visit and we definitely have a lot of memories to last us. Nigerians were friendly everywhere we went and were willing to help. It was nice to have someone with us as we definitely would have been cheated if we were on our own. Thinking of it now, there is no way we could have done it on our own. You can usually go to a country you’ve never been to and still kind of figure out your way but it’s a different ball game here. When we were coming, we kept searching for things to do and see and couldn’t really find a lot of information on tourism in Nigeria. We stumbled on Unravelling Nigeria and decided to contact them. We were also pleased when she agreed to be our guide and are super grateful she took some time off work for us. Unravelling Nigeria should have a section on the site with tour packages especially for people coming from out of town. People will have a general idea of what they want to do but Unravelling Nigeria can help them fine tune it and include things they may not know they want (like eating at a bukka). We’re glad we came and as we wont be getting a vacation for a very long time, it was a great one. Nigeria has a long way to go in organising it’s tourism sector. There’s a lot to do and see but clearly no one has tapped into it yet. We hope something is done on it soon.
And that ladies and gentlemen, is how Cat and Luke Unravelled South West Nigeria in 4 days.