A visit to the State of the Living Spring, Osun state , is not complete for a tourist without a visit to Erin-Ijesa in Oriade local government. You might be wondering why a tourist will need to take such trip from the state capital, Osogbo, which is home to the popular Osun Osogbo festival and culture. The answer is not far fetched as Erin Ijesha is host to the popular Olumirin Waterfalls.
Olumirin water fall, according to Engr. Daniyan, is the most visited tourist site in Nigeria today. As at November of 2014, from January to November the tourist site grossed 50,000 visitors. No other tourist site has had that level of patronage .
The waterfall is 2km off Erin Ijesha town. According to one of the custodians of the waterfall, it was discovered by a woman called Akinla, founder of Erin-Ijesha town and a granddaughter of Oduduwa, the progenitor of the Yoruba race, in the year 1140 AD during the migration of Ife people to Erin- Ijesa. Legend has it that when it was first discovered, the waterfall had the appearance of a mysterious figure.
Travelling in company of three other tourists I came across at the Ilesha park in Osogbo,I was spellbound seeing the seven layers of rocks and seven waterfalls as the water flows majestically among the rocks and splashes down with great force on the vegetation around like a mysterious figure indeed.
Erin-ijesa as part of south western Nigeria falls within the tropical climatic belt with alternating hot dry and warm humid seasons. Atmospheric temperatures only slightly from 30-34oC ranges while the annual rainfall averages 1500cm.
The breeze cool and refreshing
The breeze at the waterfalls is cool and refreshing. The whole scenery is fascinating and idyllic. I tried comparing the scenery with that of Agbokim waterfalls in Cross River state.
What I saw at the Olumirin water falls is like the collection of seven cascades which pour over a cliff creating an impressive seven-part waterfall as in Agbokim Waterfalls.
As we savour the surroundings of the waterfalls, the tourist guard on duty, Oluwole explains that when the falls was first discovered that no one dared move near it for fear of being swallowed up.
“It was believed to be a living spirit through whose several mouths water gushed out; a very tall and huge spirit whose height reached to the high heavens. The inhabitants therefore named the fall Olumirin.
“They thought this was another god whose power over the whole area was only similar to Akinla, the founder of Erin Ijesha town.”
Climbing the waterfall
According to a tourist who has visited the waterfalls, “it doesn’t look like anything out of this world until you begin climbing the seven levels of the ascending plains of the waterfalls.
“So, we begin the climbing, the view at all the levels is wonderful and the freshness of the water is energizing. However, the last and seventh level is definitely the most intriguing, well that’s if you ever dared the torturous climb.”
The tour guard seeing the panting of some of us said only few tourists can climb beyond the second layer.
He said: “Climbing up to the third level can best be equated to traipsing the snowy steeply Mount Everest.
“The area can also serve for mountaineering exercise. Obviously, being at these different levels and just basking in the invigorating freshness of the falls is an unforgettable experience.”
But guess what? The place to be is definitely the seventh level. Why? Not only does it lie at the peak of the falls, it also hosts a settlement where many of its inhabitants have lived for several years!” Still another enraptured tourist could only wax poetic when he was confronted with the sheer splendour of nature at Olumirin. “I could not resist the seduction of this beauty, for Olumirin Water Falls is craft of supreme architecture.
Overcoming his inertia, one of the trio plunged deep into the fresh flowing fountain, burying his fears and anxieties in the clear water. This was the first fall. Each fall distinctly marks the mystical propensity of the fountain. Its ability to sieve out the adventurous from the lilly-livered enjoys universal acclaim.
“Ascending the first steps that point to the first fall is usually for all. Though its dancing bridge and the mould covered greenish stones leave a bare feet squirming in pain, yet the first fall is all embracing. Like a mother, she opens her bosom for all visitors to the fall to soup from her clear spring.
It’s after this that the ascent to the second fall begins. We made it to the second fall. “We had erroneously believed that we had seen the best of Olumirin Water Fall. But we saw nothing in the first fall. The second fall was out of this world, we came to appreciate why we are human, not an animal.
A tourist, Wale Folarin, narrating his experience at the falls said “My eyes beheld beauty. I saw, touched and tasted beauty. I flew off on the wings of contemplation. As the water like a snake lazily sliced through the heights, it picked up velocity that slapped the flesh, pumping out like an imprisoned rebel through the thickness of the woods. The third fall was something else…”
Yet another dazed visitor said, “The breeze at the waterfall is cool and refreshing, the water flows among rocks and splashes down with great force to the evergreen vegetation around. The whole scenery is fascinating and idyllic.