The Suspended Lake Ado Awaye, Nigeria
One of the geographical features that has turned into a good tourist attraction in Nigeria is the hanging lake of Ado-Awaye. Some of you readers and non geographers would wonder what a hanging lake is, A hanging lake is a lake that is formed as an effect of glaciation during the ice age. It is usually suspended on a rock. It is as a result of erosion caused by ice movement.
There are two destinations known for the hanging lake in the world, the first one is in Colorado in America and the second one is the one on Ado hill in Western Nigeria known as ‘Iyake’
Iyake lake is a suspended lake on top of the historical rock in Ado-Awaye know as the Ado hills which is an imposing geographical feature in the town and its environs, The Lake itself is just about the size of a tennis court situated in a serene part of the hill. It is a beautiful sight to behold, thecolour of the water is Aqua green. The journey from the bottom of the hill to the hilltop takes about 90 minutes. Some 350 steps were constructed by the Oyo State Government recently to ease the stress of getting to the top of the hill. Inspite of all the stairs, one would still know that it’s a great deal of hard-work and efforts to get to the top.
The road to the Lake is dotted with shrines and notable historical features as the hill itself used to be the site of an ancient town, before the inhabitants moved down to the foot of the hill after the inter tribal wars of the 17th Century subsided. The site of the ancient palace, the oro groove where the ancient kings were buried, the different caves which housed some artefacts which have been stolen and taken to far away lands. Also found on the hill are the shrines of the 16 major gods worshipped in Yorubaland, which are all tourists’ delight.
The suspended lake ‘Iyake’ is well revered among the indigenes of Ado-Awaye because no one knows the source and the depth of the water. The people believe that it is sacred and it does not go dry even in the driest of the season. The belief is that it has certain healing and spiritual powers that cures and grant favours to those who believe. For tourism purpose its really a wonder to see such a beautiful lake suspended on the rock. Close to it are some pot holes whose contents are the aqua green in colour just like that of the lake. It is nature at its best and you don’t have to pay anyone to see it. There at Iyake there is no fishing activities it is a calm serene water and swimming is not encourage by the natives as no one knows the depth of the lake infact some people believe that it’s a gateway to the ‘great beyond’ (heaven), it is a bottom less lake.
Tourists are advised to go with their cameras, phones and camping tents. It is a tranquil environment, there is no danger of wild animals attacking. You could take photographs by the lake but do not get into it as the belief says it is sacred, Iyake is a pleasant lake if you play by the rules.
The best time of the year to visit is between October and November which is a period when Oduduwa and the other goods are worshipped on Ado hill. Since the demise of the last king LakinsokunAyisa, there had been no festival. The colorful festivities would resume when another king as another king ascends the throne.
Ado-Awaye experience an equatorial climate with dry and wet seasons with relatively high humidity. The dry season is from November to March while the wet season stars in April and ends in October. Average daily temperature ranges between 25 0c and 35 oc almost throughout the year.
Ado-Awaye is in habited by the Yoruba ethnic group of Oke- Ogun extract. The town is a conviviality of two towns; Ado and Awaye. Ado is the host town while Awaye are the reminants of the people who survived some of the inter-tribal wars of the 17th Century hence the name Awaye (meaning we survived) They came to the foot of Ado hill for refuge. The Ado people are originally from Oyo. The first king was believed to be a prince Oyo who was the brother of the then Alaafin
Ado-Awaye people are very friendly and hospitable you could see this in the history of the place. They are usually very warm and receptive to visitors.
Ado-Awaye is about 20 minutes drive from Iseyin in Oyo State. The nearest city to it, is Ibadan. Once you get to Ibadan from any part of the world, locating Ado-Awaye would not be a problem. For the international visitors, the easiest way to get to Ibadan is through Lagos, where the Mumtala Muhammed International airport is located. From Lagos, it takes one and half hours trip by road to get to Ibadan such as trip can be alone in a public transport which will cost about N1, 500 or a chartered car straight from the airport for a price between N10,000 or N15,000. For visitors who want to stay in the City of Ibadan you could charter a cab to take you to Ado-Awaye or go in a public transport.
WHERE TO STAY
A lot of the international visitors prefer to stay in the city to enjoy what the city has to offer. For those who prefer to enjoy the air of the country side, they prefer to stay in one of the guest house in Iseyin which is about 20 minutes drive and a little bit more urban than Ado-Awaye.
WHERE TO EAT
Ado-Awaye is a small traditional Yoruba town, whose people are Agrarian in nature. Like many Yoruba towns and villages, Ado-Awaye has a heritage of providing visitors with the best that money can buy in terms of Yoruba food. Ado-Awaye people are noted for eating a kind of beans called pigeon pea. If you are the type that takes breakfast, Ado-Awaye usually presents a breakfast of pigeon pea and ogi(maize pap) for lunch and dinner you could get pounded yam and Amala with traditional Yoruba vegetables Ewedu, Ilasa, or Egusi soup served with bush meat. If you love, good and nourishing food, Ado-Awaye is the place to satisfy your culinary yearnings. Fresh food from the farms with traditional Yoruba condiments like Iru (Locust bean) and Ogiri are delicacies to reckon with most of these food can be brought at the road side buka (Local restaurants) around the market (Oja Ado)or at a place called EnuOdi