TOURIST AT ERIN-IJESHA (OLUMIRIN) WATERFALL
Erin-Ijesha Waterfalls (also known as Olumirin waterfalls) is located in Erin-Ijesha. It is a tourist attraction located in Oriade local government area, Osun State, Nigeria. The waterfalls was discovered in 1140 AD by one of the daughters of Oduduwa. However, according to The Nation,"Olumirin waterfall was discovered by hunters in 1140 AD". The fall features seven floors, on top of which the village Abake is located.
A sanctuary of purity and beauty
Erin-Ijesha Waterfall, which is also known as Olumirin Waterfalls, is a tourist attraction located in Erin Ijesha, Osun State.
Olumirin Waterfall in Erin Ijesa, Osun State is the most accessible of all the waterfalls in Nigeria. It beats Gurara in Niger State due to its relative proximity to the Ilesa- Abuja Expressway. The waterfall is less than a kilometre from the highway and hidden by the range of rocks that criss-cross through Ijesa land into Ekiti State. From Ibadan ,for example, one could get to the waterfall by taking the expressway to Abuja.
Erin Ijesa, the host community for the waterfall, is just a few kilometres from Ilesa, on the road to Akure. From the bus stop, with just 50 to 100 naira, a commercial motorcycle would take a tourist to the entrance of the waterfall complex.
At the entrance, a gradually fading sign post that has seen better days confirms arrival to the waterfall. However, a potential tourist must try and get the name right. Many travel guides and writeups erroneously call the waterfall Erin Ijesa, probably naming it after the community it is located. The correct name is Olumirin. So, what one sees at the entrance is Olumirin waterfall and not Erin Ijesa.
Maybe due to its accessibility, the waterfall is one of the most visited in the country. Every day, weekend or working day, there is always a steady stream of visitors that make the trip to the waterfall. The entrance does not capture the allure of the gift of nature. It is old and not well taken care. There is a step facing the entrance, about 200 metres away. After paying the gate fee, one could then head towards there. It leads to the waterfall. From that point to the waterfall, one has to engage in a little exercise of climbing and descending as one meanders through the enveloping rocks to get to the waterfall. It is hilly, as one meanders and turns towards the left to the fall. From that vantage point, one could also have a bird eye view of the Erin Ijesa community and its environs. Like all waterfalls, getting near it is always a little evocative as the crash of the water from a metre high up has a compulsive pull at one to come and see and experience the freshness.
Erin Ijesa, like Arinta Waterfall in Ekiti, is surrounded by tall trees that are perpetually in pursuit of the sun ray and as such grow tall in search of sunlight.
There are some distinctive features about the waterfall that is very peculiar . One is the different layers of the fall. The less adventurous would just stop at the base of the fall enjoying the scenic ambience and refreshing cold water and then leave. Alternatively, one engages in a little rock climbing. By the left hand side is a rock part that leads to the top of the rock. For the fit and adventurous, it is worth trying as it gives a vantage view of the water and also sights of the distant community nearby.
The water itself, pure and cold, gushes from a distant of about 60 metres, clear, white and refreshing. The rocks around the Erin Ijesa area is peculiar. There are particles of gold like elements that glitter. Maybe geologists might have a look whether it is actually a sign of hidden treasure beneath these rocks or simply as a result of the chemical comportment of the water.
According to the indigenes of Erin Ijesa, Olumirin waterfall was discovered by hunters in 1140 AD and was called Olumirin, which means "another deity," because it seemed it had the appearance of a mysterious figure.
The natives of Erin-Ijesha, at the time, believed the waterfall to be a sacred altar through which their souls can be purified.
And of course, they carried out sacrifices and celebrated festivals on the site of the waterfalls as their belief grew stronger and convincing.
However, that was then.
The waterfall has about seven stages and with three major falls. Before the discovery of the waterfall, according to the community’s folklore, the people of Erin Ijesa were migrants from Ile-Ife after the death of Oduduwa, the progenitor of the Yoruba race.
They were led by a woman by a woman called Yeye Aye Akinla. According the story, before the woman set out on the journey, she consulted the Ifa oracle. The Ifa chief priest told her that she would treck out of Ile- Ife for 17 days and that where she got to on the 17th day of her journey would be a peaceful place for her to settle down with her followers and it happened that way.
After the migrants had settled for years, they were unaware of the waterfall. On a particular day, the hunters set out to hunt and they discovered the waterfall by chance. They ran back and called their leader, Yeye Akinla. They told her they had discovered another god. It took another Ifa consultation to convince them it was not another god ,but God’s handiwork. The priest instructed them that they should worship and be holding an annual festival in honour of the deity of the waterfall.
With an atmospheric temperature ranging 30-34oC coupled with the fact that the location is enclosed within the soothing hands of nature, the breeze at the site of the waterfall is cool and refreshing.
The whole scenery is fascinating and idyllic.
There is also another wonderful thing about the Eri-Ijesha waterfall; it is like a collection of seven cascades which pour over a cliff, thus creating an impressive seven-part waterfall.
It is because of this unimaginable beauty that prompts a writer, who visited the waterfall for the first time, to declare that the waterfall exudes a therapeutic ambiance which only something natural can produce.
Nevertheless, climbing the various levels of the waterfall is not as easy as it may seem on first glance; however, it is exciting and worth the effort.
Here’s an account of a tourist’s experience:
"The first level is so beautiful and astonishing; I have never seen anything like it before in my life. The water flowed with a rhythm and just watching it gives you a soothing feeling.
"It was so inviting I couldn't stop myself from having a feel of it: I needed to feel the water on my skin. And not minding my hair, I went in … how it welcomed me with a full embrace like a lost child; it took a lot of cajolingly to get me out of the water.”
And if upon your first visit you think like this tourist’s that the first level is amazing, you’ll definitely change your thought when you climb to the second level.
"The second level was a beauty in itself. I thought the first was the most amazing thing I have ever seen, but when I saw the second, I had a change of mind.
"The water snaked lazily through the height as it picks up it velocity.
"And yet again, I went in to have a feel; the water slapped my flesh excitingly, pumping out like an imprisoned rebel through the thickness of the woods.
"This time I willing left the water to see what the third fall has to offer."
Erin-Ijesha waterfall offers everything the tourist needs to satisfy his/her hunger: From freedom to beauty; refreshment to peace, happiness to safety... and of course, inspiration to goodness.
In conclusion, it is okay to say that a visit to Erin-Ijesha waterfall is a visit to the embracing sweetness of nature.