Under the Rock


You might imagine that there’s nothing much to see in Abeokuta, Nigeria.

And, you’d be right.


Just kidding. As I mentioned, it’s a big city, bigger than Amsterdam. There are several universities and plenty of modern life. But Abeokuta’s main attraction is the rock that gives the city its name: Olumo Rock.


It’s the largest of the gray granite rocks sprinkled throughout the city and is historically important to its foundation. I’ll get to the why in a minute. But check out the elevator gifted to the city by a former governor (back left):


I took my chances with the stairs.

The native people from the area took refuge in the caves during various battles and to avoid slave traders. Thus the name “Abeokuta”, which means “under the rock.”

Look! Here we are, abeokuta!


Yep, that was the joke I cracked shortly after that photo was taken. I’m sure our tour guide had never heard that before. And before we go on, let’s talk about the guides, shall we?

This is chief guide:


He was the one giving the history lessons in a slightly monotone but also staccato rendition. Also, I was not allowed to take pictures of anything directly unrelated to the event he was speaking about. “Don’t snap this! Snap here!”


Along with your guide, you get a second guide. Now I’m not sure what he was supposed to do, but what he did was continually motion us into formation, grab my heavy camera which I nervously handed over, and took photos. Perhaps he was the provided cameraman?


So that’s why I came home with multiple awkward photos of me in a Hawaiian mu-mu. Yep, that’s right. I’m the one wearing a mu-mu in Nigeria. Can you stand it?


Why you might ask? Well, because I wanted to pack minimally. And most proper Nigerian women wear longer skirts. I thought: dress saves space versus a skirt and top, plus it’s brightly colored, so I’ll fit right in, right? Yeah, nope.


White lady + Hawaiian mu-mu = oh, white people are strange anyway.


So I got away with it.


The views from the top of Olumo were amazing.


We stayed a while watching the eagles catch the air currents and hunt.


And the breeze was just what I needed after the press of the city heat and dust below.


But eventually, we had to go, so we descended once again into Abeokuta. The city, that is, not below the rock.



One thought on “Under the Rock

  1. Now I get the mumu conversation. 🙂 I’m so glad you got a picture of that lizard. I tried for a year to snap one, but they were always too quick. I also love that you are the only one smiling in most of those pictures. Ha ha! I love NIgeria!

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