Ondo state is predominantly occupied by Yorubas who speak various dialects of the Yoruba language such as Akoko, Apoi, Idanre, Ikale, Ilaje, Ondo and the Owo and a minority speaking the Ijaw language. Ondo state popularly called the sunshine state in Nigeria is a land blessed with some exciting tourist sites. A good number of these best places to tour are located in Akure, the heart and state capital of Ondo. An amazing discovery found here was a rock which was engraved during the Mesolithic period. Some Homo Sapien’s fossils which happen to be the oldest in West Africa were also discovered here.
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On the list below in no particular order are the best places to tour in Ondo state.
1. Deji of Akure Palace
The Deji of Akure’s palace located in the state capital of Ondo state in Nigeria is one of the notable places to visit in Ondo. The palace is the traditional home of the town’s ruler. Here, you will find the cultural heritage that perfectly explains the people’s story. Tourists and visitors have the opportunity to learn a great deal about the people and historical monuments relating to the establishment of Akure in this palace.
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2. Idanre Hills
Idanre Hills are one of the most beautiful and awesome landscapes in Ondo state and Nigeria. Otherwise known as ‘Oke Idanre’, these hills are perhaps the most popular travel destination in the sunshine state. A fact that fires curiosity of visitors and tourists is that the entire people of Idanre lived on these rocks for almost a millennium. There are several myths, lore and legends tied to these hills which are told to visitors by the local tour guides.
As a natural and cultural landscape, Idanre Hills stands out well among other places that have been listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The nine wonders on the hills include; the Great steps with 660 steps and five resting points set at least 100 metres apart leads up into the hills; the unreadable signs; the wonderful mat; Agboogun’s Footprint which fits any foot size except those who are considered to be a witch or wizard; the Thunder Water; a mystical dilapidated building; a blackened slate; the Orosun Hill from which the Arun river reputed to have healing power flows from and the Art of Noah.
Looking for an intriguing adventure in Ondo state? Idanre hills should top your list.
3. Cave of Ashes
The Cave of Ashes is located in Isharun. It is referred to as the home of the oldest pre-historic man in West Africa as its skeleton was discovered by Professor Thurstan Shaw, an archaeologist from the University of Ibadan.
4. Igbokoda Waterfront
The Igbokoda waterfront is situated in Ilaje Local Government Area of Akure in Ondo state. It is one of the longest territorial water in Nigeria.
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At this waterfront lies a fishing terminal which would pick the interest of any tourist or visitor. The waterfront also offers activities such as boating, swimming, picnic, boat regatta, diving and much more.
5. Igbo Olodumare
Igbo Olodumare translated to mean the ‘Forest of the Almighty’ is a thick evergreen forest preserved for its beautiful and fascinating nature. It is situated in Oke-Igbo near Ile-Oluji. Some of the fun things to do in this mystical forest include shooting a movie; having a picnic; camping; bird watching and meeting other persons visiting while being treated to the folklores and tales surrounding the forest.
The forest is significant for its spiritual value. It was believed in the past that demons and spirits existed in the forest. This forest has sculpted creatures somewhat similar to the Oshogbo groove tourist attraction in Osun state.
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6. Ebomi Lake Tourist Centre
The Ebomi Lake Tourist Centre has a fascinating historical antecedent according to the locals in the area. The lake is located at Ipesi in Akoko South-East local government area not far from Akure. The lake is 1.6km long and 40m wide. Also known as the bottomless lake, Ebomi Lake is believed to have supernatural powers for protecting villagers during the times of war.
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The lake is acclaimed to have unseen soldiers that fight battles for the Ipesi people. It is also believed that the lake deities give their villagers varying gifts such as children, fowls, fishes and much more. The lake sees a lot of tourists and visitors who come and glean a thing or two from the culture of the people as well as relaxing and exploring nature.
7. Owo Museum of Antiques
The Owo museum of antiques is a national museum that has many wood and ivory carvings, brass and bronze works. The museum has been preserved to serve as a place for visitors to have a taste of historical values of the people of Owo and the neighbouring towns and villages.
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The Olowo’s palace in Owo is also one of the best places to tour to get a firsthand history of the cultural heritage of the Owo people. This palace is the largest in Yoruba land covering about 99 hectares of land. There are over 100 ancient courtyards of which 17 are still intact today.