Ado Awaye: 5 hiker’s guide to Africa’s Suspended Lake

Oke Ado Awaye | Bayo Owosina Photography

20km west of Iseyin local government of Oyo state is a rising tourist paradise, Ado Awaye — home to the fascinating suspended lake (Iyake), one of the two recognized in the world, second to the hanging lake in Colorado, U.S.A.

This mountain is situated between two sister communities, Ado and Awaye, amalgamated over 200 years ago by the jilted prince of Oyo who had lost his place on the throne to his younger sibling because his mother was from Ota.

Oke Ado Awaye as its fondly called is symbolic and sacred to the people of both communities. Locals believe drinking from the lake heals one of all sorts of diseases and ailments as well as cures infertility.

Iyake Lake | Bayo Owosina Photography

If you will be exploring new grounds and hiking, it’s essential to travel light. If you have to question why you need any clothing, then you sure don’t need it. Lightweight clothing materials should be packed while you wear your heavy clothings say jacket/cardigan to save space. Add on a face towel to soak up your sweat when you hike.

Ado Awaye though rich in history and culture does not promise you Oreos or chocolates so pack those cereal bars, cookies, fruits like bananas, whatever you desire to snack on especially if you’re selective with your choice of food. Water bottles are an absolute necessity.

You can browse the internet to know what to expect. Direct your questions to your tour guide before, during and after the trip.

Don’t forget to keep fit before coming to increase your threshold for fatigue, the hike is not for the fainthearted.

Get you hiking/running shoes with a good grip to hike and MTN is your most trusted network out here. Don’t come with the largest data network and 9mobile is sure not here for you either.

Note: Don’t leave behind your camera, power bank, chargers, cash, as well as a good company!

Oke Ado Awaye | Bayo Owosina Photography

Navigation

There are two routes leading to Ado Awaye from Lagos. Going through Abeokuta, the journey lasts about 3 hours 30 minutes while through Ibadan, about 4 hours or more.

If you wish to visit you can cut the stress by driving down. Armed with your Google Map, you’ll do just fine. I made my trip down using a public transport through the Abeokuta route, 2 stops after — one at Kuto bus stop, the other at Iseyin bus stop — I arrived Ado Awaye.

Note: It is essential to arrive well before your scheduled time to hike.

Hiker on Oke Ado Awaye | Bayo Owosina Photography

Accommodation

It’s noteworthy that the town is on its rise as a tourist location so you’ll have to make do with one of the two available hotels. Treasure and Trinity hotels are below average, priced at 3000 — 5000 Naira per night. These hotels do not see a lot of travelers so they are not entirely catered for.

In light of this, I recommend you have your tour guide book ahead before your arrival for proper cleaning. You should pack some bedspread/blankets with you, make sure you come through with mosquito repellants, and get set to do your number 1 or 2 in the greens if you have a thing for lack of self-flushing water closets.

Note: The hotels both have bars serving beer, pepper soup, ponmo among other things.

The Hike

Before coming, you need to reach out to a tour guide. I had with me David Atabo, the official tour guide for Ado Awaye. Your tour guide’s main job starts when you arrive the mountain base.

I arrived the mountain from Treasure hotel which is about 5 minutes drive. As soon as you arrive, your tour guide will give you heads up about the journey ahead as well as a climbing stick for support. The entry fee is 500 naira.

You start out by climbing over 300 stairs built into the rock, then you join a forest path, followed by bare rock then a steep valley. Don’t focus on the stress of hiking, the breathtaking view is a great compensation.

The hike should take about 3 or 4 hours in total depending on your pace and resting break.

Don’t forget to take pictures or videos. You’ll need them as a bragging right :)

Oke Ado Awaye | Bayo Owosina Photography

Budget

In total, 10,000 naira will cover transport and accommodation for one person traveling by road.

Do have on extra cash for emergencies, shopping or visiting surrounding towns.

The townsmen are currently working on ways to make visiting Ado Awaye an epic experience.

Elephant Trunk, Oke Ado Awaye | Bayo Owosina Photography

So dear nomads and tourists, pack up and pay Ado Awaye and Africa’s suspended lake a visit!

Note: Olubunmi is open to travel writing opportunities and expeditions.

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