The Osun Sacred forest
Osogbo Travel Blog› entry 4 of 11 › view all entries
Feb 6, 2012
Bus: Osogbo to Lagos
Hotel: Ibis Airport Lagos ($185)
This morning my plan was to visit the Osogbo Saced Forest, one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Nigeria. I woke up around 6 AM after a fitful sleep, still suffering jetlag. I had a basic breakfast of omelette and white bread with weak weak tea.
I checked out of the hotel then walked down the street to the main road. The forest didn't open until 10AM, it was only 8:30 so i had some time to kill. I caught a motorcycle taxi (okada) to the center of town and visited the Oba (Chief) Palace. The book says moto-taxis should be about N50 but he wanted N200. Still only $1.25 or so. A woman was there who showed me around the house, which was painted red and covered all over in white/black designs.
After visiting the palace (the 7th one I believe), I caught another okada to the Sacred Grove.. I asked him if he knew it and he said yes, yes. N100 to go there. We started driving what seemed the wrong way.. again I asked and he said yes I know where to go. I was still confused.. the place should have only been 2kms from where I started but we went nearly 4 before he brought me to the wrong place... (GOF... not Grove). Finally I got him to understand where I wanted to go.. which was way back near where we started. I got the back street tour down dirt roads and behind the university before coming up to the Grove from the opposite side.
I paid the entrance fee N500, plus the camera fee N2000(!!) and hired a guide to show me around. The Sacred Grove is a special place for the Yoruba.. according to legend the fertility goddess Osun came out of the river here. The setting is very tranquil, located along the bend in the river. The forest is protected and it is a green oasis located just a few kms from the center of town. All through the forest are statues and buildings that have been restored or created since the 1960s by an Austrian artist who still lives in town. There is a festival here in August that ends with a procession of a virgin from the town who makes offerings at the altars.
After finishing the visit at the grove, I headed back into town to see about getting lunch or catching a minibus back to Lagos.
Arrived back in Lagos about 2:30 PM, and caught a taxi over to the Ibis hotel. The taxi driver asked if I wanted the 'new' or 'old' Ibis.. I assumed it was the new one. The two hotels are right next to each other, the Ibis Royale and the Ibis (Accor) hotel. I hadn't made a reservation at the Ibis so ended up having to pay the walkup-rate ($185 including breakfast) vs ~$130 that I had seen online.
I was pretty sweaty and grimy at this point after sucking diesel fumes most of the way back to Lagos, so the hotel was a nice oasis with (cold!) a/c in the rooms, wifi and towels. So I holed up in the room most of the afternoon reading and updating my photos. Then I looked online and found out that the Ibis Royale next door has a $62/night rate with the same amenities... good to know for next time.