Adrenaline junkies and mountain climbers were recently, taken on a tour of Zuma Rock. CECILIA OGEZI was with them
For tourists and visitors in Abuja, Zuma Rock is located at a vantage spot in the borders of Abuja, 107 kilometres from Minna, along the Abuja-Kaduna highway. This rock, which has been called, the gateway to Abuja because of its location, is numbered as one of Nigeria’s iconic natural wonders.
With its conspicuous human face, the rock, depicted on the N100 bill of the Nigerian currency, appears to swallow the road, rising majestically to a height of about 700m.
The rock was named by the Zuba people originally as ‘Zumwa,’ which means, ‘the place of catching guinea-fowls,’ from where the name ‘Zuma,’ was derived.
Zuma Rock was discovered by early settlers in Zuba and Koro when they settled around the rock in the 15th century. According to history, once it was discovered that the rock had strong spirits, early settlers who were pagans, took ownership of the rock and worshipped it, offering constant sacrifices, and organizing festivals in to honor the rock. Thus, within its environment, this rock is regarded as the strongest idol, both for its size and strong spirits. And over time, it has been used for defensive purposes by the natives of Gwari against invading neighboring tribes.
The rock, for a long time coming, has always been listed as a tourist destination in Nigeria. There is a resort within the area that provides all the atmosphere needed for relaxation and sightseeing.
During the tour with Adventure Seekers and Fruity Tours, organised to avail attendees the opportunity to experience the beauty of the rock in its serene environment, we saw other rocks located in the same place as the Zuma, and the stream of water that runs between the rocks. This scene is as breathtaking as can be, giving the assurance of nature’s sole ability to factor seemingly impossible things together to loudly proclaim her powers.
On arrival, tourists were given a tour round the rock and thereafter treated to a delicious meal at the resort. Afterwards, we moved to where a camp fire was lit for a memorable night.
Camp Fire Night
Since Zuma Rock reflects a beautiful and special natural rock formation, it provided a good environment for picnicking and relaxation and it made the campfire night all too interesting.
The campfire night provided occasion for getting people from different works of life together to enjoy one another’s company and spend time together under the stars. The great thing about outdoors at night is the cool breeze and so so clean air.
It was also good time to encourage conversation, enjoy cool music and intimacy, if you wish, with people. A time away from all the hustle, bustle and distraction to disappear into a new serene world with no devices.
Early the next day, which was a Sunday, we set out to climb the rock from the resort. When the time came for the hike to begin, all erroneous belief of spirits about the rock didn’t count. I was glad that I was face to face with the rock, an image I only saw from a distance in the past, or in books and the N100 bill.
Zuma rock has natural contours which project the image of a human face with a visible mouth, eyes, and nose and stands at such amazing height.
Our hike took us close to two hours and right afterwards, we settled in for breakfast in open air, just at the foot of the rock.
Leader of the team, Joseph Efosa of the Adventure Seekers, revealed that his passion for tourism and seeing that he has to start little by little before getting the backing from international organisation was the reason he started the agency.
Then a year after he started Adventure Seekers, he visited Farinruwa in Nassarawa State, and was also an attendee at a cultural day in Jos Plateau State. He has also visited a host of other places.
For funding, Efosa revealed that these trips have cost implications and it is not easy. To help out, he said that members and people who want to be a part of the trip pay some amount of money which is usually not enough for hotel and feeding. He however concluded by saying that the body puts in a lot to make the trips successful.
‘‘The whole idea is to explore all tourist sites in Nigeria and contribute our quota to tourism in the country instead of travelling to favourite tourist destination like Dubai,’’ he said.
Esosa also explained how these trips foster good social and business interactions because it creates an avenue for people to share ideas and discuss business.
On his part, CEO of Fruity Tours, Iyoha Allison, stressed that tourism gives the opportunity to broaden horizon and has different perspective to life, he however said a lot more needs to be done to improve tourism in the country. “Our key players in the tourism industry, the government and National Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) need to create an enabling environment that will encourage tourism agencies to grow because they cannot do it alone, there is great need for synergy among tour operators,” he said.
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