• Monday, May 27, 2024
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At the confluence of two springs


  It is 2pm with the sun heating the earth with an intensity that could bake humans. The only solace is the air-conditioner that keeps the hired commercial bus temperate while the outside bakes. When the driver left Lagos, none of the passengers thought the rough-looking middle-aged driver would leave the air-conditioner on till the destination. Saving fuel is always in their mind, and always at the expense of passengers who paid for the so-called air-conditioned bus.

As he pushes the throttle harder along the Ibadan-Akure Expressway, the journey becomes more interesting with many alluring sights. After about two hours’ drive, the bus diverts from the expressway to a single lane road. Yet the speed remains the same.

“Your destination is 30 minutes from this junction,” the driver announces. As he speeds further, awesome topography keeps emerging, the vegetation becomes greener and more locals on their way from farm flank the road but keep a distance for fear of being knocked down by reckless drivers. The landscape features rolling hills and deep valleys that offer an irresistible charm to the adventurous mind.

From the bus, you cannot look farther because of the imposing hilly topography that seems to cover the whole area, but they are signs that Ikogosi Warm Spring Resort, our destination, is not far, according to an indigene in the bus.

The nearer we get, the thicker the vegetation becomes. Yet a downpour of sunrays inundates the hilly and tropical vegetation offering light to locals in the canopy resulting from cluster of trees.

At last, we arrive in about 30 minutes, as the driver predicted. A few moments later, we start feeling the therapeutic powers of the spring resort. The quietude is amazing, the serenity wonderful, facilities world-class, while the entire vicinity is most beautifully endowed by nature.

After moments of rest, we set out to discover the warm spring. Truly, the Ikogosi Warm Springs is a sanctuary of two faces of nature. The volume of water coming from the spring remains constant and warm all day. A strong stream is noticed when one pays a visit to the warm spring source early in the morning.

The warm and cold springs of the Ikogosi flow parallel and meet somewhere down to form a confluence, with each maintaining its thermal quality. They both exude from separate spring points in the quartzite rocks and cruising down naturally-terraced foot slopes of the ridge to form a picturesque confluence beneath a concrete causeway.

The quartzite boulders that are scattered everywhere are often washed by the gentle flows of the springs. It is intriguing sighting fallen tree trunks that bridge the spring channels and offer the forest rodents free passage to all streams.

This is the first of such an occurrence in the world. The warm springs has temperature of 70oC at the source and 37oC after meeting a cold spring. The meeting point of the warm and cold springs is a unique attraction to tourists. I marvel at the confluence point that can easily be reached unlike the confluence of River Niger and River Benue that sees fewer tourists at Lokoja.

The naturally-enhanced environment at the spring is truly one of the best eco-tourism appeals one can ever imagine, while the undulating vegetation at the source of the warm spring provides canopy for tourists and visitors.

A visit and a dip into the spring with it refreshing and, of course, healing effect will convince one that Ikogosi is no doubt one of eight such warm springs discovered in the world. Then, it is one wonder tourists must see while on a trip in Nigeria.

Most indigenes and some visitors who believe in the curative power of a spring have better stories to tell. “This is not fable,” warns Oye Daramola, an indigene and tour guide at the spring.

Besides a refreshing dip, there are more for sightseeing. It is intriguing to see a tree and a palm growing from the same source at the meeting point area of the warm and cold springs.

At the warm spring resort, a large swimming pool fed by natural spring waters welcomes visitors. The cool and serene ambience preserved by thick forest canopies gives one a perfect experience. A dip of one’s leg leaves one with nature’s romantic pamper occasioned by the mild fingerings of the warm spring. But you will also feel tickles as the cold spring flows through your feet.

However, there are many mysterious tales around the flow and the origin of the springs. One is that the springs were wives of the same husband, whom after much rivalry and fighting were turned into water springs – one, the fiery-ill tempered wife, as the warm spring, and the other, the cool-tempered wife, as the cold spring, whereas the surrounding hilly areas is the husband. Another myth, according to Daramola, says a powerful hunter who was hunting for animals in the bush discovered the warm spring.

But science has proved the source of the warm spring to be a deep fracture in the basement, and that its source of heat is due to the normal geothermal gradient of the subsurface and not deep-seated mantle plume beneath the area.

Beyond nature, the recent facility upgrade by Ekiti State government has seen more modern accommodation options to complement the natural thrills.

With 100 general chalets, one executive and 16 VIP chalets, which have been upgraded to a five-star hotel standard, and another 43 chalets, accommodation is something to desire at the resort.

Besides, there are now a 300-seater amphitheatre, 450-sitting capacity conference hall, swimming pools, shopping mall, dining hall, multi-purpose hall and two warehouses that have lifted the resort to a world-class standard that will appeal to global tourists.

So, why wait? Go commune with nature that is so beautiful and different at Ikogosi.


Obinna Emelike