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Hi there!

I'm Margaret, a female traveller from Nigeria, and welcome to my personal blog , TheAjalaBug.com.

Here, I document my adventures in travel and life experiences generally. Hope you get inspired!

Holy expedition to Awhum waterfalls and caves | Tourist attractions in Enugu State (Part 1/4)

Holy expedition to Awhum waterfalls and caves | Tourist attractions in Enugu State (Part 1/4)

After a long tiring walk through the stream, rocks and cracks
Eventually, staring at me was the magnificent waterfall, such scenic beauty
Just then did I realise that adventure is worthwhile
Without doubt, my home, is nothing but beautiful and magical
This is my story......

ARRIVING AT THE MONASTERY

I first came to the knowledge of Awhum waterfall and cave through my parents who are Catholics. They told me how the Catholic Church at the Monastery had taken responsibility of the management of the caves and that Pilgrims & Monks visited the waterfall regularly on pilgrimage. My parents have never visited the place before but it was one of those places that as a Catholic in Nigeria, you would hope to experience. I began to research about Enugu in general and then more specifically, the Awhum waterfall. It didn't take long before I decided I had to discover and explore Awhum.

............good gracious, there was a public holiday in Nigeria. I packed my bags and prepared my mind for the adventure!. 

I travelled by air to Enugu and took a scheduled ride to Awhum town where the waterfall is located. The driver had never been there but luckily Goggle map was up to the task and directed us accurately to the Monastery. It took us roughly an hour from the airport to arrive at the gates of the Monastery

 Awhum waterfalls and caves | The Ajala Bug

Awhum waterfalls and caves | The Ajala Bug

When you see this fence and road, then you know that you are on the right path

 Awhum waterfalls and caves | The Ajala Bug

Awhum waterfalls and caves | The Ajala Bug

The gate leading into the monastery

 Awhum waterfalls and caves | The Ajala Bug

Awhum waterfalls and caves | The Ajala Bug

Instructions for visiting the waterfall. Note the instructions on the signboard!.

GETTING PERMISSION TO AWHUM WATERFALLS

When we arrived at the Monastery, we asked the security men for directions to the waterfall and we were told that we had to get approval from the monk first. Prayers were ongoing, so we had to wait. While waiting, the security man said that no one was allowed to the waterfall as it was closed to the public because people were 'abusing' the place and disbursing the peace of the monks. In my mind, I said "there is no going back, I have travelled hundreds of miles to witness this spirituality"

......I had spent so much resources (time, money, energy & alternatives) that turning back was not an option.

It didn't take too long before Monk Cletus graced me with his presence and said that the waterfall was closed to the general public, owing to the same reasons the security man mentioned. I rarely take no for an answer. For the first time, I discovered I knew how to toast. Ha! 

I chatted cheerfully with the Monk for some time, told him about my family and myself, before he gave me permission to visit the cave. He then instructed the security man to lead us to the waterfall and cave. Worthy to note from our chat were the following points he mentioned:

  • The best time to visit the cave is during the rainy season but that's also the most difficult time because you have to walk through almost knee length levels of water. Good thing, I visited during the rainy season and was prepared for the adventure.

  • There's also a mountain called Our Lady of Mount Calvary which is less than an hour's walk from the waterfall. He encouraged me to go there as well.

  • Don't fear, it is safe

 Awhum waterfalls and caves |  The compound of the Monastery

Awhum waterfalls and caves | The compound of the Monastery

 Awhum waterfalls and caves | The Ajala Bug

Awhum waterfalls and caves | The Ajala Bug

 Awhum waterfalls and caves | The Ajala Bug

Awhum waterfalls and caves | The Ajala Bug

You can be persecuted for making noise, within the laws of the Monastery :) 

 Awhum waterfalls and caves | The Ajala Bug

Awhum waterfalls and caves | The Ajala Bug

The waiting room. We all got to do more for the priests and monks dedicated to serving God.

 Awhum waterfalls and caves |  The administrative buildings

Awhum waterfalls and caves | The administrative buildings

THE JOURNEY TO AWHUM WATERFALLS

The journey began through a narrow footpath between the fence of the monastery and thick forests.

I asked the security man, now acting as a tour guide, how far of a walk it was. He replied saying not too far; "if we walk fast enough, we will be there in 30 mins" Okay, I said. 30 mins didn't sound like a life threatening adventure. 

We walked....and walked....and walked briskly.....for almost two hours. The pains began to set in. Ha! like a Yoruba man, I shouted. Ha! Are we almost there? I asked again. Yes, he said, smiling.

........forget the level looking ground you see in the picture below. The ground was painfully rugged 85% of the time

 Awhum waterfalls | The trail leading to the caves

Awhum waterfalls | The trail leading to the caves

THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES

Finally, I could hear the thunderous sound of water and right in front of us was a stream. Finally, we are here. I wish, but NO!. James (for ease of writing, I have named the now tour guide), are we there yet? Sister, the journey has just begun. I don't understand, I said. How and why? He stared at me and continued smiling. Gosh! I was humbled. 

  Awhum waterfalls | The AJALA BUG

Awhum waterfalls | The AJALA BUG

After walking for almost two solid hours. Yet, James was saying the journey had only just begun. Funkeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!. 

  Awhum waterfalls | The AJALA BUG

Awhum waterfalls | The AJALA BUG

Walking for another 30 mins, right after the stream, we saw a signboard with additional instructions.

  Awhum waterfalls | The AJALA BUG

Awhum waterfalls | The AJALA BUG

This is unpaid Gulder Ultimate Search...hahaha!. To go any further, you have to remove your shoes. This is the point where the journey truly begins

THE FINAL LAP OF 30 MINS

Pull your shoes, we are going barefoot, James said. Barefoot? Are you kidding me? Calmly, still smiling, he stared at me. Are there snakes there? Oh no! I can't be talking of snakes here and now, I said in my heart. He said it's fine, let's go but walk gently.

It was mixed feelings as I walked through the cave. I was terrified, excited, accomplished, praying and hoping nothing goes wrong etc.

Oh, did I mention that I told the driver to stay behind if he wasn't up for the adventure. Well, I did, but he insisted. Omo mehnnnnnnnnn, the man lamented like lamentation ALL through. LMAO!. It was too late; there was no going back.

I wish life could be like the journey through the caves, where giving up is just as tough as forging ahead, hence propelling people to forge ahead always. 

After we satisfied our curiosity of Awhum waterfall, we asked James to call us three bike men. There was no way I was going to trek the entire length of that road again. The bikes came and waited for us half way, and this helped a great deal as the journey back was way shorter and faster. 

  Awhum waterfalls | The AJALA BUG

Awhum waterfalls | The AJALA BUG

The water level was high and even at knee length in some areas

  Awhum waterfalls | The AJALA BUG

Awhum waterfalls | The AJALA BUG

I missed my step and fell here. No injury!.

  Awhum waterfalls | The AJALA BUG

Awhum waterfalls | The AJALA BUG

Still moving

 Awhum waterfalls 

Awhum waterfalls 

Standing on the platform is the statue of Mary

 Journey not for the faint hearted

Journey not for the faint hearted

 Awhum waterfalls

Awhum waterfalls

The narrow path to the waterfalls. Yes waterfalls, there is a mini and a major waterfall. Please don't think of snakes. You might not make it through because at some point your legs will be fully submerged with no visibility of what is beneath.

  Awhum waterfalls

Awhum waterfalls

The caves beautifully  line the tracks to the waterfall. 

 Awhum waterfalls and caves review | The Ajala Bug

Awhum waterfalls and caves review | The Ajala Bug

This was the first mini waterfall before we were faced with loads of bats. If you are scared of bats, please don't bother. After this point where I took this picture, we were faced with hundreds of giant bats, Perhaps it was because I visited during rainy season.

O boy!.......my driver almost started crying. He lamented throughout the endurance trek but this was the height. He even wanted to put on light. Haaaaaa, 'Mo gbe'. Don't please, they are harmless, I whispered. I had to give him prep talk before we could pass. It was too funny. I just told myself, if others can, I can and that settles it. 

  Beautiful rock formations. 

Beautiful rock formations. 

  Still in high spirit

Still in high spirit

  Prayer centre at Awhum waterfall

Prayer centre at Awhum waterfall

 Awhum waterfalls

Awhum waterfalls

The waterfall cascades down from the 30 metres high roof of the cave and forms multiple streams.  

FINAL WORDS ON AWHUM WATERFALLS AND CAVES

I have been to almost 15 waterfalls in Nigeria but this one has a special place in my heart; beautiful and unique. An experience will convince you!. I lack words to explain how I felt at the sight of the waterfall. My heart just kept racing with excitement as we drew near. It was unreal. In addition, the water is said to have some spiritual powers but unfortunately I forgot to carry a jerrycan :).

It is a safe location. I will state that there are two necessary ingredients required for a journey of this nature; courage and determination.

Courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to act in the presence of fear. - Bruce Lee. 

TRAVEL TIPS FOR AWHUM WATERFALLS

  1. Carry a bottle of water and hold on to the bottle for further use if you believe the water has healing powers. Fetch some!.

  2. You must travel light. Very light. A big camera is even weight. I went with only my iPhone and I was fine :)

  3. Follow all the instructions. Ladies, there's no sexy here. Come like a Nun, else....you might be sent back

  4. Don't wear dark coloured clothes, so your picture can pop. 

  5. Tip the tour guides, well.

  6. Make arrangement with a bike to lessen the stress of your journey

  7. I recommend visiting between September and November. After the rainy season and before the dry season. 

  8. The waterfall and cave is a place for Christian pilgrimage and a prayer centre. Please do not abuse in whatever form. Stick to the rules.

  9. Cut a stick in the woods and carry it along for support

"NO PHOTOGRAPHING OR FILMING IS ALLOWED" :) :) :) :) says the signboard.

Thanks for reading my story. Have you visited Awhum waterfalls before? Please share some of your highs and lows with us in the comment section. 

Thanks

Margaret.

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