Jemimah Ekundayo
May 31, 2024


Situated in Idanre town in Ondo State, southwest Nigeria lays the Oke Idanre, also known as the Idanre Hill. One of Ondo State, Nigeria’s most breathtaking and stunning natural settings is Idanre Hill. In addition to its natural beauty, which piques people's interest, the entire Idanre people lived for nearly a millennium atop these boulders. The scenery of the Idanre hill is well-known. The place has gained recognition and the country has been nominated for the UNESCO World Heritage Site shortlist due to its diverse range of cultural sites, including 'Owa's Palace,' shrines, The Old Court, Belfry, Agbooogun footprint, thunder water (Omi Apaara), and burial grounds. At 3000 feet (914.4 meters) above sea level, Idanre Hill is home to a distinctive ecology that supports the cultural landscape has been incorporated. It is claimed to feature diverse, multicolored "flora and fauna" ecosystems.

Live pictures of the Idanre Hill from different angles


For those who are unfamiliar with the history of Idanre, the community was formed when one of the descendants of Oduduwa, the ancestor of the Yoruba tribe, stole the Ade-Ide, also known as Ade Omo Oduduwa, the crown belonging to Oduduwa's son that had unquantifiable value. He then fled from Ile Ife, the Yorubas' ancestral home, with his followers into unexplored areas of the jungle, where they were pursued for years and as far as they could until they found a strategically located area to settle down. This led to the exclamation "Idan ree!" in Yoruba, a word that has magical connotations.  Eventually, this small group of people on the hill would start a civilization that would persist for at least eight centuries. The Ade-ide festival is celebrated annually by the King of Idanre, who dons the famous Oduduwa crown, which is credited with the towns founding. This crown is stored for protection at the shrine in Ije.

Idanre Hill is said to have 9 ancient wonders and beliefs and all the following myths are located on the Idanre hill;

The "Ibi Akaso" the Steps, the King's Palace, the Agboogun’s Legacy, the Unreadable signs, the Agboogun's footprint, the wonderful mat, the "Omi Aopara" Aopara Water, the “Orosun Hill” and the “Arun river”.

"Ibi Akaso"

This is the starting point for your adventure through the Idanre highlands. It alludes to the noteworthy stairs that ascend the hill. There are roughly 667 steps total, five of which are rest stops spaced roughly 100 meters apart. Idanre Hills is definitely not for the faint of heart, as seen by the placement of these rest areas, which appear to have been prompted by the energy required for the ascent. The three thousand feet Climbers can anticipate what to expect on their journey with the tall step.

“The Palace of Kings”

Owa of Idanre, the King, has an old palace with three gates that specifically serve three groups of people: the queen uses the middle one, the King uses the first, and others use the third. The building has an enormously lovely courtyard with exquisitely carved statues. The chief's quarter is the only way to enter the castle, which is encircled by the mountain. You should be on the lookout for any new experiences that may await you at this point. For defensive and security purposes, the palace was strategically and primarily encircled inside the mountain. Additional notable sights such as the Aghagha Hill, the Old Court, the Igbo Ore Elementary Primary School, which was constructed in 1896, and the first customary court, which was constructed in 1906, are all parts of the King's Palace.

“The Legacy of Agboogun”

One of the best hunters and fighters to come out of Idanre is Agboogun, and the Idanre hills are full of relics and clues attesting to his valiant adventures. Owing to the controversies surrounding the crown that was taken from Ile Ife and given to Idanre, Ile Ife dispatched a well-known mercenary fighter to steal the crown from Idanre. This hunter came dangerously close to success, but not before the amazing Agboogun smote the ground with a magic wand, immobilizing him until he could behead him. Idanre kings wear their crowns as a memorial on the exact location where the hunter was beheaded, once a year. They won't be able to return to the location until the following memorial. Some of the other legacies of Agboogun include:

The Unreadable Signs

A tour of the Idanre Hills would be incomplete without familiarizing yourself with the legend surrounding the unreadable signs—mysterious, cryptic handwriting etched into the rock. According to the well-known Idanre legend, Agboogun, a skilled hunter with extraordinary powers, gathered his cronies and went on a hunting expedition. While there, they carved a mysterious hieroglyphic inscription on a hillside. The mysterious inscription, which is yet to be deciphered, became known as the “unreadable signs.” Wow!

Agboogun Footprint

It is a spiritual footprint and one of the core mysteries of the hill. The footprint enlarges or contracts by itself. It fits the foot of everyone who dares to put his foot in no matter the size of their toes. Because only their feet wouldn't fit the footprint, witches and wizards are known to have used it as a means of identification. According to legend, the legendary hunter Agboogun carved the foot-shaped print "Ese Agboogun" on the rock as a sign. Additionally, it was to be he who explicitly directed that anyone accused of witchcraft be forced to attempt the foot print in order to demonstrate their innocence or validate their guilt.

Agboogun’s Footprints

The Wonderful Mat

Another example of Agboogun's lasting influence on the sands of time is this amazing mat. Only a stone's throw from where he had left the witchcraft detector on the hills, Agboogun chiseled wide, crisscrossed marks in the ground. The wonderful mat, as the locals call it.

Omi Aopara

Omi Aopara, which may be referred to as Thunder Water, is another breathtaking spectacle in Idanre Hills with symbolic significance, particularly in ancient times. Idanre warriors in ancient times used to rendezvous at the stream of the thunder water before the commencement of any warfare crusade. Warriors were to drink of this water. If thunder rumbled during anyone’s turn, such a person was left out of the war campaign. They were bound to die in battle. I like to think that such an incredible weapon of war does not exist anymore.

The Orosun Hill

In the distance, one can see the smoking hill that is Orosun. It is said to be shrouded in a foggy mist every day of the year and to be a representation of Orosun, an important fertility deity in Idanre. Similar to several notable figures from antiquity, Orosun was rumored to have vanished into the wilderness, with the last sighting being near the smoky hills. Every year, Idanre celebrates her festival, which is very important to the locals. From this smoke-filled peak comes the holy Arun River.

Arun River

The Arun River is a spiritual river whose pure, clear water is thought to have healing properties for anyone who bathes in it.

Finally, non-native tourists are likewise advised not to converse in areas that are off-limits to outsiders, and mountain climbers are always specifically told not to meet anyone coming down. To make sure this rule is followed; visitors are instructed to put leaves in their mouths while visiting certain locations. Some were reported to have fled into the rocks for safety during the old battles. They supposedly continue to reproduce and lead regular lives within the rock. Listening to the people inside transacting and pounding yam, if you could put your ears to the rock, would be possible. There is only one way to find out if you believe this information to be debatable.


The stories of Agboogun's heroic deeds, Oduduwa's stolen crown, and the mysterious symbols carved on the rocks entice us to learn more about the secrets surrounding this ancient territory. Step by step, tourists ascend the 667 stairs of the Ibi Akasu, beginning a journey that takes them not only through layers of time and history that permeate every inch of the hillside, but also via physical elevation.

But in among the echoes of the past, the ever-shifting Agboogun Footprint and the illegible signs provide a tangible sense of mystery and intrigue. These riddles push us to face the unknown with humility and reverence by serving as a reminder that certain mysteries are meant to remain undiscovered.

For those who dare to set out on this incredible trip will find themselves standing before a treasure trove of myth, history, and mystery in the center of Idanre.


9 Ancient Wonders and Myths of Idanre Hills, 2023: Abraham Adekunle

Agboogun Footprint; Idanreland

Mythology of IdanreLand; 2024: Comfort Polit

Idanre Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

Idanre Image Courtesy of Idanre Land

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