Ogbunike Caves

The Ogbunike Caves in Anambra Nigeria are starting to become very popular among international tourism. These network of caves and tunnels have served the locals many purposes for hundred of years.

The Ogbunike Caves are one of the most beautiful historical landmarks in the Anambra State. Surrounded by a tropical rainforest, the Ogbunike Caves are a natural wonder to many who visit. “The Ogbunike caves, described by geologists are millions of years old, and are the yet undiscovered cash cow of Anambra.” The caves are said to be discovered by a man named Ukwa from the Umucheke family of Ifite-Ogbukine, around four thousand years ago. Legends state that the deity Ogba created the caves and still live inside of them. An important spiritual heritage within the caves dates back many years before the first Europeans made their way onto Nigerian soil. The caves's great darkness was a place of worship for many locals for hundreds of years. Many locals and indiginous peoples still arrive at the caves to pray and worship. This is due to the various phenomenons that occur in the caves. The caves are a major tourist attraction for people visiting the Anambra State, as it is becoming more popular and well known. There are actually a vast amount of caves all connected by a network of big tunnels that make up the Ogbunike Caves. The Ogbunike Caves have served various purposes over time. “In the latter months of 1968 and 1969, when hundreds of people hid in the dark to escape the perils of the Nigerian Civil War, the Ogbunike Caves presented many options.” During the time of the Atlantic slave trade the Ogbunike Caves were used by slave traders. Slave traders would hide in the caves and plan out their lucrative raids on villages in surrounding areas. In the 1990's the government created an easy access entrance to the caves consisting of over three hundred steps. The main cave in the beginning is quite large. Almost two stories high and around forty feet wide. In the main chamber there are ten tunnels all leading in different directions. Many tourists are shocked to see the massive colonies of bats that live inside the caves. The bats are harmless as they stand guard of the caves wonders. Some of the tunnels and caves also have streams of water that run through them. The River Nkissa is connected by one of the streams from the caves. The water in and around the caves is thought to be divine by spiritualists. Spiritualists also visit these caves to collect water that falls from the top of the caves. It is thought to be considered healing water. On the trip deep into the caves tunnels, at some points visitors have to crawl their way through. At one intersection of tunnels, tourists can choose to see “talking stone”. “The Indigenes call the talking stone ‘Nwanyi Akpanyi’”. The Ogbunike caves are very different than many naturally occurring underground structures and they are getting more popular as each day passes. Tourists have to be very respectful as they arrive at the caves. Rules and provisions are reviewed before entry into the caves. One major rule is that you cannot leave the caves by the same entrance you come in. The rule is highly enforced and there are no exceptions. Also all visitors need to take their shoes off upon entering the cave. Once a year the locals hold the Ogbe festival. This festival celebrates the spirits and caves. Around the caves are about two hundred meters of thick tropical rainforest. There is a large amount of wildlife surrounding the caves in the rainforest. This also adds to the beauty of the caves and area around them. In 2013, the movie series Idemili was shot at the Ogbunike caves. The UNESCO added the Ogbunike caves to their World Heritage consideration list in 2007.

Images

Map