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Ogbunike Cave: Nature meets beauty

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Ogbunike Cave: Nature meets beauty

Historical Sites

 

It is a cave always described as one of the best and greatest wonders of creature, found within the crust of a range of hills surrounding the area. Located at Ugwu Ogba in Ogbunike town of Oyi Local Government Area, a 10km drive from Onitsha, commercial heartland of Eastern Nigeria.

 

“Ogba Ogbunike,” as the locals call it, has been known decades. It is a location where Africans hid for slave raiding parties during the African holocaust period.

 

According to oral tradition of the Igbos, two hunters from Ogbunike town discovered this cave at the dawn of history who received “divine” instruction on the cave by a spirit (angel) called Pantheon.

 

It was also said that there was a god called “Ogba” who lived inside the cave in the middle of a large rock. Despite the opaque nature of the rock, he was an all seeing spirit who could detect criminals especially thieves. When someone was accused of some sort of crime, he could prove he was innocent by entering the cave. The guilty ones never returned alive. There are several other stories about the many segments of the cave, which are better told by the local guides. However, the cave has become very popular and it attracts quite number of visitors yearly. Because of religious traditions, the visit to the cave is only allowed with bare feet. Painting graffiti on the walls is not forbidden, so many walls are full of them.

 

Leading into the cave is a track (a multiple of 60 steps) which leads into a number of other mazes (a complex and baffling network of paths, lines). The entrance to the five tunnels of the cave is a wide and tapering mysterious hemispherical vault of solid rock with all season cool spring water dripping from top and all corners. Once inside the vault, you feel quite serene as though you have come to a wonderland.

 

The naturally-carved network of chambers and tunnels has two levels. The lower level is 100m long and leads to an underground river. The upper level is twice as long and dry, and a bat colony and a waterfall sit at the north-western end. Visitors to the cave are advised to go with touch light, wear trouser and prepare to do some crawling. Within the vicinity of Ogbunike cave is Mbida Ogba stream. Visitors to Ogbunike cave will have the advantage of savouring the serenity of the stream.

 

The caves are believed to be occupied by a large colony of bats of various sizes. There are streams and body of water at various places. A stream flows out from one of the tunnels into a rapidly flowing river (River Nkissa). At the meeting point of the river and the stream, one can feel the warm water from the caves and the cold river water.

 

Beside this portion of the river is a tableland of about 5 X 5 square meters used as a relaxation spot by visitors to the caves. The immediate environment of the caves up to about 200 metres radius is a thick tropical rainforest type of vegetation. Among the fauna of the site are deer, antelope, grass cutter, porcupine, rabbit, alligator, snakes and frogs. Others are fish, crabs and birds.

 

Ogbunike Cave is said to be associated with living traditions and has been used by the people for many centuries; the site still retains its historical and spiritual significance. The biodiversity of the site has remained almost intact. The integrity of the site can be attested to by the presence of the primary forests around the caves.

The Ogbunike caves, described by geologists as millions of years old, are the yet undiscovered cash cow of Anambra. One of the cave tunnels exit at the Ogbunike Town Hall, about six kilometres away from the cave proper, and another tunnel, according to folklore, terminates at Obosi in Idemili North Local Government Area.

 

In 2007, the National Commission for Museums and Monuments submitted Ogbunike Cave to UNESCO, under mixed category, to be considered as a World Heritage Centre. For now, the Cave is still on the tentative list.

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