Ogbunike Cave is one of the beautiful places to see in Nigeria, the cave is situated at Ogbunike, near Onitsha market, Oyi local government area, Anambra State, South East Nigeria.
It was said to be used as a hideout from slave hunters and was said to be discovered by a hunter named Ukwa. The Ogbunike Cave is segmented into sections and are associated with living traditions, said to be used by the people for many centuries. The site still retains its historical and spiritual significance. There is an annual festival called “Ime Ogbe” celebrated in commemoration of the discovery of the caves. The biodiversity of the site has remained almost in tact.
Descending into the valley where the caves are located is a lengthy walkway made up of about 317 steps said to have been constructed by the Anambra State Government in the mid 90s. Visitors must remove their shoes before entering the caves, based on religious tradition. Among other things that are not allowed in the cave are: Ladies under period banned, Herbalist or spiritual ceremony in the cave is banned and more.
The main cave consists of a massive structure with a big open chamber of about 5m high, 10m wide and 30m long at the entrance. There are ten tunnels at the main chamber leading to different directions. Within the tunnels are big chambers and other tunnels of varying lengths, some of which are inter connected.
A stream flows out from one of the tunnels into a rapid flowing river (River Nkissa), at the meeting point of the river. One can feel the warm water from the caves and the cold river water. Beside this portion of the river is a table land 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 meters 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.
The entire site is within ranges of undulating hills and valleys which stretch across other communities and farmlands. The site has sufficient boundaries (20 hectares) to protect its values from direct effects of human encroachment.
According to oral tradition of the Igbo, 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 crimes, especially, theft. 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.
Ogbunike Cave was submitted by the National Commission for Museums and Monuments on October 8, 2007 to UNESCO under mixed category, to be considered as a World Heritage Center.
video credit: AarengaTV (Youtube)
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