A trip to lush vegetation in a rural enclave may not be easy. It comes with a price. For the adventurous tourist, a visit to the sleepy, rural, yet enchanting Ikogosi town is just the adventure of a lifetime.
Nestled in the town’s heart is Ikogosi Warm Springs – a wonder of nature where two springs, warm and iced water, flow simultaneously. Besides, the landscape features rolling hills and deep valleys that offer an irresistible charm to the adventurous mind.
This is the kind of atmosphere the springs always offer to those who dare for adventure. You will be intrigued by the presence of warm and cold springs flowing side by side. I guess you marvel at that, and probably wonder how possible that will be, if you are science-inclined.
Truly, the Ikogosi Warm Springs is a sanctuary of two faces of nature. The volume of water coming from the spring remains constant and warm from morning till evening. A strong stream is noticed when one pays a visit to the warm spring source early in the morning.
The warm and cold springs of the Ikogosi flow parallel and meet somewhere down to form a confluence, with each maintaining its thermal quality. They both exude from separate spring points in the quartzite rocks and cruise down naturally-terraced foot slopes of the ridge to form a picturesque confluence beneath a concrete causeway.
The quartzite boulders that are scattered everywhere are often washed by the gentle flows of the springs. It is intriguing to sight fallen tree trunks that bridge the spring channels and offer the forest rodents free passage to all streams.
This is the first of such an occurrence in the world. The warm spring has temperature of 70oC at the source and 37oC after meeting a cold spring. The meeting point of the warm and cold springs is a unique attraction to tourists.
But the naturally enhanced and lush environment at the spring is truly one of the best eco-tourism appeals one can ever imagine, while the undulating vegetation at the source of the warm spring provides canopy for tourists and visitors.
A visit to and a dip into the spring with its refreshing and, of course, healing effect will convince one that Ikogosi is no doubt one of eight of such warm springs discovered in the world. Then, it is one wonder tourists must see while on a trip in Nigeria.
Most indigenes and some visitors who believe in the curative power of a spring have better stories to tell. “This is not fable,” warns Ademola Okinola, an indigene and tour guide at the spring.
Besides a refreshing dip, there are more for sightseeing. It is intriguing to see a palm and another tree and growing from the same source at the meeting point area of the warm and cold springs.
At the warm spring resort, a large swimming pool fed by natural spring water welcomes visitors. The cool and serene ambience preserved by thick forest canopies gives one a perfect experience. A dip of one’s leg leaves one with nature’s romantic pamper occasioned by the mild fingerings of the warm spring. But you will also feel tickles as the cold spring flows through your feet.
However, there are many mysterious tales surrounding the origin and flow of the springs. One is that the springs were wives of the same husband who, after much rivalry and fighting, were turned into water springs: the fiery-tempered wife is the warm spring, the cool-tempered wife is the cold spring, whereas the surrounding hilly areas is the husband.
Another myth says a powerful hunter, who was hunting for animals in the bush, discovered the warm spring.
But science has proved the source of the warm spring to be a deep fracture in the basement, and that its heat is due to the normal geothermal gradient of the subsurface and not deep-seated mantle plume beneath the area.
At the resort, there is limited accommodation option comprising 4 VIP chalets, 32 Federal chalets, 8 VIP Quarters chalets, 4 Western chalets, and 18 Macgee Camp chalets.
For any visit, nature is always more alive at the spring as the warm and cold water springs mesmerise visitors with their uniqueness, tranquillity and aesthetics.
Truly, the spring is so peaceful that you cannot wait to enjoy a cool dip in the naturally-heated swimming pool. You have reasons to try out this wonder destination next time you think vacation.
By OBINNA EMELIKE
This article was first published in Business Day on 24 August, 2012.
Last modified: August 25, 2012