An abandoned quarry now known as Mpape Crushed Rock, in Abuja, the Nigerian has become a tourist hotspot after some visitors posted images of the place on social media earlier this month.
The rocky cliffs which can be seen climbing into a blue sky, also has a moss-lined footpath, small green hills and a lake that shimmers in the sun. These all combine to give visitors quite a breath-taking image. The images captured from here were shared on Twitter at the beginning of August and the original post has been re-shared or retweeted thousands of times more.
In a matter of days of the initial Twitter post, the site, known as Crushed Rock, in Mpape – a poor neighbourhood on the outskirts of the capital Abuja – was thronged by thousand of tourists.
This new found interest in a place that hitherto was unknown has given rise to micro businesses. There has been a DJ stand, food vendors, hundreds of sun-bathing selfie-takers – and even a band of classical musicians.
The typical Nigerian is not your regular outdoor lover, especially those who reside in Abuja, mostly because the weather can be quite hot in the northern parts and the middle belt of the country where Abuja is; the weather is also quite humid in the south.
However, there is a burgeoning community of hikers around Abuja inspired by the many expatriates living in the political capital.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also had a part to play in encouraging these young middle-class Nigerians to explore the hills in the country’s rocky central region, since they are seeking some outdoor activities after weeks of movement restrictions and social distancing measures.
The lockdown has inadvertently been good for local tourism because since people are being restricted from travelling far from their cities of abode, it has resulted in people choosing to instead explore places closer to their homes and cities.
The area around Mpape, which means “rock” in the local Gwari language, was the major source of stones when the city of Abuja was being transformed from a small village in the 1980s into the country’s political capital city.
“The quarry has existed for more than 10 years,” said Mpape resident Courage Ebenz, who is surprised by the sudden interest and influx of city-dwellers.
Nigeria has an abundance of sites of natural beauty, but this “man-made” location has its own appeal – with three main tiers that each give a stunning view of the water below; the experience has been described as surreal for visitors of the site.
Irumole enjoys writing, music, swimming and dancing. She is a sucker for information and also loves food 🙂