The hill of Idanre is one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in Nigeria. It includes such cultural sites as “Owa’s Palace, Shrines, Old Court, Belfry, Agbooogun footprint, thunder water (Omi Apaara) and burial mounds and grounds”. It resides 3000 ft above sea level and houses a unique ecosystem upon which the cultural landscape has integrated. On getting to the entrance of the hill you will see a great tree at the entrance of the ancient city of Idanre called the IRAYE TREE, then you can now get prepared to take the steps to the great city beyond the hills of Idanre. This site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on October 8, 2007 in the Cultural category. Amietophrynus perreti, or the Perret’s toad, is only known from a single locality at the Idanre Hill.
The five sites where forest elephants are found in southern Nigeria are the Omo Forests in Ogun State, the Okomu National Park in Edo State, the Cross River National Park in Cross River State, the IDANRE FORESTS and Osse River Park in Ondo State and the Andoni Island in Rivers State. Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) The ancient settlement of Idanre has existed on the hill since antiquity, however Western civilization was introduced to the ancient city when a team of missionaries led by Rev. Gilbert Carter arrived in the year 1894. The missionaries built the first primary school in the year 1896 of which the clay building still stands strong till this day. In the year 1906, a lawcourt was established which includes an ancient prison where the convicts spend their jail term. Idanre hills with the highest peak reached by six hundred and sixty seven (667) steps remain one of the wonders of nature and a marvelous tourist destination. Estimated to be over 800 years, they are located in the ancient town of Idanre, Ondo State, South West, Nigeria.
It is found to be fifteen kilometres (15km) South West of Akure, the State Capital. The ancient town is on the hill top while the new settlement is at the base of the hills. Idanre hills, in the past offered protection against invaders and are appeased annually. The Idanre hills are steep-sided, smooth and dome-shaped in nature. The hills, named after some historical figures in the socio-cultural evolution of Idanre land, form an inspiring sight. Examples are the Olofin and the Orosun hills named after the pioneer Oba (king) of Oke Idanre and his Olori (queen) respectively. The hills are surrounded by evergreen undulating landscape There are some evidences of human habitation on the hills. There is the Owa’s (king) palace courtyard with carved figures and doors believed to be built in the seventeenth (17th) century. Also present are the Old primary school buildings, the Native court building, the tombs buildings (mausoleum), the Secretary to Owa’s (king) office building and the quarters of Oloris (queens) There as well are some monumental features.
The Agbagba Hill: This hill became popular because of Agboogun, mysterious footprints that are found on it. Tourists are allowed to put their feet into the footprints. Surprisingly and mysteriously, the footprints contract and expand to accommodate all feet put into them. It is believed that anybody whose feet do not exactly fit into the footprints is considered to be a witch or a wizard.
The Carter Hill: This hill was named after a former colonial Governor who signed a peace treaty with the Oba (king) of Idanre dated back in 1891.
The Ajimoba Hill: This hill was named after a dedicated King’s gateman.
The Ilesun Hill: This is named after a great warrior who killed his daughter in fulfillment of his vow to sacrifice the first living thing that would come his way if he should win the war he went into. The girl was buried at the base of the Ilesun Hill. Annual commemoration ceremony is observed on the hill by children of her age.
The Arun River: It is a small river found on the hill. A swim in the middle of the river gives a mysterious frightening and bustling experience. Arun is a crystal clear river where crabs and some other aquatic creatures are found.
Cultural features: gods, goddesses and traditional arts are present on the hills.
To get to the top of the hill, tourists would have to climb six hundred and sixty seven (667) steps with five (5) resting posts along the steps where tourists can take rest. The steps and the resting places have been reconstructed while the notable historical monuments, such as the old primary school buildings, native court building, the mausoleum, the Owa’s secretary’s office, the Oloris’ quarters and the ancient palace have all been rehabilitated for conservation. In order to complement the tourism potentials of Idanre hills, Ondo State Government has embarked on the construction of an eighteen inches hole-golf course at Atosin-Idanre and a forty bedroom hotel in collaboration with private investors. Idanre hills has been enlisted on the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage list.