When I moved to Enugu in 2018, I moved in with a bag full of clothes and a heart filled with optimism. Although, I was still wired to the trips down the ‘west’, but I was also excited about the foods, the hills and people I was going to live with in the Coal City.
When the bus we boarded got to Enugu, I caught a glance at the boisterous and busy life at ‘Old Park and Holy Ghost’ before setting out for Awgu in a late-night trip. In Awgu, I had temporary abode in a hilly and densely-populated community.
In Enugu itself, I found a new home and a family. Well, my experience during the hiking at the hill eastward of Akwuke Sand Beach in Enugu South, Enugu State in Nigeria was perfect antithesis of what I had expected but you know what, it was exhilarating! Truth is, it wasn’t my first, but it was my first attempt at solo hiking.
A week earlier, I had visited the Ezeagu Cave and waterfall in Ezeagu to enjoy beauty of the local site. There I had my first shot at Abaacha (an indigenous food dubbed as African Salad), Abacha brings one to a level of an unexplainable bliss when garnished with proper ingredients. In my previous attempts at local foods, I had already picked interest in Oha and Draw Soup (Ogbono and Okro) with Semo. Amaechi, my friend, a tall man with a husky voice had took me on a journey to a local canteen to eat Apku and White Soup. Menn, that soup left an eternal taste in my mouth.
That was actually by the way, my ‘solo’ hiking with Chinedu, my friend and hike partner played out in different way, it turned out to an adventure for us.
You See, if you plan on visiting the Coal City in the near future, hiking the hills around the city would add spice to such trip. There are a lot of hiking groups to join when visiting Enugu. Hiking the hills in Coal City is such a bliss, it will turn out to be a miniature of the experience you will get while hiking the mountains of east Africa – from Zanzibar in Tanzania to the Kilimanjaro is Kenya.
If as a low budget hiker, you need fun and mind-blowing experience while hiking, Enugu has a perfect treat for you.
From the Miliken Hill that has one of the major road that leads to the hilly Ngwo settlement and the hills of Idaw River which provides a clear view of Enugu’s evanescent landscape architecture and the natural plain that surrounds the city, the city though not set on the hills as the name literally means has several hills within her.
When Chinedu caught a gaze at the hill we thought was just a hairsbreadth from the Sand Beach with no route leading to the hilltop, he threw the challenge at me. Well, I joined him and that was the beginning of another journey for us.
Apparently, the hill was standing aloof, with bushes and trees surrounding it. It was a horse of a different colour. Who would want to explore such in this dispensation, I quipped. Maybe I shouldn’t have doubted him at the first instance but the truth is, I did. Nonetheless, we set out for this beautiful adventure; it was nerve-racking, invigorating and exhilarating. It was just two of us, clearing the path and walking through the bush all the way to the hilltop.
By the way, the last paragraph was just a drift and an exposé on what I have been enjoying since I moved to Enugu State. The mandatory one-year service in Nigeria brought me to the city, it is 520km away from where I was born and bred – Ibadan, Oyo State.
After an enduring journey to through the bush, we got to the hilltop, you heard me right. It took more than two hours from the nearest road path to the hill top, but the amazing scenery from the top and the cool breeze that was blowing was enough to convince us to stay a little longer on the hilltop.
After a long time of playing and reminiscing on the hilltop we were set to leave as it was getting late. We didn’t want to leave, but we were left with no choice. No camp tent, no torch light, no mat and also enough food that will last us till the next day.
Our journey down the hill became chilly halfway down the steep slope. Yes! We had lost track of our way out of the bush. It was dusk and we still couldn’t fashion out how we are going to the egress from the bush.
I’m sure the end of the trip is what everyone looks forward to, this is it. The adventurous story ended in praise. After that fun hike experience, we had, I heard a new group of hikers have embarked on a solo hike to hill. We have made our mark. But you can create a new story by visiting Enugu, but don’t forget to visit those hills with a formidable team like the Hikers Trail.