Last year, I took a trip to Enugu for the first time. It was a whim decision and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew I wanted to eat a lot of Abacha and try Agbugbu for the first time. I never got to try Agbugbu but I got to see parts of Enugu that made me fall in love with the city.
A waterfall, a lake and inexcusable neglect.
If you google Ezeagu, the first suggestion that pops up is Ezeagu Tourist Complex. Which is ironic, because while Ezeagu is beautiful and scenic it is inexcusably neglected. All you need to gain access to the place is to tip a villager to guide you. There are absolutely no facilities put in place to make it a ‘tourist complex’. Regardless Ezeagu is completely breathtaking.
A makeshift bridge for the adventurist or suicidal(?) at heart.
Ezeagu is located in a remote village miles and miles from the city’s centre. So two things went through my mind as I crossed the bridge. One if I fell, it’ll take forever for medical help to get to me if I even survived the fall. Two, I had better not fall.
A holy expedition.
For reasons, I still don’t completely understand Awhum waterfall and caves is officially closed to the general public. Except you spend hours cajoling the security men at the entrance and promise them a little something for lunch. But it’s worth it.
Hail Mary full of grace.
I’m Catholic on some days. And the day I visited Awhum was a good day to be one. No matter how agnostic you might be the trek can’t help but feel like a spiritual experience. Especially when you walk by eerily peaceful looking statues of Mary like this one. I didn’t know when I begun to recite hail mary for the first time in months as I passed.
A pine forest and a waterfall.
Despite a frustrating lack of information on the internet about tourist attractions in Enugu, I found quite a bit of information on Ngwo before I visited. Of course, not enough to understand how exactly a waterfall was located in the middle of a pine forest. One tortuous trek down into a cave, and dozens of cuts and bruises from wearing inappropriate footwear later, I got it.
But first a cave?
Even after visiting I don’t think I still understand how a waterfall came to be in the middle of a pine forest. What was even more confusing was finding out I had to make my way through a sort of cave first. It didn’t help that I had to take a leap of faith and believe that two strange men who served as my guides were not serial killers or rapists. Because once again there was a complete lack of tourist facilities.
What’s a mall without a carousel and a Ferris wheel?
For all of Lagos’ gra gra I’m yet to come across a mall with a carousel and Ferris wheel to boot. Was my heart was in my mouth each time I head a loud creaking sound as I rode the Ferris wheel? Yes. But the view of Enugu from the top at night was absolutely stunning.
More than a centre for memories.
There’s nothing more beautiful than to see Igbo pride on display. And that’s all the ‘Centre for Memories’ is dedicated to. From Igbo icons in literature, art and academics to significant events that have shaped the Igbo culture, everything Igbo is beautifully on display.
Food for gods and not mere men.
I’m not sure if my greatest discovery in Enugu was the Abacha at ‘Fire for Fire’, or finding out that Akpu is food for gods and not mere men. I now also understand that the national smear campaign against it that has gone on for decades because of its smell is a conspiracy to deny Nigerians of the greatness that is Akpu.
Not a month goes by that I don’t talk about the life-changing Abacha I had at ‘Fire for Fire’. I even wrote a little love letter to it here, last year. When I’m back in Enugu because I’ll definitely go back, ‘Fire for Fire’ will be my first stop.