Let’s take a trip to Nasarawa State in the central region of Nigeria, home to Farin Ruwa waterfall, which has been likened to Victoria waterfall in Zimbabwe/ Zambia
Nigeria is a country blessed with many natural tourist attraction sites but most of it is in the hinterland. We have so many wonderful places that are significant and I do wish we start taking toursim serious.
Do you know that the only natural suspended lake in the world is in Oyo State? The highest waterfall in West Africa is in Nigeria? The highest mountain point is in Taraba State? There are so many wonderful sites of nature.
Nasarawa State was created on 1 October 1996 by the Abacha government from the neighbouring State of Plateau State.
Nasarawa State is bounded in the north by Kaduna State, in the west by the Abuja Federal Capital Territory, in the south by Kogi and Benue States and in the east by Taraba and Plateau States.
The mainstay of the State’s economy is agriculture with the production of varieties of cash crops throughout the year. It also contains various minerals such as salt, baryte, and bauxite, which are mostly mined by artisanal miners.
CHASING Farin Ruwa, NIGERIA’S VICTORIA FALL
I chased this waterfall with a few friends on the said day. We went via public transport for it’s always fun for me traveling by road, I discover a lot of wonderful views and places.
Farin Ruwa is in Wamba Council area of Nasarawa State, the neighbouring State to Abuja, FCT.
From Nyanya we board a car going to Akwanga straight, sometimes this is not possible for an individual but because we had the numbers, we got a vehicle on time. Nyanya to Akwanga was almost an hour. From Akwanga, we board another vehicle to Wamba where we disembarked at the Junction leading to Farin Ruwa.
We then got bike men to take us to the fall.
Then our journey began. There are little villages on the way such as Mama, Marhai, Kulere and Wamba, the terrain to the waterfall gets dusty and challenging as you go further in. Your real journey starts when you cross the first stream which is the most active of all the streams that you will have to cross to get to the Fall. About 15km from the fall you will witness a wonderful view of the fall as it flows against the large flat chested rocky terrain. It gives you an illusion of been closer to the waterfall, but alas, your journey has just started. The view is picturesque.
THE CHALLENGING TERRAIN
The first bridge is built with concrete slabs and is quite strong. It can take bikes but not wide enough for cars. The climb up and down the hill starts. I tried to compare this terrain to the one of Owu waterfall in Kwara State in terms of the challenges faced in getting to them. They both seem to be the farthest into the hinterland so far for me in terms of roughness. We crossed seven streams before getting to the waterfall. There are some rocks that were laid in the streams for people to walk on making a rocky pathway exception of the first one with a bridge. I did walk through the streams for I was wearing plastic shoes. Advisable when hiking where water is, get good crocs with good grip soles.
On your way, about 5km to the fall one would notice some abandoned uncompleted buildings on the far left. We later learn from our tour guide, Mr. Emmanuel Agalti, a staff of the Tourism Ministry that they were supposed to be chalets for guests to stay in. But like the sad story of all the Tourism spots we have, it’s an abandoned project.
We met our guide on the way as we were about to cross the first stream. He lives in one of the villages we passed on the way, and once we were spotted as strangers, he heads out to meet us.
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
At some point, we will come down from the bike, walk a few distances and then climb back again, drive some few metres and down again. On getting to the last bridge which is an iron bridge, we parked the bikes and then walk into a spaced forest with trees left and right forming an umbrella above. From here you will start hearing the sound of the water, you have to keep walking and then you see some stairs that lead down to the fall. The first close sight of the fall is amazing.
In October, it is not at its fullest but one can see and feel the force of the water. Surrounding and leading to the waterfall are high range hills. We were told by our bike men and later confirmed by Mr Emmanuel that the other side of the hill is Plateau State.
Mr Emmanuel Agalti, who is 13 years in service, started working as a tour guide with the Ministry of Tourism in 2004 is also the keeper of the fall.
“Farin Ruwa was discovered during the reign of Abdullahi Adamu, a once civilian governor in 1999. The source of the fall is in Plateau State. On the other side of the hill is Plateau State. It is from Bokkos local government of Plateau State”, he explained. The waterfall is about 120 kilometres from Lafia, the Nasarawa state capital, and 30 kilometres from Wamba town.
If you have been you Kurra or Assop falls in Plateau State, you will notice the same rock structures, formations, patterns and colours with Farin Ruwa.
There is no doubt that it is part of Plateau State.
The name Farin Ruwa in the Hausa Language means ‘White Water’, which is a description of the nature of the falls by the local inhabitants of the area. The height covered during the descent of the falls is very great and wide chested. There is a pathway for the water to fall through as it comes down from Plateau State. The falls gradually turns white in colour as a result of the height covered by the falls during its descent. The force of descent makes it emits white smokes especially when the fall is so full. This normally occurs during the rainy season from March to November.
If you are into adventure and nature and you live in Nasarawa or Abuja, do visit Farin Ruwa for a daycation.
About The Writer
Funmi Ajala is a visual storyteller, who uses the medium of Photography, video and writing to document travel, culture, festivals, portraits and everyday people. She is profound for her travel stories and pictures. She documents her stories and pictures at funmiajala.com. She can be reached at Fa@funmiajala.com