Zuma Rock: The Monolith With A Human Face

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Zuma Rock, the monolithic Inselberg with a human face, is located in Madalla, Niger State, to the North of Abuja. It was once described as the unquestionable watchman of the F.C.T. It is the sandy concealment that hangs like a haze over Zuba Town. The other mountains in and around it stay a considerable distance from it, which the Zuba people see as a form of respect being paid by the other mountains to Zuma Rock for its royal presence in the locality.

It is impossible for Visitors and Tourists who come to Abuja not to see this magnificent structure, as it has always been a centre of attraction for them. Although it is located at Madala, Niger State, it has over time become a major symbol of Abuja’s landscape, due to its close proximity to Abuja City. Behind the rock is the Zuma Rock Nigerian Village, which was built to accommodate tourists visiting the rock.

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History of Zuma Rock

Zuma Rock was first located in a thick forest by the people of Zuba and the Koro in the 15th century when they settled around the Rock. The Zuba people named the rock, “Zumwa”, which means “the place of catching Guinea-Fowls”. Thus, the name “Zuma” was derived from this name. On getting to the forest, they settled within a mile radius around it and constructed a couple of settlements. On discovering that the rock had strong spirits, they worshipped it, offered constant sacrifices, and organized festivals in honor of the rock. Thus, within its environment, this rock is regarded as the strongest idol, both for its size and strong spirits. Over time, it has been used for defensive purposes by the natives of Gwari against invading neighboring tribes.

Zuma Rock is a very popular landmark in Nigeria. It is 3.1 kilometers in circumference and stands tall at a height of about 725 meters above the surrounding area, which is more than the height of Aso Rock and Olumo Rock combined. At the time FCT was carved out, it was well known that the physical boundary of FCT dissected the Rock, with the larger part falling into Niger State and the smaller part falling into FCT. Therefore, geographically it is in-between Niger State and FCT, Abuja. Generally referred to as the Gateway to Abuja, it stands ostensibly at the Northern end of Abuja, on the Abuja-Kaduna expressway.


When is the Best Time To Visit Zuma Rock?

Visiting Zuma Rock between April and October, which marks the rainy season in central Nigeria where the rock is situated, would afford you the opportunity of seeing the much talked Zuma Rock Fire, as the apex of the Rock catches fire under heavy rainfall. Over time, this has remained one of the wonders to behold.


How To Get To Zuma Rock

Minna Airport is the closest airport to the Zuma Rock. The Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja is also close to the rock. Taxis are available to drive tourists from the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport to Zuma Rock. The journey takes about 45 minutes.

Things To Do At Zuma Rock

Join a group of rock climbers to go hiking and mountain climbing. Climbing the rock takes about 5 hours and it gives you the opportunity of having an aerial view of Abuja City as well as its environs.

For first time climbers, it’s advisable you climb the Rock through the Eastside. Climbing the mountain can be a daunting challenge but with adequate preparation, you’re good to go. In order to avoid any hazard and ensure your safety, you should be armed with items like climbing rope, helmet, and hiking shoes.  Ensure that you have an expert climber by your side.

Also, view the face of the Zuma Rock from the southwestern wing as well as in the evening. Do not leave Zuma Rock without visiting the Zuma Rock village, which lies stately behind the rock.

How Much Will A Visit To Zuma Rock Cost?

The Rock is open and available to anyone interested in exploring the rock, albeit tourists would be required to pay a token in the event that they want to climb to the top of the rock.


Fun Facts About Zuma Rock

  • The rock was used by the natives of Gwari as a defense against any external force that may want to invade their community.
  • The iconic image of Zuma Rock appears on the 100 Naira bill.
  • Zuma rock has natural contours which project the image of a human face with a visible mouth, eyes, and nose.
  • The Rock is twice as high as the Uluru Rock in Australia, and more than four times as high as Nigeria’s tallest building, NECOM House.
  • Zuma Rock reflects a beautiful and special natural rock formation. It provides a good environment for picnicking and relaxation.
  • It is believed to possess magical powers, which has made enemies powerless and provided the Gwari natives with a hiding place.
  • During the raining season, the apex of the Zuma Rock catches fire while it’s raining.
  • It is believed that anytime the sound of a door is heard opening and closing on the rock, a big personality passes on.
  • It is believed that when people die, their spirits go to the rock.
  • Traditionally, since masquerades are believed to be the spirit of the dead, it is believed that all masquerades originated from Zuma Rock.
  • It is believed that the Rock sits on a large expanse of water, which if allowed to flow out, has the capability to cover a large portion of land.
  • It is believed that before the end of time Zuma will be at the centre of an enormous settlement.
  • The Rock houses the most powerful spirits around its environs.

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People Who Like Zuma Rock Also Like;

Olumo Rock

Located in Abeokuta, Ogun State, this rock is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in Nigeria. It is no surprise that this rock is located in Abeokuta, as the name “Abeokuta” itself means “under the rock”. Olumo Rock, which stands at a height of 137 meters above sea level, is a bit easier to climb than the Zuma Rock which stands at a height of 725 meters

Riyom Rock

Located very close to Jos, Plateau State, Riyom Rock, is one of the most unusual rock formations in Nigeria. It is, in fact, several big rocks laid on top of each other, which is why it is referred to as the three rocks. The area surrounding the Riyom Rock is popular for hikes.

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