Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Gully in the woods


With my new-found celebrity, I seem to have more and more Nigerians reading the blog these days. I’m thrilled that what started as a way to update family and friends on my travels is reaching a wider audience. As they say in Nigeria, “you are welcome!”

Did you know that the largest man-made construction in Africa – bigger even than the pyramids of Egypt – lies just an hour outside Lagos? Sungbo’s Eredo is a 1,000 year-old rampart that runs for more than 100 miles through the fields and forests in Ogun State. I read about it in a guidebook and went for a visit this weekend.

The whole thing is somewhat mysterious. Nobody knows why Sungbo’s Eredo was built (it may have been to keep out marauding elephants!), and no Lagosians I spoke to had ever heard of it. But the book said to go to Ijebu-Ode and ask around, so I did. Once there, I eventually found an okada driver who knew where it was, so we sped out of town, past graveyards and beautiful old churches. Along a remote road he stopped the bike and pointed to an old sign lying in the weeds. Sungbo’s Eredo, it said. Success!

I paid him and got off. But where was this eredo, and what is an eredo anyway? I saw a line of trees (pictured here) but nothing like the seven-story earthen wall the book described. Needless to say there was no tourist information booth. I followed a path through some pineapple and corn fields, then past an ant hill. The brush got brushier, until finally in a clearing I saw a small berm that looked like this.


Was this what I had come for? Indeed it was, as a later learned from a nearby chicken farmer, who also explained that “eredo” means “ditch” in the local language. Not exactly Machu Picchu, although perhaps it would be impressive to follow it the whole length. And maybe the driver just didn’t bring me to the right place – next time I should go here, where it looks pretty cool. But it was a good excuse to get out of Lagos for the day. And hopefully it makes good blog fodder for my readers, Nigerians and non-Nigerians alike.



  1. Sean, you were mislead Sungbo's Eredo is in lagos it runs from ota down to iyana ipaja and there are many myths to it it sis not sure if it was man made.

  2. that is a real adventure