The making of a Creative Centre for Olumirin Waterfalls, Erin Ijesha #NigeriaTravelChat

Five years ago, I found a new passion, a passion I have grown and nurtured ever since. I had always believed that we could achieve more and improve our tourism potentials in Nigeria

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My venture into tourism was spurred by a report I came across about the Nigerian Tourism Industry and the potential worth of the industry if fully harnessed, the jobs that could be created and improvement to lively hood of many.

damilare - discoveria - nigeria travel chat - cross river national parkMy name is Damilare, an Architect, Traveler and Founder/ Chief Experience Officer . I am really excited at this opportunity to be featured in this edition of the #NigeriaTravelChat; and say a big thank you to the  and Sam Adeleke for this opportunity.

I am so glad today that more attention is now being drawn to Tourist Destinations in Nigeria and how technology/social media has been a tool we have used over the years to achieve the result we’ve had so far.

But, we can do more and I do believe our next step is the systematic development of tourist infrastructure in Nigeria.

damilare - discoveria - nigeria travel chat - monkeyNigeria remains one of the unique and blessed nations on earth with wonderful landscapes, rock outcrops, amazing vegetation, beaches and wildlife. Just like someone blessed with a good IQ, the need to harness it is really important.

Yes, Nigeria has a vast potential for Tourism but we need to develop them to ensure human comfort and ambience of peace to everyone.

discoveria - nigeria travel chatAs a young lad going to Olumirin Waterfall, I couldn’t climb beyond the second level and even the stairs leading up were tiring and uninteresting. Then I asked myself what if…?

And ‘what if’ translated into the desire to see an improvement to the comfort and experience at this tourist destination. My desire was further strengthened over the few years as an experience officer with . The burden of seeing few people never truly enjoying the amazing landscape nature has provided. Instead my tourist clients would rather prefer to remain at second level due to the difficulty of hiking the terrain.

One of the experience that remain striking to me was a tourist who spent the whole day hiking to the top of the seven layers only to return and yet felt unfulfilled. He stressed the fact that there was no particular event happening on the top-most level or even other levels aside the second level – aside cutting leafs to show the feat of hiking to the seventh level.

This was personally disturbing, but I could understand and relate as he had a better expectation of such destination. Also I am usually perplexed when I see tourists hiking with extreme caution when descending than ascending – just because of how steep the terrain is – and the possibility of a fall. Most people are usually tired, dehydrated and hungry on return and should not go through the stress of carefully descending or fear of a fall.

I am equally very passionate about equal opportunities and fairness and I believe tourist destinations in Nigeria should be available, accessible to people with physical disabilities. And I believe this proposed design and development project could serve as a good example.

I totally believe a good hiking experience is one that the tourist would want to try again no matter how many times they have visited. So I decided to take on this project at the beginning of the year 2017 with the aim of increasing pull factors to the destination by improving access and facilities and ensure unique experiences at each level

By improving access and ensuring that there are easy routes to explore the whole destination – but beyond that, the core aim is to improve economic activities and social connection at Olumirin Waterfall, ErinIjesa.

damilare - discoveria - nigeria travel chat - osun osogbo groveWith a World Heritage Site at Osogbo, the Olumirin Waterfall at Erin-Ijesa could be the choice destination for people to have fun engage in creative activities and be accommodated. The synergy is just perfect.

This inspired my design of Creative Art Center for Olumirin Waterfall, ErinIjesa.

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A destination where people could be trained on art and craft (applied, fine and intellectual art) with activities such as painting, drawing, textiles (tye and dye), pottery, dance, photography among others.

My choice of a Creative Art Center is because tourists are better interested in learning something new and what if you could create a painting and take it home after visiting Olumirin Waterfall as souvenir.

Art and Craft activities like this spur group visit to the destination from corporations, Institutes, Schools, Associations either for team bonding activities or relaxation.

I carefully positioned the building at the 5th Level to ensure people are encouraged to hike the whole seven layers.

The proposed Creative Art Center has a bowling area, games area, Concert Hall, Lecture Room, Library, Audio Visual Center, Offices, Conference Hall, Multipurpose Room, Music and Dance Room Exhibition and Sales Offices.

The Art Center is flanked on three Side by an Amphi Theatre. An interesting element is the fact that the building follows the organic Architecture principle developed by one of the World’s most famous Architect Frank Lloyd Wight.

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This principle generally encourages the design of buildings to follow the natural pattern of a site. And this is what we seek to achieve with the Creative Art Centre. It basically has 9 floors, with open areas for concert, dance and music – as well as outdoor areas for creative activities.

It is designed such that you can enter the building at one end and only exit through the 5th floor at the other end and vice versa. This simply means there are 4 basement floors in the building.

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In order to ensure that tourists enjoy maximum comfort, I created accommodation of different cadres at the 7th floor, ranging from Studio Chalet, Executive Chalets, to Premium Chalets and VIP Chalets. With an efficient walkway that leads from the entrance to the 6th level and a road network that takes you all through the site, you could basically be in your car and experience the whole Seven Floors of Olumirin Waterfall.

The VIP Chalet is a 3-floor accommodation for high profile guests, separated to allow some level of privacy. Each chalet is separately powered with solar and inverter to ensure steady power supply.

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Aside the local food joint at different layers, there is an eatery, fitness center and sport center where tourists can play volley ball, basketball and other games. More investment is needed in the tourism industry and there is need for people who understand what it means to sell tourism. Tour operators, Tour guides and Travel agencies need to be fully involved in the development of tourist destinations.

I am using this opportunity and platform to call on Government, Investors and Professionals to support this initiative.

For those asking for a video rendition of this project, I am currently working on a live animation of the design and the entire site design. We would definitely share it with the 3D model when it is ready.

I got this question which I’ll like to respond to: Damilare, have you thought of consulting with developers in East Africa? This is because these guys are experienced at building & developing lodges/ properties around natural attractions e.g tented camps/lodges in the Serengeti, Tanzania; beach houses in Diani, Kenya etc

My response is: Yes I do agree. I have actually met someone but discussion has not really started but nevertheless, I would appreciate contacts with folks in this field.

Another question: You talked about using solar to generate power for the chalets and creative centre at the site. How about hydro electric? Can any power be tapped at any point within the flowing spring?

My response is: Water pressure at 5th-7th level is relatively low especially at dry season and extending it from the Second layer might be ineffective.

At this juncture, I will like to once again thank you for your time and the opportunity to be featured on this edition of the #NigeriaTravelChat. I would keep updating as we improve the design. Your contributions and suggestions are really valuable and appreciated.

Thank you.





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