Ogbunike Cave: A Spiritual Bastion And Hidden Gem Of The Nigerian East

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The Ogbunike Cave is in Ogbunike, Anambra State, southeastern Nigeria. Located in a valley surrounded by tropical rain forest. The collection of caves has been in use over centuries by local people for whom it has particular spiritual significance. This spiritual significance is still apparent, as the “Ime Ogba” celebration is undertaken every year to commemorate the discovery of the caves.

Descending into the valley where the caves are located is a walkway made up of about 317 steps said to have been constructed by the Anambra State Government in the mid 90s. It was used as a place of refuge during the civil and hid from their opponents.Visitors must remove their shoes before entering the caves, as per tradition and women on their menstruation period do not go in.

The main cave consists of a massive structure with a big open chamber of about 5m high, 10m wide and 30m long at the entrance. There are ten tunnels at the main chamber leading to different directions. Within the tunnels are big chambers and other tunnels of varying lengths, some of which are interconnected. The caves are occupied by a large colony of bats of various sizes. There are streams and body of water at various places.

A stream flows out from one of the tunnels into a rapid flowing river (River Nkissa). At the meeting point of the river and the stream one can feel the warm water from the caves and the cold river water. Beside this portion of the river is a table land of about 5 X 5 square meters used as a relaxation spot by visitors to the caves.

The immediate environment of the caves up to about 200 meters radius is a thick tropical rainforest type of vegetation. The site has sufficient boundaries to protect its values from direct effects of human encroachment. Among the fauna of the site are deer, antelope, grass cutter, porcupine, rabbit, alligator, snakes and frogs. Others are fish, crabs and birds.

The entire cave is surrounded with undulating hills and valleys which stretch across other communities and farmlands. The site has sufficient boundaries to protect its values from direct effects of human encroachment.

The Ogbunike caves like the ancient cave temple of Arochukwu in Abia State of Nigeria were a symbol of justice. Ogbunike caves have a beautiful waterfall in the North West part of the cave that could compare to Kalambo falls in East Africa. The caves are believed to have been in existence for centuries with minimal defacement and they have retained the same biodiversity for many years.


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