Jebba which means “water is flowing here” is a city divided between two states: Kwara and Niger. Northern Jebba is regarded as the historical and ancient Jebba. But the city is hardly regarded as a popular tourist destination in Nigeria.
Upon arriving at the bank of River Niger in ancient Jebba North, we met little kids diving and having the best of times. The river provides for most needs: a form of transportation, a bath, and a source of food and water.
We had a few activities on our bucket list while here: sightsee from the top of Jebba Railway Bridge, paddle on a canoe, and hike to Juju Rock Formation, visit the Mungo Park cenotaph, fish at the bank of River Niger with locals and visit one of Nigeria’s three hydropower dams.
The majority of people in the city are Nupes and very friendly. After agreeing to a picture, some girls left the river for school, an afternoon session at Mungo Park Secondary school.
Mungo Park, a Scottish explorer and the first westerner to travel to the midpoint of River Niger, died after his ship was wrecked on the river while trying to escape a hostile attack from the natives. Park always travelled with natives to aid his navigation. We listened to stories from Aliyu, a native of a village called Gungun (a word for island in Hausa), who helped us rediscover what Park found in 1868.
Gungun Village lies near a hydropower station, one of the three in Nigeria, which provides 24-hour electricity to the village, according to our guide.
To see the Juju Rock Formation, we moved to another village called Mazhi which was much closer to the rock. Mazhi was named after the Hausa man who first relocated there in 1968.
We got on the boat and, once on the river paddling with the current and feeling the breeze, the heat became more tolerable. Aliyu mentioned that hippos frequent the water and how local hunters, due to frequent attacks, killed one in 2015 with the permission of the government. With a blue sky, canoes, hills and clear water making a beautiful composition, the scene was like one in a James Bond film.