The second day of our Enugu weekend trip was not off to a great start. The day started with a heavy downpour, which had us contemplating cancelling our major activity for the day and just keeping the itinerary light and flexible. But around 11 a.m., nature smiled at us and decided to seize the rain for a bit, and that was when we started heading out to Ngwo Pine Forest, my most anticipated location on this trip.
In this post, I shared our rainy day adventures at Ngwo Pine Forest, Enugu, zooming in on how we got there, the hassle of finding and bargaining with tour guides, and the rest of the experience.
If Ngwo Pine Forest is some place you look forward to visiting, then you should keep reading, as I will share important tips towards the end of the post. Alternatively, you can use the table of contents below to skip to the part of this post that you are more interested in.
How to get to Ngwo Pine Forest
Finding our way around Enugu was not that difficult since we opted for the convenient option of booking private tricycle rides that took us directly to our locations. This didn’t work for us on this journey to Ngwo Pine Forest, as it was quite a distance from town. What we did was find a tricycle that took us from our hotel to New Market. The ride cost N600.
Then we boarded a bus from New Market to Ngwo, which cost N200 per person. We stopped along the way at Pine Forest. It’s a pretty popular location along that route, and we only had to tell the driver where we were stopping, and he stopped us there. The journey to Ngwo Pine Forest was an uphill drive with a scenic view of Enugu State.
Rainy Day Adventures at Ngwo Pine Forest, Enugu
The rain started as a drizzle the moment we left our hotel and picked up heavily when we got to New Market. We barely escaped it when we entered a bus for Ngwo. It rained throughout the journey, so when we got to Pine Forest, we had to run under the rain to a shelter nearby. This is most travellers’ dreaded moment.
I prayed silently for the rain to go away so I could at least explore the area a little, having come all the way from town. The more I prayed, the heavier the rain poured. We just gave up waiting and started looking for better places to stay while waiting for the rain to stop. There was a joint of some sort opposite our shed that we decided to go into, even if it meant buying something from them to be allowed to stay.
This part of the experience ended up becoming the most memorable for us because in that place we had a soothing drink, got warmed up, and caught up on our favourite series. We were so engrossed in these that we didn’t realize when the rain finally stopped.
Outside, we headed towards the pine forest, hoping to explore it on our own or probably find a tour guide to take us around.
Ngwo Pine Forest: Finding a Tour Guide
Ngwo Pine Forest is a large stretch of land with tall pine trees. I didn’t expect it to be anything more or less, so there were no surprises there. On our way in, we met a couple of villagers coming back from their farms, and when we asked about the cave and waterfall, they said they didn’t know about it, which was pretty strange.
It was at this point that we realized we did need a tour guide. We decided to get to the end of that path and check for them around the picnic area where they usually hang out, but no one was there. Nothing around hinted that there was a cave or waterfall close by. Since we couldn’t figure it out up to that point, we decided to go back out and find a tour guide.
Back on the main road, the people in the stalls directed us to a nearby compound with one of their kids as our escort. We got there and found a tour guide who advised us, instead, to go and come back the next day. His reason was that Ngwo Cave and Waterfall would not be in great condition, seeing that it just rained.
We had come all the way; we weren’t to do any such thing as go back. We insisted, and the whole matter ended with us needing to pay more money. We started at N10,000 and haggled down to N2500.
PRO TIP: Don’t forget your bargaining hat at home.
Exploring Ngwo Cave and Waterfall
After we had settled the tour guides, our adventure began. We were given a disclaimer that what we ordered may not be what we would get. Back in the pine forest, he explained to us why things were how they were and how the place was a popular Nollywood movie site. Off the top of his head, he listed the Nollywood films that had been shot there, none of which I can recall.
As we delved deeper into the forest, a beautiful hill view unfolded. It was one of the prettiest things I’d ever seen. He pointed to a cluster of houses on one of the hilltops and told us that it was where most of the Fulani herdsmen lived. He said that every day, they would hike the hills to herd their cattle. That information was something to think about, but I tucked it somewhere in my memory to regurgitate later.
We hiked through the forest and down the hill for about 15 minutes. From a distance, we could hear the pouring of the waterfall. A little more hike down, and we saw a stream of muddy water flowing out of a cave. Whoop, we finally made it! I could not hold back my excitement. The first thing I was grateful for was that I did not wear footwear that I cared about. It was a pretty muddy walk to get to the waterfall, which was right inside the cave.
The cave wasn’t as bad as they said the rain would make it, but we saw what they meant. We noticed some carvings on the wall of the cave, which our tour guide explained were signatories of people who had visited before us.
The water poured from the top of the cave, which was a delight to watch. We wondered why it had a muddy colour, and our guide explained that it had mixed with mud due to the rain.
Tucked in a corner within the cave was a pipe from which spring water flowed, and I couldn’t resist the urge to taste it! It was cold and refreshing.
We lurked for a little longer before wrapping it up and embarking on the most difficult part of the adventure—hiking back up. It was one of the most challenging things I’d ever done, but I made it through in one piece and two aching butts.
Back in the pine forest, I felt a surge of gratitude for this adventure. It took a little change of perspective for us to appreciate the uniqueness of the whole experience. Surely, many have seen Ngwo Cave and Waterfall, but how many have seen it on a rainy day like this? While the tour guide felt apologetic about it, I walked my merry way while reviewing the pictures I had just taken, because now Ijeawele has a different story to tell.
6 Things to Know Before Visiting Ngwo Pine Forest, Cave, and Waterfall in Enugu
- It is a bit out of town, so keep that in mind before adding it to your itinerary.
- There is nothing official about the place. You might see a tour guide, or you might not see one. There is no standardized way of collecting access fees or confirming that the person you are meeting is a real tour guide. I would advise you to get a legit contact to call or simply ask around.
- Wear comfortable footwear, one that you won’t mind deepening in water or mud.
- Do not explore Ngwo Cave and Waterfall on your own if it’s your first time. By all means, find a tour guide.
- It is a forest, so stay vigilant and be careful.
- Don’t go with wild expectations.
Overall, I had an amazing experience at Ngwo Pine Forest; it became the highlight of my Enugu trip. I am happy to finally get to tick it off my travel bucket list.
Have you been to Ngwo Pine Forest before or are you looking forward to visiting? Please share with me in the comment box below.
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