Africa > West Africa > Nigeria > South West Nigeria > Oyo State > Saki town
Saki town (alternatively spelled Shaki) is in the northern part of Oyo state, western Nigeria. It lies close to the wellspring of the Ofiki River (the central feeder of the Ogun River), around 40 miles (60 km) from the Benin line. Initially part of the Oyo domain, Saki turned into a Yoruba displaced person settlement after the obliteration in 1835 of Old Oyo (Katunga), 70 miles (113 km) east-upper east, by Muslim Fulani champions. By the mid 1860s the Yoruba Mission had set up an Anglican church in the town.
Saki town is the oldest town in Yoruba land, although the real date of its development had remained uncertain due to the absence of a put-down record to account for its development. The records of its historical beginning are generally unbelievable being a result of the dissimilar oral sources and guesses. A few historians claimed that Saki was established by Ogun the Yoruba lord of iron before Oyo Ile was established. It was then named after Ogun which gives an explanation of why it was at first called Ile Ogun.
In Saki, the wet season is harsh and cloudy, the dry season is humid and mostly overcast, and it is hot all year. Throughout the year, the temperature regularly shifts from 20°C to 34°C and is seldom goes below 17°C or above 37°C.
Saki town is inhabited by the Yoruba people an ethnic group that occupies western Africa, essentially the nations of Nigeria, Benin, and Togo.
Saki is located in the northern part of Oyo state. There are two ways to get into Shaki town: by air and by bus. You can go by air by taking a direct flight from the Lagos Airport to Ilorin Airport which takes 45 min, you will need to use a connecting vehicle usually a shared taxi to get to Shaki town.
In addition, several bus companies like God Is Good Motors (GIGM), ABC Transport, Ifesinachi and The Young Shall Grow offer daily services from almost all major cities around the country to Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo state, after which a taxi will be boarded to Shaki town which is about 1 hr 50 min journey by road from Ibadan. While buses usually are quite comfortable, journey times are very long.
When travelling around Shaki town, be sure to be accompanied by a person who is familiar with the routes. The means of transportation within Shaki town is mostly by taxi and motorcycle popularly known as okada.
If you are not on a tight budget, you should hire a taxi, usually available in crowded places like the local markets and car park. The price varies from driver to driver, but it should be around ₦250-500 per hour, you will be expected to haggle. Talk to the drivers and find one you think will be able to communicate best with as they will be able to tell you things about the places you pass.
Motorcycle riders offer more of a drop-off service, and it is not the best option for someone touring the town with the expectation for the rider to talk about various location history. The service charge is around ₦50-100 per trip (drop-off).
- 1 Palace of Okere Land. The palace of the monarch of Saki centrally located and easy to find. It is full of artefacts depicting the people of Saki An historical site.
For some outdoor touring and hiking, you could try:
- 1 Ado Awaiye Mountains and Suspended Lakes (about 110 km northwest of Ibadan; once in Ado Awaiye, take road heading east of central mosque for about 1 km), ☏ . This is perhaps some of the best hiking in western Nigeria, up a rock dome where some depressions are filled with water and where you can look across the surrounding Nigerian countryside. There are like 600 steps, though, so prepare for a bit of a workout.
- 2 Old Oyo National Park, Iseyin - Oyo Rd, Isokun (park office 57 km north of Ibadan, actual park is like another 40 km north), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. This national park has sadly rather fallen by the wayside. It used to the home of the critically endangered African wild dog, but no longer. There are in fact few animals left. But there are some interesting rock formations and natural landscape features to see.
If you're wanting the outdoor market experience, you could try;
- Shaki Sango Market which has also brought the town into the limelight as buyers and sellers attend the market every Thursday.
- New Gbawojo Market which is a public market, one of the major markets in Saki besides Sango
- Owode Market just like the Shaki Sango market, the Owode market is a 7-days interval market every Thursday
Minimarts can be found in various areas as they are usually owned by the locals.
For a more cosmopolitan experience you will need to travel to Ibadan, the state capital to shop at various supermarket and stores;
Eat and drink
For meals, there are local restaurants owned by the locals you can patronize, but be wary of food poisoning. In addition, most hotels have food services for their customers, you can order room service in your hotel. For more options and variety you can try Marthas Kitchen, Kokodome Plus, Latitude Cafe & Lounge, Ibachi, or the Wimpy Ibadan all located in the states' capital city, Ibadan.
- Hope Restaurant, Kolawole/ogbooro Rd,shaki. Dine-in.Takeaway.
- 360 Lounge saki Apinnite., Wewe,gedu estate,shaki. Dine-in. Takeaway.
- Ore-degbe Enterprises Nigeria LTD, Shaki. Daily 8AM-10PM. Dine-in. Takeaway. Delivery.
- 1 Dankaliturawa Hotel, Ago-Are Road, Poly Road. It is cool place to stay,safe and serene.
- 2 Freedom Hotel, Oje Owode Road. Great ambience,courteous staff and beautiful lodging.
- 3 Neagle Resort Inn, ApeNIte Road, ☏ . The resort is a comfortable and active place to go. Local delicacies served and come in recommended.
- Riverside Hotel, Gedu Estate (Ago-Are Road), ☏ . Riverside Hotel is serving a good purpose in the rural area. There are no air-conditioning in the rooms, but each room is equipped with a fan.
- 4 The Prince Palace, West Secreteriat Oke Sunnah. Decent Lodging.Serene Environment.
Saki town is located in Oyo state which is known to be a safe state, but one can never be too careful Seyi Makinde, the state governor since 2019, promised to ensure adequate security of lives and property in Oyo State. But beware of deals or businesses that sound too good to be true (especially e-mails soliciting your help), and do not openly flaunt your possessions, especially in public places.
While it is rare for a tourist to be a victim of a violent crime, it is still wise to stay safe and be alert, especially during late-night outings. Stick to crowded streets and make sure to go out in groups as against going out alone.
In addition, don't be scared when you are suddenly approached by someone begging you for money when touring the community, Oyo has its fair share of street beggars (both the old and young). If someone approaches Nigerians or tourists for money, you can decide if you want to slip a little change or not give anything at all, after all, they are not entitled to your money. What most individuals do is ignore the begging or continue to walk at a faster pace.
There are police officers who are corrupt and inefficient so you should stick to places and people you know and avoid going anywhere without a trusted guide if it is the first visit.
The networks in certain parts of Saki town can be very erratic at times. On certain days you cannot make a phone call at all or you will not be able to recharge your phone for most of the day making business very difficult at times. But it's occasional and that is the reason if you want to stay for a long term, make sure that you have at least two phones or a dual SIM phone.
Saki town boasts of both GSM & CDMA Networks. Most of the International GSM Networks are served here on Roaming Partner Basis. Local GSM (SIM) connection can be purchased in select service at very cheap rate.