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Ogbunike Caves

Date of Submission: 08/10/2007
Criteria: (vi)(vii)
Category: Mixed
Submitted by:
National Commission for Museums and Monuments
State, Province or Region:
Anambra State, South East Nigeria
Coordinates: N06 11 11 E06 54 21
Ref.: 5174
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Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party

Description

Ogbunike Caves are situated in a valley with tropical rain forest behind the "Ogba" hills in which lies St. Monica College, Ogbunike. Descending into the valley where the caves are located is a lengthy walkway made up of about 317 steps said to have been constructed by the Anambra State Government in the mid 90s. At the end of the walkway is an open space used as a reception point where visitors are by tradition to remove their shoes.

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 inter connected. 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. Among the fauna of the site are deer, antelope, grass cutter, porcupine, rabbit, alligator, snakes and frogs. Others are fish, crabs and birds.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

Ogbunike caves are associated with living traditions and are said to be used by the people for many centuries. The site still retains its historical and spiritual significance. There is an annual festival called "Ime Ogbe" celebrated in commemoration of the discovery of the caves. The biodiversity of the site has remained almost in tact. The integrity of the site can be attested to by the presence of the primary forests around the caves. The Nkisa River flows by the side of the caves into which the water that drains from the caves empties itself. At that point, where the difference in temperature is felt between the river and the water from the rock. The entire site is within ranges of undulating hills and valleys which stretch across other communities and farmlands. The site has sufficient boundaries (20 hectares) to protect its values from direct effects of human encroachment.

Comparison with other similar properties

The Ogbunike caves like the ancient cave temple of Arochukwu in Abia State of Nigeria were a symbol of justice. Ogbunike caves have attractive waterfall at 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. The caves occupy a large expanse of area.