When you visit Umuaja, a place located in Ukwuani Local Government area, Delta State, you would find the famous River Ethiope. This river is said to be the deepest inland waterway in Africa. This river is not like the other rivers you may have heard about or seen in Nigeria. The source of the water is what makes it so special and mysterious. The Water comes directly from the foot of a silk cotten tree there in Umuaja.
The river ethiope has become a tourist center due to the mysterious things it harbours. You would find a few fishes swimming in the river but they run away once they see human beings.
What attracts tourist to this particular river is the fact that the source of the water is very unique. The source is said to be very sacred, the water normally comes out from 4 locations. Two of the locations are from under the tree, the other 2 locations are from around the tree.
The river Ethiope has some spiritual affiliations that are linked to the source of the river. Due to this reason visitors are not allowed to go close to some parts of the grove that surrounds the source of the water. There is also a shrine called the Onoku shrine in that area, the source of the river can be seen after this shrine. There you would find the huge silk cotton tree, red and white clothes have been used to wrap around the tree to prevent visitors from passing. You would also find some objects that have been used for sacrifice surrounding the tree.
There have been claims that the river goddess is known for drowning those non-indigenes in the community but this has not been confirmed. The tree that produces the water have never been cut down, nobody knows what would happen if it ever gets cut down. The people in that area believe it is a taboo for the tree to be cut down.
Every year alot of tourists visit the River Ethiope to see the place for themselves and they always end up amazed. It is really strange to see water coming out from the root of a tree, this is why alot of people believe the tree may have some supernatural powers and should not be cut off. There are quite alot of rivers in Nigeria with one story or the other attached to it, each of these rivers are considered as scared to the community they belong to.
Source- Vanguard Nigeria
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