History of the Resort
Ikogosi Warm Springs Resort is a hospitality and tourist destination located at Ikogosi, a town in Ekiti State, southwestern Nigeria. The main attraction to the resort is the legendary warm and cold springs confluence, the meeting point of the two springs of different temperatures – warm and cold, with each maintaining its thermal properties even as they continue flowing together.
Research suggests that the warm spring has a temperature of about 37°C at the source and 30°C at the confluence. But what is most spectacular about the springs is the fact that they don’t mix after they meet. Due to their difference in colour (or “complexion” as the myth suggests), visitors to the meeting point of the springs can clearly see them distinctly flowing side by side for a good distance downstream. The magical essence of this natural phenomenon is further enhanced by the unique sparkle of the warm waterbed at this point.
Visitors flood the resort for leisure. Some take tours to see the Springs, swim in the pool, spend time making merry with friends, and then head home. Others take up accommodation and spend nights at the resort enjoying the peace of nature. So, how did a resort form around the phenomenon of the warm and cold springs?
In 1952, Southern Baptist missionary, Rev. John Sydney McGee, from his mission base in Igede, Ekiti, went to the source of the warm and cold springs despite several dissuasions and warnings by locals that a visit to the source of the springs is an invitation of death from the ‘forces’ surrounding these unusual springs.
Rev. McGee made his way through the dense forest, up the hill to the source of the side-by-side springs and according to Rev. McGee’s later brief, written account, “After seeing it, I felt that it could be used for a good purpose. The land was later secured through the Baptist Convention to be used as a Youth Camp and the camp was being visited regularly by groups of Baptist youth and adults, along with missionaries and other visitors who came on vacation.
By early 1971, news of the Baptist Camp was becoming much more known by persons (outside of the Baptist Mission and Nigerian Convention) who saw possibilities for the development of a commercial, tourist resort. By December 22, 1973, the government had opened its guest house tagged Western Villa. Rev. McGee and his family still lived in and managed the camp until January 1974, when the government took over the swimming pool area. This led to the McGees having to return to their Baptist Mission residence at Igede and continuing to manage the facilities (other than the pool) from there, until their retirement from Nigeria in July 1977.
A Public Asset
After Rev. McGee left Ikogòsì Warm Springs, the problem of who would manage the Resort arose. Before long, the once well-manicured lawns and environment became overgrown with bush. Several ornamental plants and fruit trees became abandoned. Squirrels, snakes, and lizards took over the rooms.
To boost tourism, the government of old Oǹdó State (which Ekiti was a part of) built a zoological park which started from the second gate and extended towards the poolside on the swampy side of the springs. The park paraded different animals like snakes, baboons, hedgehogs, lions, and many others. At that turn the resort began to experience an influx of tourists again, the economy of the community started to improve, and the population soared. Unfortunately, during the military regime of Governor Abiodun Olukoya in the early 1990s, a careless incident led to the lions attacking and devouring one of their keepers. The governor immediately ordered that they be shot – even as they were still feeding on the carcass of the attendant. That led to the end of the zoo till date.
The Federal government during the second republic, constructed a 32-unit well-furnished lodging area called GAN on the opposite side from the resort along the road leading to Ipole Iloro, and during the regime of Otunba Niyi Adebayo, the first civilian governor of Èkìtì State, 14 different rooms and suites were constructed after the Western Villa. These and a 9-rooms staff quarters were built and were all well-furnished.
Ikogosi Warm Springs Resort got to the highest peak of recognition and development it had ever attained during the first administrative tenure of Governor Kayode Fayemi. Unfortunately, the successive government after his first tenure did not share his passion for the resort, which led to a decay of the facilities and massive resignation of workers.
A Rescue Mission
Following a decision by Governor Fayemi that a concession to a private sector player was better for the management of the resort (and a subsequent unsuccessful concessioning attempt), the Fayemi administration – at the twilight of his second tenure in 2022, awarded and handed over a 15-year concession for the management of the resort to Glocient Hospitality Limited. Glocient Hospitality currently runs the Ikogosi Warm Springs Resort