Located at the foothill of the village, the Ombo Mountain which is named after the community has so much historical significance. In 1905, it served as a cover for the people to withstand the onslaught of the feared slave raiders Samori and Babatu and their men, just a couple of weeks before they were eventually overpowered and killed.
At the exact location of the mountain was a river according to the narration of an elder of the village. "The mountain suddenly appeared from the river in a form of a storm", said the narrator.
It is even believed that some of their ancestors were covered up by the mountain.
There is a particular spot of the mountain which is forbidden for anyone to go there. It is alleged that there is a well located at that particular spot called "muuli nye kono" which means "watch and cry". It is said that one who goes to that spot and peeps into the well may see your own corpse and may die after returning home.
It is believed that, because some of their ancestors were covered by the mountain, anyone who calls out the name "wira bie" meaning "rock son" while on the mountain may get a response from their ancestors.
Climbing up the hill is not a straightforward movement as expected. There is a designated root for visitors to pass through to the top of the mountain. Permission has to be obtained from the elders and custodians of the village who are the caretakers of the hill before one could visit the place.
Visitors are expected to come along with a bottle of schnappe/whisky and an unspecified amount of money to apiece the gods before they can have access to the place.
Aside from its historical significance, the mountain also serves as an oracle to the people of Ombo. They make sacrifices to apiece the gods and also consult them for a way out whenever confronted with a difficult situation. However natives from Ombo and Kaaha may climb the mountain without having to make any sacrifice(s).
It is important to state that the mountain forbids blood, therefore any sacrifice to be made to the Oracle is not usually slaughtered but the neck of the animal is twisted to kill it. It is also said that, in the unfortunate event a visitor climbs the hill and accidentally gets a cut, blood will not ooze from the cut as long as the visitor is on the mountain until he/she descends.
Women who are in their menstrual cycle are forbidden from climbing the mountain. A woman in her cycle may stay as an observer while others climb and return to share their experience with her.
It is also forbidden for anyone to spit or urinate on the mountain. Patrons who climb the place are warned to descend with any stone from the mountain. Anyone who flouts this authority may not have your easy way back until he/she returns any stone stolen from it.
It is also believed that the Ombo mountain helps to serve the needs and grant the wishes of the people.
One can come with two white fowls to be sacrificed for the hill, after which the visitor makes a wish or appeal for assistance. After the mountain helps him/her to get what he/she asked for, the beneficiary must return to the mountain with a cow to thank the Oracle for the help.
The Ombo mountain is open to all who wish to come and have an experience of it's gargantuan and beautifully shaped rocky nature. When patrons arrive, and after the necessary procedures are followed, a local tour guide is assigned to lead patrons up the Rocky mountain. While on the mountain, patrons are allowed to take pictures, have fun and also write their names on the rock as a sign of their visit to the place.
Ombo mountain is a tourist site located in the Nadowli-Kaleo District of the Upper West Region. It is situated in Ombo, at the eastern part of Kaleo, about two kilometers drive from Kaleo and six kilometers from the regional capital, Wa.
By Bamie Tahir-Ahmed, WA, Upper West