The Magnificent Inactive Volcanoes of Jos Plateau

Climbing the Extinct Volcanoes of Jos Plateau

The plains of north-central Nigeria stretch as far as the eyes could see but are obscured by massive volcanic cones dressed in varying tones of lush green or earthly brown. These are the volcanoes of Jos Plateau, which the locals call “Kerang Volcanoes”.

It is currently being considered as a potential UNESCO world heritage site.
 I discovered the existence of these volcanoes during my first trip to Plateau State after which I began to visualize a scenery of the recently erupted Mount Krakatau in Indonesia, not believing that such terrifying, yet amazing natural wonders existed in Nigeria.  I then proceeded on a road trip all the way from Jos City through the Mwaghavul area of Kombun, Kogul, Kerang, Bwonpe and Ampang west, down to the site of the Spring Waters of Nigeria (SWAN) factory.

The climb up one of the volcanoes was extremely challenging and tiring, but richly rewarding as breath-taking vistas of the entire landscape held me spell-bound. As I reached the top rim of the volcano, the mid-day sun lit up 14 other picturesque volcanoes whose craters appeared to have been kept intact over years of in-situ weathering and erosion.

Pidong Lake is one of the most beautiful sights to behold on the Plateau.  It was formed by the accumulation of rain water in the crater of Ampang volcano.  It was said that the waters of the Pidong Crater Lake has never dried up, regardless of how severe the dry season was.

One of the most attractive volcanoes in the area is the Jiblik volcano, located near Abwor-Dyis, along Kerang-Shendam road.  It rises into the misty skies pulling a world of beauty and awe around itself, with its irresistible lush slopes and jaw-dropping crater.  It is currently being considered as a potential UNESCO world heritage site.

The Kerang volcano is also said to have a big crater in which the chiefs of Kerang (particularly the legendary Chief Jepnwan) hid his soldiers during fierce encounters with the enemies.

The local residents consider these volcanic hills part of their great heritage, which has been expressed in their folklores, myths and legends.  It was said that the area around the volcanoes was once inhabited by a race of wealthy giants who possessed large quantities of gold but were unfortunately destroyed by large fires from volcanic eruptions that took place in the area. Another legend speaks about a marriage between the volcano at Kerang, (female) and the one at Ampang West, which has a crater lake and was considered the male.  The union took place at a shallow pond in Mufil (lies between Kerang and Ampang West), after which the pond increased in size to about one kilometer in diameter. However, when the marriage broke up and both husband and wife returned to their respective places, the pond dried up.