Udi Hills: the Origin of Coal Mining in Nigeria

Lounging and extending 240 metres above sea level in the ancient coal city of Enugu in Enugu State, is a fascinating and lovely connection of plateaus referred to as Udi hills (also referred to as Ugwueme and Udi hills). It is unarguably one of the biggest tourist destinations in the South Eastern part of Nigeria, attracting thousands of tourists and visitors from all over the world.

Udi hills is also a vantage point that offers a wonderful scenery of the ancient city of Enugu, encompassing a large portion of Enugu in one view.

Another interesting thing about the Udi Hills is that the coal which used to be a major source of revenue for colonial Nigeria was first discovered there in 1909.

This is why Enugu is often referred to as the Coal City. This amazing discovery led to the early 20th-century, rapid development and astute growth of Enugu city.

At the time when the mine was in full operations, Enugu was reputed to be the only significant producer of coal in the West African sub-region. Even till date, you can still find the old coal mines and coal workers’ camp located at the foot of the hills. These coal mines and workers’ camp are very much accessible and open as tourist sites.

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A fascinating legend about Udi Hills narrates how it was used as a shield to prevent enemies and slave traders from noticing if there were villages and communities behind the hills. For centuries, villages like Ezere, Awgunta, and Nkwe have sprung up on the hills, housing various people that have conserved the caves and hedges in the hilly area. Udi hills also pride itself as the major source of many rivers acting as tributaries of River Niger and River Benue. Some of those rivers are Ekulu, Asata, and Ogbete.

The curative waters of the Awhum waterfalls also derive their source from this hill.

With so much history attached to it, Udi hills is a perfect excursion destination for students and an important site for archaeologists and historians.

Not leaving out the fun and adventurous part of this magnificent hill, it’s also a fabulous place for tourists, adventurers, and holidaymakers.

Whether you are climbing the hill or exploring the mine tunnels, the Udi experience is such a beautiful one you are not likely to forget in a hurry.

The Udi Hills can be accessed via the Eastern railway line, Akanu Ibiam International Airport, and various roads in Enugu.

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