Shere Hills is remarkable the highest point of the Jos Plateau and it is officially the third highest point in Nigeria after Chappal Waddi on the Mambilla Plateau in Taraba State and Mount Dimlang on the Shebshi Mountains in Adamawa State. The hills lie about 10 kilometres to the East of Jos. These hills used to serve as a hideout for earlier inhabitants of its environs during wars in times past. The highest points of Shere Hills (Gog & Maggog) lie about 1,829 metres (6,001 feet above sea level). Shere Hills is the Plateau’s highest peak and most rugged. The rocks on the hills are arranged in perfect formation which provides a challenging route for the hiker attempting to reach the hills highest point. This terrain has also served as a base camp for military and civilian training. It also offers unrivalled opportunities to mountain climbers and adventure lovers. Shere Hills played host to the First All African Scouts Jamboree in 1976 which brought scouts from all over Africa.
Getting to Shere Hills
The journey to Shere Hills began from our base location in Abuja. The journey from Abuja to Shere Hills lasted about 3 hours and we passed through different forms of vegetation which were bringing to sprout up as the dry humid weather of harmattan gave way to the wet showers of rain. A key feature of trips to Jos where Shere Hills is located is the abundance of fresh fruit & vegetable supplies you have access to on your way at a very cheap price. This is made possible by farmers who live very close to their farmlands and cultivate these fruits for quick sale at various stop points encountered on the journey. There is also a bit of military presence on the highway and routine checks are carried out to ensure peace and order is maintained on the road.
Climbing the Hills
We arrived the hills just before noon and due to the weather of Jos, it made for perfect conditions to embark on a thrilling hike up Shere Hills. We met the tour guide at the residential part of the hills which is about 2km walk to the hills. He gave us a brief on the hills and what they symbolize for the community. He also gave us safety guides on how to properly navigate the rocky terrain of the hills and also ensured that our outfits were properly suited for the adventure we were about to embark on. The brief lasted for 30 minutes and then we began the short trek to the base of the hills.
On the first approach to Shere Hills, it looked as if this was going to be a walk in the park for us but the hills had a good mental & physical challenge planned for us. Once we arrived at the base of the hills, we immediately began navigating the hills with our guide providing us with the necessary route direction. It was very necessary that we had a guide because it is quite easy to get lost and keep going in circles due to the nature of the hills (The hills look like they have been stacked on each other in no particular order). Climbing the hills was tasking and it involved a lot of stretching, getting pulled up & sliding between rock formations. Due to our sheer resolve, we finally made it to the summit of Shere Hills after climbing for approximately an hour.
Views from the Top
The view at the top of the hills is really amazing. You get to see the whole of the Jos Plateau spiralled out before you. You are literally on top of the Jos Plateau at this point and it is a perfect time to soak in all of nature’s goodness. At this point, all the effort you have put in to get to the top is perfectly rewarded with a view that will remain etched in your memory for a lifetime. We relaxed at the top of the hills and enjoyed a few snacks which we had brought along with us. A fellow hiker engaged in some daring yoga poses while others just took in the beauty of the surrounding landscape.
Hiking Advice for Shere Hills
- Please wear long sweatpants and long sleeve sports tops. This will protect you from potential bruises while slipping through the boulders on your way to the top.
- Sneakers/boots with a firm grip will greatly help your climb as they will ensure you have a firm grip on the boulders as you navigate the challenging terrain. It is essential to have the correct footwear.
- The weather in Jos can get really cold during certain seasons so depending on when you want to do the climb, it is advisable to take a jacket, head warmer & probably gloves as the peak can be quite chilly.
- It is important to have a guide and to listen to their instructions as you navigate the terrain. The guides are very skilled and have navigated the terrain on countless occasions so they know the best routes to follow which will ensure you have a smooth hike without any injuries.
- Pack some light snacks and water. You are going to need it by the time you get to the top so you can refill your energy levels.
This was relatively easy as we had acclimatised to our surroundings and we were down in no time. It made for a really adventurous hiking experience and it was the subject of our discussion as we shared the different waves of emotions we had from just knowing that we had conquered one of the highest points in Nigeria.