Calabar is located in the Southern part of Nigeria and it serves as the capital city of Cross River state. The state has the motto, “The people’s paradise” and has rich historical relations with western sojourners. Calabar has an old section made up of the Sea Port, Dukes Town church, Mary Slessor’s house amongst other things which are some of the major tourist attractions in Calabar, Nigeria.
The Top Tourist Attractions in Calabar include:
1. NATIONAL MUSEUM CALABAR:
This use to serve as the Government House during the Colonial rule. It is reported that the Museum was built in Britain, and then shipped in bits to Calabar in the late 1800s. The National Museum Calabar is made of old Scandinavian pine and has stood for centuries preserving old relics which are mostly documents, furnishings, and artifacts used during the Colonial Administration.
The museum which overlooks the Calabar creek is a good place to learn about Efik history. The opening hours of the museum are between 9 am to 6 pm daily. It is usually rowdy during public holidays.
2. CROSS RIVER NATIONAL PARK:
When visiting Calabar, you should make out time to visit Cross River National Park which is the most preserved tropical rainforest in West Africa. The park extends from Oban through Okwangwo over a landmass of 720 square kilometres which took a period of three years to be fully established.
Cross River National park provides a secure sanctuary to almost extinct animals, plants and faunas like the drill monkeys, Red fox, leopards and many more.
3. TINAPA RESORT:
Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort is the first of its kind in the South-South. It was created with the sole aim of giving tourists a dream experience in one visit. The first section of this resort is Tinapa Free Trade Zone where most trade exhibitions and conferences take place.
Tinapa Resort is a unique integrated business and leisure resort and is the ideal place to buy duty-free goods and supplies. The resort is a 10 km drive from Calabar.
At the resort, visitors can take advantage of the wholesale and retail activities as well as enjoy recreational activities. There is an open exhibition area at Tinapa Free Trade Zone available for trade exhibitions and other events.
4. CALABAR CARNIVAL
The Calabar carnival is said to be the largest street party in Africa with tourists flocking to the city during the carnival period. It is one of the top tourist attractions in Calabar.
The carnival which begins from December 1 to December 31 keeps spectators visiting from all parts of the country well entertained while boosting the tourism sector. The carnival parades represent various Nigerian tribes and and has international participation. The carnival also features other activities like novelty football matches, fashion shows, boat regattas, Christmas Village, traditional dances and the annual Ekpe Festival. The events are spread all over Calabar ensuring there is something for everyone.
5. OBUDU MOUNTAIN RESORT:
Obudu Mountain resort isn’t located in the city, however, you should include a trip to Obudu Mountain Resort on your list when visiting Calabar. The resort is comprised of heights and miles of rolling hills and mountains which is guaranteed to give you a double-take on your first visit. Obudu has a temperate climate and the deep tropical forest allows for exotic breeds of butterflies and faunas to flourish. The serene and picturesque environment is great for a good ole escape from the busy city life.
6. CHIEF EKPO BASSEY’S HOUSE:
This ancient house on No. 19 Boko street in Calabar stands out for its history and the affluence of Chief Ekpo Bassey who was a Kingmaker of the Efik tribe and a politician during the colonial era. The House became a National monument in the year 1959 when the government took it over to preserve it for Educational and tourist purposes.
7. DUKE TOWN CHURCH:
Duke Town Church was the first site of Christian teachings upon the arrival of Missionaries in Calabar. This Presbyterian Church was built in the early 19th century under the administration of Reverend Hope Waddell who was a medical missionary from Ireland.
His stay in Calabar was a memorable one. He worked alongside Mary Slessor to see to the abolition of the killing of twins, the treatment of Cholera with calomel and teaching people to read and write in English. The altitude of the church makes it possible for a visitor to climb to the top of the building and view the surrounding environment including Mary Slessor’s tomb and the flower creek.
8. MARY SLESSOR’S HOUSE:
When the missionary, Mary Slessor arrived in Calabar in 1876, she had a two-bedroom mudhouse and a verandah built for her with the help of the villagers and the chiefs. This house was called “Fine pass all” by the villagers who always saw it as a treat to visit her. Forward to 1889, a missionary carpenter was contracted to make a better dwelling for her out of wood and iron sheets. After her death, the house was transformed into a mission house and a health centre by the Odukpani Local Government Council. Mary Slessor’s house is currently an important tourist site where one can go down history lane and understand the perspective of the missionaries and tribes back in the days.
9. AGBOKIM WATERFALLS:
Agbokim Waterfalls is located in Ikom Local Government Area in Cross River. The waterfall is comprised of seven different streams which all fall over a steep cliff forming a seven-faced waterfall. Its location is close to the Nigeria-Cameroon border and it offers a lush rainforest for relaxation and taking experiential pictures.
10. DRILL REHABILITATION CENTRE:
This is a wildlife initiative of Peter Jenkins and Lisa Gadsby who built the Drill Rehabilitation Centre (1991) to preserve the lives of the almost extinct Drills, a rare species of Primates dominant in Nigeria. Alongside the rehabilitation centre is the Drill Ranch which is used to generate funds for the upkeep and smooth running of the centre. Also, the wildlife sanctuary houses orphaned Chimpanzees. Over 250 births of Drills and a lowered mortality rate have been recorded at the centre.
11. KWA FALLS:
Kwa Falls is a tropical paradise in the heart of Oban division of Cross River National Park which is characterized by a narrow gorge on the headwater of the Kwa River. To find this waterfall you have to visit Anegeje village in Akampa Local Government Area of Cross River State.
Visiting Calabar should be on your 2020 bucket list if you are yet to visit the region.
Have you explored these tourist attractions in Calabar? Share your experiences with us.