The capital city of Cross River State, located in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria, is known as Calabar. Due to the unique historical interactions between Westerners and sojourners from around the world, the motto of the Cross River state is “the people’s Paradise.”
Also on the list of notable tourist destinations in Calabar are the Sea Port, Dukes Town church, and Mary Slessor’s residence.
The name Calabar is referred to as Akwa Akpa in the Efik language, which came as a result of the land being in between the Calabar River and the Niger Delta. Tourist attractions like Cross River National park, which shares a border with Cameron and the great Kwa falls, the annual Calabar festival, Obudu mountain resort, Tinapa resort, amongst other activities, are top tourist attractions in Calabar.
Top Tourist Attractions in Calabar
NATIONAL MUSEUM CALABAR:
According to local lore, this home was built in Britain and sent in pieces to Calabar, Nigeria, in the late 1800s. The National Museum of Calabar, which is constructed out of centuries-old Scandinavian pine, has been standing for over two centuries, protecting a multitude of antiques, including official documents, furniture, and miscellaneous artefacts utilized during the Colonial Administration.
Visiting the museum, which overlooks Calabar Creek is a good way to learn about the Efik heritage while taking in the exhibits and information at your own pace. As you browse through the exhibit, you will listen to the tour guide describe the history, which takes you back in time. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day, and there will be rambunctious visitors on holidays.
CROSS RIVER NATIONAL PARK:
You should include at least one day exploring Cross River National Park in Calabar, which is the continent’s most intact tropical rainforest. Oban spans through to Okwangwo on a 720 km2 landmass that took three years to establish completely.
The park is a haven for nearly extinct creatures like drill monkeys, red foxes, leopards, and a variety of other wildlife and flora.
It is the first of its type in the South-South; the Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort is there for one reason and one reason only—to provide travellers with a truly spectacular experience. The main trade exhibits and conferences take place at the Tinapa Free Trade Zone of this resort, with a capacity of over 5000 seats.
The Tinapa Resort, the first of its kind in Nigeria, was developed by the Cross River state government to bridge the gap between business and pleasure. The resort is located about 10 kilometres from Calabar and offers an excellent opportunity to make substantial purchases of duty-free goods and supplies. This luxurious hotel, movie studio, mini amphitheatre, nightclubs, bars, and water-themed amusement park are among the facilities that one may find at the Tinapa resort.
Over a tonne of travellers visit the festival every year, and they do so throughout the year, notably during the Carnival time. The carnival that starts on December 1 and lasts until December 31 provides a great deal of entertainment to viewers from all regions of the country, helping improve the local tourism sector while benefiting stakeholders. The parades are associated with a variety of Nigerian tribes and well-known international countries; thus, it is not uncommon to see a variety of foreign countries’ flags fly at the marches. Other events, such as novelty matches, Boat regattas, Fashion displays, Christmas Village, traditional dances, and the Ekpe Festival, are organized for all members of the community, as well as visitors, and spread the event to different places all across Calabar to ensure everyone has something to do.
OBUDU MOUNTAIN RESORT:
This Obudu Mountain resort is like a combination of peaks and miles of undulating elevations that always has the ability to leave visitors in awe on their first time seeing it. Exotic butterflies and faunas thrive in the temperate environment and the deep tropical forest. Stamina, time, and plenty of supplies are needed to climb the Obudu mountain, which can take many days and multiple days of rest and food to rejuvenate the climber. The calm and beautiful landscape provides an excellent opportunity to get away from civilization and immerse yourself in the unknown, which you will really love.
Top Tourist Attractions in Calabar
CHIEF EKPO BASSEY’S HOUSE:
It is the impressive heritage and financial success of the Efik Chief Ekpo Bassey, the kingdom-maker of the Efik tribe and a politician during the colonial era, that made this particular home stand out on No. 19 Boko Street in Calabar. It is believed that some of the materials used to build the house arrived in the country from England and were later brought to their current site. In 1959, the government acquired the building and made it a National monument to preserve it for educational and tourism purposes.
DUKES TOWN CHURCH:
Duke town Church in Old Calabar is the initial place of Christianity teachings in Calabar. This 19th-century Presbyterian church was built by Reverend Hope Waddell, who was a medical missionary from Ireland and also served as the church’s administrator.
When in Calabar, he carried out multiple projects to put an end to the slaughter of twins alongside Mary Slessor, whom he assisted in the treatment of cholera, and also oversaw the English literacy campaigns. Because the church is so high, climbing to the top of the level and looking around allows visitors to see the surroundings, including Mary Slessor’s tomb and the creek below.
MARY SLESSOR’S HOUSE:
After Mary Slessor arrived in Calabar in 1876, she was given a two-bedroom mud house and a verandah, as well as the opportunity to build these structures with the support of the communities and the chieftains. This residence was known as “Fine pass all” to the peasants since they thought it was an indulgence to pay her a visit. In 1889, a missionary carpenter was hired to build a house out of wood and iron sheets for a woman who wanted something more sturdy than the ramshackle buildings other villagers were building. The Odukpani Local Government Council turned the property after her death into a mission house and a health centre. The home of Scottish missionary Mary Slessor is now a prominent heritage site that offers travellers the opportunity to walk in history and learn about the way the missionaries and Native Americans viewed each other in the past.
Ikom Local Government Area in Cross River is home to several waterfalls, including Agbokim Waterfalls.
Seven streams of water cascade down a cliff and meet to produce a seven-faced waterfall. There is a beautiful rainforest near the Nigeria-Cameroon border that makes it an ideal place for tourists to rest and take photos.
DRILL REHABILITATION CENTRE:
Peter Jenkins and Lisa Gadsby created the drill rehabilitation centre (located in the Niger Delta) to save the lives of the nearly extinct drills, which are primates that dominate in Nigeria. The Drill Ranch functions as a way of producing funds for the continued care and seamless operation of the rehabilitation institution. The wildlife sanctuary is also a good place to place orphaned chimpanzees. Because of their existence, the death rate of Drills has decreased by 50 percent, and the births of Drills have increased by 250 percent.
Situated along the headwaters of the Kwa River in Oban Division of Cross River National Park, Kwa Falls is a tropical paradise. The clear mineral spring water that travels through the rocks and the rainforest from the falls to the base of the Kwa River forms the hazy pool there. The waterfall is located in the Anegeje hamlet in Akampa Local Government Area of Cross River State, which is about fifteen kilometres to Calabar, the capital of Cross River State.