For visitors and tourists coming to Calabar, especially the carnival, these are some of the tips and information that can help make their stay in the state a memorable experience.
Calabar is about 1-1/2 hours from Lagos by air and it takes about 25 minutes from Port Hartcourt. It has an international airport, the Margret Ekpo International Airport. It can also be reached from Abuja by air, a journey of about an hour or more. Many Nigeria’s domestic airlines fly from Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt to Calabar.
For tourists and visitors, they can use the opportunity offered by the carnival usually around Christmas to visit the Cross River National Park, Buanchor Canopy Walkway, Alok Monoliths, Agbokim Waterfalls, Utanga Safari lounge, Obudu Mountain Resort, among others to have a feel of the state.
Apart from the Calabar Festival and Carnival, the state has developed the Leboku Festival to an international standard that attracts participants from Cameroun. There is also the Cross River National Park which is gradually becoming the ultimate experience for fun seekers looking to have a weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of big cities in the country. It is indeed, one of the few places in the world that provides hope for an environmentally secured world.
To help tourist coming into the state especially during the carnival, a new online marketing portal, Experience Cross River was launched to help individuals, groups as well as corporate organisations to have full access to all that Cross River State has to offer the world.
The promoters of the Experience Cross River portal observed that Cross River State is the No 1 destination in Nigeria and needs to bring that to the world to look, feel and experience.
The platform brings airlines, hotels, car hire and tour operators together in offering discount as low as 50per cent including free airport pick up and drop off service.
Another unique place to see while in Calabar is the Obudu Mountain Resort in Cross River State which is definitely one of the natures’ gift to the nation. Though the distance from the Calabar city to Obudu is long, the place is worth visiting.
Situated close to the border with Cameroon, this resort undoubtedly remains the country’s best kept secret in the area of leisure, relaxation, conferences and nature at its best, not only in its temperate climate but also it’s exciting location.
Obudu Mountain Resort provides accommodation in the form of African round huts and chalets on stilts maximising the breathtaking views. Obudu Mountain Resort also offers self-contained suites varying in size from a two-bedroomed, Governor’s Lodge with its own lounge/dining room and kitchenette to the 20 Mountain Villas, each with three bedrooms, lounge, dining room, kitchenette and balcony. The chalets are fully furnished and include, satellite TV with remote control, bar, room, heater, en suite bathroom, security door lock.
The Resort offers a fully equipped gym, two floodlit tennis courts, a squash court and a natural swimming pool. Keen golfers can show their prowess on the hotel’s 9-hole golf course.
The view of the magnificent scenery and spectacular birdlife are something to behold, the Canopy Walkway which is situated in the trees allow visitors thrilling close-ups of the birds in their natural habitat high above the ground.
One of the most exciting and fascinating feature of the resort is the Africa’s longest cable car system. At 4 kilometres, Obudu Mountain Resort cable car gently transfers guests (and their bags) from the tropical climate at the base of the mountain right to the hotel’s reception area on the mountainside which is often in the clouds and is accompanied by an invigorating drop in temperature.
One of the major tourist attractions in Calabar is its colonial architecture which can be found in the older parts of the city. The main areas where this type of architecture can be seen are Henshaw Town, Duke Town and the waterfront areas. The church in Duke town is one of the oldest in Nigeria established by the Presbyterian missionaries.
While in Calabar, visitors and tourists are enjoined to visit the cemetery near the Eyamba street which provides a stunning view over the town and the river. The cemetery houses the tomb of Mary Slessor, who was a missionary from Dundee in Scotland, UK. Another important tourist attraction is the Calabar museum which is located near the waterfront houses. The museum is housed inside the old government house which was the residence of the colonial governor. The building was made in Glasgow and was later on shipped in pieces. The museum contains works which reflects on the history of Calabar.
Tourist attractions in Calabar can never be complete without visiting the Drill Monkey Rehab Center. It is located on Ndidem Nsang Iso Road and hidden behind the Jahas Guest House. The center was developed by a couple who were biologists from USA. They were persuaded by the Nigerian government to stay back and look after the endangered Drill Monkeys which were hunted and eaten in the AfiMountain range.
During the carnival, accommodation is always the major concern as tourists and visitors are advised to make hotel reservation earlier before the carnival starts, so as to get the best location in the city, may be through the Experience Calabar portal.
Calabar boost of lovely and affordable hotels like Afrikana Suites located on number 57 Asari Eso Street, Calabar, Gromlee Hotels located on number 15/16 Serom Wood Road, Ekorinm , Pearl Suite Hotel on 2/3 MCC Road, Calabar, Success Villa Luxury Hotel, on 19,Okop Abasi Street, Calabar, Country Home Resort Calabar, on Plot 3 South Industrial Layout, Ekorinim, Calabar, Transcorp Hotels, 10 Murtala Mohammed Highway, Calabar, Tinapa Lakeside Hotel, on Adiabo, Calabar Municipal, Calabar, Others include, Axari Hotel And Suites on Muritala Mohammed Highway, by Zone 6 Police Head Quarters, Calabar, JoranyHotel and Suites, on 153 Asari Eso Layout, Close to MCC Road, by Timber market, Calabar, Afara Castle Hotel on Plot 3 Block 10, Federal Housing Estate, Onoyombuk Street, Calabar, Tombai Guest House on no 7, New Obutong Street, By Flour Mill roundabout, Calabar , Mirage Hotels, among others.