Calabar often referred to as Canaan City is a city in Cross River State, in south southern Nigeria. Calabar is the capital of Cross River State. The original name for Calabar was Akwa Akpa, from the Efik language. The city is adjacent to the Calabar and Great Kwa rivers and creeks of the Cross River (from its inland delta). Calabar is arguably the biggest tourist city in Western Africa. With its numerous tourist attractions and hospitable culture of the Calabar locals, Calabar lives up to its name, Come and Live and Be At Rest.
1. The National Museum, Calabar
Also known as The Old Residency Museum. The National Museum, which was originally known as the Government House is a prefabricated structure of Scandinavian red pine wood shipped from Britain in 1884 on the instruction of Consul Edward Hewett and erected in Old Calabar to accommodate the early British Administration. The building which served as both the residence and administrative headquarters of the colonial government is one of the only few history museums in Nigeria and hosts some of the most preserved artefacts and documents dating back to pre-colonial period.
Located on the site of a fifteenth-century slave-trading warehouse in Marina Beach. The Slave History Museum, Calabar, was established in 2007 and commissioned on 17 March 2011. It is a rich resource on the activities of slave trade which was rampant in the Calabar area in the 15th century.
3.Drill Rehabilitation Center
Drill Rehabilitation Center is located at Drill Ranch, Calabar. This wild life sanctuary was built by Lisa Gadsby and Peter Jenkins in 1991 to preserve the already endangered African primate; drills. After recording over 250 births, the Drill Rehabilitation Center is the most successful captive breeding of an endangered primate in the world. The Drill ranch and rehabilitation center is a wild life sanctuary that hopes to preserve and ensure continuity of the endangered primate species drills. It serves to rehabilitate drills with members of their species and also provides a safe haven for orphaned chimpanzees.
4.Cross River National Park
The Cross River National Park is a national park located in Cross River State, Nigeria. There are two separate sections, Okwangwo (established 1991) and Oban (established 1988). The park is known as the Pride of Nigeria and for good reason, it is home to endangered species of animals and plants and has been listed as a biodiversity hotspot.
Kwa Falls is a spectacular waterfall located in a narrow, steep gorge on the headwaters of the Kwa. Kwa River where Kwa Fall cascades down resistant basement rocks, is located in the Oban division of the Cross River National Park. A deep plunge pool forms at the bottom of the waterfall which is characterised by its well arranged staircase of 234 steps from the top to bottom. The nearby Kwa River Sand Beach is the icing on the cake, making Kwa falls, Nigeria’s own tropical paradise.
6.Chief Ekpo Bassey’s House
This historic house is situated at 19, Boko Street, Calabar, and was the residence of the famous Chief Ekpo Bassey. It is now a national monument. The house was imported in sections from England and then assembled on site.
7.Mary Slessor’s House
Mary Mitchelle Slessor arrived in Nigeria in 1876, as a missionary worker of the United Presbyterian Church. She lived in the Akpap Okoyong, Odukpani Local Government Area. She built herself a two bedroom mud house with a veranda, a store and a parlour. She called it a “Caravan” while the villagers called it “fine pass all”. In 1889, a missionary carpenter, Mr Owens, was commissioned to erect a more permanent structure for her. The walls were made of iron sheets while the doors and windows were made of wood. The staircase leading to the first floor had twenty one steps and was supported by two pillars and wooden railings. Since Mary Slessor’s death, the Odukpani Local Government Council has used the house as a Rest Home for other Missionaries and as a Primary Health Care Centre. Today, the property is fully restored and an important tourist site.
8. Statue of Mary Slessor
This statue was erected in sacred memory of Mary Slessor of Calabar. Born Aberdeen, Scotland 2 December 1848. Died Calabar, Nigeria, 13 January 1915. It can be found in Creektown, Calabar.
9. The Tomb of Mary Slessor
Mary Slessor was a Scottish missionary from Dundee, sent in 1876 to Calabar by the United Presbyterian Church. She is best remembered for putting an end to the abhorrent traditional practise of putting twins and their mothers to death. She studied and learned the Efik language of Cross River, so that she could speak it as fluently as the local people. She lived in Calabar for over forty years until she passed away in 1915. Her picture currently appears on a Clydesdale Bank Commemorative ten pound bank note. Her tomb is located at the Eyamba Street Cemetery in Duke Town and is a major tourist attraction. When Queen Elizabeth II visited Nigeria she made a special visit to the tomb to lay a wreath on Mary Slessor’s grave.
just 10 km out of Calabar, the Tinapa Free Zone and Resort was conceived by the Government of Cross River. A visit to Tinapa dazzles with its breath-taking architectural design. This is the ideal place to buy duty-free goods and supplies. Many small traders use this as their supply point. With a luxury hotel, cinema, water themed park and state of the art movie studio, Tinapa Resort is a Tourist’s dream.
11.Duke Town Church
Widely regarded as one of the oldest churches in Nigeria, the Duke Town Church was established by the Presbyterian missionaries upon arrival to Calabar in the early 19 th century. It was built under the auspices of Rev. Hope M. Waddell. The colonial architecture of the building is indeed a sight to behold.
Located in the Calabar Marina Resort. Enjoy a special ‘sit-out’ experience in any of our three plantation style bars. Situated in beautiful landscaped gardens, these colonial inspired theme bars offer panoramic views of the river. Drink a cocktail while watching the sunset and then enjoy a delightful dinner of barbecued meat or any of the other Cross River delicacies on offer. You can also enjoy speed boat trips along the calabar river to Creek Town.
13.Marina Resort Children Playground
State of the art amusement park with various facilities including a carousel, slides, swings, jumping castles and family café. The ideal place to spend a day relaxing with the family.
The delicious Edikaikong Soup, is unarguably the most sought after soup in the country, not only because of its great taste but because as the name translates, Edikaikong simply means vegetable soup. It is one of the most nutritious meal in the country. It’s so popular you can find it most big cities in Nigeria but there’s never a better place to eat Edikaikong soup than in Calabar where it originates from.
Calabar Carnival festival in Nigeria , also tagged ” Africa’s Biggest Street “, is a major reason why Calabar is the number one tourist destination for Nigerians and tourists. The carnival which begin on every 1 December and last till 31 December has boosted the cultural mosaic of Nigeria people while entertaining the millions of spectators within and outside the State, and boosting industry for all stakeholders. With a variety of events, from carnival football matches, boat regattas and traditional festivals. Calabar Carnival is a must see attraction for any tourist.