Today we bring to you the Best tourist attractions in cross river and Calabar. A state which stands on a very unique spot of what is known today as South South Nigeria (Niger-Delta region). From the soaring plateaus of the mountain tops of Obudu to the Rain forests of Afi, from the Waterfalls of Agbokim and Kwa to the spiraling ox-bow Calabar River which provides sights and images of the Tinapa Business Resort, Calabar Marina, Calabar Residency Museum and the Calabar Slave Park along its course, there is always a thrilling adventure awaiting the eco-tourist visiting Cross River State.
Other tourist attractions are the Ikom Monoliths (a series of volcanic-stone monoliths constructed some time between 2500 BC and 1 AD), the Mary Slessor Tomb, Calabar Drill Monkey Sanctuary, Cross River National Park, Afi Mountain walkway canopy, Kwa falls, Agbokim waterfalls, Tinapa Business Resort and the annual Calabar Carnival that takes place during the Christmas period.
Formerly part of the Afi River ForestReserve, the Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 2000 to provide improved protection to important populations of several endangered species including the critically endangered Cross River gorilla, the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee, the drill and the grey-necked Picathartes or rockfowl.
Afi is covered by roughly 100km² of lowland and sub-montane forest with rocky peaks rising to altitudes of 1,300m. Although the steep mountainous slopes of the sanctuary have largely protected it from logging the forest is frequently damaged by dry-season bush fires set to clear new farms or to flush game.
Open areas created by fire are quickly colonised by herb species which form an important staple food for gorillas. On the western flank of the mountain is a large grassland roost of migratory European barn swallows, estimated to contain up to 20 million birds at times and reputed to be the largest wintering roost site of swallows in Africa.
2. Agbokim Waterfalls
Agbokim Waterfalls is situated 17 kilometres from Ikom Local Government Area of Cross River State and about 315 kilometers from Calabar. Agbokim Waterfalls is not far from the Nigeria-Cameroon border.
Agbokim waterfall is a collection of seven cascades which pour over a cliff creating an impressive seven-part waterfall. If you are lucky you will catch the falls at a time when the mist drifting from the crashing water conjures up rainbow colours.
Agbokim Waterfalls is surrounded by lush greenery, valleys and steep hills which are enveloped in a rainbow-like aura. Its freshness is captivating and has an alluring serenity.
It is an ideal location for a picnic, vacation, getting back into nature and regaining your creative productivity and general well being.
Agbokim Waterfalls is most spectacular during the rainy season when on a lucky day you have a chance to see the rainbow across the face of the waterfall. Its proximity to neighbouring Cameroon offers a unique opportunity for cross-border experience.
3. Kwa Falls
The Kwa Falls is located in Anegeje village in Akamkpa LGA of Cross River State and an extension of the Kwa River.
Its sparkling waters cascades down basement rocks situated at the Oban side of the Cross River National Park.
There are 234 steps made to the Kwa Falls, and the waterfall flows into a canopy of the tropical rainforest and mangrove forest that is rich in Mahogany, Ebony, and Spruce trees in a fascinating landscape.
4. Cross River National Park
Cross River National Park is located between Latitude 5o 05’ and 6o 29’ N, and Longitudes 8o 15’ and 9o 30’ E, in the extreme south-eastern corner of Nigeria, in Cross River State. It covers a total area of about 4000sq km of mainly primary moist tropical rainforest ecosystem in the North and central parts, and montane mosaic vegetation on the Obudu Plateau. It is Nigeria’s last Great Rainforest Reserve, and the closest to the Mangrove Swamps on the coastal region.
Cross River National Park is an integral part of the Cross River State rainforest conservation area, located in Boki LGA and spans from Kanyan to the foot of the Obudu plateau with a total land area of 720sqkm of rugged mountain scenery and rolling hills. The park is divided into two sections.
5. Obudu Cattle Ranch And Mountain Resort
Obudu Mountain Resort is one of the Africa’s finest and most magnificent tourist destinations. It is a tourist heaven with its inviting natural endowment to be explored.
Obudu Mountain Resort is located in the highlands of Cross River State, only 45 miles from the border with Cameroon, and it possesses a temperate climate due to its high altitude.
Obudu is one of the finest and most magnificent tourist destinations in the world today. Deep in the tropical rain forest of Cross River State, presents an area of idyllic tranquillity and an enchanting scenery.
Obudu has increasingly become popular amongst tourists, adventurers and event planners from all around Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
6. Tinapa Resort, Calabar
Tinapa is a resort district, 10 km outside of Calabar, in the Cross River State, Nigeria. The hotel comprises of 243 rooms and delivers top class comfort and service to every guest.
A visit to Tinapa exposes its breath-taking architectural design, and includes a wholesale emporium, retail outlets, food court with take-away outlets, administrative centres, parking space for 3000 cars and coaches, wave pool, standing wave surfing, lazy river slide, water slides, picnic area, children’s pool and play area. The fisherman’s village compromises of the mud bar, a branded nightclub, arts and crafts village and a man-made lake.
These and more make Tinapa, a world-class edifice. All these facilities are supported by a robust 24/7 independent power supply system, first-class ICT infrastructure as well as top security.
Recreational facilities such as Tinapa Waterpark is an invitation to experience unequalled family fun at Tinapa Resort. The waterpark has facilities for both adult and children.
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.
Things to do in Cross River Calabar
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 characterized 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.