TOP 7 THINGS TO DO IN CALABAR
Often referred to as the ‘Canaan City,’ Calabar is the capital of Cross River State. The original name for Calabar was Akwa Akpa, a name from the Efik language. The city is adjacent to the Calabar and Great Kwa rivers, the creeks of the Cross River, as well as a border town between Nigeria and Cameroon.
It is regarded as the cleanest and most environmentally friendly city in Nigeria. From museums holding ancient artifacts dating back to the colonial and pre-colonial era, to rich resources, picturesque landscapes and historic national parks, Calabar is arguably the most prominent tourist city in Western Africa. With its numerous tourist attractions and the warm nature of the Calabar locals, the culture-rich city is a perfect place for a getaway.
Here are seven amazing things to do and places to visit in Calabar that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.
VISIT THE SLAVE MUSEUM
The Slave History Museum, Calabar, was established in 2007 and commissioned on 17 March 2011. Located on the site of a fifteenth-century slave-trading warehouse in Marina Beach, the museum is a rich resource on the activities of the slave trade, which was rampant in the Calabar area in the 15th century. Directly managed by the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, the institution has a great display of artistic objects and is also an ethnographic museum with permanent exhibitions.
The museum’s five main exhibits include the Esuk Mba Slave Market in Akpabuyo, where captured slaves were traded. This market is still in existence, with a barter system in operation even today. Another exhibition features objects of the slave trade, including Chains and Shackles. An exhibition on the Procurement of Slaves depicts the various currencies of the slave trade, from copper bars, manilas, and Dane guns, to brass bells, gongs, flutes, and more. The Shipment of Slaves displays an artist’s idea of the arrangement of slaves in a ship. Enslaved people are arranged in different positions depending on where they were kept on board the vessel, either by sitting, standing, or in juxtaposition, to avoid conspiracy in the ship. These positions were unchanged even for months until the ships get to their destination.
Lastly, there is an exhibition on Abolition, which highlights the efforts of abolitionists like William Wilberforce, Thomas Clarkson, and Granville Sharp, who made great efforts to end slavery. The museum is opened to the public every day of the week, including Saturdays and Sundays, as well as public holidays.
SPEND QUALITY TIME AT THE TINAPA RESORT
Tinapa Resort is the first integrated business and leisure resort established by the government of Cross River State. The resort is located just about 10 km from Calabar and serves as the ideal place to buy duty-free goods and supplies. Tinapa resort boasts of spectacular architectural designs and features a luxury hotel, cinema, movie production studio known as “Studio Tinapa,” a mini-amphitheater, a night club, a children’s arcade, pubs, and the famous water-themed park.
The resort is a tourist’s dream located by the Calabar River, Tinapa Resort has world-class facilities where visitors can take advantage of retail and wholesale 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.
JOIN THE PROCESSION AT THE CALABAR CARNIVAL
Calabar Carnival festival in Nigeria also tagged, “Africa’s Biggest Street festival,” is a significant reason why Calabar is the number one tourist destination for Nigerians and tourists. The carnival, which starts every 1 December and lasts till 31 December, has boosted the cultural atmosphere of Nigeria while entertaining the millions of spectators within and outside the State, as well as 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.
NATIONAL MUSEUM CALABAR
The National Museum Calabar’s building was formerly a British governor’s building overlooking the enchanting creeks. The museum boasts of a fascinating collection of artifacts dating back to the slave trade and palm oil trade era, as well as the time when Calabar served as the seat of the Efik Kingdom. The Calabar Museum building was partly constructed and designed in Glasgow, then was transported in a series of part shipments to Nigeria.
The National Museum Calabar also carries a long history of the colonial era, and the museum preserves essential papers and documents relating to the colonial times. The upper floor of the museum still holds original furnishings used by the colonial settlers; there is also an extensive library which holds constitutional documents in their original forms. Free guides are available to help tourists during peak periods. The Museum is usually open daily between 9 am and 6 pm, and tourists are charged
OBUDU MOUNTAIN RESORT
Also known as Obudu Cattle Ranch, this is one of Africa’s finest, most exciting, and very spectacular tourist destinations. Obudu Mountain Resort is located in the highlands and deep tropical forests of Cross River State with a temperate climate. If you are a tourist looking for a mix of adventure and beautiful serenity, then Obudu Cattle Ranch is the place to be. With abundant natural vegetation and a picturesque view, Obudu is increasingly becoming popular amongst tourists from all around Nigeria and Africa as a whole. Here you can ride Africa’s longest cable cars, swim in the springs, and even spot rare gorillas.
OBSERVE RARE ANIMAL SPECIES AT THE DRILL SANCTUARY
Drill Rehabilitation Center is a wildlife sanctuary located at Drill Ranch, Calabar. It was built in 1991 by Peter Jenkins and Lisa Gadsby to preserve drills, the endangered African primate.
The Drill Ranch and rehabilitation center preserves and ensures continuity of endangered primate species. It also serves to rehabilitate drills with members of their species and provides a haven for orphaned chimpanzees. After recording over 250 births, the Drill Rehabilitation Center is has been recognized as the most successful captive breeding of an endangered primate in the world.
Kwa waterfalls is situated in Cross River National Park. Regarded as Nigeria’s tropical paradise, Kwa waterfalls is made of 234 well-arranged staircases and settles into a pool of water at its base. Asides the spectacular waterfall, another amazing feature is the beach at the bank of the pool, which it settles into. A walk on the beach will ensure a whole period of soothing calmness.
In addition to these, other activities you can’t afford to miss is treating yourself to tasty Edika Ikong Soup, going Mountaineering and hanging out at the Tortuga Island.
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