Not many recognize or know that Calabar happens to be the first capital of Nigeria. But before Lagos, and eventually Abuja, Calabar was the seat of government in Nigeria where the colonial government administered from. Set on a hill overlooking the Calabar and Kwa Rivers, Calabar, the capital of Cross River state, is one of the most beautiful cities in Nigeria and is a top destination for tourist and adventure seekers. This in art due to the fact that Calabar is home to Obudu Cattle Ranch or Obudu Mountain Resort as it is known nowadays. Calabar is host to the Tinapa Resort which is a business and leisure resort and the Calabar Free Trade Zone the hub of manufacturing, trading, essential services as well as laying host to oil and gas companies. Every year, in December, Calabar holds the Calabar Carnival famed as Africa’s biggest street party which features troupes from all over the country in a massive colorful display of culture, creativity in design of attires and an elaborate fanfare.
Why should you visit Calabar?
Calabar is touted as the home of tourism in Nigeria. You should visit Calabar for the plethora of fun and leisure activities. From the yearly activities of the Calabar Carnival and the Obudu Ranch International Mountain Race of a total prize money of $250,000 and its array of fun resorts, Calabar is a must visit zone, for the adventurer looking to experience an amazing time in Nigeria.
What is the Best Time to Visit Calabar?
The best time to visit Calabar is very time and twice in December. To be in the thick of things when the fun climaxes in Calabar and to get the most out of your visit if you are coming for pleasure and leisure, visit in December.
How to get to Calabar
You can get to Calabar by air through the Margaret Ekpo International Airport. The airport doesn’t connect yet to any international cities, but is serviced by flights majorly from Lagos and Abuja. By road, get to Calabar through the cities of Uyo, Port Harcourt, Owerri, Onitsha, Aba which all have major roads and highways connecting to Calabar.
How to move around Calabar
Buses, Cabs and Motorcycles are available to move around the city of Calabar. The roads are well paved and tarred and there is relatively less traffic on the roads compared to cities like Lagos.
Visit the Calabar Museum. Calabar once served as a port city for moving slaves across the Atlantic. A Slave Museum stands in testament to the history of the city.
Attend the Calabar Carnival. Towards the end of the year, millions flock to Calabar for what has been called Africa’s Biggest Street Party. Coupled with the peacefulness and hospitality of its people, Calabar becomes a haven of festivities around December every year for the Calabar Festival. The Calabar Festival is a tourist delight for those in Nigeria and abroad. With the exposure of the city of the wider world, more relaxation centres have emerged including Marina Resort, Atlantis Lounge and the most popular being Tinapa the biggest free Trade Zone in West Africa. For cool sea breeze, many visit Toturga Island to enjoy its quiet serenity, perhaps after a long day at the Calabar Festival parade.
When in Calabar visit the nearby Obudu Mountain Resort or Obudu Cattle Ranch as it was formerly called. Nature at its finest. It has great amenities and facilities for the perfect getaway and vacation.