When you talk about tourism in Nigeria, Cross River State is usually among the top three recommended states to visit. The people’s paradise is synonymous with tourism because of its vast natural resources and historical relevance.
If you ever get to visit Cross River, here are three things you should do:
Spend time with Nature
Cross River is blessed with so many natural attractions, it can be hard to choose which to enjoy. You could visit the Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary in Boki LGA, about a 5-hour drive from Calabar City. The reserve is home to migrating birds and ideal for birdwatching. Formerly called Pandrillus, the Main Drill Ranch, Afi Wildlife is also a great place to see the rescued animals like antelopes, chimpanzees, parrots, the Cross River gorilla, and the endangered drill monkey.
Next is Agbokim Falls in Etung LGA, which is close to the Cameroon border. It is a collection of seven falls over a cliff. Making this fall special is how the waterfall creates a rainbow against the backdrop of the lush green vegetation.
Another fall to see is Kwa Falls in Akamkpa LGA. Its sparkling water from the Kwa River falls into a canopy of mangrove swamps and rainforests. The landscape is not only fascinating but is also great for forest bathing because of the different tree species found there like mahogany, spruce and ebony trees.
Furthermore, you would love to visit the Ikom Stone Monoliths in Ikom LGA. These monoliths are a collection of volcanic rocks formed around 2500 BC – 1 AD.
Also, in Boki LGA is Cross River National Park, a rainforest conservation area that spans from Kanyan to the foot of the Obudu Plateau. Speaking of Obudu, it is the most popular tourist destination in Nigeria. The Obudu Mountain Resort, is perfect for basking in nature. You can hike up Holy Mountain, chill at waterfall or just enjoy the high altitude of the mountain ranges complete with its freezing weather and spontaneous rainfalls. You can literally have your head in the clouds in this tranquil and scenic place.
Go on a City Tour
The best place for a city tour in Cross River state is Calabar. In addition to the Drill Ranch and other places earlier mentioned are iconic sites worth seeing. Mary Slessor’s residence and tomb is in Creektown, Odukpani. Also in Calabar are the Slave Museum, the National Museum, Duke Town Church, and Chief Ekpo Bassey’s House.
Touring with kids? Then ensure the Marina Resort is on your itinerary because they will love the children’s playground with its carousel and all. There’s also the Tortuga Island in Marina Resort to visit.
And finally, while some may say that Tinapa has lost its glory, there is still plenty to see around the premises. The huts and little statues dotting the place makes for a nice photography.
Attend an Event
The Calabar Carnival is the highlight of tourism in Cross River because it brings in tons of tourists. The carnival is colourful, shows off the acrobatic skills of performers, and welcomes tourists to experience the warm hospitality of the people and the tasty delicacies Cross River has to offer.
Ironically, burial ceremonies are quite eventful in Cross River because they are an occasion to celebrate life. The preparations for burials are similar to that for Christmas. Even the New Yam festivals in the rural areas are perfect for eating, drinking and being merry.
Obudu Mountain resort is also the location for the Obudu Ranch International Mountain Race which started in 2005 (with the women’s championship and later in 2009 with the men’s African Mountain Running Championship). The achievements of this event birthed the likes of Lagos Marathon in Lagos and the Okpekpe Race in Edo. Although it has not been organised since 2011, if you happen to be in the state in November whenever the competition resumes, it would be a cool event to witness.
Featured image source: Lonely Planet