Nestled in the heart of Nigeria’s southeastern coast, Calabar is a treasure trove of cultural heritage, lush landscapes, and vibrant street life. It’s a place where history whispers from colonial architecture and nature’s beauty is on full display. If you’re planning a trip to this enchanting city, you’re in for a treat. Here’s a rundown of the top 10 things to do in Calabar that will ensure your visit is nothing short of memorable.
1. Explore the Richness of the Calabar Museum
Set in a former colonial governor’s residence, the Calabar Museum is a journey through time. It houses artifacts that tell tales of the slave trade and colonial era. You’ll find yourself captivated by the stories etched into every exhibit.
2. Revel in the Calabar Carnival
Known as Africa’s biggest street party, the Calabar Carnival takes place every December. It’s a festival of colors, culture, and creativity that showcases the diversity of Nigerian traditions. Trust me, it’s an experience that will have you dancing in the streets!
3. Unwind at Tinapa Business Resort
Tinapa is a business and leisure resort that combines work with pleasure. It’s a hub for shopping and entertainment, offering a movie studio, a mini amphitheater, and a water park. It’s the perfect spot to let loose after a day of meetings or sightseeing.
4. Connect with Nature at the Cross River National Park
Home to endangered species like the Cross River gorilla, this national park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. The lush rainforest and eco-tourism activities make it a must-visit for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
5. Take a Walk on the Wild Side at Drill Ranch
Drill Ranch is a conservation center dedicated to protecting drill monkeys and chimpanzees. Visiting this sanctuary not only supports a Noble cause but also allows you to observe these fascinating creatures up close.
6. Enjoy Serenity at the Kwa Falls
Located in the Anegeje Village, Kwa Falls is a natural masterpiece. The soothing sound of cascading water and the surrounding tranquility make it an ideal spot for picnics or a refreshing dip.
7. Discover the Slave History Museum
This museum is a poignant reminder of Calabar’s role in the transatlantic slave trade. It’s a place of reflection, where you can learn about the harrowing experiences of slaves and the city’s transformation over the years.
8. Experience Local Flavors at the Calabar Market
No visit to Calabar is complete without a trip to the local market. It’s a bustling hub where you can sample local delicacies, haggle over handicrafts, and immerse yourself in the daily life of the Calabarians.
9. Marvel at the Mary Slessor House
Mary Slessor, a Scottish missionary, left an indelible mark on Calabar. Her former residence now serves as a historical site that highlights her efforts to stop the killing of twins, which was a common practice in the region at the time.
10. Relax at the Marina Resort
Overlooking the Calabar River, Marina Resort is a leisure complex that offers a cinema, a night club, and a jetty for boat rides. It’s the perfect place to unwind and soak in the scenic views of the waterfront.
- When is the best time to visit Calabar?
The best time to visit is during the dry season, from November to March, when the weather is pleasant and the Calabar Carnival is in full swing.
- Are there any entry fees for the national parks and museums?
Yes, there are nominal entry fees for most attractions, which contribute to their maintenance and conservation efforts.
- Is Calabar safe for tourists?
Calabar is generally considered safe for tourists, but as with any travel destination, it’s wise to take standard precautions and be aware of your surroundings.
Calabar is a city that offers a blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. From the historical insights of the Calabar Museum to the exhilarating Calabar Carnival, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re exploring the biodiversity at Cross River National Park or soaking in the serenity of Kwa Falls, you’re bound to leave with unforgettable memories. The city’s warm hospitality and rich heritage make it a unique destination that stands out on the map of Nigeria. So, pack your bags and get ready for an adventure that will tantalize your senses and enrich your soul. Calabar awaits!