Cross River State
Cross River National Park
Cross River National Park is one of seven national parks in Nigeria under the management of the Nigerian National Parks Service. In 1991, two separate established forest reserves were joined together to form the park, which covers an area of 4,000 square kilometres. The older and larger reserve, Oban Hills (3,000 square kilometres), is in the southeast of the state and close to Calabar. Oban Hills is exceptionally rich in biodiversity. It has approximately 1,570 plant, 75 mammal, 282 bird and 42 snake species. Mammals in the area include drill monkeys, buffalos, elephants and chimpanzees. The smaller reserve, Okwangwo (1,000 square kilometres), is to the north-east of the state and is adjacent to the Mbe Mountains Community Forest. Okwangwo has approximately 1,550 plant species and one of the largest concentrations of drill monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees in Nigeria. The park is a rainforest reserve and is one of Africa's oldest rainforests.
Afi Mountain Nature Reserve
The Afi Mountain Nature Reserve in the Boki LGA is home to the 100 square-kilometre Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary. Wild drill monkeys, the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee and the endangered Cross River gorilla can be found in the reserve. The Kache Bano canopy walkway, made of steel and rope cables, runs through the reserve and offers access to the treetops.
Kwa Falls is a waterfall located in the Akamkpa LGA. It is in the vicinity of the Cross River National Park and forms part of the Kwa River. The falls end in a large pool surrounded by rainforest vegetation.
Referred to by the state government as a "miracle of nature", the Agbokim Waterfalls - formed of separate streams that come together to create a spectacular waterfall - are located near Ikom.
(Image © vencarta.com)
Obudu Mountain Resort
The Obudu Mountain Resort is on the Obudu Plateau in the Obanliku LGA. The plateau is more than 1,500 metres above sea level, giving the resort a temperate climate all year round. The resort is the venue of the annual Obudu Mountain International Race which was launched in 2005 and is endorsed by the World Mountain Running Association as well as the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF). The race is run in two categories (male and female) and has significant foreign participation. The resort (which was formerly known as the Obudu Cattle Ranch) is home to an integrated dairy farm and facilities such as a swimming pool and golf course.
Refome Lake is in the Abi LGA and is a natural inland freshwater lake. The Ntuefo and Iko Otwoa fishing festivals are celebrated there.
Tropical Karst Scenery and Etankpini Caves
Limestone caverns with stalactites and stalagmites can be seen in the village of Etankpini in the Odukpani LGA alongside tropical karst scenery with sinkholes and pillars. This is the only karst scenery on the West African coast. The caves are yet to be fully geologically and archaeologically examined. Similar caves exist at Agwangune in the Biase LGA.
Tinapa is an integrated business and leisure resort located in Calabar, the first of its kind in Nigeria. It was conceptualised as an integrated business resort with a four-phase development promoted by the state government under a public-private partnership. It is located by the Calabar River and is part of the Calabar Free Trade Zone.
Slave History Museum
The Slave History Museum is a specialised museum which tells the story of slavery as witnessed in Calabar and its immediate surroundings. It is located at the Marine Resort in Calabar. Some of the artefacts exhibited at the museum include leg and neck shackles used on slaves, cowries, ceramic jars, bells, swords, guns and manilas. A Nok head from Rafin Kura dated between 900BC and 200AD, Calabar terracotta, Igbo-ukwu bronze, Ife terracotta and bronze, Owo terracotta and ivory, Benin bronze and ivory and Esie soapstone art are also on display.
Old Residency Museum
This museum is an imposing edifice with beautiful golden European architecture which served as the seat of government for the Southern Nigeria protectorate. Today it houses artefacts and relics of historical and archaeological interest. It became a museum in 1959.
Bassey Duke Effigy
The Bassey Duke effigy immortalises the late Bassey Duke, a famous Efik trader and community leader of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It is located at the roundabout near the famous Watt Market in Calabar.
Mary Slessor's Residence
This one-storey block was home to the famous Scottish missionary Mary Slessor and is located in the heart of Okoyong in the Odukpani LGA. Mary Slessor began her extensive missionary work in the Old Calabar Province in 1876 and served for almost half a century.
Mary Slessor's Tomb
Mary Slessor's tomb is located in the Calabar Municipality.
The Calabar Cenotaph was built in memory of the Nigerian heroes of the World Wars One and Two and the Nigerian Civil War. It is located along Calabar Road, near the state's branch office of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The Calabar Carnival is an annual monthlong celebration that runs from November 30 to January 1. Referred to as "Africa's biggest street party", it was started as a means of attracting visitors to the state. The carnival is organised by the Cross River State Carnival Commission, which sets the programmes and theme for each year. A variety of international and local bands perform during the carnival and a number of competitions (including the Calabar Carnival Beauty Queen pageant) take place. There is a twelve-kilometre parade route down which decorated floats and various groups in themed costumes proceed.
Ugep Leboku Yam Festival
The Leboku New Yam Festival is celebrated annually in August to mark the end of the farming season. The celebrations take place in Ugep in the Yukurr LGA. Festivities include wrestling contests, parades, cultural dances and masquerade displays. The Etangala masquerade makes its once-a-year appearance during the festival.
Anong Bahumono Festival
The Anong Bahumono Festival is celebrated in the village of Anong and comprises a series of different cultural dance styles from across the state, including the Ikpobin (considered the most entertaining), Ekoi, Obam, Emukei and Etangala.
Other festivals include the Cross River State Carnival Float (December 26) and Calabar Boat Regatta (also held in December).