Top 5 Must Do's in Calabar

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Rainier than most African cities, and definitely wetter than most parts of Nigeria, Calabar is found in the Cross River State in southeast Nigeria. The weather has provided for a different geographical environment than most parts of Africa, as seen from the rainforests, wildlife and rivers that can be found in the city. Here are the top 5 Calabar Must Do’s.

1. Visit the International Museum

The Calabar museum is one of the most prominent places of the city, housing some of the city and nation’s historical relics. Some of the antiques here date back to 15th century Nigeria, when tribes still inhabited the land and wars were rampant. Take a walk through the various exhibits that showcase the darker days of Calabar’s political history – through the late-19th to the early-20th century, when the warlords were the ones who called the shots in the streets.

2. Meet the Drill Monkeys

Home to the Drill Monkeys Rehab Center, the city of Calabar also plays its part in conservation and contributing to the country’s growing ecotourism industry. Once hunted and eaten in large numbers, the Drill Monkey is now an endangered species that can only be found in the regions neighboring the city and in some of the forests scattered around Nigeria and Cameroon. The Center allows tourists to meet some of the monkeys that have been saved from the smuggling trade, and press upon them the importance of conserving this beautiful and rare species.

3. Shop at Tinapa

Equivalent to a large mall, Tinapa is a huge complex that is not quite as simple as a shopping center alone. Tinapa is a brand new zone commissioned in 2007 by the government, consisting of four huge shopping emporiums, an amusement and water park, a luxury hotel, and a wharf with pubs and restaurants. The Tinapa zone emphasizes a lifestyle that signifies the increasing wealth and spending power of the country’s people. The sheer size of the complex means that tourists can literally buy anything under the sun here – from essentials to souvenirs to take home.

4. Take a river stroll

It's not called the "Cross River State" for no reason: one of the highlights of this place is its river. Stroll along the gorgeous waterfront houses with the International Museum in the background, and take in the sights of the locals going about daily activities, especially in the evenings.

5. Experience the Rainforest

The Cross River State National Park is the place to go for those who enjoy the great outdoors. With the ecotourism industry booming, the Nigerian government has taken extra steps into conservation attempts, building up suspension bridges and enforcing littering laws in the national parks. The Cross River State National Park is full of Calabar’s diverse flora and fauna, so take the opportunity to walk around on your own, or engage a guide to do the explaining for you.

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