Up and About in Calabar

Calabar was one of those states in Nigeria that I had heard so much about and was really keen on visiting. I heard stories about how it was perhaps the cleanest state in Nigeria. How no one dared throw dirt on the streets and even when someone did, I heard about how they were chased down by guys on motorcycle and forced to clean up their mess. I heard a lot about their delicious foods, friendly people and of course the street carnivals and parties they had every year and for many years, I looked forward to visiting.

When I finally visited for the first time this year, I was taken aback by the state of things. I expected a city with dirt-free streets and roads but apparently, I was about 10 years late to the party. To be fair though, Calabar is no where as dirty as Lagos, I was just shocked cos it didn’t match the stories I had been told.

Anyway, like I mentioned here, we spent three days in the city hanging out with new friends and family. Our first day was pretty much for relaxing and recovering from the exhausting journey to Obudu and the mountain resort.

CalabarDuring the next few days, we visited Marina –ย which we really liked. This place has a museum, a game arcade, cinema and a nice spot to chill by the river. We also took a ride around the city, stopping to admire various sculptures on the road or in parks. Calabar has a lot of these and almost every roundabout has something on display. (I particularly loved the monoliths although I have no picture of them).

CalabarWe also checked out CERCOPAN (Centre for Education, Research & Conservation of Primates and Nature) – a monkey sanctuary and rehabilitation center located within the city. (We were told that this place might be closed by the end of this year due to lack of funding).

And we wrapped up our stay with a trip to Marian and Watt markets and to Tinapa – which did not live up to expectation at all! Maybe we visited at a wrong time because I hear it gets pretty exciting in December.

Our trip was short and sweet. We missed out a few places in and around Calabar but I guess that means we have to visit again and I certainly look forward to doing so.

Have you ever been to Calabar? Did you visit before of after ‘The Donald?’ I’d love to read about your experiences in the comment section below…

8 Comments

  1. Yea, you were very late to the party. I visited Calabar when Donald Duke had just transformed it. The carnival had no rivalry. I’m sure d people will never lose their warmness though.

    • I know right! I wish I visited then but oh well, will see how the next few years go…I agree with the people’s warmth. That was amazing

  2. Amarachi, I believe you and I have met somewhere before. Somewhere more spiritual… The way you write,Gosh! I would be very disappointed if your true self is different from the person I built from your works.
    And I’m actually meeting you at just the right time. I am actually planning a trip to Obudu at the moment and I could use a few tips from you. Please can I talk to you in person? No jokes and no hidden motives. (I’m actually typing this on my wife’s laptop anyways).You are meant for greatness. God bless you.

    • Haha, thanks for your comment, Ayo. It’s exciting to know that you’re planning your own trip to Obudu. I’m sure you’ll have a great time. You can send me any questions you might have directly via email or simply leave a comment here on my blog and I’ll be happy to answer them.

  3. It’s so sad how Nigeria does or creates something amazing then after whoever puts it in place leaves, everything falls apart. Wish we could just do better. The pictures still look great though but I get the disappointment after setting expectations.

    However I do look forward to visiting Calabar and I’m hoping it’s before the year runs out.

    • Exactly. Continuity and maintenance are missing from our dictionary. Everyone wants to start something new regardless of what’s been put in place. Calabar is still worth visiting anyway, so you should definitely go. Would be looking forward to hearing/reading all about it.

  4. I didnโ€™t even know CERCOPAN was still open. Wow! Do I peep Echaka? Small world. We went to primary school together. Girl, Tinapa does not get more exciting than you saw it. ๐Ÿ˜„. You can take a boat cruise from there to see some palace which is nice. Even that carnival is questionable these days but it could be worth seeing if youโ€™ve never before.

    • Small world indeed! Met Chakiee in person for the first time in Calabar, she’s amazing. Don’t think we would have visited a lot of these places if it weren’t for her and her friends… As for Tinapa, I started wondering if we were in the wrong place. Lol. It was so dry and empty! Why do all good things in Nigeria end so abruptly?

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