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 motorcycles 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 nowhere as dirty as Lagos, I was just shocked cos it didn’t match the stories I had been told.
Anyway, as 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.
During the next few days, we visited Marina – 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).
We also checked out CERCOPAN (Centre for Education, Research & Conservation of Primates and Nature) – a monkey sanctuary and rehabilitation centre 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…