Day 1: Calabar Slave Museum
We arrived into Margret Ekpo International Airport Calabar, the capital of Cross River State at noon, dropped our bags and immediately started exploring the town. Our first stop was:
The Slave museum in the Marina, the museum houses rich stories and history about the slave trade in Calabar; a major West African slave ports. Once you enter the museum you are greeted with a historical video that gives viewers a quick insight to what it the slave trade was like. The video and the museum tells a holistic story about slave trade. While at the museum, tourists will have the opportunity to have a better understanding to how the slaves were transported through the triangular trading system that carried slaves, crops and manufactured goods through West Africa, Caribbean and European colonies. The museum holds artifacts from the slave trade as well as life sized models of slaves and their masters to provide for a more interactive experience.
After the museum we were able to stop at the local bar in the Marina overlooking the Calabar River.
Day 2: Drill Ranch Calabar
We took a trip to the Drill Ranch Headquarters in Calabar. The Drill Ranch has two sites; Calabar and Afi Mountain. The Drill Ranch Calabar acts as a rehabilitation center to rescued drill moneys and chimpanzees. The Drill Rehabilitation and Breeding Center (Drill Ranch or DRBC) was founded in 1991 as the regions first primate rehab project. Orphaned drill monkeys, chimpanzees and other primate species are donated by locals in the area or through seizure by authorities. The organization boasts to have rescued and rehabilitated over 75 drills. While in the Calabar center we were able to have a guided free tour of the facilities and learn about the incredible work that takes place on the Drill Ranch.
DRBC was able to record over 250 births to the rehabilitated wild born offspring, making it one of the world’s most successful captive breeding program for endangered primates.
We wanted to take a trip to visit the Afi Mountains, the field site where the monkeys are released back into their natural habitat. However, because summer is the peak of the wet season it proved to be difficult to find good transportation that would be able to take on the arduous roads to journey to go to up to the Afi Mountains.
Day 3: Tinapa Resort
Tinapa is a business and leisure resort in Calabar. We took a boat ride from the Marina to the resort, which runs along the Calabar River and is free trade zone. The resort is home to a Hollywood standard studio, currently being occupied by the Ebony Live television network. After the resort we took a drive to a catfish restaurant not too far from Tinapa. The restaurant farms and cooks the catfish in front of the guests, allowing you to pick your meal.
Day 4: Obudu Mountain Resort
We left at 6:30am to Obudu, the drive up to Obudu Mountain Resort on average is 8 hours including breaks, and I assure you getting there is half the fun! The highway leading to Obudu Mountain Resort from Calabar goes through 8 local governments- Odukpani, Akamkpa, Biase, Yakuur, Obubra, Ikom, Etung, Boki.
About 17 kilometers from Ikom is the Agbokim Waterfall. The waterfall is an impressive 7-part waterfall surrounded by tropical rainforest, providing many secluded spots that are picture perfect for bird watching or enjoying the scenery. When arriving into the mountain resort by road you pass through the Bancho forest for about 40 minutes before arriving at the base of the plateau.
The Obudu Mountain Resort is located in the Obanliku local government in the Northeastern region of the state, bordering Cameroon. The resort is home to the longest cable car in Africa running for 4 kilometers from the bottom of plateau up to the resort. The cable car offers unparalleled scenic views of the surrounding mountains. The resort has good accommodation, food and activities for all to take part in.
We stayed on the ranch for 8 days where the resort gives visitors the ability to participate in long guided mountain hikes. To explore the depths of the dynamic wilderness one does not have to go too far to experience the wilderness. The resort is home to a wildlife canopy walkway and several miles of hiking trail for school groups to observe natures outdoors. Additionally, in close proximity to the resort is a Honey Factory and Dairy Farm which offer phenomenally unique educational opportunities for young and old explorers. There, we were given the opportunity to learn and participate in making our own honey to take home.
We hiked to Cataract waterfall, where we were able to go for a quick dip after making sure the current was not too strong. On the 4th Day in the Obudu Resort we cycled down to Bebi, a village in Obanliko to teach English and Maths in the Bebi Primary school.
The day before leaving back to Calabar we were able to climb Aundu Mountain, which stands at a 1,200m above sea level to properly explore the plant and bird life on in the region.
To get to the ranch you can go by car or by air. In Obanliku local government, at the base of the mountains is Bebi airstrip.