Calabar

Calabar is the capital city of Cross River State in Southeast Nigeria. It is a charming and quite peaceful city.

Understand

Calabar is one of the oldest trading centers in Nigeria. The city is set on a natural hill overlooking the Calabar River. Calabar was established as a center of slave trade by the British in 17th century. It became the biggest colonial administration in Nigeria in the 18th, 19th and early part of the 20th centuries. At the end of slave Trade, the city was a major port for Palm Oil trade and commodities exports and imports from the South East of Nigeria. It became the Capital of Niger Coast Protectorate and later the Southern Protectorate capital of Nigeria. Currently, Calabar is the Capital of Cross River State of Nigeria. The city is a major center of tourism in Nigeria. The Calabar Carnival is the largest street cultural festival in Africa. The Carnival holds in December of every year and attracts thousands of visitors and guests from all parts of the world.

Like other major cities in Nigeria, power supply could be a major problem. The Federal Government of Nigeria is currently developing a major plant near the city to boost domestic and industrial power supply. Water is easily available in the city and it is of very good quality. Other attractions include the Slave Museum, Calabar Free Trade Zone, Tinapa Business and Tourist Resort, Cultural and Civic Center, Calabar Port and University Campuses amongst others. The city is a few hours drive to the Obudu Ranch Resort which had hosted many Presidential Retreats and conferences in the past. There is an airport which has connecting flights to other major cities in Nigeria.

Get in

By plane

Calabar is about 1 hour from Lagos by plane. Calabar is about 25 minutes from Port Harcourt and has an International Airport - Margaret Ekpo International Airport.

Calabar is 1 hour flight from Lagos and a 4 hour drive from Port Harcourt. With the development of the city by the present administration, the city flight schedules have increased and you can now get a flight in or out of Calabar every day. Also the major airlines in the country have their presence felt in Calabar and have flights to and from major cities in the country; they include: Virgin Nigeria, Arik Air and Aero Contractors. Their flight schedules can easily be found at their respective websites. Don't forget visas!

By boat

There is also a regular boat service from various parts of Cameroon's coastline which will transport vehicles and people. You can actually get Cameroonian visas on the boat which can save you a lot of time. However, you can use Calabar as a base before transferring into Cameroon by road slightly further north.

By car

There are several Car Transportation services into Calabar from all parts of Nigeria including the Major Cities of Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja,Yola. They include ABC Transport, The Young Shall Grow, Elim Tours Etc.

Get around

The local authorities have made a great effort to make the streets safe by enlarging them, removing potholes, and adding stripes between lanes. Local taxis are not advisable as the cars are very old and quite often the drivers are not particularly experienced. As long as you are careful Calabar is quite safe.

See

There is a lot of Colonial Architecture in the older parts of Calabar that are around Henshaw Town, Duke Town and the waterfront areas.

Do

Buy

The old town is remarkable for its great variety of small shops where you can get just about anything (but expect to bargain). There are two great markets, Watt Market and Marian market. Watt market is large, bustling, vibrant and full of beautiful materials etc. One can buy anything from live chickens to the most stunning wax materials, jeans at knock down prices and anything from car parts to the latest 'trainers'. Marian market is much smaller but is where the vegetables arrive once weekly from the north of Nigeria and the atmosphere on market day is fantastic, preachers are singing, women are joining in, traders are very vocal and one just bargains for everything.

Seriously, materials in Calabar are second to none. Beautiful waxes from Ghana, stunning materials from all over Africa can be found in Calabar - all at prices that will amaze. There are many very professional tailors who can make wonderful clothing from linens etc.

For those of us that we haven't tasted fresh live fish, you can get it direct from the sea.

Eat

Sleep

Connect

Internet cafes

Cope

The major religion of the state is Christianity. There are numerous churches from the orthodox to the more contemporary including the Anglican Church, the Catholic Church and the Presbyterian church.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, March 29, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.