We know that Calabar is a popular Christmas holiday destination. For the sake of anyone who’s never been, or for anyone who’s thinking about going to Calabar this Christmas, we’ve carried out an investigation. Apart from the carnival , there are lots of other fun activities that you can get into in the Cross River State capital. We have asked three people who should know, about the best activities to get into while in Calabar. We have opinions from a travel management consultant, from someone who grew up there and from another who has lived there for a few years. With three independent inquiries, we should be able to get a well informed idea of what it’s like to spend the Christmas holiday in Calabar.
Edinyanga is a travel management consultant with TravelCulture Ltd. Most of the time, she is on the internet, looking for the next budget-friendly travel destination. Here are the activities that made her top five things to do in Calabar this Christmas.
Eat bush meat and drink palm wine with plantain and vegetable sauce at Atimbo
This place is not some fancy restaurant. In fact it’s what Nigerians call a” joint”, complete with wooden benches set on bare ground. However, this ‘local’ ambiance is what attracts people to this place.The delicacy is not served anywhere else and it is usually fun to see guys and ladies who have come home for Christmas, come directly from the airport with their luggage. Expect to have the sellers call you from their respective wooden joints.
Take a Boat ride from Tinapa to Marina Resort
This helps you kill 3 birds with one stone. First, you get to explore Tinapa and do a little shopping or maybe check out the water parks. Then, for N2000 you could do a 30minute boat ride across the Tinapa Lake, to Marina Resort. On this boat ride you can spot the palace of the Obong of Calabar. When you arrive at Marina Resort, you can enjoy lunch and definitely check out the slave trade Museum or watch a movie.
Check out the Bikers Carnival
This year (2017), it will hold on the 27th of December. The Bikers Carnival is fun to watch, especially if seeing bikers pull of risky and daring stunts is your thing. Last year Charly Boy and a couple of other celebrities were a part of it. There is no telling who we will see this year, and oh the biker helmets and bikes are certainly worth looking out for
This is the reason people come into Calabar at Christmas. Aptly named, ‘Africa’s largest street party’, this is a colorful costume event that sees five bands competing to be the band that best interprets the theme for the year. It’s fun and exciting. This year, it will hold on the 28th of December.
Visit Kwa Falls
Marvel at nature just 45mins away from the city. Kwa falls is a lovely place for a picnic and just enjoying the sound and sights of the Kwa falls.
Ebu grew up in Calabar and currently lives there. Here are his recommendations:
The Christmas Village
It’s open 24 hours a day. During the day there are stores that retail food, drinks, accessories, and cultural items from different tribes in the state.
At night, they have concerts and different performances; comedy show, musical shows. For those who enjoy night life, the village is open through the night and till the morning. There are lots of bars there. Nigerian Breweries has a stand there.
There’s also a small amusement park inside the village where children could go play.
They have a slave trade museum where you get to see items like the shackles and cuffs that were used to bind the slaves. The curators show you round and give you a brief history of the slave trade and how it happened in this side of the country. You could take boat rides across to Twin Island on the other side. The boat rides are very affordable. You could watch movies or go to chill at one of the bars or get something to eat at the cafeteria.
It’s expected to start in the week of the 18th, and there’ll be performances at the stadium. It’s a big stage with large crowds and lots of artists come to perform.
Dr Chidi Abengowe
Dr Abengowe currently lives in Calabar with his family. He has lived in Calabar for five years. Below are his recommendations of things to do in Calabar this Christmas.
a. The best Bole place in town is “Bolerus” which is at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital. They offer the best bole in town at affordable prices.
b. Check out the famous “Eme Inn” known for its outstanding Isi Ewu.
c. The Bamboo Lounge at Transcorp Hotel is a serene place for people of class.
d. Visit the Calabar Mall with its variety of big stalls.
e. Check out the Games Villa at the Marina Resort where you can play different kinds of board games and video games.
Image Credits: CRSimages, Cometonigeria.com, Calabarblog.com, Visiter L’ Afrique, Hotels.ng