People’s Paradise: Cross River State

DSC_1596All eleven Cross River explorers are in good spirits as we embark on the highly anticipated journey to Calabar, Afi Mountain, and Obudu Cattle Ranch.  A diverse and concentrated agenda has been organized by the Nigerian Field Society. Over the next five days, we will delve into the history of Calabar, learn about wildlife and environment conservation, and explore the mountainous region of the Afi Mountain and Obudu Plateau.

On Friday morning, we fly Arik Air from Lagos and arrive in Calabar only one hour behind schedule.  The short wait to collect our luggage gives us a chance to admire wooden wall panels that depict nsibidi motifs, an indigenous system of writing.

nsibidi motif

nsibidi motif

We climb aboard our bus and enter Calabar, the capital city of Cross River State, which is situated in the extreme southeastern corner of Nigeria. Distinctively different from Lagos, we admire Calabar’s tidy sidewalks, rolling hills, and treelined, flowering gardens. Cross River State boasts ‘The People’s Paradise’, and we are ready to experience it.IMG_0781

Calabar is about 35 kilometers from the Gulf of Guinea in the Bight of Biafra, separated from the Bight of Benin by the Niger River Delta. The area was a well-developed trade area before the Europeans arrived sometime in the mid-seventeenth century. In the early sixteenth century the Portuguese were probably the first Europeans to encounter the Efik, Ibibio, Efut, Qua, and Effiat peoples who had migrated toward the area, today, known as Calabar.  Perhaps, the Portuguese were the first Europeans to trade with the Efik villages of Creek Town (Ikot Itunkko), Old Town (Obutong),  and Duke Town (Atakpa)  followed by Dutch and English traders.

DSC_0835

To read more about the Cross River adventure, click here.

2 thoughts on “People’s Paradise: Cross River State

  1. Wow, Les, you are amazing, so adventuroius and appreciative of the cultures you explore and it comes through so beautifully in your writing. Just wonderful! Thanks!!! Lynnie

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s