Nestled against the Calabar creeks; the freshness of the environment, luxuriating greenery; palm trees and other species of fauna swaying to the music of the wind, no doubt, create a lasting effect. Set up in 1996 as a retreat ground for the family and friends, it has grown into a place where people can recreate. The completely tropical Aqua Vista compound contains 13 hectares of fish ponds that are river fed with rhythmic tidal flows.
Guests and visitors can spend hours wandering around the maze of pools and relax at the various rest points. These areas are comfortable, secluded and romantic-perfect for couples on vacation. It is ideal for writers and those who seek places to meditate.
Aqua Vista Farms and Resort is a one-of-a-kind establishment, not only in calabar, but in all of Nigeria. It was designed as an agro-tourism enterprise and combines a working fish farm with an eco-tourism experience in a way that the adventurous and unpretentious are sure to enjoy.
Aqua Vista Farm and Resort is an affordable hotel in Calabar, Cross River.
CROSS RIVER NATIONAL PARK
The Cross River National Park is a national park of Nigeria, located in Cross River State, Nigeria. There are two separate sections, Okwangwo (established 1991) and Oban (established 1988). The park has a total area of about 4,000 km2, most of which consists of primary moist tropical rainforests in the North and Central parts, with mangrove swamps on the coastal zones. Parts of the park belong to the Guinea-Congolian region, with a closed canopy and scattered emergent trees reaching 40 or 50 meters in height.
The park has one of the oldest rainforests in Africa, and has been identified as a biodiversity hot spot. Sixteen primate species have been recorded in the park. Rare primates include common chimpanzees, drills and (in Okwangwo) Cross River gorillas.
Both divisions of the park are threatened by illegal logging, slash and burn farming and poaching. Eco-tourism may support efforts to preserve the park fauna. Assisting villagers in buffer zones to practice sustainable forestry also holds promise.
OBUDU MOUNTAIN RESORT
Obudu Mountain Resort (formerly known as the Obudu Cattle Ranch) is a ranch and resort on the Obudu Plateau in Cross River State, Nigeria. It was developed in 1951 by Mr. McCaughley, a Scot who first explored the mountain ranges in 1949. He camped on the mountaintop of the Oshie Ridge on the Sankwala Mountains for a month before returning with Mr. Hugh Jones a fellow rancher who, in 1951, together with Dr Crawfeild developed the Obudu Cattle Ranch. Although the ranch has been through troubles since, it has very recently been rehabilitated to its former glory. A recently added
cable car from the base to the top of the plateau gives visitors a scenic view while bypassing the extremely winding road to the top.
Tinapa is a business and leisure resort just north of Calabar, Cross River State.Tinapa was initiated by Governor Donald Duke as a way to boost business and tourism in the state. Tinapa is a 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) drive from the heart of Calabar. The Tinapa Free Zone & Resort has facilities for retail and wholesale activities as well as leisure and entertainment. For consumers, the resort has about 80,000 square metres (860,000 sq ft) of lettable space for retail and wholesale made up of four emporiums of 10,000 square metres (110,000 sq ft) each and smaller shops, warehouses, and so on. An entertainment strip contains a casino, digital cinema, children's arcade, restaurants, a mini amphitheater, a night club and pubs. There is an artificial tidal lake that feeds from the Calabar River, a Water Park / Leisure Land and parking Space for about 4,000 cars.
Business facilities include an open exhibition area for trade exhibitions and other events, and a movie production studio commonly called "Studio Tinapa" or "Nollywood". It is set to become the most modern film production studio in Nigeria. There is a 243-room international three star Hotel. The resort also has a truck terminal, and gets power from an independent power plant.
The exhiliration begins as you turn into the road by the Central Bank in Calabar, off the city’s Eleven Eleven roundabout. Driving down, the road is straight, then it makes a turn left, made to look like a ‘U’ by the lush green and well-manicured lawn before a drive that lasts just seconds, brings you to a gate manned by agile young men who conduct a search on all vehicles entering this place of pure pleasure; Calabar’s Marina Resort.
View of the Resort
As you drive in, a canopy of trees greet you, just like the tireless mass of water driven by back and forth tides, grab your attention and compel you to indulge. There are options and that is exactly what will tickle your fancy about this place, opened to the public on May 26, 2007, by the enigmatic Donald Duke, former governor of Cross River State. Now a few add-ons to the original concept and the tenacity of Pro-Leisure Plus, the company managing the facility, has given the Resort a new eloquence that gels like bread and butter.
If you do get to Tortuga Island, better grab a seat, recline in it, make an order, let your eyes pan around and no matter how strong the pull is, do not let your thoughts wander off because this exquisite place is better enjoyed when taken in whole. Tortuga Island is not an island in the real sense, but the famed sit-in or sit-out in the Resort. As the Cross River laps alluringly on the well-fortified edges of Tortuga Island, long rows of well-trimmed flower hedges ‘enforce’ walk ways, places to sit, decorum and a total package that soothes indulgence. Ah, there is a well-stocked bar there, expertly roasted fish and a few other things you need to explore on your own. If you decide to check in with a loved one, never ever miss the long walk down the Island, mumbling sweet nothings, stopping for a kiss, chasing what you have already caught or just pure fence mending talk. Whatever you choose to do, this place is and will happily be your accomplice.
Walk a few steps away from Tortuga Island and meet the past in the present. A carefully put together Slave History Museum with life-like simulations give you a perfect peep into the dark world of slavery. The guided tour through the various artificial chambers in the museum can be spine chilling to good measure. It is often never out of place to see a few persons come out of the museum teary eyed; the thoroughness and effects meticulously built into this museum, something you may never find in any other museum in Nigeria, is the reason this scene repeatedly plays out.
Not done, grab you a ticket and walk straight into the majestic embrace of the Resort’s cinema. Make your movie pick, grab you and your crew some popcorn, a soft drink and get your money’s worth. The movies you will see are top of the draw Nollywood and Hollywood movies. Even though we say so, the movies are not restricted to the two ‘film streets’, good movies from outside of these two, do make a commanding appearance on the big high definition experience this cinema offers. You better go soak you up in a good movie…, it doesn’t hurt, it is just in the pocket.
Now the kids get to enjoy a fantastic time in the new game hall or flex like tomorrow is just but a whisper away, on the carousel. What they have for the kids has been carefully selected to keep them spell bound. Entertain no fears, the Resort has experienced and well trained attendants on the ground to ensure your kids don’t put a good foot in the wrong place.
Come on now, you can also take a boat ride and enjoy a real high octane treat. The ride cost a fadding and could see you commute to Tinapa or go enjoy fresh palmwine on the other side of the river. When you get back in, plantain and bushmeat is served, not too far from where you get off the boat. If you still have some space in your stomach, ‘suya’, that famous meat kebab is also freshly done on the side for chewing options. We will dare say it sure is not finished as a trip to the Marina Resort without some play time at the Atlantic Bar and Lounge, sounds more like a half made meal.
The Atlantic Bar/Lounge
Step into the Atlantic Bar and Lounge, open from 2pm all week and enjoy the silky sounds dropping from the in-house DJ’s wheels of steel. He drops the sounds with precise musical abandonment, strips you bare of the boredom that came with you and then takes you several notches up the pleasure tree. It is indeed the Resort’s way of helping you give you a treat.
In such an expansive facility where extensive space has been created for multi-purpose reasons, the thrill never stops and those who constantly go there, return because the Marina Resort is an excellent place for anyone to be.