Nigerian Excellence Series Ep 4: OBJ Kingmaker:

The dispensation ushered in by the political events in Nigeria in 1999 brought with it a renewed hope for the country.

The 1999 political events culminated in the return to a democratic dispensation in May 1999 with a retired Head of State democratically elected as the new civilian President in the nation’s 4th Republic. After a series of nationwide elections, the elected president was sworn into office in 1999 taking the reins of the political affairs of the country, putting him in the position to lead the most populous Black nation for eight years.

In this installation of Nigerian excellence, we take a look at the one of the most formidable political stalwarts in Nigerian history especially as we prepare to cast our votes hoping to select a new Nigerian President over twenty years later.

Born on the 5th of March 1937, His Excellency Chief Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR served as the 5th and the 12th President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Born to a farming family in Igbogun Olaogun, Obasanjo received his education largely in Abeokuta before he joined the Nigerian Army where he specialized in Engineering. A military and political leader, he contributed to several advancements and international to end conflicts initiatives across the African continent.

Following the assassination of General Murtala Mohammed in a military coup in 1976, General Obasanjo reluctantly stepped in as the new military head of state. in 1977, he formed the Nigerian National petroleum Corporation (NNPC) , organized the second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC ’77), established the Egbin, Ughelli and Afam thermal power stations, set up the Currupt Practices Bureau and helped both Angola and Zimbabwe achieve independence. He introduced the Nigerian National Pledge, indigenized the lyrics of the Nigerian National anthem and he also introduced the 20 naira note amongst other things. In 1995 he was unjustly jailed and was only released in 1998 after the demise of his jailer. During his two tenure civilian rule, his achievements include but was not limited to the renegotiation and eventual settlement of Nigerian debts, consolidation of the banking industry, opening up the telecommunications industry etc. Notably, several socio economic sectors of the country also recorded growth.

His passion for education, faming and conflict resolution coupled with his penchant for selecting the right professionals for the job are few of the things that are remarkable about Dr Obasanjo.

One of Nigeria’s most beloved and most written about Presidents; Dr Olusegun Obasanjo was one of the most interesting research on personalities I have conducted bar none.

Amongst the various roles he has played throughout the country’s history, he has impacted the country in so many ways. He is committed to his religious and ideological beliefs as a Nationalist and Pan Africanist. He is passionate about education and he recently obtained both his Master’s degree and his PHD in his 80s from the National Open University in Nigeria. He is a staunch believer in sustenance agricultural practices and is known to retreat to his farm in Otta at different points in his life. He has authored several books about his life, personalities and Nigeria. An elder statesman and a renowned teetotaller, Dr Olusegun Obasanjo is still actively involved in his life work, he is known to make insightful political commentary and has written several letters to the government since he handed over power in 2007.

While we are a nonpartisan platform, we believe it important to remind our readers of Nigerian greatness and while we acknowledge that while a lot of our featured personality’s achievements can be viewed from a political lens, we wanted to focus on the achievements of the man.

Wikipedia has a detailed account of the finer points of his biography and viable links for further study.

That being said, we would look forward to your comments and suggestions on notable Nigerian figures to be featured on the Nigerian Excellence series on our blog.


read more

The Experiencing Naija Gift Guide

Tis the season to be jolly and generous!

Part of the ethos of Christmas and End of Year Festivities is gift giving. Think Santa Claus, St Nicholas and Father Christmas.

We all will like to receive a little something for Christmas.

Today’s we made a small list of things that you can gift a special person in your life. Gift possibilities are endless, so this list is by no means exhaustive. If you expected to see a house on Banana Island or Maitama or even a brand new Tesla, I am sorry to disappoint you. In fact, with such brilliant ideas you barely need any help getting gifts. But we are not judging. All gifts are welcome in the grand scheme of things.

Nothing is too big to gift a loved one and usually, it’s the thought that counts. Of course, heartfelt gifts will suffice at times like this. Trust me, boxers and singlet do not feature on this list although it’s not a bad add-on to your gift set contrary to the complaints from disgruntled recipients.

If you happen to stumble upon this list after an arduous office or friend group Secret Santa where you had no clue what to get the person you picked, I am very sorry. I can assure you that my list will still be good for the end of the coming year, so consider it as help in advance.

As with many things, a few caveats are crucial when giving gifts, quality over quantity is the watchword and please only gift what you can afford to give. It is important to cheerfully give with the gift recipients best interest at heart. A bitter and unappreciative gift recipient is a horrible experience to have although it happens a lot. In addition, we all wish that the gift recipient will reciprocate the gesture but please understand if they genuinely cannot give a gift considering all that they had been through in the past year. Kindly note if the gift recipient is not matching your energy both in attitude and quality gift exchange and be accordingly guided because like most things in life, there will be a next time. Whatever is the outcome, it is painful to receive subpar gifts and so don’t be the person who gives a subpar gift. Please, fighting is not encouraged no matter how much your feelings get hurt. Emphasis on jolly season.

Swiftly moving to our list…


No 10: Vacation/Staycation

Depending on your income, a vacation or staycation is a great gift that can even be beneficial to the gift giver depending on the relationship. A lot of travel happens at the end of the year so the options are limitless as to where a person can go. National or international or even a hotel or short let stay, this gift option needs no introduction and it is perfect for people who enjoy traveling or just want to take a break away from their regular environment. It can get expensive so it may not be an option for everyone but it’s a worthy contender on the list.

No 9: Electronic Gadgets

To the kid in us all, that never stopped loving new toys and gizmos; this is definitely the season for you! Usually, everything goes on sale this period and Nigeria is no exception. After a robust Black Friday sales period on various commercial platforms, a good majority of brands host end of the year sales featuring great deals that will help you clinch whatever device or contraption you heart desires. There are a wide range of gift options in this category  from phones, tablets, laptops and other tech gadgets to home appliances such as fridges and vacuum cleaners and other apparatuses that make our work easier and faster. A well-deserved spot on the List and a sure-fire gift item.

No 8: Accessories

Understated or statement piece jewelleries, shoes and bags, cookware, family heirlooms passed from generation to generation, the possibilities are endless! We all know a Nigerian vendor or personal shopper that stocks the goods and our Instagram feeds are awash with the latest deals. In this category as well is skincare, you can always gift a loved one their favourite brand of skincare. One of the most budget friendly contenders on this list, there’s no limit to what you can get for people nearest and dearest to you.

No 7: Clothes

We all had holiday periods where we received new clothes at the end of the year and if you kept the Christmas Clothes tradition alive till this point of your adulthood, we commend your laudable efforts. The fact of the matter is that clothes make a really great gift to people and it must not be brand new! Boutiques and thrift stores popularly known as okrika or bend-down-select, from whichever market close to you, offers choice selections. We all know where to get them. You can also buy Nigerian as many a fashion creative have taken their business online so good quality clothes are easily accessible. In addition, hand-me-downs to your family members are also acceptable gifts this season

No 6: Perfumes

Perfume is truly in a league of its own and the preferred gift option for quite a few people. Everybody likes perfumes so this particular item on the list needs no introduction. There are so many options on what to get people here, from perfume sprays to cologne; perfume oils to perfume solids, the options are endless. While the price points of perfumes vary in brand and quality, some people are more particular than others about their perfume so it wouldn’t be advisable to pick this gift option for those people if you can’t afford to invest in a great perfume. For the most part, this gift option is pretty easy to obtain and can be affordable depending on the time, vendor or quality.

No 5: Money:

Bills are the bane of adulthood and everybody appreciates attempts at offsetting them. You can opt to help out with subscriptions ranging from data and Netflix to gym and club membership, the choice is yours. We can all agree that the importance of any financial aid in these trying times cannot be over looked. This is your opportunity to help out friends and be charitable to those in need. It is also your opportunity to attain Rich Uncle and Rich Aunty status by giving away money to the kids in your life. Also, some people just straight up want the money not gifts and there is nothing wrong with that. Easier for all the parties involved, if you ask me.

No 4: Tickets & Experiences:

If you like experiencing Nigeria, it’s no news that our creative arts scene is the stuff of legends and few people work harder than Nigerian show organizers. Whatever you are into, art, comedy, music, parties etc. something is going on in a city near you that you can attend and have fun. For people who like to socialize and be out and about, this is the perfect opportunity to buy them ticket to see their favourite comic, movie or art show. Like other items on this list, this gift option can be brought to scale with a little creativity no matter the budget.

No 3: Books:

Now, hear me out. If the last time you read a book was over a year ago, please help yourself out and gift this one to yourself. The most underrated contender on this list, books are a great gift to give someone especially if they are always reading or they love to read. Nigerian authors stock a wide array of really great reads so this is your cue to get a few books if you have none yet and better still, give some to a friend. Tis the season! Don’t limit yourself to a particular genre because there are various options to choose from. Let’s face it, we all know a good bookshop in town or a guy at a street corner somewhere who stocks a wide array of books offered at a giveaway price. There is something for everyone.

No 2: Food: 

A box of chocolate, wine, dinner at their favourite restaurant, snacks from their favourite place or even hiring a private chef, you cannot go wrong with food and drink. Whether it be dinner or hampers, food is always a good idea. Personally, it’s a great idea considering the amount of time and effort that is spent on planning and preparation of food during festive periods. Any addition is always welcome. You can always pick up a nice bottle of wine or a hamper for your boss, banana bread from your co-worker’s favourite place, a platter for the small chops aficionado in your life, the list goes on and on.

No 1: Whatever The Person Is Passionate About

There’s a reason we choose this as number one. It is so tempting to get caught up in our idea of what to gift a person, if it is our desire to gift a person actual things that they can utilize we need to take into consideration that the person may want something entirely different from what we have in mind or is simply not interested in a particular gift option. If the gift recipient’s wants and needs aren’t in consideration, it helps to gift a person something that they can at least enjoy. Some people would just want any gift so this is not a big deal but it doesn’t hurt to be a little considerate of who you wish to gift this season. Gifts towards a person’s interest and endeavour will be more appreciated than gifts that they have no interest or need for. Still, some gift is better than no gift at all so don’t be deterred.

And there you have it, an acceptable holiday gift guide. Although times are hard, please try to extend your generosity to the less privileged around you this season. As always, we are curious to hear about your Nigerian Experiences. Did you receive gifts growing up? Do you still receive gifts from friends and loved ones? Please leave your gift experiences and suggestions in the comment section and keep the conversation going on our social media platforms. Have a wonderful festive season from all of us here at Experiencing Naija!

read more

Children’s Day Celebration 2021: 5 Best Places In Abuja To Celebrate With Your Kids

Happy Children's Day Image

Growing up as a kid, there are many memorable events that are very hard to forget but that of the children’s day is always the best. Every 27th of May as a Nigerian that I am has always been a day to dream about. The songs, the movies, the cruise, the foods and most especially the family-bonding activities cannot be over-emphasised. How I wish every day could be exactly as May 27.

Yes, Children are said to be gifts from God. It doesn’t matter their sex or physical state. In a bid to celebrate these youngsters, below is a list of the five best tourist attractions or places of interest to make this year’s children’s day worthwhile both for parents and children. Being the best does not mean they are the most beautiful places to be, but based on our evaluation, these places are the best to have that family-bonding experience which is what children love most when spending time with their parents.

1. Jabi Park

Located between Kado and the Jabi district of the capital city is the ever-fluxing Jabi Park. It is a place where a series of activities are carried out. From sightseeing to sports. The 3 major features that can do the magic are the Jabi boat Club, Jabi Lake Mall and the Jabi Lake itself. Jabi Park is an amazing destination to celebrate children’s day as you’ll also meet several people doing the same. There are lots of activities to partake in, like horse riding, boat riding, several sporting activities and lots more. Being a site for sightseeing and a calm environment to gist and play with your kids also makes this place an amazing destination. Want your child to have a blend of outdoor and indoor activities? That’s also an amazing option to celebrate Children’s day. I am very sure a visit to this amazing destination will be one thing your wards will really appreciate. To have a feel of how the place looks, you can watch the video below:

How much would this cost? Don’t worry about that, entry is free but boat riding, horse riding, kayaking, and other activities might cost you little bucks.

Don’t know the exact location? We got your back. Following this simple google map will make identifying the routes to this destination seamless: Jabi Park Google Map Location.

2. National Children’s Park and Zoo

Every child loves animals. The simple way to know that is to tell them stories about animals, and you will see them asking questions, smiling, some will even go to the extent of reminding you about the story sometimes. That is a sign that they easily connect with animals and love seeing them. The National Children’s Park and Zoo is another spectacular location to celebrate children’s day. How? In this beautiful destination, there is a massive collection of animals and a kiddies’ playground. This is a perfect location for these kids to learn more about lions, monkeys, Buffalo, tortoises and lots more. Do you want to have a feel of the place? Check out this video:

Curious about the gate fee? It’s a chicken feed, just #400 for adults and free for kids. It is advisable to go early as the place will definitely be filled up as always.

Don’t know how to navigate your way? Follow this google map to easily locate this beautiful destination and make the children’s day spectacular for your kids.

3. Almat Farms

Tucked in the suburbs of the capital city is this beautiful and charming destination. Almat Farms is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Nigeria. Though with the inclusion of farms the goal of Almat Farms is agrotourism, making it one of its kind in Nigeria. So, what can kids enjoy here? I know that’ll be your present thought. Apart from the insightful agricultural tour, there is also a petting zoo for kids and a playground to satisfy their ravishing interest. Quiet and calm, a place where family bonding is 100%. Want to be sure of what to expect? No worries, check out our recent tour of the facility here.

How much does it cost to enjoy this awesomeness? With an investment of #2000 you are good to go. That’s actually the entry fee which gives you an automatic opportunity for the tour of the entire destination. You can hold some cash also if you intend to engage in any other activities though.

How to locate Alamat Farms: Locate Almat Farms easily using this google map.

4. MagicLand Amusement Park

Formerly called Wonderland Park. This is one of the major recreational parks in Abuja. Located beside the Abuja city gate. The place is always a beehive of activities as people come in to relax and use the various facilities in the park. Specifically built for Children’s enjoyment, this place is an amazing place to celebrate this year’s children’s day. This place can be referred to as Nigeria’s very own Disneyland though with humble infrastructures, but the rides are not bad where we have rollercoaster, bumper cars, happy worm, water splashes, super spin, flying tower, a pirate ship and many others.  Want to have a feel of the place? Check out this video.

How about the gate fee? The entry fee ranges from #300 to #600 and the same goes for participating in some activities on this beautiful site.

Location: You can easily locate this children’s spotlight using this google map for easier navigation.

5. Central Park, Abuja

This IS another beautiful destination to make the children’s day great for your wards. Paintball, Go-kart, Playground, Water parks and Ponds are a few of the facilities that make this destination one of the best places to visit in Abuja especially a place to enjoy moments with family and friends. Apart from the myriad of activities that can be carried out by kids, this place also boasts a beautiful and serene environment to wine and dine together. Indeed, a perfect location for family bonding. Want to have a feel of what to expect? You can check out this video here.

How about the fee? Don’t be scared their fees are pocket-friendly and usually free for kids but #500 for adults. Though you have to hold some cash for other activities to make your visit an interesting one.

Location: You can also locate this wonderful destination using this google map guide.

Feel free to make your choice as you have more than enough options to choose from. Also, you can consider taking your kids to any nearest Shoprite Outlets near you to celebrate them and make this year’s children’s day memorable for them. Don’t forget that the seed you plant in love, no matter how small they are, will grow into a mighty tree of refuge. We all want a future for ourselves, and we must now care enough to create, nurture and secure a great future for our children.

Happy Children’s day.

read more

What You Need to Know About Calabar Carnival – Africa’s Biggest Street Party

Calabar Carnival Africa’s biggest party - the pride of Nigeria

What You Need to Know About Calabar Carnival – Africa’s Biggest Street Party!


Calabar Carnival is known as the pride of Nigeria. For the entire month of December, the city of Calabar puts on numerous carnival events.

Calabar Carnival Africa’s biggest party - the pride of Nigeria

We are proud to present you with one of the best carnivals in the world Calabar Carnival! Forget about celebrating carnival in Rio and instead head to Africa’s biggest party. Calabar Carnival is described as being ‘the pride of Nigeria’!


The Calabar Carnival is without a doubt the biggest, best and longest tourism event in West Africa. It attracts over two million revellers and features participants from over 25 different countries. The Battle of the Bands and Street Parade is even broadcast to a television audience of around fifty million!


Africa the birthplace of Carnival!

What is the history of carnival? My fellow carnival lovers many of you may not know that the beginnings of carnivals are thought to have started in Africa! That’s right many believe that carnivals began some 5000 years ago in Egypt and Sumeria.

Calabar Carnival Africa’s biggest party - the pride of Nigeria

Carnival was celebrated by many pagans societies across the world and was even adopted by the Roman Empire which spread it across the world. It was again adopted by the Catholic Church and the celebrations spread even further to the Americas and even as far as India.


Calabar Carnival Africa’s biggest party - the pride of Nigeria

It’s hard to believe that this global phenomenon celebrated in over 52 countries had its humble beginnings in Africa.



African influence on modern-day carnival!

African cultures have had a massive impact on carnival celebrations around the world! They have contributed to the many different carnival music styles that developed from rhythmic drum beats including samba, soca and steelpan.

Calabar Carnival Africa’s biggest party - the pride of Nigeria

The bright colourful costumes that you see in Brazil or the Caribbean carnivals were also influenced by African slaves who used to dress in masks, feathers and other decorative items. Even many types of carnival dances developed from African cultures.



How do they celebrate Calabar Carnival?

Africa’s best carnival Calabar Carnival is a month-long celebration filled with exciting events. The highlight of Calabar Carnival is the Street Parade that features the Battle of the Bands. The Parade is only a slither of Calabar Carnivals attractions. There are ceremonies, concerts, art shows, street parties, masque events, sporting events and non-stop parties.

Calabar Carnival Africa’s biggest party - the pride of Nigeria


When is Calabar Carnival 2020?

When is the 2020 Calabar Carnival? The 2020 Calabar Carnival runs over the whole month of December. Yes! you heard that right it’s one whole month of celebrating that begins on the 1st December and finishes on New Year’s Eve the 31st December.

Calabar Carnival Africa’s biggest party - the pride of Nigeria


Where is Calabar?

Calabar which is also known by the name Canann City is located in Southern Nigeria. Calabar is the capital city of Cross River State. Calabar sits adjacent to the Calabar and Great Kwa Rivers as well as the creeks of the Cross River.

Calabar Carnival Africa’s biggest party - the pride of Nigeria


What is the history of Calabar Carnival?

The origins of Calabar Carnival started back in 2004 when Governor Donald Duke, the former governor of Cross River State, Nigeria, decided it would be the perfect way to boost tourism and the local economy. He wanted to turn Cross River State into the number one tourist destination for Nigerians.


Calabar Carnival Africa’s biggest party - the pride of Nigeria

He wanted to create a carnival that would heavily showcase the local heritage and the Calabar Carnival was a wild success! Today the carnival attracts millions of visitors throughout the entire month of December and has given the local economy a huge boost.


Ironically the biggest and best carnival in Africa, the birthplace of carnival, is one of the youngest carnivals in the world.




The 2019 Calabar Carnival Programme

The Calabar Carnival has kept the same timetable of events since it first began. The main carnival events occur in the last two weeks of Calabar Carnival. It is divided into four parts which are:


1st – 10th December: The Millennium Week

12th – 17th December: Sports Week

19th – 24th December: The TINAPA Family Festival

25th – 31st December: Carnival Week


Calabar Carnival Africa’s biggest party - the pride of Nigeria

2019 Calabar Carnival Events

Calabar Carnival officially begins with a Tree-Lightening ceremony. In the first three weeks of carnival, there are musical performances, food competitions, a solidarity march, street parties, fashion shows, a prestigious essay writing competition, art shows, traditional dances and masque events.


Calabar Carnival Africa’s biggest party - the pride of Nigeria

Some of the main events include J’ouvert Band fetes, the crowning of the Carnival Kings and Queens for each band, the Christmas Party Cultural Carnival, the children’s carnival, the Mary Slessor Golf Charity Dinner and the Annual Ekpe masquerade festival.


Calabar Carnival Sports Week

The Calabar Carnival wouldn’t be complete without adding sports to it! During the carnival, you can watch the popular football tournament in the Carni-Cal Cup. There is also a popular golf tournament, a boat regatta and various other sporting events.


Calabar Carnival live music performances

There are many musical concerts throughout carnival that feature performances by local and international acts including Luke Dube, Fat Joe, Young Jeezy, Nelly, Kirk Franklin, 2Baba (formerly 2 Face Idibia) and P Square.


Calabar Carnival Africa’s biggest party - the pride of Nigeria

Here at Carnival and we recommend you check some of the local Nigerian artists out if you haven’t heard of them it’s worth having a look on YouTube as they won’t disappoint.




Calabar Carnival African Food Expo

Do not miss the Calabar Carnival African Food Expo! This an absolute highlight of the carnival! You will be able to try some amazing meals that you have most likely never had before! The air is filled with so many intoxicating aromas.



Calabar Carnival Christmas

Because Calabar Carnival takes place in December and includes many Christmas festivities. This gives Calabar Carnival that extra magical feeling that you only feel once a year during Christmas. Make sure you check out the Christmas Village that is set up for Calabar Carnival.


Calabar Carnival Africa’s biggest party - the pride of Nigeria

2019 Calabar Carnival – Main Carnival Week

Carnival week is the final week of Calabar Carnival and when most of the highlights take place. It is the week that draws the most tourists. Some of the more popular events include:


27th December: The Bikers parade occurs in the morning

27th December: Miss Africa beauty pageant occurs in the eventing

28th December: Calabar Street Parade & Band of the Year Competition

29th December: Wonders on Wheels occurs in the evening in Calabar Stadium and displays vintage cars

30th December: Green Carnival occurs in the morning and displays actions favourable for the environment. The event culminates in a street party held in the evening

31st December: New Year’s Eve Fireworks display





The 2020 Calabar Carnival theme: To be determined

Every year a theme is chosen for the Calabar Carnival. Last year, 2019, the theme was “Africanism”. The carnival theme was selected to unify Africans both within the continent and beyond. It is also intended to showcase the African story in a positive way to the world.


The Cross River State Governor has challenged the carnival groups to promote African cultural heritage in their parades. He hopes Calabar Carnival will tell the African story from an African perspective and bring global attention to the plight of Africa.




The Calabar Carnival Parade

A carnival theme guides all the carnival bands who have to interpret and then represent this theme through their costumes, music, dances, floats and displays.


The Calabar Carnival Parade features 50,000 costumed revellers who perform in five major carnival bands and 10 non-competing bands. The parade sees the carnival groups compete against each other in hopes of winning the title for the Best Band.


The parade takes place over a 12km parade route and it is quite a spectacle. It is filled with colour, sparkle, DJs, live musicians, steel bands, incredible floats and costumes. Hundreds of thousands line the streets to watch the parade and the atmosphere is electric.




The 2019 Calabar Carnival Band of the Year

The Carnival Parade terminates at the UJ Esuene Stadium and is followed by the award ceremony for the ‘Band of the Year’. Expert judges hand out various awards are handed out for costumes, music, floats, choreography and of course the prestigious “Band of the Year”.


Around 15,000 spectators fill up the stadium another 10,000 spectators surround the stadium and the event is broadcast to a television audience of over 50 million people! So as you can imagine, winning the title of the best band doesn’t just receive a nice cash prize but also nation-wide fame!


The Five Bands of Calabar

Calabar Carnival has five major competing bands that each comprises of about 10,000 participants. Each band can be distinguished by different names and colours. Each band has up to five kings and queens that are dressed in large scale costumes which interpret that year’s theme and set the tone for the rest of the band’s outfits.


Bayside Band (Blue)

Bayside Band is led by the creator of Calabar Carnival and the former governor Donald Duke. It is known for its distinctive aquamarine colour and allows anyone to join the band, even foreigners.


Freedom Band (Yellow)

The Band of Freedom is defined by the colour yellow. This band has always been ranked in the top three bands ever since the carnival first began!.


Seagull Band (Red)

Seagull Band is recognised by its distinctive red colour. It has been described as being the most stylish and co-ordinated band. The band is also known for its patriotism and everything about the Band relates to Nigeria. They are fiercely proud to show off their roots.


Passion 4 Band (Green)

Passion 4 Band is known as the Green Band and is the most successful band of all time! It has won the competition more than any other band. The band is often regarded as being the most outstanding of them all. The band is also the only band that has two sections – one for children and another for adults.


Masta Blasta Band (Orange)

Masta Blasta Band is known as being the orange family! They self-proclaimed to be the most entertaining band! Masta Blasta is the largest of all bands with well over ten thousand members from all corners of the world. They are famous for their inclusivity!.



Where does the Calabar Carnival take place?

Pretty much all the Calabar Carnival events occur in the city of Calabar. The majority of events take place in the Calabar Cultural Centre and the Calabar Stadium. The parade marches through many city streets in Calabar.


How to get to Calabar?

By plane

You can fly to Calabar by flying to Margaret Ekpo International Airport. The airport doesn’t connect to any international cities but is serviced by flights mainly from Lagos and Abuja. Most international flights land in Lagos and from Lagos it is about an hour flight.


By Road

Calabar is a 12 to 15-hour drive from Lagos. Various car and transport companies travel from most areas of Nigeria and other major cities including Lagos, Abuja, Yola, Harcourt and Yola regularly. These companies include Cross Country, ABC Transport, Peace Mass Transit, The Young Shall Grow and Elim Tours.


By Boat

There is a regular boat service from various parts of Cameroon’s coastline that transports both people and vehicles.


How to get around Calabar?

There are plenty of busses, cabs and motorcycles available to move around the city. The roads are well paved and tarred in Calabar and there is less traffic on the roads compared to cities like Lagos, so it is relatively easy to move around.


Where to stay in Calabar?

There are plenty of hotel options in Calabar from budget to luxurious hotels. Prices are from above N2,000 ($3) a night. We recommend booking early because two million people attend this carnival and it’s also during the Christmas period!



Take a Tour!

If you want to experience Calabar Carnival but you don’t want the hassle of organising it yourself or you don’t want to go alone, then consider taking a tour. Also, consider taking a longer vacation to take a tour of Nigeria.


READ: Amazing Places to Visit in Calabar

What to do and see in Calabar?

Calabar in southern Nigeria is located near the Cameroon border and is the capital of Cross River State. There is plenty of amazing attractions to see in Calabar including:


Kwa Falls: A tropical paradise, this waterfall is located in a narrow steep gorge on the Kwa River. Although this waterfall is spectacular, even more inviting is the gorgeous beach at the edge of the pool which it flows into.

Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort Calabar: This is the first integrated leisure and business resort in Nigeria. Created to give tourists a dream experience in one visit. Located by the Calabar River it is a world-class facility where visitors take advantage of retail wholesale and recreational activities.

Cross River National Park: This is one of the top ecotourism destinations in This is one of the most preserved tropical rainforests in West Africa. Here you can see rare birds and animals in their natural tropical rainforest habitat

Obudu Mountain Resort: Located in the highlands of Cross River State a gorgeous place to visit. With miles of rolling mountains, this serene and picturesque environment is worth the visit.

Agbokim Waterfalls: This fall consists of seven streams and each cascade over a cliff.

National Museum Calabar: This building was formerly the Government House during Colonial rule and was built in Britain and shipped in parts to Calabar in the late 1800s. This museum is filled with old relics, documents, furnishings and artefacts and is a great place to learn about Efik history.

Chief Ekpo Bassey’s House: This ancient house in Calabar stands out for its history and the affluence of Chief Ekpo Bassey, who was the Kingmaker of the Efik tribe and a politician during the colonial era.

Dukes Town Church: This is one of the oldest churches in Nigeria and the first site of Christianity teachings on the arrival of Missionaries in

Drill Rehabilitation Centre: This wildlife initiative was built to preserve the lives of the almost extinct Drills which are a rare endangered species of Primates in

Botanic Gardens: Built in the 1880s and was created by the British to get economic crops into

Slave Museum: This museum contains very rich information on slave trade activities that were popular in the 15th

Calabar boasts way more than most people are aware of. If you find yourself in Calabar for carnival then you must visit some of these places. Check some tours here.


Is Calabar Carnival safe?

Yes! The Cross River State Government places safety as a top priority. They have assured residents and tourists that adequate security measures are in place. This can be seen by the fact that participants from 26 different countries attend this carnival.


Calabar Carnival Africa’s biggest party - the pride of Nigeria

The Calabar Carnival is truly colourful and exhilarating and amongst the very best in the world.




Image and Content Credit: CARNIVALAND! Your ultimate online guide to Carnival Celebrations around the world! No matter if they are big or small, this is where you’ll find them all! CARNIVALAND is dedicated to covering the carnival scene! The traditions, the culture, the music, dance, costumes, floats, parades, balls, street parties, the latest news and reviews.

You can follow Carnivaland updates on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and


Contact us for more in-depth travels and tourism info about Nigeria.

Follow us on Instagramlike us on Facebook, Twitter and check us out on Youtube.

read more