Calabar is the capital and government seat in Cross River state. The beautiful city, which has often been referred to as the tourism capital of Nigeria, was originally called "Akwa Akpa" from the Efik language. The city itself is adjacent to the Calabar River, the Great Kwa Rivers and the creeks of the Cross River.
It got its present name from the Calabar River. Calabar had been a recognised international seaport since the 16th century. It was a major port for transportation of African slaves during the trans-Atlantic slave trade. It was however also used for transportation of commercial goods like palm oil. Probably, due to the reputation of the port, Calabar is the headquarters of the Eastern Naval Command in Nigeria today.
The people of Calabar have a number of "firsts" in the Nigerian history. For instance, the first private secondary school called "West African People's Institute" was established in Calabar in 1938, the first games of Football, Cricket and Hockey were played in Calabar, the first Medical College and the first School of Pharmacy in Nigeria began in Calabar, first Police station in Nigeria.
One thing the people of Calabar are also known for is their fine tasty cuisine, usually garnished with sea foods. The famous Afang soup and Edikan Ikong is indigenous to them and many have testified to the wonders it does to the taste buds. Calabar is a really beautiful and neat city with multiple tourist attraction centres such as the Slave History Museum, located on the site of a 15th century slave trading warehouse and containing artefacts on the activities of the slave trade; the National Museum, originally the building which served as both the residence and administrative headquarters of the colonial government; Cross River National Park, home to endangered species of animals and plants; Kwa Waterfalls; Mary Slessor's House, Statue and Tomb; Drill Rehabilitation Centre, a wild life sanctuary built by Lisa Gadsby and Peter Jenkins in 1991 to preserve the endangered African primate, Drills; Tinapa Resort, Tortuga Island, the Obudu Cattle Ranch and the Calabar Carnival.
The hotels in Calabar are a beauty to behold but they are also comfortable and affordable.