Why Akwa Ibom should be your next holiday destination
Last month, tour operators in Nigeria gathered in Uyo for the association’s Annual General Meeting. For many of the members, it would be their first time in the calm and scenic city, and they happily shared how pleasant and memorable their time there was, made more so with the typical hospitality the state is known for.
Nigeria has its many best kept secrets, but all things considered Akwa Ibom ranks highly on that list.
“Lovely and beautiful place”
“I have really enjoyed my stay here in Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom State,” said Bolaji Seun, who leads a group called Najia Explorers, after arriving on and Ibom Air Flight. “It is so beautiful, good roads, lovely people, beautiful ladies all over the state, nice food and hotels, nice tourist attractions and great politicians in the state.”
While there delegates were taken on a tour of some of the main tourist attractions in the state, including: The Amalgamation Building, slave relics and a host of other historical sites in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area. Independently, they took sightseeing trips to places like Ibom Plaza, the Discovery Park and the Ibom Tropicana Mall in the capital.
“Visit to Ikot Abasi taught us a lot about Nigeria’s history, Amalgamation House, Bridge of no Return and other few iconic places in Ikot Abasi that got us shocked,” Seun enthused on one of his Facebook updates, clearly inspired by the experience to the heart of Akwa Ibom’s tourism. “The more you visit places in Nigeria, the more you get to know the history and facts about Nigeria, the ancient times, past life and events.”
Seun has made his mark on the local tourism space as an advocate for domestic tourism, influencing the country’s youth as he does. His Naija Explorers includes young explorers who have bought into the campaign to travel local.
“We have done 22 Domestic Tours from September 2020 to June 2021,” he posted on his Facebook page on 29 June.
Green spaces everywhere
Patrick Wisdom was also in Uyo for the tour operators’ meet. Of the Ibom Icon Hotel and Golf Resort, he said: “Situated amidst rich palm forest vegetation, this magnificent hotel on 174 hectares of land connotes peace and serenity complemented by its original atmosphere. The lush greens of the world-class 18-hole golf course create the right atmosphere, for the most challenging, memorable golfing experience.”
A visit to the Amalgamation House, he added, gives visitors the opportunity to learn a lot about Lord Lugard’s administration “including his residence, his administrative office, the native authority building, his kitchen and the Beach Garden.
“Nearby attractions also include the brick-walled bungalow known as the Opobo District Office, the popular Bridge of No Return at the Bank of Imo River, where over 400 slaves were kept in a dungeon that can only accommodate not more than 20 people and a mock grave in memory of the Aba Women’s Riot of 1929.”
A foodie’s paradise
After also relishing his experience at Ikot Abasi and the other attractions at the capital, he concluded: “Honestly, Akwa Ibom is a very beautiful state with ever green trees and coluors. You can possibly drive for over three hours without any traffic. And it is home to amazing cuisines with 17 different types of soup with plenty of foods… Akwa Ibom state is a home of rest.”
However, these are not all there is to Akwa Ibom’s rich offerings for visitor and holidaymakers. Having toured Akwa Ibom extensively ourselves, here’s our short list of where to go if you plan to spend time in the state, sooner or later.
Ibibio Unity Museum (Uyo); Raffia and crafts Centre (Iko Abasi); Fisherman’s Beach (Ibaka/ Mbo); Ibeno Sandy Beach; Mbo Forest Games Reserve; Mary Slessor’s Memorial Sites (Itu); Pottery and Craft Centre (Eket); Orno Waterfront Beach; and the first Qua Iboe church (Ibeno).
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