Calabar, Nigeria, is one of the country's oldest trading cities, and a place where few tourists go. It's a pity, as Calabar is one of our favorite places in Nigeria. Set on a hill overlooking the Calabar River, it is as picturesque as the country gets, and it has a friendly, relaxing atmosphere. The Calabar Museum, established in the old British Residency, has an excellent and large exhibit on the region's history, including slavery and the precolonial period.

Calabar is also the location of two interesting and worthwhile primate protection projects that can be visited. The Calabar Drill Ranch rescues and takes care of endangered drill monkeys and chimpanzees, and the Cercopan Center cares for a number of guenon and mangabey monkeys.

The nearby town of Oron, Nigeria, is accessible by ferry, and has another interesting museum filled with masks, puppets and funerary art. If you don't want to spend your entire day indoors, visit the Botanic Garden or take a side trip to the Oban Hills or Kwa Falls on the edge of the Cross River National Park.

Another reason to visit Calabar is the enormous shopping complex near the port to the north of the city. It is a duty-free zone that attracts shoppers from across West Africa. 355 mi/570 km east of Lagos.

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