Akpabuyo Travel Guide

Discover the best places to visit, activities to do, food to eat, and where to stay in Akpabuyo, Nigeria.

Introduction to Akpabuyo

Located in Cross River State, Nigeria, Akpabuyo is a small and charming town that offers impressive historical sites, cultural attractions, natural wonders, and outdoor activities. This town is perfect for visitors who want to immerse themselves in Nigeria’s history, culture, and traditions. In this guide, we’ll explore the top places to visit, activities to do, where to stay, and what to eat in Akpabuyo.

List of Places to Visit in Akpabuyo

  • Mbarika Ancient Town: Mbarika is a historical town located in Akpabuyo. It is famous for its ancient Igbo-Ukwu-style bronze artifacts that date back to the Nigerian early Iron Age.
  • Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary: This sanctuary is an eco-tourism site that provides visitors with a unique opportunity to see some of Africa’s rarest primates like the Drill, Chimpanzee, and the Preuss’s Monkey.
  • Ekuri Community Forest: The Ekuri Community Forest is a nature reserve located in Akpabuyo. It is an important bird conservation site and home to rare and endangered species like the Sclater’s guenon monkey, red-faced lovebird, and African grey parrot.
  • Old Residency Museum: The old Residency Museum is a historical building that served as the Old British Governor’s Lodge in Calabar in the 19th century. It is home to historical artifacts, colonial-era furniture, paintings of some past Governors of Old Calabar, and documents.
  • Atimbo Beach: Atimbo Beach is a beautiful and serene lake located in Akpabuyo. The lake provides visitors with an opportunity to relax on its pristine beaches and enjoy the natural beauty of the surrounding flora.

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

Akpabuyo is a treasure trove of historical and cultural sites that offer a glimpse into the past of the town and the country at large.

Old Residency Museum

The Old Residency Museum is a historical building that serves as a museum, and it is home to historical artifacts, colonial-era furniture, paintings of some past Governors of Old Calabar, and documents. It is situated in the heart of Calabar, a few kilometers away from Akpabuyo.

Mary Slessor’s House

Mary Slessor’s House is a historical site located in Calabar, a few kilometers away from Akpabuyo. It is the former residence of Scottish missionary Mary Slessor, who championed women’s rights and advocated against infanticide and twin killing.

Natural Attractions of Akpabuyo: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

Akpabuyo is surrounded by beautiful scenery, natural wonders, and wildlife-rich habitats. Here are some of the top natural attractions of the region.

Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary

The Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary is an eco-tourism site that provides visitors with a unique opportunity to see some of Africa’s rarest primates, like the Drill, Chimpanzee, and the Preuss’s Monkey. The sanctuary also features scenic views, waterfalls, and rich vegetation.

Ekuri Community Forest

The Ekuri Community Forest is a nature reserve located in Akpabuyo. It is an important bird conservation site and home to rare and endangered species like the Sclater’s guenon monkey, red-faced lovebird, and African grey parrot. Visitors can enjoy hiking, bird-watching, and forest exploration.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Akpabuyo

Akpabuyo is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy hiking, mountain climbing, and biking. The following are some of the best routes to take when exploring the natural attractions of Akpabuyo:

  • Ekuri Tourist Centre hiking route: The hiking route leads visitors through the Ekuri Community Forest, where they can enjoy scenic views and observe rare bird species.
  • Afi Mountain Wildlife sanctuary route: The sanctuary route is an excellent route for hikers and bikers to explore the Afi Mountain range, which is home to several primate species.

Best Things to Do in Akpabuyo: Activities and Tours

Akpabuyo offers visitors a wide range of exciting activities and tours, including the following:

  • Primate Watching at Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary: Visitors can take a guided tour of the sanctuary to observe and learn about some of Africa’s rarest primate species – the Drill Monkey, the Preuss’s Red Colobus Monkey, and the Chimpanzee.
  • Visit Mary Slessor’s House: History buffs can learn about Mary Slessor’s life and legacy by visiting her former residence and museum.
  • Explore Old Residency Museum: Visitors can explore and learn about the history and culture of the region by visiting the Old Residency Museum.

Week-Long Itinerary for Akpabuyo

For visitors who have a week to explore Akpabuyo and its surroundings, the following itinerary is handy:

Day Activity
Day 1 Visit Mary Slessor’s House
Day 2 Hike the Ekuri Tourist Centre route
Day 3 Explore the Old Residency Museum
Day 4 Take a guided tour of the Afi Mountain Wildlife sanctuary
Day 5 Relax on Atimbo beach
Day 6 Go cycling around Afi Mountain range
Day 7 Buy souvenirs and local products to bring home

Food and Drink Scene of Akpabuyo

Must-Try Dishes

Akpabuyo has a rich and diverse culinary culture that reflects the region’s heritage, traditions, and local produce. Here is a list of some must-try dishes when visiting Akpabuyo:

  • Egba, Afang, and Edikaikong soup: These soups are made from local ingredients and are cooked with seafood or meat.
  • Kelewele: A snack made from ripe plantains, cut into slices, and fried in spicy oil.
  • Ofada Rice: A locally grown variety of rice that is traditionally served with spicy stew.

Local Beverages

Akpabuyo also has a lively beverage scene that offers a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, including:

  • Palm wine: A locally brewed alcoholic drink made from the sap of palm trees.
  • Kunu drink: A non-alcoholic drink made from millet, dates, and spices.

Where to Stay in Akpabuyo: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Akpabuyo offers several accommodation options that cater to different budgets and preferences. Here are some of the top options when looking for a place to stay:

  • Obudu Mountain Resort: A luxurious resort located in the Obudu Mountains that offer visitors a breath-taking view of the surrounding landscape.
  • Tinapa Lakeside Hotel: A lakeside hotel located in Calabar with a swimming pool, gym, and various entertainment facilities.
  • Ekuri Tourist Centre Guesthouse: A guesthouse located within the Ekuri Community Forest that caters to visitors who prefer peaceful and nature-filled accommodations.

What to Buy in Akpabuyo: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Visitors who want to take home a piece of Akpabuyo’s heritage and culture can buy the following items:

  • Bronze sculptures: Bronze sculptures are made by local artisans and serve as souvenirs and centerpieces for homes and offices.
  • Traditional fabrics: Traditional fabrics such as the “Akwa-Ocha” are handcrafted and dyed by local artisans and come in colorful and patterned designs.

Local Culture and Customs of Akpabuyo

Akpabuyo has a rich and vibrant culture that stretches back to precolonial times. Here are some cultural customs and traditions that visitors should know:

  • Greetings: It is customary to greet elders and locals with respect and courtesy.
  • Dress Code: Revealing clothing is not allowed in some cultural and religious sites, so visitors should dress appropriately.
  • Food and Drinks: Sharing food and drinks is a sign of hospitality and a cultural norm in Akpabuyo.

Best Time to Visit Akpabuyo

The best time to visit Akpabuyo is between November and March when the weather is cooler and drier. The rainy season that runs from April to November might make outdoor activities challenging.

Do’s and Don’ts of Akpabuyo

Here are some Do’s and Don’ts to help visitors have a safe and enjoyable stay in Akpabuyo:


  • Learn about the culture and customs of the locals to avoid cultural misunderstandings and offenses.
  • Hike and bike with a licensed and experienced guide.
  • Respect the privacy and dignity of locals, especially when taking pictures.


  • Smoke or litter in natural reserves and wildlife sanctuaries.
  • Take pictures of people without their consent.
  • Engage in illegal activities such as drug use.

Safety and Health

Safety in Akpabuyo

Akpabuyo is relatively safe for both locals and visitors. However, as is the case when traveling anywhere abroad, visitors should be cautious and take the necessary precautions to avoid any potential hazards or health risks.

Health in Akpabuyo

Visitors should take adequate measures to stay healthy throughout their stay in Akpabuyo. These measures include:

  • Drinking only bottled water.
  • Avoiding street food from unknown vendors and sticking to trusted establishments.
  • Getting the necessary vaccinations before visiting the region.

Getting to Akpabuyo: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Akpabuyo

The closest airport to Akpabuyo is the Margaret Ekpo International Airport in Calabar, about 35 kilometers from the town.

Bus Stations Near Akpabuyo

Several parks in Calabar offer transport to Akpabuyo. The most convenient one is the Cross Country park, located near the Transcorp Hotel in Calabar.

Other Options

Visitors can also use a taxi or hire a car to travel to Akpabuyo.

How to Get Around in Akpabuyo

Visitors can travel around Akpabuyo on foot, use a taxi, or rent a bike.

Where to Go Next from Akpabuyo: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

After exploring Akpabuyo, visitors have several options for their next destination, including:

  • Calabar: A vibrant and cosmopolitan city that reflects Nigeria’s history, traditions, and modernity.
  • Obudu Mountain Resort: A destination that offers visitors a unique blend of nature, adventure, and luxury.
  • Tinapa Lakeside Hotel: A lakeside hotel and shopping complex with various entertainment options.


If visitors want to experience Nigeria’s rich history, culture, traditions, and natural beauty, Akpabuyo is the perfect destination. This small town is a gem that offers an authentic and immersive experience of Nigeria and its people. With this travel guide, visitors have all the information they need to make their stay in Akpabuyo safe, enjoyable, and unforgettable.