Obudu is a Local Government Area located in the north of Cross River State, Nigeria. It is like every other community in Nigeria but the spectacular place in Obudu is the Obudu Cattle Ranch. Obudu Cattle Ranch is a range of mountains on the Obudu plateau. Obudu Cattle Ranch is a mountain community where people come to buy big, well-fed cows. It was formally just a cattle market until a German man thought it could be more. He wanted to provide a place to sleep for buyers that come into the community. So in 1950, he sent his proposal to the Cross River State government. Between 1950 to 1952, Obudu Cattle Ranch was being developed as a tourist destination.
There are more than 2000 cows on the mountain community. The place was fully developed when Donald Duke became governor of Cross River State. A Beautiful resort was built with attractions like a water park and cable cars to edify the place. Under the current government, 90 percent of the activities in the resort are no longer functional.
My trip to Obudu Cattle Ranch was with the Obudu Conservation Centre and was organized by Visit Nigeria Now. The Obudu Conservation Centre put together a very affordable package that can enable everyone to visit Obudu Cattle Ranch. Activities have been put in place by them that allow visitors to enjoy the ranch’s natural wonders. Rather than staying at the resort, we stayed at Donald Duke’s residence, which was a way better option. We had an in house cook, movie nights, outdoor camping, games and most importantly, each room had a working heater.
From Obudu Cattle Ranch, it is easy to access the Cameroon border. During our visit, we saw people making the four days’ journey to Cameroon on foot.
Obudu Cattle Ranch should definitely be on everybody’s bucket list. I will love to go back there for more exploits because its natural attractions are endless. I personally crave for the adventure to go to the Cameroon border by foot.
If you are thinking about visiting Obudu Cattle Ranch, the best time to go is between March/April and October/November. During the rainy season, the leaves are green and the mountains are clearer and less foggy. Check out the list of things you need to pack to make your trip enjoyable.
Here is a list of the top 10 attractions I was able to see on my trip to Nigeria’s best travel destination.
Although Obudu Cattle Ranch is located up on high planes with so many mountains and plateaus in its surrounding, the holy mountain is a significant one because it has the highest peak on the range. It was discovered by missionaries and people would come to pray and fellowship there. That why it is called ‘Holy Mountain’.
It also plays an important role in history. The holy mountain was a hideout for the locals during the civil war. Bunkers are on the mountain where people hid during the Nigerian Civil War. There is only one way to access the Holy Mountain so it was a very good hideout for the people.
Some bunkers and offering box were still retained on site.
During our visit, we took a bike to the Holy Mountain and the access gate was locked. The gatekeepers were not in sight so our guide called them. They took a while before they came so we had to get into the place the adventurous way. We jumped the fence. The gatekeepers came and met us on the mountain.
This is one of the major waterfalls in Obudu and it is the fastest to get to. The other major waterfall takes a minimum of 6hours to hike to.
The Cataract Waterfall can be seen fully on the Holy Mountain. It was named cataract because of its view from the Holy Mountain. Cataract means a long waterfall. The adventure to the Cataract Waterfall was the best part of my trip to Obudu Cattle Ranch. We made history as the first set of tourists to be at the waterfall. We had to hike our way down as no walking path has been created.
Our guide told us that it was only the rangers that have been on the waterfall and the way has just been cleared so a path can be created. He also tried to discourage us because of the tenuous and steep path but we were determined to make history. We had to crawl our way in and out but the experience was a once in a lifetime’s. We renamed the waterfall ODASAL; each alphabet from the first alphabet of our names. A path is currently being created and steps with railing will be added to guide people safely to this amazing waterfall.
NATURAL POOL and WATERFALL
This is one of the mini waterfalls in Obudu Cattle Ranch. The waterfall forms a natural pool at its bed and is quite easy to access. The water stream is completely beautiful but very cold. It has two stages: a small fall with pool and then a longer fall with a deeper pool. The pool is deep enough to swim, jump and dive into. I was only able to swim at the smaller bed because you can only access the bigger one by jumping and diving into it. It was my first time swimming in a natural pool.
Grotto is another mini waterfall with a pool. But unlike Natural Pool, Grotto has been modified a little to allow the water to accumulate at its bed, forming a deep pool. The depth and width of the water pool was artificially created.
Grotto is the perfect place for bonfire parties and barbeques. It has a sitting area with shade and fireplace for grilling. Grotto is one of the easiest attractions to get to. There are well laid out steps, railings and guidelines to help get to the waterfall.
BECHEEVE NATURE RESERVE AND TREE NURSERY
The Becheeve Nature Reserve is a conservation forest filled with various species of plants and animals. There are many species of trees and it holds some trees have been there before civilization. We were even showed some trees that dinosaurs fed on!
The forest reserve was named after the village settlement what was previously located there. Measuring over 65 hectares in size, the forest reserve has a tree nursery at the entrance which is preserved by the Obudu Conservation Centre. The forest is mainly to preserve plants that are in extinction.
Home to several animals, it is the terrain for different kinds of reptiles like the spitting cobra which comes out only when the forest is quiet. Perhaps the cold environment enables the survival of these animals.
In addition, because different species of migratory birds are in the forest it’s the ideal location for bird watching in Obudu Cattle Ranch. We saw a flying squirrel while in the forest.
Fun fact: the second edition of Gulder Ultimate Search was shot in the forest. We saw where they had the talking drum session. We were able to see the tree house as well. The forest also holds a canopy walkway and a tree house that allows the forest to be seen from above.
THE CANOPY WALKWAY:
The major highlight of the Becheeve Forest Reserve is the canopy walk. It is a 60km canopy walkway. This is the second time I’ve been on a canopy walk. The first time was in Lagos state; it was interesting to know they are under the same organization (the Nigeria Conservation Centre). The canopy walk isn’t even half of what’s in Lekki Conservation Centre though because it’s just a single long walk.
At the end of the walk, there is an upper pavement at the platform. We went up and were able to see the whole forest reserve and beyond. The canopy walkway is a very adventurous feat. There is a stair at the end of the walk so you could crawl down if you decide you don’t want to take the canopy walkway back.
INTESTINAL ROAD VIEW
The intestinal road is the road that brings one up the mountain to Obudu Cattle Ranch. The road network is spiral and it gives a zig-zag view from the top. The view is more beautiful because of the black and white paintings on the walls of the road. There are two ways to view the intestinal road. The first one shows the road to the left. It also shows the previous and only road that could access Obudu Cattle Ranch before the new tarred roads were created by Cross River State government. The previous road could only accommodate one car at a time; so someone sends a message if a car is approaching so that oncoming cars can stay put. At this point, you can hear the noise of water streaming down the mountain and see the valley below.
The second view shows the road network down below. At this point, you can see the “devil’s elbow” at the point where the road has a sharp edge turn.
ANGEL’S VIEW AND PRESIDENTIAL VILLA
The Angel’s View is a point where some valleys form to give a “V” shape. This view takes your breath away and makes you appreciate the wonderful creation of God. The Angel’s View is between the Helipad and the Presidential Villa.
After spending some time at the Angel’s View, we went sightseeing at the Presidential Villa. The Presidential Villa belongs to the Obudu Cattle Ranch’s Resort and it is set apart for presidents, governors and higher dignitaries on their visit. The place was really built for the president. There is an opened sitting area at the Presidential Villa that gives an amazing view of the angel’s view.
BANANA VILLAGE and OPAZANGA VILLAGE
Obudu Cattle Ranch is a mountain community with different villages (I think about 7 villages makes up the mountain community). Sightseeing in the villages is a big part of the trip. It teaches about their culture, tradition, customs, history and how they survive. Banana Village is a village surrounded with banana plantations. Obudu’s bananas are very big and sweet. Obudu Cattle Ranch has lots of wonderful sights to see like the honey factory and the primary school that has been there since 1954!
WOMEN’S WOODLOT RESERVE
The Women’s Woodlot Reserve is a program by the Obudu Conservation Centre to replant in the areas that have been damaged due to cow grazing, fire and tree felling. A forest reserve was created for women in Obudu Cattle Ranch where they can get wood for cooking and as a source of heat. There is no electricity for the villages on Obudu Mountains so the communities depend solely on firewood for cooking and heat. 90 percent of women and children fetch wood from the reserve to make fire to cook.
Created so the villagers would never run out of wood in the future, the Women’s Woodlot Reserve can be viewed from a distance on the way to the angel’s view.