Established in 1991 from three former forest reserves, the Okwangwo Division of Cross River National Park covers an area of 640km2 of mostly lowland and sub-montane closed-canopy forest. Located at the headwaters of the River Cross, the topography is rugged and elevations range from 150m in the southern lowlands to around 1,700m on the edge of the Obudu plateau in the north.
Nigeria is known as the Giant of Africa with a variety of mountains, grasslands, valleys, beaches, and waterfalls. The Obudu Plateau is spread over an area of 40 square miles and rises 5 200 feet above sea level which makes it a giant in itself. Hiking is popular and the Obudu Ranch International Mountain Race in Cross River State leads to a tough competition between African runners and international mountain runners.
If hiking is too much hard work, there is a cable car that transports tourists and supporters to the top of the plateau. Guides are recommended on the hikes to identify the animals and birdlife and keep tourists on the right road. A new tourist accommodation has been built at an altitude of 1600m in order to promote the country’s natural beauty. The Obudu Ranch caters to everybody and the Gorilla Camp has situated 13 km from the hotel. A long walk or short drive to the camp allows observers to view gorillas in their natural habitat.
This is not only a recreational activity, but a scientific expedition as many visitors have conducted research on these gorillas and four small populations close to the Cameroon border in Cross River State have been identified. The Cross River gorilla is a separate subspecies that was threatened by hunters at a stage and this led to the construction of a field station and enhanced ranger program. An education project aims to raise awareness of the benefits of protecting gorillas and the ecological value of forest conservation.
Where to stay at Obudu Plateau Nigeria
Travelers can stay at Obudu Mountain Resort which is 14 km from the gorilla viewing area.
How to get to Obudu Plateau Nigeria
Obudu Plateau is 540 km from the main capital Abuja and travelers can drive or take domestic flights to the cross river state.