By Jimoh Babatunde
Obudu has increasingly become popular among tourists and event planners from all around Nigeria. Though, local travel companies are yet to fully respond to this phenomenon by increasing the range of services they offer, which could help Nigeriaâ€™s best kept secret assume its position by attracting even more travellers.
At the moment, visitors come from Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and a few international travellers. Travellers to the ranch now christened Obudu Mountain Resort by the management company [African Sun Hotels] following the upgrade of facilities by the owner, the Cross River State Government.
Today, Obudu Mountain Resort under African Sun Hotels is working with several travel companies that are now offering virtually all types of travel services; ranging from educational and entertainment tours, conferences and eco_tourism, just to name a few.
Obudu Mountain Resort, which had hosted prominent event such as â€˜Gulder Ultimate Searchâ€™, is set in few weeks to also hostsâ€™ worldâ€™s most enduring and famous â€˜Mountain Raceâ€™ (Obudu Mountain Race) that has brought prominent runners from around the world.
It is quite possible that in the near future, arrivals may double with plans being worked out by African Sun Hotels, not only for local, but also tourists from abroad will increase in numbers to enjoy the fascinating aura, serenity and tranquillity of the surrounding beautiful hills that seems more idea for the strong and fit alone, but the addition of the second longest cable car in the world and a world class water park on the foot of the mountain are all clear indication that the resort is for everyone.
Like a British resident in Nigeria, Ian Hunter who was returning from is first visit to the resort aptly puts it, â€œObudu is Nigeriaâ€™s best kept secretâ€ Noting further, â€œthe resort, is a true gem of Nigeria.â€
Since the upgrade of the accommodation facilities at the resort, Obudu is becoming increasingly recognized and respected on the national and international scene, and it is no surprise that Obudu Mountain Resort and Cross River State have been hosting a number of various regional and international meetings and symposia, just as more business and leisure tourists are visiting the resort and the state, and you may find yourself becoming one of them.
With well over a 160 accommodation categories, made up of standard rooms, executives, huts and chalets to a presidential apartment, amidst its extreme eco_tourism potentials, thereâ€™s more than enough space for other activities. Admirers of eco_tourism and adventure, bored by comfort of the hotel accommodations could easily get busy with a ride down the hill on the cable car and indulge in some water sports.
One of the greatest assets of the resort is its sustainable tourism practice that gives priority to the interest of its host communities. For instance, the local communities that are largely farmers and cattle rearers supply some of the ingredients used at the resort. This guarantees steady income for those that are not fully employed by the resort.
Managed by one of Africaâ€™s most respected hospitality chain, African Sun Hotels of Zimbabwe, the chain is obviously redefining franchising and management landscape in Nigeria. Besides, the Obudu Mountain Resort, the chain is currently running Amber Tinapa, and Utanga Safari Lodge all in Cross River State, Nike Lake Resort, Enugu and Holiday Inn Accra Airport, Ghana, the hotel that hosted the Obamaâ€™s during their historic visit to Africa.
In less than three weeks, once again, the management skill of African Sun will be put to test again, as Amber Tinapa, Calabar and Nike Lake Resort, Enugu will host eight teams participating in the coming FIFA U17 World Cup holding from October 24_Novemeber 15, 2009.
However, few months after taking over, African Sun Hotels, with the approval of the Cross River State Government is showing commitment at ensuring that the resort gives lasting experience to both visitors and locals. The determination also goes with the change of name from Obudu Cattle Ranch to Obudu Mountain Resort.
The change in name only applied to the resort, whilst the rest part of the community that were hitherto in a single package remains. The cattle and honey businesses remains very much alive.
Seating on the altitude of 1,575.76 metres above sea level, the resort has a temperature of between 26Â°C to 32Â°C between November and January, and the nights are cool to cold during this period. Meanwhile, the lowest temperature ranges of 4Â°C to 10Â°C are recorded between June and September, which is the rainy season.
Warm clothes, raincoat and water boots for hiking in rainy season are important companion when visiting Obudu Mountain Resort.