When you go to Obudu, you’ll understand that the hills are really alive.
Despite the fact that it is called Obudu Plateau, it is actually located in the Obanliku local Government area which is about 60km from Obudu town. It is on these mountains that the famous cattle ranch was built.
To get to Obudu, there are two options as flights are not currently going there directly. You can either fly to Calabar and take a drive down for about 8-9 hours or you can fly into Enugu to cut the road trip down to 4 hours.
Once you get past the numerous checkpoints and bad roads along the way, you finally get to the plateaus and you are welcomed by the figure of a cow head perched on a ‘gate’. This is the beginning of many picture worthy moments as you are wowed by the mountains and the clouds that are within your reach.
After arriving at the ranch and settling in your accommodation, have some lunch and begin your first activity of the day.
This is a tour of the Becheve nature reserve. This reserve is home to various plants/vegetation and also has a canopy walk.
At the end of the canopy walk, you climb a tower and you get to view the numerous plants available on the mountain and some mountain peaks are also highlighted.
The thrill really is the canopy walk and if you have mischievous people like I am, you’ll have some jumping and scaring the living daylight out of you.
After you get off the canopy walk, specifically asked to be taken to the Fern tree grove within the reserve. Some don’t get to visit but trust me it’s worth it. It’s almost like walking into an enchanted forest and has the most amazing white lilies. Not only are these lilies pretty to look at, they also smell divine. I likened the smell to talcum aka baby powder. There’s also a little river running through the middle and if you didn’t know any better you would think you were in a place right out of a fairy tale.
After walking round the enchanted forest, take a walk round the grounds of the resort built on the Obudu Mountains but before that, don’t forget to take a picture infront of the Becheve signage as a way to show you were really there.
As you walk round, you will notice the facilities that belong to the resort – basketball courts, restaurant, steak house and more importantly, the locals.
You can end the night playing board games with your group if you packed some or just watch TV till you’re tired and you call it a night.
If you’re a morning person, 6 am is the time to set out. This is to go bird watching. Obudu is home to various species from the yellow bird to the red long claw bird. During the sightseeing, you see the various accommodation options such as the mountain villas, African huts, the conference room and also the presidential villa which is perched at the top of a hill in all its glory.
The most exciting part about this is while looking for birds, you literally go through the jungle. Like someone in our group said, it was like walking into Jurassic park. It was just us, bushes, the sound of streams and the birds. A couple of people will fall on their ass because the soil might be wet but it made for a couple of laughs.
When you get out of the jungle, you realize you went in the middle of one mountain and came out of the other side. It’s astonishing because if anyone points out to you that you would walking in the middle of mountains, you would chime in that it’s impossible, but alas it can be done.
After coming out alive on the other side, take some pictures at the top of the mountain you’ve just conquered and head on home because remember, you haven’t had breakfast. However keep an eye out for the most amazing valley views. It was breathtaking. We all had to stop and marvel at its beauty. Just in case you’re wondering, it’s on the left side of the presidential lodge so now you can’t miss it. Thank me later.
While birdwatching seems like child’s play, it takes about 2 hours and if you’re a budding photography this could easily be 3 hours. So be ready to be on your feet for that long.
After birdwatching, head back and have breakfast, shower, gist, rest and then it’s time to head to the grotto falls.
Grotto falls is one of the many waterfalls in the mountains and probably the most famous. It has a resting point, a little pool and people often grill food there if they’re having a party. If you’re lucky, before you enter you’ll see a horse and a ride can be organized. You can have a picnic there but if you’re just there to see it, after about 20 minutes you’ll probably be itching to go. I don’t blame you, many more things await you.
One thing a lot of people don’t mention is that there are villages in the mountains and 7 of them are easily accessible. This means after grotto falls, you can do a tour of the village.
From Opaganza (banana village) to little Cape Town, you meet a variety of indigenes who are separated by streams or stones. These people are friendly. A few of them are skeptical about why you’re taking their pictures but in general they’re very welcoming. You’ll hardly pass a villager without hearing good day or ‘yangukle’.
During your walk through, make sure you buy something from them. It could be palm wine, bananas, ube (purple pear), corn, etc but by doing this, you’re contributing to their economy and empowering them.
After this, it’s time to head back home and enjoy evening. Besides you need to sleep early as the next day is about to be hectic but lit!
Day 3 is the most exciting day. You will be walking in the clouds on a mission to see the border between Cameroon and Nigeria. Make sure you wear a swimsuit underneath your hiking clothes and pack a small towel in your back pack. You’ll see why later. Also, pack some water, carry your speakers and set off with your friends. This hike is intense but my oh my it’s so worth it. The excitement when you hear you’re 1603m above sea level is honestly next to none.
After crossing this personal best, you start to notice Fulani settlements. I couldn’t believe it, settlements at the top of the mountain? We were amazed.
However what was more amazing was that we entered the first settlement and the Fulani women welcomed us like they had been expecting us. We sat on their stools, they brought out nunu (yoghurt) and some meat. It was the most thoughtful thing ever and continues to add to the notion that don’t judge a tribe by everything you hear on the news.
Even if you don’t do anything while you’re in Obudu make sure you do that. After visiting the Fulanis and you step out, you start to see the Cameroonian Mountains and if the clouds aren’t there you’ll see all of them clearly. This will be your reward for being patient.
When all this is done, you can start your descent. For an extra treat, you take a different route which leads you to beautiful waterfall that not a lot of people know of. This means you have the whole place to yourself. The waterfall forms a natural pool at the bottom and if you’re a good swimmer, you should jump into into it. Trust me it’s safe as 4 of us did it and I’m here to share the story.
If you can’t swim, stay at the top which is nicknamed the kiddies section. The water is cold but it offers such a relief from the hike you just finished. I know I said seeing the Cameroun border is your reward but I lied. This is your real reward. You’ll be shocked that you jumped into a natural pool in Nigeria. I mean you only see these things on TV.
When you think you’re done, dry off and continue back home as you still have the Holy Mountain to go to.
The Holy Mountain is named so because apparently when the missionaries first went to Obudu this was where they camped. It’s also believed that if you pray there, your prayers will get answered. We all had one thing or the other that we need sorted out so why not just give it a try.
From the top of Holy Mountain, you see the waterfall you just jumped into and if you’re in no hurry, just sit there for a few minutes and soak in the beauty and magic that mountains and clouds create when they are put together; God is really the master artist.
It then starts to dawn on you that your time at Obudu is coming to an end. With a bit of sadness, you start to head back to your cabin but on the bright side, you’ll have a bonfire and barbeque which is the tradition.
The bonfire is filled with barbecued food from corn to plantain, ram to chicken. Drinks are flowing, music is blaring, spirits are high and it’s a way to end your Obudu trip with a bang.
The next day at 6am you depart to catch that 1.50 flight back to Lagos from Enugu airport.
You leave with memories and pictures that will last a lifetime and you’ll also be able to boast of visiting Nigeria’s famous mountain ranges.
Now this isn’t just a story I’m telling, its based on my personal experience and because I love you guys, I decided to help you get the most out of your Obudu trip.
For accommodation, I stayed in a private cabin owned by the Obudu Conservation Centre. They are independent of the resort and their job is to protect the wildlife and plants on those mountains. I highly recommend their cabins as they give a vantage view and they are literally in the clouds. They all come with kitchens for each cabins, heaters in each room and a generator.
Holler at them or me and we can hook you up.
So my question is, when are you off to Obudu?
‘Lola Daniyan is a travel curator, travel content creator and the lead travel writer at Unravelling Nigeria which is a Nigerian online travel resource. In her spare time, she likes to sleep, read and create mischief.
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