Day 98: Mountain air

Soutpiel Safari
John & Jenny
Thu 10 Feb 2011 17:43
Day 98: Thursday 10 February 2011. Obudu Cattle Ranch, Obudu, Nigeria. N006 22.666 E009 22.659  Distance driven 274 km
Our drive to the Cameroon border takes us to Cross River State, a mountainous area of eastern Nigeria.  One of the major attractions in the area is the Obudu Cattle Ranch at an elevation of 1600 metres and noted for its cool, dry mountain air free from mosquitos. It apparently used to be very popular as a retreat for expat oil workers working in the steamy Delta area of Port Harcourt.  It is approached from Obudu via a 66 km road and then an 11 km mountain track rising 800 metres. Although cattle are still ranched here, the former lodge has become a mountain resort operated by African Sun Hotels.
The drive here was on generally very good roads and the final 66 km link from Obudu was on an amazing road free from any potholes, with the first traffic signs we have seen in Nigeria!  There was also no traffic!  At the gate to the ranch we had to pay a N250 "gate fee" and then the amazing ascent began.  the road was beautifully constructed and maintained and was a true alpine road with frequent hairpin bends and breath-taking views.
We had tried to make a reservation a few days ago but the phone numbers on the resort's website were wrong and we received no response to our Internet reservation. Not a good start as we were concerned that we might drive all the way here and find it full.  We need not have been concerned, the place is empty!  It is a huge resort, it is immaculately maintained and must have cost an absolute fortune to construct.  The road alone must have cost billions and there is an 11 km cable car as well- Swiss style by a Swiss company.  i only hope the Swiss are doing the maintenance!
It is an amazing place, quite expensive by our camping standards but it is so nice to have COOL air, no mosquitos, a clean room, plumbing that works, and above all a BATH!
This afternoon they were running a special package including a return trip on the cable car and entrance to the Water Park at the bottom.  It was an amazing trip with incredible views and I even had a swim!