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Obudu Mountain Ranch Resort

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  • Smoking hills, Cable cars and the Devil’s elbow

By Richard Ihediwa and tourist reports

Have you ever touched the clouds? Have you ever felt two seasons at the same time? These may sound out of this world yet they are happening. The place is Obudu Mountain  Ranch Resort, in Cross River state.
Obudu Mountain  Ranch Resort, formerly known as Obudu Cattle Ranch has been adjudged one of the most naturally beautiful places in the world attracting hundreds of tourists across the globe.
Located on the Oshie Ridge Plateau of the Sankwala Mountains, approximately 65km from Obudu town in Cross River state.
The ranch is set in a stunning and sometimes chilly spot on the 5,200ft high Obudu Plateau, an integral part of the Cameroon Mountains. It is actually the foothills of the mountains on the Cameroon border.
The thrill of Obudu starts far before one gets to the ranch itself from watching from a distance and actually travelling to the plateau are series of adventure. To many it is like the journey to heaven as one has to climb through the clouds and even fell them.
After a warm reception and documentation at the foot of the hills, near the water park, the journey starts. From the level plain to the plateau is an 11km journey through a windy road wrapping around the steep hills. The road has 22 sharp bends now nicknamed the Devil's Elbows. The Devil’s Elbows keep travellers' hearts in their mouth as the journey moves uphill.
Moving up, however, the visitor will be confronted by pleasantly shocking changes in weather, as they would often run into clouds, clear skies, clouds again and sunlight. At some points, there would be rain showers, and on and on. It is actually the last 10 km of the road that has 22 Devil’s Elbows.
When one gets to the Plateau, it is like a trip to heaven as one watch, as in a stationary jet plane, beautifully placed green rolling hills, and the Cameroon Mountains amazingly arranged by nature. The view of passing clouds, which sometime engulf one in their misty embrace, is quite amazing.
Other attractions include the 40-metre canopy walk at the Becheve Nature Reserve built by Leventis. The canopy walk takes the tourist through a hanging bridge to the tree tops, where bird and game watching is done.
One of the sites in Obudu is called the Holy Mountain. From the Holy Mountain, one can have a clear view of communities in Cameroon. There are stories that the aboriginal inhabitants of the Holy Mountain lived in caves around the hill. It was said that they were midgets who were chased away many years ago because they refused to be receptive to their neighbours.
Since the opening of the ranch to international view by the Donald Duke administration in Cross River state, a lot of modernisation has been done to help tourists have better times in the ranch.
In 2005 a state-of-the-art cable car was built (only the second in Africa) with 34 cars, each carrying 8 people to bring guests from the base of the hill to the summit of the ranch. The cable car covers a distance of 4km up through the clouds offering dramatic views of green rolling hills.
Other facilities at Obudu Mountain Ranch Resort includes a mini-golf (9 hole golf course). There are also squash and tennis, horse riding and plenty of hiking trails to rock pools and waterfalls.
It has a spectacular cavern, which serves as a natural swimming pool with sparklingly pure water and a clear view of the long winding waterfall. For those who prefer a more conventional swim, there is a state of the art water park complex at the foot of the plateau with giant slides, an Olympic size pool and areas for refreshments and picnics. Obudu holds its mountain race in November, with a cash prize attracting competitors from across Nigeria and internationally.
To make the cattle ranch a home, the Cross Rivers Government constructed comfortable accommodations for all categories of visitors. There are standard double chalets, superior double chalets, African bungalows, club suites, a presidential lodge, a governor's lodge and 20 mountain villas (complete flats). All the accommodations attract five-star treatment. However there are no air conditioners. They are not needed. Instead rooms are fitted with heaters.

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