Our similar interest and love for nature was a key determinant of where we chose for our honeymoon
SA wears many caps, but most people know him as an environmentalist. Back when we were just friends, one of our most memorable hangouts was at the Lagos Conservation Center. He loves nature and adventure, I love nature too, but I am only adventurous with food. Our similar interest and love for nature was a key determinant of where we chose for our honeymoon. A place with trees, hills, temperate weather, a quietness that lets us hear birds sing and crickets chirp, where there was native food, and only a few people. This was how we came up with Obudu Mountain Resort in Cross River state.
Being financially meticulous should not be put aside until you’ve got multi-millions to spend
Next, we considered the option of going with a honeymoon tour firm or doing it all by ourselves. We contacted two organizations and by the time we did a service-price comparison we realized we were better off charting our own course. We drafted a plan that took us from Lagos to Calabar, Obudu Town, Obudu Mountain resort, Enugu and finally Abuja in 8 days, and we included this expenses in our wedding & post-wedding budget. Oh yes! we had a spreadsheet for this, and I think every intending couple should draw up a budget at least 3 months before their date. Being financially meticulous should not be put aside until you’ve got multi-millions to spend, whatever it is you plan to spend, and even if it is all but 2 days you can afford, draw a comprehensive budget for it. Also, working on a budget together, helps you prepare for family-finance-planning.
Flight tickets and hotel bills formed about 70% of our own expenses as most of the places we visited charged next to nothing for entry, and food was cheap. We were able to keep these expenses at the lowest possible rates by booking our flights way ahead of time and negotiating hotel rates – you’d be surprised at what is possible in the hospitality industry. If you are travelling only by road, these are some options you can consider:
i) Drive or have someone drive you, if you have a car of your own or one that you can use.
ii) Find out the cost of hiring a cab, negotiate and go for it
iii) Consider paying for the extra seats next to you in a commercial vehicle so that you and your partner can still enjoy some level of convenience.
We didn’t do any real shopping during this period because we had shopped for the things we needed in the many months and weeks that preceded our wedding; from clothing to household appliances. I recommend you do the same; the moment you have marital consent from the relevant & concerned parties, and a date in view, start to procure your household needs – this way you are under less pressure, and there is no chance of being too broke to live decently after your wedding.
Let’s get back to Cross River, that state has a large land area! Can you imagine a 7-hour road trip from Calabar to Obudu (within the same state)? For me this was the downside to the experience, it left me feeling very cranky – I found many things to be upset about, but SA didn’t seem to mind, guy was just happy to have his babe with him.
While in Calabar we visited the University of Calabar, the Marina Resort where we had grilled fish and palm-wine, and an old palace where I wasn’t allowed in because I was wearing trousers (with this combination of palm-wine and trousers, let’s just hope Mummy Adebote isn’t here).
We ate the popular Ekpang Nkukwo and Afang soup, from a restaurant called E3 – if ever you’re in Calabar city please eat at E3 or order from them. It was fantastic, very affordable, and just one plate of food was fine for us both. Also, we were lucky in that the first bolt driver we ordered became our tour guide for the 2 days we spent exploring the city. He lectures at the University of Calabar and gives rides in his spare time, he did an amazing job with us.
Reflecting on our stay at Obudu, I’ll say SA had the most fun – certain features he termed adventurous were torturous for me (oh boy, see high BP). I had my heart in my mouth throughout the 10minute drive from the gate to the government residential area uphill. The two-way tarred road was narrowly carved along the mountain sides with sharp curves, I did not understand how such a narrow road could take two vehicles side by side without one falling off the cliff, so it was comforting that on the drive up we were not on the edge.
Tree branches and boulders loomed above the length of the road and you can imagine my chagrin when the driver mentioned that these boulders usually fell onto the road in stormy weathers. Omooo! I begin dey pray – which kind wahala be this one? The weather wasn’t stormy, but what if there was one outcrop that had been weakened from a storm?
If you ‘get mind’ Obudu, Mountain Resort is still a cool place for a vacation in Nigeria
SA? My guy was having the time of his life and urging the driver to speed up on top. We finally got to the reception and the beauty that surrounded us as we alighted from this cab was overwhelming. You know how they say a mother forgets the pain of labor the moment the baby is wrapped in her arms? That was it, I forgot my emotional travail from moments before; the view of mountains and valleys all around, the coolness and mist by mid-day, it felt like a city carved inside a forest. If you ‘get mind’ Obudu Mountain Resort is still a cool place for a vacation in Nigeria.
SA and I couldn’t share our love story without mentioning the NCCF state family house in Enugu
Declan was our tour guide here; he took us to different locations in the resort on a motorcycle. The canopy walk, The Grotto – a waterfall, African huts, the Cameroonian border (we did not reach the actual location because of an extreme weather – dense mist, you couldn’t tell if someone was standing just in front of you), the presidential villa, high spots from where we could see the former cattle ranch area. Breakfast was complimentary, so we had lunch at the main restaurant and dinner with the locals. It was at the restaurant that I had Ofe Nsala (white soup) for the first time.
We did a 4-hour drive from Obudu to Enugu on the 6th day. SA and I couldn’t share our love story without mentioning the NCCF state family house in Enugu. Even though we never physically met there, the house was significant to us both and to our union in the same way. So, we visited the youth corps members in the house and it was both nostalgic and fun.
those 8 days we spent together, just loving each other, made settling in so much easier
On the 8th day, we flew home. This happened to be my first time in Abuja, my first time in the city that was now to be my ‘base’. It was very emotional for me, and I drew strength and comfort from the assuring smile plastered on SA’s face as we made our way home from the airport. Honestly, coming home straightaway from our wedding would have been a little hard on me. Those 8 days we spent together, just loving each other, made settling in so much easier. Now you understand my campaign for honeymooning – hehehhehe!