It didn’t matter that we arrived at midnight; the mountains loomed majestically in the darkness. And even though I only saw dark forms, my heart still beat excitedly against my chest ribs. I have heard as almost everyone had about Obudu Cattle Ranch but no one thought to mention that the whole town was surrounded by mountains and that the ranch was just a part of a beautiful lot.
The air around was quite chilly but that was not what made me shiver. I wondered what it must feel like to either live at the foot of the mountain or on the mountain itself. Would I take nature for granted if I did or live in awe all my life?
Cross River is quite a large state. We left Uyo by 4:30p.m and got to Obudu by 1:30a.m. Of course, you’d have to account for the fact that we were in a slow vehicle plus the bad roads but still that amount of time could have taken me to Lagos or close. I mean this was just a journey from ONE state to another with no state(s) in-between. Even though the journey became tiring, I still envied this state that had huge lands that interacted closely with nature and yet felt sad that the land was being under-utilized.
Even though the journey passed in a blur, all I know for a fact is that, from Odukpani or Awi, it is a straight road to Obudu. The military/police check points stopped at a point like three local governments away from Obudu but local vigilantes did a good job of protecting their villages/towns/local governments.
The only bit of disappointment was in our lodgings. Mega Hilton in Obudu has really gone to dust. The place looked more like a residential place than a hotel. We were the only lodgers’ through-out our 6-day stay and we took up almost all the rooms in the hotel.
The first shock I had when we arrived was at the reception’s convenience; the toilet was the dirtiest I had seen even the wash basin, that for a moment I forgot that I came to answer nature’s call. It really says a lot if the convenience at a hotel’s reception is that dirty.
The other shock was that people came in to get water from the main tap with kegs lined up and then the staffs did their bit by washing their clothes perhaps even bringing some from home because the washed clothes on the line daily didn’t look like a ‘one time’ practice.
The third shock was the fact that light from the generating set only came up at 6:30 in the evenings and went off by 1:30 in the early morning. So, clothes had to be ironed after evening services and of course phones charged as well. The lowest room rate was N6,500.
Next was the attitude of the three or four staff plus Manager. No, they weren’t rude but their work attitude was appalling. When the staffs of an organization go about their daily routine of ‘not doing anything’ especially when there are guests, it shows that either they cannot be sacked because no one would be willing to come and take their places or that the owner doesn’t care about his/her investment. If the latter is the case then the owner would do well to sell off this investment or convert it for other use.
All these were just a tiny blip, at every lunch break, I used the opportunity whilst strolling to have lunch to gaze longingly at the mountain, why I did that I cannot readily explain but I know whenever I thought of the creatures living there I thought of mountain goats!
Only two or three of the mountains I saw were of the rocky types like those in Ondo State, most of the mountains were ‘forest’ mountains or covered up with thick and long vegetation only few were sparsely covered. The mountains loomed at you whilst driving especially when moving towards the ranch.
Going up to the ranch after our three days church meetings, I tried my best to capture the sights but didn’t do a good job especially not with the kind of phone I had which made me a bit sad because I should have intensified efforts to get my camcorder before embarking on the trip. It took us an hour to get to the ranch from the town
We got to the Cattle Ranch quite late and because of that couldn’t stay up to an hour. This meant that even though I reached the top, I couldn’t go to see the side attractions; but I at least had a wonderful view of the valley, thick lush forest and other mountains whilst in the cable car.
Oshakin (Well done? Can’t recall) and Oshin (Thank you) were the only local dialect I learnt.
On a side note: On our journey to, I saw a board, something about Nature Kingdom. I do hope Cross River is doing its best to preserve nature and its habitats because I know that there might be yet-to-be discovered species of both plants and animals.
And I also hope that the State Government would concentrate on farming on a large scale for exportation out of our shores and not only within apart from tourism of course.