Africa’s biggest carnival, the Calabar Festival, takes place every December in the south-eastern Nigerian city of Calabar. This month-long celebration is something everybody should experience at least once in a life time. Nigerian Casinos would encourage you to visit if you can. Even if you are staying in one of the many Lagos hotels, it’s worth taking the trip to Calabar for this annual highlight. We offer a brief tourist’s guide to the carnival. 

What Is the Calabar Carnival?

It’s the biggest carnival in Africa, and includes a variety of overlapping festive events held throughout the month of December every year.

Where Does it Take Place?

It takes place in Calabar, also known as Canaan City, which is the capital of Cross Rivers State in south-eastern Nigeria. The city of Calabar lies near the Calabar and Great Kwa rivers, about 771 km to the east of Lagos, and it takes roughly 13 hours by road and 1 hour and 15 minutes by air to travel to. It is Nigeria’s 26th largest city by population. 

When and How Did it Start?

It all began in 2004 when the governor of Cross Rivers State, Donald Duke, launched it as a stimulus for the local economy and tourism industry. His aim was to make Calabar the number one tourist destination for Nigerians. It was intended as a uniquely Nigerian event that would showcase and celebrate the local culture.

What Does it Consist Of?

The program is highly varied and includes a Cultural Carnival, Bikers Carnival, International Carnival and Street Party, as well as an ongoing schedule of family-oriented events in line with the festive season and the celebration of African cultures.

Is it Safe to Attend the Festival?

Safety is always a top concern for tourists, and the Cross Rivers State government assures visitors that security and safety are a top priority for them, particularly during the month of December.

Where Can You Stay?

Calabar has plenty of accommodation; however, it fills up quickly in advance of the carnival. If you haven’t yet booked your hotel in the city, you could even stay in one of the cities nearby, including Port Harcourt. Or, you could fit the carnival into your visit to Abuja or Lagos, the cities that are the most common destinations in Nigeria. If you’ve missed the boat to stay in Calabar, why not book a hotel in Lagos and take the short flight to visit the carnival during your stay?

The Sheraton Lagos

If you decide to stay in a Lagos hotel on your way to Calabar, look no further than the Sheraton Lagos for your accommodation. This is a beautiful hotel located on Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way in Ikeja, not far from Murtala Muhammed International Airport.