Welcome to the exotic city of Uyo. Uyo is the state capital of Akwa Ibom, a major oil producing state in Nigeria. The town became the capital of the state on September 23, 1987, following the creation of Akwa Ibom State from erstwhile Cross River State. With an ocean front which spans from one end of the State to another, Akwa Ibom presents a picture of the scintillating seaside, mangrove forest, beautiful sand beach resorts, and other interesting places one can visit. What better way to start your journey into Akwa Ibom than from the state capital, Uyo. With a very small population of little more than 500,000, you are about to get acquainted with one of the best-organized cities in Nigeria. Quite simply Uyo is always camera ready, leaving many tourists with several pictures perfect moments and memories they would find hard to forget. Without much ado here are 15 sights and sounds of Uyo that any visitor should experience.
1. Ibom Connection
In the very heart of Uyo City, you will find the Ibom Connection. The monument symbolizes the unity of the people of Akwa Ibom state and it is a delightful art-piece, skirted with a dazzling selection of uniquely beautiful flowers. The landmark presents a beautiful glimpse of the great works of art and architecture tourists are likely to find around Uyo.
2. Ibom Plaza
Right across from the Ibom Connection is the Ibom Plaza. One of the best places to go shopping. Whatever you think to buy you will find there at very affordable prices. Ibom Plaza has an open theater, double-rolled water fountain within the Plaza making it one of a kind in Nigeria.
3. Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre
Modeled after the Sun City of South Africa and the famous Disneyland in Orlando, Florida, USA, the Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre comprises of a 14-storey building with a 250-bedroom five-star hotel, an ultra modern convention centre with a multi-floor capacity of 5000, a galleria with cinema, a shopping complex, a 10,000 sitting dome as well as and theme park with various dry and wet rides/attractions.
4. National Museum of Colonial History.
Here's one for all the art and history buffs. Located at Wellington Bassey Way, The National Museum of Colonial History in Uyo houses collections centres on the creation of the state as well as ethnographic items – artefacts, relics, valuable antiquities and carvings related to the people of Akwa Ibom State. It also contains an attractive, shaded waterfront garden where one can watch small boats drifting on the creeks.
5. The Amalgamation House.
Amalgamation House is the building in which Lord Lugard declared the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates of Nigeria in 1914. A one storied cottage it is claimed to be the first administrative headquarters of the region before it was taken to Calabar.
6. Presybterian Church
It was built by the famous missionary- Mary Slessor who stopped the killing of twins amongst the people of the region. Her tomb was also built on the spot where she was buried and the house she lived before her death situated around Ikot/Oron/Itu village in Akwa Ibom State.
7. Godswill Obot Akpabio International Stadium.
The Godswill Akpabio International Stadium (formerly Akwa Ibom International Stadium) is an all-seater national sports stadium located in Uyo, the state capital of Akwa Ibom. The stadium is known as the champion's nest since it serves as a home to the Nigerian Super Eagles as well as a centre for various social, cultural, and religious events. The 30,000 seater ultra modern multi purpose sports complex was modelled after Allianz Arena. Undoubtedly the best stadium in Nigeria, it is built to meet all international safety standards. Visiting this stadium would be pure joy for any lover of football.
8. Lé Meridien Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort.
Le Méridien Ibom Hotel & Golf Resort, the pride of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, and self-acclaimed Nigeria's unexpected retreat. Amidst rich palm forest vegetation, this magnificent hotel promises the very best of hospitality that money can buy. The lush greens of the world-class 18-hole golf course are one of the best in the Nation.
9. Kilimanjaro Restaurant
Famous for its exotic and delicious dishes, a visit to Uyo is not complete without tasting their native delicacies. Enter Kilimanjaro, one of the best places to eat meals in Uyo. From native Akwa Ibom dishes to foreign delicacies.
Step into the Playground after a long day of taking in the sights and sounds. You will be welcomed by the very satisfying aroma of meat on a grill (except you are vegetarian, and you'll probably change your mind after a visit to the Playground). Home of all things barbequed from suya to snails, you would be glad you came.
11. Ibeno Beach
Who doesn't like the beach? Sand, sun, sea and sky, well at Ibeno Beach you have loads of that. A 30km long stretch of white sand and clear waters, Ibeno Beach has the longest beachfront in West Africa. A popular tourist attraction for Nigerians and several foreigners. Whip out the sunshades and a sunny disposition, you're sure to have the time of your life.
12. Drive Through Uyo.
With its fantastic and well-maintained network of roads, a drive through Uyo is quite an experience especially for those used to the relentless traffic of the big cities.
13. Unity Park
More commonly known as Cenotaph to those local to Uyo. Unity Park serves as a public park and cenotaph for fallen heroes. Each year the Armed Forces Remembrance Day holds there. Visit Unity Park especially on Saturday mornings and hundreds of people engage in various activities. From weddings to football matches and yoga the list goes on.
14. Try Eating Dog Meat.
So you came to Uyo and you didn't try dog meat. And you call yourself a man? Hian! Strictly for those with an adventurous streak. Dog meat is a delicacy in these parts and I can assure is quite delicious. No be me send you sha.
15. Ekpe Festival.
If you're fortunate enough to plan your trip in December, then you'll get to experience the cultural delight that is the Ekpe Festival. The Ekpe masquerade is said to be an ancestral spirit that inhabits the jungle. During the festival, the masquerade comes in the form of a leopard. The festival is a great experience to have, a crash course on Akwa Ibom and its rich culture.