A First Timer’s Travel Guide to Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria - Ijeawele (2024)

I traveled to Akwa Ibom for the first time ever in March, and I had the best experience. Being a first-timer, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect as I had limited information to rely on aside from a few blog posts, nostalgic Instagram photos, and noninformative beach videos on Tiktok.

Somehow, I managed to navigate the state on my own and had the most incredible time. Was it worth visiting? Yes! Would I go back again? Most definitely! In fact, I am thinking about my next visit, and it is the most exciting thing.

Akwa Ibom offers more to explore beyond its capital city, Uyo. Whether you are looking for a perfect beach getaway or a journey through history, you will find so many available options. From the historic sites in Ikot Abasi to the beautiful beaches in Ibeno and Oron, the state has something to offer every traveler.

A First Timer’s Travel Guide to Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria - Ijeawele (1)

In this post, I will be sharing my top recommendations for where to stay, things to do and see, and how to get around based on my personal experiences.

If you are planning your first visit to Akwa Ibom, or planning to explore the state for the first time, here is a detailed travel guide to Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. I hope it provides you with all the necessary information to make your trip as memorable as mine was.

Do you want to explore Akwa Ibom? Read this detailed travel guide to inspire your wanderlust.

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A First Timer’s Travel Guide to Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria

Quick Facts About Akwa Ibom State

Akwa Ibom is one of Nigeria’s best-kept secret. It is located in the South-South geopolitical zone of Nigeria, bordered on the east by Cross River State, on the west by Abia State and Rivers State, and on the South by the Atlantic Ocean. With a 129km coastline, Akwa Ibom never hides its abundance of seafood, establishing itself as a significant source of this culinary delight within Nigeria. Additionally, the state takes pride in being one of the country’s major oil-producing states, contributing significantly to the oil industry.

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The major ethnic groups in Akwa Ibom State are the Ibibio, Annang, and Oron, which also represent the primary spoken languages within the state. Alongside these major ethnic groups, there are approximately 20 other languages spoken by various smaller communities.

It’s interesting to note that the Nigerian Airline, Ibom Air, which offers domestic flights in selected states within the country is owned by Akwa Ibom State.

Getting to Akwa Ibom

Akwa Ibom State offers excellent accessibility and different transportation options, making it easy for travelers to get in and move around. The presence of a well-functioning airport in Uyo, the state capital, means that travelers coming from major cities like Abuja or Lagos can opt for Ibom Air, which provides direct flights to Uyo.

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Travelers coming from other parts of Nigeria can choose the most convenient mode of transportation, whether by road, water, or a combination of both, based on their preferences and travel plans. If you are coming from Calabar, you have the option of taking a road trip or taking a waterway route, which adds a touch of adventureto your journey.

The major transportation types in Akwa Ibom are taxis, keke (tricycles), and in certain areas, bikes. To get around in the city, you can either book a private ride via Bolt or roll up your sleeves and go the public transport route. While private rides allow you to move around at your own pace, public rides are more easily accessible and provide a cost-effective means of getting around.

Where to Stay in Akwa Ibom

Choosing a place to stay in Akwa Ibom is probably the easiest part of planning a trip to the state. There are different accommodation options for all kinds of budgets. For my recent trip, I chose to stay at Tevoli Hotel due to its proximity to town and Ibeno Beach at the same time.

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Tevoli was a dreamy experience for me. It was not only budget-friendly but it also evoked a comforting sense of home. If you have an affinity for vintage charm and nostalgic settings, Tevoli is sure to capture your heart. There were two room options priced at N5000 and N7000. I booked the N5000 room because the only difference between the two was their size and I didn’t mind a smaller room.

Features:

As a first-time lodger, I had low expectations for Tevoli due to the price, but here are some features that made it a great value for money.

  • Free WiFi
  • Air Condition
  • Television
  • Refrigerator
  • Water Heater
  • Restaurant & Bar
  • Large Packing space
  • Excellent Customer Service
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The rooms at Tevoli were reasonably sized, and although I personally didn’t mind, it’s important to note that the floors were covered with rugs instead of tiles. Additionally, the hotel is situated in an isolated area which makes it quite difficult to move around at night. With the absence of roadside shops, I will advise you to grab everything you will need for your stay along the way before lodging.

Tevoli Hotel is located along Ibeno Road in Eket, Akwa Ibom.

What to Eat in Akwa Ibom

Even though Akwa Ibom is one of the states in Nigeria with the best cuisine, finding food was the biggest challenge I faced during my trip. This may have everything to do with the part of the state I stayed and the kind of food I chose to eat.

If you are in Akwa Ibom, eat your way through the state with local dishes like Edikang Ikong, Afang, and Fisherman Soups. You may want to stay away from non-local soups like Egusi or “Melon” Soup as they called it. I had a horrible experience eating Egusi Soup and Rice & Stew in Akwa Ibom, one that I will never forget in my lifetime.

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If you are like me and are not so adventurous with food, Fast foods like Chicken Republic and Kilimanjaro may be a lifesaver.

Things to do in Akwa Ibom

When it comes to tourism, Akwa Ibom certainly doesn’t fall short. With an abundance of attractions and activities, it’s easy for first-time visitors to feel overwhelmed without a well-structured plan. Having explored the state myself, here are my top 5 recommendations for things to do in Akwa Ibom:

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1. Drive Around the City

Everyone in Nigeria knows that Akwa Ibom is one of the most beautiful and serene states in Nigeria. Its perfect roads and picturesque landscape provide a delightful backdrop that can be enjoyed by simply taking a leisurely drive or stroll. Additionally, Akwa Ibom is known to be one of the safest states in the country, which can offer visitors a sense of peace and security during their stay.

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2. Spend a Day at Ibeno Beach

When you visit Akwa Ibom, it is best that you allocate a full day for Ibeno Beach, which is located in Ibeno LGA, a whooping two hours journey from Uyo. Depending on where you are staying, getting to the beach might be an entire trip on its own, which is why it’s best that you set a day aside for it.

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To access Ibeno Beach, visitors will have to pay an entry fee of N200. Once inside, you can participate in fun beach activities like horse riding, quad bike riding, and more, each of which requires separate payments. There are also several food stands to satisfy your cravings.

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If you seek a more peaceful and relaxing experience, it is advisable to plan your visit on a weekday.

3. Grab a Piece of Art at the Raffia City in Ikot Ekpene

The people of Ikot Ikpene are known for their history of transforming the raffia fiber into wearable items like shoes, clothes, handbags, mats, and hats, all of which are sold at the Raffia City. There are also historical artifacts and other local resources there. See these as souvenirs, a piece of Akwa Ibom, to take back home with you.

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4. Visit Godswill Akpabio International Stadium

Make sure to reserve some time in your itinerary to visit the magnificent Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, located in the heart of Uyo. This architectural masterpiece is a sight to behold. If you are strategic with your planning, you might just get to watch a live match at this 30,000-capacity stadium.

5. Take a Journey Through History at Ikot Abasi LGA

Ikot Abasi, a Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom State, is a treasure trove of history, showcasing the cultural heritage of the Akwa Ibom people. This town is home to a cluster of historic sites that can be conveniently explored one after the other.

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Some of the notable sites in Ikot Abasi are:

  • The Bridge of No Return
  • Women War Memorial
  • Aba Women Mock Grave Site
  • Amalgamation House
  • Lord Luggard’s House
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I will share more about my experiences in Ikot Abasi in a future post, so be sure to stay tuned for updates. Or you can subscribe to get notified by submitting your email in the box below. We don’t spam.

Conclusion

Akwa Ibom is a true haven for tourism, a Nigerian state that everyone should visit at least once. The state offers attractions that cater to every traveler’s interest, whether you are a nature, art, history, or food lover, there is just something for you.

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If Akwa Ibom has been on your bucket list, I hope this guide has provided you with the necessary information to make that list a reality.

Was this guide helpful? Let me know in the comment section below.

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