Saturday, 8 August 2009

‘The little paradise of Canaan’ Land

ANANTIGHA Village in Calabar South Local Council of Cross River State may not have the usual rustiness associated with many Nigerian local sceneries, however, its tranquillity and naturalness is worth cherishing.
To enjoy this natural bliss, the place to visit is the Aqua Vista Farms and Resort.
Nestled against the Calabar creeks; the freshness of the environment, luxuriating greenery; palm tress and other species of fauna swaying to the music of the wind, no doubt, create a lasting effect.
Little wonder the owner of the resort; Dr. Oscar Umoh, calls it ‘a little paradise of bliss.’
Set up in 1996 as a retreat ground for the family and friends, has grown into a place where people can recreate.
To the right side of the resort lies blocks of accommodation facilities for guests, who want to pass the night.
The room’s categories are standard, mini and gallery suites, all tastefully furnished with the latest home facilities for comfort.
Away from there to the outdoor facilities lies the bar stuffed with assorted drinks and behind is the Yellow Frangini Restaurant.
Outside this, is the barbecue stand where fish is grilled. This is one of the special delicacies of the resort that attracts most people to it. In fact, various fish ponds could be found scattered all over.
For dessert, specially made coconut drink is provided. This too is part of the specialties of the farm.
There is also the gazebo, a cozy and serene spot for people to relax and feast on the environment.
Interspersing one of the many ponds is a bridge where in 2001; former Miss World, Agbani Darego took a photo that was taken round the world.
Aqua Resort has gained popularity among the high profile visitors such as Mighty Sparrow, Jane Fonda, ambassadors and others, who have, at different times, visited the state and spent memorable time there.
Many state functions have also been held here with former Governor Donald Duke and his executive members holding retreats and council meetings in it.
There is the White House, which reminds visitor of the America’s seat of power in Washington D.C.

ACCORDING to the Managing Partner of the resort, Mfon Essang, people come in here to hold talks and conferences.
There is also the Love Garden, which also comes along with its special setting.
It is actually designed for lovebirds to enjoy moments out of the gazing eyes.
There is the playground for hosting different parties such as wedding and birthday as well as picnic by groups or families. Children entertainment is also part of the bigger picture here with children’s section that is fitted with different facilities for children to have fun.
Among other outdoor pleasures is the pond to pond canoe for those who want to enjoy the bliss of the creeks, this Mfon tags “mangrove swamp boat ride.”
The ride takes a vistor through the resort to the marine, Le Meridien in Uyo and as far as Cameroun and the Gulf of Guinea.
Besides, safari and bird watch are another possibilities at the farm as it boast lots of bird life with the presence of over 35 species.
With all the natural elements in place, Aqua vista is one-enclave nature lovers enjoy a romance with nature.
In the words of Mfon, “the most appealing attraction is the nature that we offer in full as in the beginning of creation — bird, water, trees, flowers, freshness, the fresh delicacies, the peace and tranquility, the fresh breeze as well as the fresh food. If you are sick and you come to this environment you are sure to get well before you leave.”
And for Umoh, the world is yet to see the actual colours of the resort, which spans over 13 expansive hectares of land.
According to him, “we are just scratching the surface of our dream as the project is yet to get to it full potential.” The larger picture he says is to have a world class facility that can take care of every need of the people.
The constraint for now, he informs is funding, which he says is not forth coming. However, his appeal to the government and the financial institutions is to make it easier for operators in tourism to access softer loans and low interest facilities that will allow them room to develop tourism projects.
While hoping for the break, Umoh and Mfon have in the mean time turned their attention to maintaining the standard of the place by ensuring that the quality for which the resort is known is not compromised.

BESIDE, they are also concerned with improving the leisure ambience of the hospitality outfit by seeking for new ways to attract more patronage.
Part of the new leisure culture of the home is the introduction of some of the long forgotten traditional games and cuisine such as the popular Nkwobi, Isi ewu (Goat head pepper soup) and others.
There is also plan to introduce what he calls ‘bush trek’ along the river channels. He believes this can be achieved since the environment is conducive for it.
Also, plans are afoot for the hosting different events such as the Africa Day and talent hunt shows that will focus on the youth.
There is also the introduction of happy hour weekend, families and couples days. Hosting of musical shows would also form part of the new entertainment package. For tourists seeking to see the town and its many attractions, Umoh says a tour package is also in the offing.
This is quite mouthful, however, Umoh and Mfon are confident that they can pull it off as they have promised to make Aqua Vista Farms and Resort not just a-one stop shop for leisure, but a leader in the trade.

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