…Kwa Falls Needs government’s Attention
Story By: Chinyere Ogidi
The beauty of Kwa Falls cannot be taken away from it. It is a spectacular waterfall located in a narrow, steep gorge on the headwaters of the Kwa River located in the urban division of the Cross River National Park.
It has sparkling natural water which incessantly falls through the mounds of igneous rocks of tropical reminiscence. There is a deep plunge pool formed at the bottom of the waterfall which is hidden under the thick canopy of the tropical rainforest.
There are about 234 steps in the well-arranged staircase that leads from the plane down to the cloudy waters. It is quite a chore meandering through the staircases, but one has to exercise caution as some of the railings are bad. The staircases feature overgrown algae.
The bottom rests in a typical tropical mangrove forest of mahogany, ebony and spruce trees which add to the undulating landscape that surrounds the fall. Before descending, at the plane is a beautiful relaxation house, which during its days could be a good spot for fun seekers and tourists; but the house has come of age.
Despite the fact that the old structure has not been maintained for decades, visitors still find it needful to visit the falls and catch a glimpse of nature’s gift. Each visitor pays N200 before accessing the falls but because of its state of abandonment, the site only attracts between 30 and 40 visitors per month.
Shamballa Akpadiaha is a tour guide at Kwa Falls. Explaining the natural beauty of the waterfall, he said that one unique feature about the falls is that the water never gets dry. Apart from the rainbow colour that is produced by the waterfalls, Akpadiaha said certain areas around the vicinity have mysterious looks.
It has the potential to attract visitors from all over the world and despite the poor maintenance of recreational facilities at the plane, the fall still attracts students from different parts of Africa, Akpadiaha said.
“The traffic here ought to have been on the high side constantly, but the handlers of the site have not done well. Kwa Falls has the potential to draw people from all parts of the world. The natural beauty of the fall is still present, nothing can take that away from it but the recreational facilities around are dilapidated and that has brought a decline to the patronage,” he said.
Akpadiaha, who said he had worked at the tourist site in the past four years, noted that the Cross River State Tourism Bureau had visited the site a couple of times with different local and foreign contractors but it yielded no signs of renovation.
“When the Cross River State Tourism Bureau took over the site, there had been plans to build reception centres and accommodation. They even thought of building canopy walkway and cable car, among others, but nothing has been done. They even brought foreign contractors to look at it in 2013, we hope that something should be done,” he said.
According to him, when fully functional with good recreational facilities, Kwa Falls could play host to a number of events that would attract tourists on a weekly or monthly basis. He noted that the environment was comfortable for picnic lovers, adding that some visitors may want to pass the night after visiting the Kwa Falls down the slope.
Unfortunately, Kwa Falls, which is just about 25 kilometers away from Calabar, the state capital, is gradually being affected by neglect due to decay in recreational facilities. It is one of tourists sites listed in the state and managed by the Cross River State Tourism Bureau.
The fall, located in Aningeje, Akamkpa Local Government Area of Cross River State, has not witnessed any infrastructural development apart from that which was put in place in the mid 1970s for tourists’ relaxation by Maj-Gen. Paul Omu (retd), who was the then military governor of the old Cross River State.
Urging the Cross River State Tourism Bureau to give the site a 21st century facelift, Akpadiaha said that it could compete favourably, as a money spinner, with other tourists sites in other parts of the world.
“The handlers should give it a 21st century tourism outlook by making provisions for facilities like gaming, accommodation and refreshment bar, among others. There are people who may want to leave their houses to relax and catch a glimpse of nature. People know that Kwa Fall is a great place. Government should make the place look better than they are propagating,” he said.
When Waka About Africa visited Kwa Falls, out team noted, the place is not taken care of. I appeal to the state government to develop this place as one of the tourists’ centres they visit elsewhere.” We therefore call on the State government, that Kwa Falls can still restore its glory. This will enhance its tourism and bring in more income.
Perusing the visitors’ comments written in a book at the centre, no fewer than 50 tourists visited the falls when Waka About Africa team visited the site. In the last ten months, as contained in the diary, the visitors have tried to call government’s attention to the neglect of the site.
“It is quite exhilarating and beautiful but it needs renovation. This will garner public interest and generate income for the state.” Kwa Falls is begging for attention.