By Bassey Asuquo
Ibeno Beach is located in Ibeno Local Government Area at the South end of Nigeria’s Akwa Ibom State. Ibeno occupies a vast coastal area of over 1,200 sq. km.
It stretches from Okposo I at the eastern flank, bordering Mbo Local Government Area and Bakassi Peninsula to Atabrikang Village on its western flank.
The area is bounded in the South by the Atlantic Ocean and shares border with Eket, Esit Eket, Onna and Eastern Obolo Local Government Areas.
Findings indicate that the beach is one of the beaches on the Atlantic Ocean along the shorelines of Ibeno and the longest sand beach in West Africa.
So popular in Nigeria and indeed, West Africa, Ibeno Beach is one of the tourist attractions in Akwa Ibom stretching for about 30 Kilometers from Ibeno to James Town along the Atlantic coastline of the state.
Mr. Simon Usuk, a tourism analyst, remarks, “Ibeno Beach is located in Ibeno Local Government Area and is South of Eket Local Government Area.
”It is also very popular for tourism since it was the landing site of the Qua Iboe Church from Scotland which was one of the most successful Christian missions in Nigeria, in the early 20th century leading to the conversion of many Nigerians to the faith. The area houses lots of relics of that missionary expedition.”
With its beautiful coastline, Ibeno provides endless natural facilities for tourism, water sporting, beach soccer and general boating.
The endless white sand dunes extending as far as the eyes can see along the Atlantic are unaltered by the waves that pour violently on the seashore. History has it that the area was first occupied around 1200-1500 BC by Ibeno indigenes.
Confirming this fact, Mr. Usuk explains, “Ibeno Beach is as old as the area. The area was initially occupied by indigenes of Ibeno around 1200-1500 BC. Ibeno Local Government Area is blessed with beautiful coastline which provides endless natural facilities for tourism, sporting, beach soccer and general boating.”
The alluring array of trees lined along the beach provides good shelter from the burning rays of the sun for visitors looking for shade after sunbathing or taking strolls around the place.
The beach provides an ample view of the Gulf of Guinea over which the scattered gas flares from ExxonMobil offshore oil platforms create a scintillating image of flaming tongues of fire on the sea.
An indigene of Ibeno, Mr. Maurice Utio, gives a detailed explanation about Ibeno Beach, saying, ‘’One of the longest sand seashores in Africa is Ibeno Beach. It covers a total area of about 1200 square kilometres and extends from Okposo I to the east to Atabrikang village to the west, bordering Mbo Local Government Area and Bakassi Peninsula. It also shares its border with Eket, Esit Eket, Onna and Eastern Obolo local government areas.
The Atlantic Ocean surrounds it from the south. The whole stretch of the beach is beautifully decorated for the enjoyment of the local people. This beach presents unlimited natural amenities for tourism, boating, rafting, skiing, camel riding, horse riding and many more. The beach is also decorated with a large number of trees planted along the coastline.
The tree provides coconut water in case of dehydration. The tree also helps in giving shadow to the people visiting the beach, thus acting as a relief area after taking a bath.
One can notice the extension of the Ibeno Beach as far as the eye can look. It is such a large beach. The white sand spreads along the coastlines which one could ever imagine”.
According to him, “most people come to take a walk along the shore of the beach, which reduces a lot of stress, while some soak their body in the water for therapeutic treatment of their joints and muscles”.
Research shows that the beach helps detoxify people as they would come to relax without a computer, mobile phone or anything, but would sit, well relaxed without worrying about their work.
Ibeno Beach to many is a relaxation spot for tourists and lovers of water sports. It is a beautiful tourist site for lovers of fun and tourists to unwind.
The smell of the beach sand is crisp and from a distance, visitors can hear the sea gulls and the splashing waves, made possible by nature.
Philip Ikoekid, an indigene of Eket Local Government Area, also opines on the beach thus, “At anytime of the day, the verdure around the beach, entertains the tourists and lovers with exotic sites, just as the friendly host community ascertains tourists of their safety during their stay.’’
Due to its serenity and security, the beach is rated high among the top soothing and clean beaches in the country. The beauty of this beach is that the sands of the beach itself have been stable over the years without receding with the tide of the water.
The beach resort is a sight to behold with white sand dunes that is unaffected by the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. It is both gentle and turbulent depending on the season of the year. At low tide, the waters can recede as far as 100 metres from the beach and can reach unimaginable elevation of 30 metres above sea level before it strikes the beach.
Indeed, it is usually a beauty to behold. Nature is wonderful and you can see the wonder of nature in the workings and operations of this beach.”
Pause a while and hear this! Do you know that though this beach offers a natural swimming pool, little heaven, memorable sunbathing, water sport and leisure activities, the fact remains that, a lover of water sport will always find the beach MOST INVITING AND ENGAGING.
So, what are you waiting for? Do what this tourist in the picture is doing.