Cameroon Travel Guide
This unitary African republic is easily overshadowed by its bigger neighbor Nigeria in the west. But it’s small size is also one of its attributes, and it’s popularly known as ‘Africa in miniature’ for its condensed cultural and geological diversity. With everything from deserts, beaches, mountains, savannas and rainforests, the landscape is never boring, nor is learning the language, with 200 different ethno linguistic groups. But if you find you can’t verbally communicate with the locals, display some enthusiasm for football and you will soon be beating new friends off with a stick.
When to Go
The best time to go to Cameroon is between the months of December and March when it is in its driest weather and most of the games, events, and activities are open. Rainy months run from April to November, with August and September having the heaviest downpours.
Getting There & Away
Cameroon’s main international airport is located in Douala, while secondary airports can be found at Yaoundé and Garoua. Cameroon Airlines, jointly owned by Air France and the government, provides international and domestic flights. Getting around the country by road is difficult because 87 percent of the roads are unpaved, making them inaccessible in some seasons. When they are open, they are filled with crazy, tired and drunk drivers and vehicles that may collapse at any moment. Not to mention your luggage will likely be unsafely strapped to the roof as you navigate these roller-coaster routes. The inadequacy of the roads is complemented by a limited rail network.
Health & Safety
The most common complaint of tourists in Cameroon is diarrhea. Eat well-cooked and well-prepared food, drink bottled or filtered water and avoid tap water at all costs. The risk of getting malaria is high, as is the risk of hepatitis A and B, polio, yellow fever, typhoid, rabies and meningococcal diseases. Regular outbreaks of cholera, particularly between the months of December and June, are also common. Bird flu has been detected in Cameroon; however, there are still no reports about human infections. HIV/AIDS is also prevalent in the country, so observe proper safety measures. In short, if you want to catch a disease, Cameroon is a good place to come.
Food & Hospitality
The Bonapriso, Bonanjo and Akwa quarters of the capital are where you will want to head for a bite to eat, with everything from Italian to French to Lebanese on the menus here. Fishy delights can be found along the waterfront. Unfortunately low prices normally means low food safety here, so watch the national specialties of Manioc leaves, banana bread, peanut soup, plantains and spinach with meat don’t rumble your digestive system. Fortunately, as a former German and later French colony, good beer can be found with easy though chances are it will be served warm. Clean and safe rooms can be found in major cities and towns, but in rural areas, you may have to pitch a tent and face considerable security concerns.
Three days in Yaoundé.
Two days in Rhumsiki.
One whole day in Limbé (formerly Victoria).
Yaoundé: the capital city of Cameroon straddles seven hills. The Benedictine Monastery’s Museum of Art, the Mont Fébé which houses a great collection of native arts and crafts, and the National Museum of Yaoundé can all be found here.
Limbé (formerly Victoria): Limbe is a port with beautiful white beaches, a botanical garden and a jungle village.
Rhumsiki: this village features a maze of paths linking small farms (kapsiki) to one another. Get the lowdown on the local ethnic Kirdi group whose customs and folklores include crab sorcery and other interesting concepts. The village is bordered by the high Kapsiki Mountains.
Bénoué National Park: covering about 180,000 hectares, the buffalos, hyenas, hippopotamuses, lions, giraffes, panthers, crocodiles and primates here are sure to be a highlight.
Waza National Park: this part features a wide variety of birds such as eagles, maribous, crested cranes, pelicans, geese, ducks and guinea-fowls as well as larger friends such as elephants, antelopes, giraffes, lions, hartebeest, cheetahs and warthogs.
Cultural exploration: learn about the fascinating culture and traditions of Cameroon such as the Baka pygmies, traditional medicines, rituals and dances, and hunting methods by going on an expedition of the southeast region. Watch you don’t overdose on crab sorcery.
Nso Cultural Week: watch horseracing in the streets of Kumbo, West Cameroon during the Nso Cultural Week conducted every November.
Mountain climbing: climb the highest peak in the country, Mount Cameroon, which is actually an active volcano. Climbing it usually takes three to four days, and all being you aren’t lava-blasted back down, descending will take a similar amount of time.
Road tripping: drive along the roads leading to Nkongsamba and Douala and pass by some breathtaking sceneries such as waterfalls and valleys.