Cameroon is the quintessentially African country – it offers everything from rainforest around Réserve du Dja to the desert Sahel zone near Maroua. It is also home to West Africa’s highest peak, volcano Mt Cameroon, as well as the beautiful Mandara Mountains in the north, with bustling cities like Yaoundé and Kumbo in between and inviting beaches to the west around the city of Douala. Home to Pygmies and Fulani herdsmen, Muslims and Christians as well as followers of indigenous religions, Cameroon has a plethora of languages and traditions.
Boasting diverse landscapes, there are many national parks throughout the country worth exploring, as they all differ in scenery and fauna, although reserves in the south of the country such as Réserve de Boumba-Bek are not easily accessible. The main attractions are the numerous mountains and ranges.
Wildlife enthusiasts should head to Parc National de Waza in Cameroon’s far north for a chance of seeing elephants, hippos, giraffes, birds and even a few lions.
The jungles in the south, from Parc National Campo Ma’an in the west to Parc National de la Lobéké in the east are home to populations of gorillas, chimpanzees and drills.
Several mountains, including Mt Cameroon, the country’s highest peak at 4095m, Mt Oku (3011m) and the stunning Mandara Mountains, all offer treks varying in length and difficulty.
November to February are the driest months throughout Cameroon; although harmattan winds reduce visibility at that time, they are considered the best months to visit.
The wet season in the north lasts from April/May to September/October, while the south, with its constant humid and equatorial climate, experiences the wet season from June to October. Because of the rains, many roads throughout the country are impassable between July and October.
Yaoundé Nsimalen International Airport (NSI) is 20km south of Yaoundé. Douala Airport (DLA) is the country’s air hub, 10km from Douala city centre. Buses and taxis are available at the airports.
Domestic flights are available throughout the country. These flights are expensive, but a safe form of transport. There is a well-organised bus system
with fixed prices and reserved seats. The best way to travel north from Yaoundé to N’Gaoundéré is by train but the trip is slow and long, so spending a bit extra for a sleeper cabin might be worth it. Within the cities, taxis are the regular way of getting around.
Accommodation ranges from church missions and hostels to business-class hotels within the bigger cities. There are campsites throughout the country and some hotels and church missions also allow camping on their grounds.
Rice and fufu (mashed yam, corn, plantain or couscous) are the traditional bases for Cameroonian meals, served with cooked chicken, beef or goat. Many meals come in soup or stew form, and the rice or fufu is dunked into the bowl. Outdoor grills offer fish and suya (grilled beef) and spicy sauces. Within the cities, Chinese and Italian restaurants are becoming increasingly popular, and burgers and sandwiches are also available.
Cameroonian patisseries are considered to be among the best in Africa and offer cakes, baguettes and beignets (sweet fried dough). Beer is the drink of choice, although mineral water is available in all major towns.
Consult your GP or travel health clinic to check the appropriate vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis. A yellow fever vaccination and certificate is required for all travellers to Cameroon. Ensure all water is boiled or otherwise sterilised before drinking it, or use bottled water.
There is a risk of crime in the cities, including mugging and scams. Police regularly check for ID, so travellers should have their passports or certified copies, as well as the yellow fever vaccination certificate, with them at all times
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