By now it is written in all the catalogs and it has become a saying. And therefore a little annoying. But in reality there is some truth even in the phrases made and therefore to say that the Cameroon is a bit of a miniature Africa it’s not fake. Because it’s not wrong to say that everything you would expect from African continent seems to be concentrated here, in this one seductive land and eclectic that unites many faces. And that affects those who arrive surprising with the demonstration that the things to see in Cameroon they are many. More than what you expect.
The differences between north and south
The beautiful south is characterized by rainforests And golden beaches that would be crammed with bathers if only they were in a more organized and easy to reach place. In contrast to the south, i northern landscapes of Cameroon are dominated by large expanses of desertlakes and huge savannas. THE traditional villages then they are everywhere in this never hostile but certainly not easy land and each of these knows how to express its own particular soul. And it is easy to understand why if one remembers that this region sees at least one coexist, not always in harmony fifty ethnic groups and different tribes.
In general, coexistence is peaceful but these last few years have unfortunately seen the explosion, at times, of violence and massacres of Boko Haram they filled the news pages of the newspapers. Extremists are everywhere and this country is no exception.
Cameroon and its history
Before telling, at least in summary, what are the things not to be missed and to see in Cameroon, let’s take a short break. Remembering what we are talking about. Both what it is today and what it was.
Cameroon is located in Gulf of Guineaon the west coast of Africa, sandwiched between the Nigeria north and the Equatorial Guinea South. The area was a German protectorate until after WW1, when it was divided, with the usual brutality of the colonialismbetween the English and the French. At the France went the greater part while His Majesty the northernmost strip along the Nigerian border was taken. The Cameroon French finally achieved independence in 1960, and this yearning for freedom also involved the British side.
But it was not easy to find a solution: a third of the territory of British Cameroonlargely a Christian, voted to join the Republic of Cameroon the following year while the other two-thirds of this country, inhabited by a mainly Muslim population, eventually merged with the Nigeria. In recent years the country has experienced a situation of discrete internal harmony and the economy has also benefited so much that today the country enjoys greater political and social stability than most African countries.
The heart of Africa
But we are in heart of Africa: therefore many live in conditions of extreme poverty and the country is led by an authoritarian president and above all the northern areas are considered at risk as well as care must be taken in the cities where petty crime can strike. The authorities also invite you to avoid the areas closest to the borders with the Nigeriathe Chad and the Central African Republicwhich are considered unstable.
But we are here to talk about the things to see in Cameroon and not to scare away those who want to leave: regardless of the due attentions, Cameroon has a lot to offer to adventurous travellers. From hers rainforests verdant to his fauna, the country is full of life. Once you arrive, open your eyes and smile: you will be handsomely rewarded.
Things to see in Cameroon: tourism and safety
The tourism in fact in Cameroon it is limited but it is in constant increase as people discover the charm and the many surprises that the country offers. Also, visitors are attracted by the friendliness and hospitality of the people of the place and with rich cultural traditions. THE national parks and reserves in Cameroon they host one of the richest flora and fauna in this part of Africa.
The Southwestern Cameroon is a mountainous region dominated by highest mountain in West Africa and Africa’s tallest active volcano, the Mount Cameroon, which is located on the edge of the Gulf of Guinea and attracts trekking enthusiasts. On the coast there are lovely beaches around Limbe it’s at Kribiwhile the north of the country boasts Cameroon’s most famous national park, the Waza National Parkwhich boasts a significant number of elephants and animal species.
Things to see in Cameroon: the capital Yaounde
One cannot mention things to see in Cameroon without mentioning the second largest city in the country, after the port city of Douala. Yaounde it is located almost in the center of the country, and is therefore an excellent starting point for the journey. Yaounde was founded in 1888 by German merchants and was later occupied by Belgian troops during the First World War, after which it became the capital of French Cameroon. The city remains the administrative, if not commercial, center of Cameroon, and the most popular city for tourists. Enjoy one more high standard of living and security than the rest of the country and has a number of hotels and restaurants of a good standard by local standards as well as some interesting landmarks and tourist attractions.
Those interested in churches should visit the Cathedral of Notre Dame des Victoires and the Marie-Reine-des-Apotres basilica, which is said to have been built on the site of the first missionary church in Cameroon. The city has an interesting art museum, the Musée d’Art Camerounais, which is housed in a former Benedictine monastery and displays a valuable collection of masks, bronzes and ceramics. The National Museum it is less atmospheric and rather small and neglected, although it is housed in the old presidential palace.
Shopping enthusiasts should try i Mfoundi markets And Mokolo and the Center Artisanala government-owned craft market that stocks beautiful pieces but tends to be expensive.
Yaounde has a international airport and is connected for railroad in Douala and N’Gaoundere North. There are also a number of companies bus operating in the city and connecting it with other destinations in Cameroon.
Limbe and the sea
The other destination that cannot fail to be mentioned is Limbe, a city on the west coast of Cameroon. Located in one beautiful bayagainst the backdrop of an imposing mountain range, Limbe was an important port city in colonial times and retains traces of this history.
Down Beachwith its black sand the always warm sea is the favorite place for tourists to relax while the neighbor is also worth a visit Limbe Wildlife Centre and the Botanical Garden. The tourist infrastructure they are relatively good and people have understood that tourists love smiles. Plus Limbe boasts the best Cameroon nightlife even if perhaps the thing that most deserves it is an excursion to the Mount Cameroon, which rises above the city. Limbe is about 300km west of Yaoundeon the national road N3, and only 53 km from Douala.
The mountains and nature
But you don’t come to Cameroon for the cities. So in the first places among the things to see there is the nature and in this sense i Mandara mountains they are unmissable. Or rather: they would be if it weren’t for the fact that this area is considered unsafe and all the authorities (including the Farnesina) advise against venturing here, along the border with Nigeria. It’s a shame because the spectacular rock formations and valleys are interspersed with traditional villages with round hutswhere visitors can experience the authentic local culture of the ethnic group of the Mofu which dominates the region.
Things to see in Cameroon: the lion park
Unfortunately also the other item that has always been at the top of the things to see in Cameroon is now not recommended for those arriving: we are talking about the Waza National Parkthe most famous nature reserve in the country and the most easily accessible. The park is located in the far north of Cameroon and is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, famous for its abundance of wildlife. Here you can see elephants, giraffes, hippos, a variety of antelope, monkeys and abundant bird life including ostriches and was once celebrated for its number of lions.
The best time to visit the Waza National Park it was between March and April when the animals congregate around the waterholes and are easily observed. There is no accommodation within the reserve, but there are camps right at the entrance and there is accommodation in nearby Waza village. Bad ethnic tensions and terrorist forces are now making it off limits. And this also confirms what we said at the beginning: the Cameroon is a concentrate of Africa. In the good, sure. But also a lot in the bad. And it’s a real shame.