Douala Travel Guide

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Douala Nightlife

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    by cheeksy Written Jan 29, 2007

    If you wish to have a romantic dinner or just listen to some great hits - La Cigale is your place. It is located in downtown and basically everyone knows where it is. So when you hop into the taxi, just say "La Cigale".
    Food is good. You can enjoy a platter of seafood and a choice of vegetarian and meat dishes. If you are a wine drinker - you'll find a good choice of wines there. Beware of gin&tonics - they are pretty strong :-)
    If you don't drink alcohol - you'll find a comfortable choice of soft drinks.
    Starters, mains and desserts... The menu isn't big but the quality of food is good and portions are quite big. The restaurant is ran by a lovely French Lebanese gentleman and his wife.
    The live band is great. Especially the female singer (I forgot her name!!!). Her voice tunes with the music, braiding and creating juicy tones and melodies.
    Male singers are good too. And the sax guy rocks the world!

    Dress Code: Personally I prefer to be "dressy". But people normally wear what they wish to.

    The singer The sax guy
    Related to:
    • Women's Travel
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Business Travel

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Douala Transportation

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    by Over60 Updated Apr 20, 2011

    !

    I've spent a good bit of time here in the course of several trips to Cameroon. Overall, I'd rate the airport in the lower half of developing country airports I have seen, but my last visits showed signs of efforts to improve the situation.

    The airport was no doubt quite modern when it was built, but there appears to have been little maintenance over the last couple of decades, probably due to Cameroon's economic distress and government cutbacks. While routine cleaning is done, everything has a worn and grimy look about it. Restrooms in the main hall have been in deplorable condition for several years, but they were undergoing renovation at the time of my last visit (July, 2010). The only air conditioned parts of the airport are the flight check-in area, the departure lounges on the concourses, and a small hard-to-find- section of a restaurant upstairs, so expect to be hot and humid. Only the AC in the restaurant is really up to the job of keeping up with the climate.

    The main hall, where one enters from outside, contains a couple of ATMs, which have always worked reliably for me, a newsstand, and several small shops. There are several restaurants, bars, and snack bars, although they open on an unpredictable schedule. Check in for flights occurs in a smaller hall to the right. It is usually a slow and cumbersome procedure, so it is a good idea to arrive early. A bevy of souvenir shops are located along the hallway from the check in area to passport control and security screening. They offer a variety of clothing, art, textiles, etc. The vendors are predictably pretty aggressive, although willing to bargain about prices. Before entering security, you must pay for an exit permit and then go to yet another booth to get your passport stamped. Security screening is relatively relaxed.

    The concourses are basically covered and elevated concrete ramps, open to the outside air. Until recently, there were no signs showing gate numbers, but on my last visit these had been added, and the gate areas had been refurbished and cleaned up and the AC upgraded. There are no restaurants on the concourses, but a soft drink and sandwich vendor sometimes opens up shop at peak travel times.

    For arriving passengers, there are routine checks of your passport and yellow fever vaccination certificate at the end of the concourse. The arrivals and baggage area is small and crowded, and waits for luggage can be fairly long. There are several large fans, but typically only one or two are operational, so it is not a pleasant place to spend time. As in many developing country airports, there are many young men who want to help you with your bags, claiming that they can get you through customs faster. I've never tested these claims, but considerable persistence in saying no is required to escape them. There is a large number of custom officials, and at times they seem to be almost purposefully teasing non-Cameroonians with their intimidating air. There is no orderly queuing to clear customs before exiting the arrivals hall, so chaos prevails. I have seen bags searched, but most of the customs officials seem to be content to chat with one another and stand around. In my experience a cordial and relaxed demeanor is helpful in running this gauntlet. My bags have never been searched.

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Douala Local Customs

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    by cheeksy Written Jan 30, 2007

    I am not sure if the following applies to the whole of Cameroon but it does apply to its Western part.
    Every village or few villages are a territory of a tribe. Every tribe has a chief. If we read deep into the history of African tribes, we'll see that normally a chief had few wives. You'd think that with the Christianity monogamy was completely accepted by the tribes, you'd be quite wrong.
    Until now the chief of the village (called "grand-pere" - grandfather - despite of his age) is entitled of having few wives. Normally, being a heir of the village he would inherit the previous "grand-pere"'s wives. But of course nowadays no man would agree to marry his own mother or grandmother.
    Anyway, whether you like it or now, a "grand-pere" is entitled of taking at least one more wife.
    And it happens!!! When I heard about this taking place in modern society, first question I asked was: 'So... how does the church look at it?' I never got a definite answer but I understood that the second wedding doesnt take place in a church. And a wife stays in a village and very rare she would be taken to live in a big city. She is usually younger (or they!) and their roles is to take care of heir's possessions in the village and give him children.
    So... contradiction? YES. But... a normal thing out there. By the way: in the village if the man has enough to provide, he can take as many wives as he wants...

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Women's Travel

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