When you’re in the Southeast province and have the opportunity to join a Baka family on their daily routine such as a hunt, fishing trip or gathering honey. You certainly should do it. This is really back to the basic way of life. Afterwards you join that family on the dinner table and so learn from their way of life. Always be prepared to give something in return, the males like tobacco and the female always can use cooking utilities.
Campo Ma’an is a national park under the supervision of WWF in the Southwest of Cameroon. With a surface of +/- 2500 km² rainforest and an abundance of wildlife such as:
And so on
It is located next to Equatorial Guinea and ready to receive visitors from all over the world. They have relatively new eco lodges on the beaches where turtles come to lay their eggs.
WWF Cameroun or
In the far North, Waza is close to the borders of Chad and Nigeria. The vegetation is sparse and dry with a few waterholes which makes game viewing easy. It is renowned for its large herds of elephant but unfortunately we didn’t see any at all!
There are plenty of giraffes and antelope and many interesting birds. We were also lucky enough to see lions and we came across the remains of a kill. On the way into the park from the main road we saw a Patas monkey, which I have never seen before and never saw again once we were in the park.
To get to Waza we flew from Douala to Maroua and met our guide and driver with 4WD at the airport. From Maroua we drove to Waza which took about 2 hours with stops. We stayed in the Campement de Waza which is a small lodge - very comfortable small rondavel roooms with en suite facilities and a good restaurant.
We collected our guide each day from the park headquarters and he looked out for game. He had excellent eyesight for game spotting and although he didn't speak English he was a great guide, very friendly and always laughing.
Cameroon is full of Royal families, particularly in the West and Northwest areas, where the main tribes are the Bamileke and the Bamoun. These are called chiefdoms or locally “Fondoms” and are still immensely important in society. The Fons or chiefs still have many wives and many many children so the Royal families get very large. Many of the Royal families still live in the old Palaces which are extended and modernised to accommodate them. Most of the Royal Families make income by opening their palaces to tourists both from foreign countries, the African diaspora and from domestic visitors within Cameroon – the Fons and their cultural history are very popular with Cameroonians.
The Royal Palaces are well worth visiting. They are all different and unique and you are often shown around by a member of the family – in Bafut one of the kings wives was our tour guide and the Princes showed us traditional music and dancing. Most of the palaces also have a museum and the museum in Bafut Palace was originally the author Gerald Durrell’s house. Many of the dynasties go back hundreds of years and the original Palace in Bafut is over 500 years old.
Other good Palaces to visit are -
Babungo – the Fons here have a long tradition of wood carving.
Baham – this Palace compound has an unusual layout and the buildings have unique pointed roofs.
Foumban – the Palace here is built like a French chateau and unlike any of the other Palaces.
Driving from Limbe to Bafoussam you pass many small flower nurseries who sell their plants direct to passers by at the side of the road. There are some really beautiful plants grown here.
Cameroon exports flowers to Europe, which are grown in larger commercial nurseries.
Limbe is 74km from Douala and is situated on the coast with Mount Cameroon close by. It is a really good place to stay and unwind after your flight and is much nicer than staying in Douala. The hotel Seme Beach is a great hotel right on the beach.
There are many attraction is Limbe. Besides Mount Cameroon and the beach there are the Botanical Gardens, "Down Beach" fishing village, and the wildlife centre where you can see and learn about the many primates in Cameroon, some of them critically endangered and extremely rare.
The 1984 film Greystoke – The Legend of Tarzan starring Christopher Lambert was filmed in Cameroon and you can visit Ekom Falls which was featured in the film. This is a spectacular waterfall not only because of its size and volume of water but because of its stunning surroundings. It is surrounded by dramatic slopes of lush green rainforest. There is a good vantage point where you can take photographs and then you can walk down a very steep slippery slope to get lower down and a little closer, but you cannot get right up to the falls which adds to the magnificence.
The drive along the road to the falls is equally stunning with views of massive green rainforest slopes all along the way. I could picture the opening sequence of the film where the camera pans up into the forest as I was driving along.
Only one thing missing – Jane was there but Tarzan wasn’t!
As in most of West Africa the markets are fabulously colourful and really interesting to walk around. In smaller towns or rural areas the markets are held every few days not on a regular day every week so it is a good idea to check beforehand if you intend to visit a market. In some of the larger cities the markets are permanent with a central covered area. All markets are organised into product areas so you will find all the fruit and vegetables in one area with tomatoes all together, all the fabrics in another area, spices in another and so on. As Cameroon is so diverse, the markets in each area of the country vary greatly in style and produce so even if you have visited one in the South it is worth having a look at a Central of Northern one. And of course they are great for people watching!
My favourite markets are -
Bamenda. A large permanent town market with a central covered area and stalls around the outside. If you walk around the outside area you can see the ladies havibg their hair done (but they don't like to be photographed)
Bafut. A small rural market held every few days on a piece of ground near the palace. This one has a hut in the centre for members of the secret society to meet.
Foumban. Another town market, opposite the palace, but different to Bamenda. The women here wear lots of make up and very colourful sequinned scarves.
When I’m in a big city, a small village or even in the bush. One of my favourite things to do is, just sit and observe. The local people doing their thing and I enjoy just watching the life go by. Sometimes you start a conversation with a stranger, sometimes you whiteness a discussion. You see smiles, you see tears, you hear the traffic pass and other times you enjoy the silence. You should try it, it will free your mind.
When you are in the SE province you can’t miss it, you will find there small houses constructed with forest materials along most of the roads leading you into the forests. The BAKA people are the oldest indigenous tribe of Cameroon. They live semi-permanent in the forests of the SE, there they hunt, cultivate, collect forest products and so on. These people are real forest dwellers and live almost the same as they did a 100 years ago.
Maroua, Cameroon's northernmost major town, is popular with travellers and a good starting point for exploring the nearby Mandara Mountains.
It has a lively market, especially on monday when people from the surrounding region convenge here to sell their wares.
At the end of the market is the Centre Artisanal, with leatherwork and other crafts.
I don't know a whole lot about this organization but it was near where I was living and I met people from Berdup in my village. I also went to Belo to see what they were about. They are very nice people who are motivated and really wanting to help by using homegrown ideas and bringing tourism to the area. They also try to employ the locals with their projects. They are very organized with the limited resources that are available. The area that it is located in is ideal and there is lots to do around. Berudep also organizes ecotourist trips where you can stay with a family which I think would be super cool. The NW providence is just such a great place to get to know.
I had it easy finding a hospital to volunteer at because I had a friend there. I would highly recommend trying to do this. Its a great way to learn about the culture, contribute, meet people. Some medical teams that came to our hospital were SMF, medicines for humanity, peace corps and some Belgium and Dutch ortho groups. It may be tough if you don't have a connection there because they don't know who you are and eventhough you are there to help they need to trust you.
The Belo Public Walk is the first developed public walk route in Cameroon. It is a two and a half hour walk route through the countryside surrounding the village of Belo. It has route markers along the paths directing the trekker and information boards about local landmarks. Along the route you can see waterfalls and pools, the quarter head's traditional compound and the road built by the Germans. The best bit about it.....................It's free!
If you would like to explore the countryside, do some trekking or go horse riding then head to the village of Belo (45 mins taxi from Bamenda). Visit the Berudep Visitors Centre and Tourist Information to get details on walks and treks. Berudep are a non profit organisation with a focus on developing eco tourism.
920, Boulevard de la Liberte, Douala, 4007, Cameroon
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Couples
I went to stay there for a week but than I got out in two days. The reason I had booked was because...more
This hotel has recently been renovated. The rooms are small but modern and well-kept.more
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