Euro / CFA - Impossibe to Change Money!
We found it really hard to change money in Cameroon. I took Euros, as I was advised to do, but still had terrible trouble getting money changed. The flight from Casablanca arrived in the very early morning so the change bureau was closed. Although it was closed when we left and that was late afternoon!
At the hotels we were told we could change money but then they didn't actually have any money to change. The banks in Cameroon don't change money either! Or at least the ones we went to didn't.
Eventually we told our guide that unless he sorted out money changing we would not be able to pay anything to anybody or buy anything and he changed our money out of his kitty and used our Euros to pay the hotel bills.
All this bother was for Euros - don't even consider taking dollars!
The currency in Cameroon is the CFA. There are 2 types of CFA and they are not interchangeable. Cameroon uses the Central African Franc which is also used in Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
The West African Franc is used in Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Guinea Bissau, Niger, Mali and Senegal.
Both CFA's are directly linked to the Euro and are worth around 650CFA to 1 Euro.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Arts and Culture
Poor Visibility Spoiling Your Photographs
I assumed that the Cameroon skies would be clear and blue and that my photographs would be sharp and clear.
Unfortunately a lot of places the sky was incredibly hazy and the visibility was very bad indeed. It tended to be worse in the mornings but often didn't clear all day. The worse area we found was the "Ring Road" area around the Grasslands in the North West but the Far North near Maroua and Rhumsiki were also quite bad. Sometimes the flight to Maroua cannot land as the visibility is so poor and the plane has to be diverted to Garoua.
The problem seems to be a mixture of cloud and dust. As we were visiting in the dry season it's possible the rainy season may be better - I'm not sure.
Taking photographs of scenery was a waste of time in a lot of these areas and it's a great pity because the scenery is stunning!Related to:
- Road Trip
When you make a phone call in an internet-café or phone-shop you can expect a phone call when you’re back at home. Some operators guard the phone numbers you’ve dialled and they use it afterwards to ask for money or an invitation letter.
You can usually haggle for any price you want, food at the market, taxis, buying anything on the street. But its also hard to haggle when you have no idea what a good price is. As for taxis I would ask the people who worked at the hotel or restaurant I was at. Hotels is a little bit harder. Some places will have it all written down and you can't haggle that. I would joke with Taxis drivers, "Aaaaah, are you charging me white person price, I am cheep white person, how much now?" Everything is cheep, you are pumping money into their economy, but you don't want to get screwed either, was how I looked it.
Unique Suggestions: Everything is cheep, you are pumping money into their economy, but you don't want to get screwed either, was how I looked it.
Yellow fever - not really a joke
Vaccinations are required for a reason. Some airlines won't let you on the plane without it (like Air France). Some airports won't let you into the country without it (like Douala). But the most important - you really really don't want to get sick while traveling.
Airlines like as Ethiopian Air neither Cameroonian Embassy will ever tell you that you have to get vaccinated. Air France will.
Unique Suggestions: Get your yellow fever shot. It is very easy to do. In Beijing there is only one place where you can get it. They work only during week days and only from 8 to 10.30am. It costs 70-80RMB to get a shot and you will also get your certificate right away. Here's the address:
near the Eastern section of BeiSanHuan, in Hepingli, about 10RMB taxi ride from Sino-Japanese hospital and somewhat 15-16 (depending on traffic) from Sanlitun Area.
phone no. 6427 4239
Fun Alternatives: Or you can buy a certificate at the airport - will cost you within 12-20USD. Endanger your life and contribute to the corruption.Related to:
- Work Abroad
- Business Travel
When arriving at Douala airport you will be met in the luggage hall by an army of porters trying to get you to use their 'services'. If you decide to take one or rather if you do not decide to make it very clear that you do not want to take one, then they will push your trolly 10 metres through customs and outside where they will demand a large 'tip'.
Unique Suggestions: If you do decide to take a porter then a good 'tip' is 500cfa, 1 usd or one euro. Anymore is robbery!Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
- Work Abroad
After collecting your bags in Douala airport you will have to pass through customs. Here they will ask for a bribe to let you go through unsearched. DO NOT pay them. It only encourages them to continue doing it to other travellers. As long as you have nothing illegal in your bag then a quick search only takes 2 mins. When i arrived they were busy anyway and after i refused to pay they just waved me through.Related to:
- Work Abroad
- Hiking and Walking
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