Cameroon is one the most astounding destinations in western Africa, with rich cultural diversity and a diversified landscape of pristine white beaches, dense tropical rainforests, volcanoes, scattered deserts and stretches of savannah grasslands. It encapsulates the entire African continent and is thus called ‘Africa in miniature’. French and English are the major languages spoken.
Lack of proper connectivity in most African nations makes it inconvenient for travellers to explore this land blessed with abundant natural wealth. Cameroon, however, has better infrastructure than most other African countries. The capital Yaounde is located on a forested plateau comprising seven hills and is home to several Art Deco buildings. To get an overview of Cameroon’s cultural and tribal heritage, explore Yaounde’s museums. Yaounde also makes a great base for exploring the nearby Mefou National park – which is just a 45-minute drive from the buzzing city centre. This wildlife shelter is home to gorillas, drills, chimps and mandrills.
Douala, situated on the banks of the Wouri River, is Cameroon’s largest city and economic capital. Some of Douala’s must-visit sites are Palace of the Kings Bell (also known as La Pagode), Doual’art gallery that displays art from Cameroon and across Africa, Douala Maritime Museum – dedicated to the city’s rich marine history and La Nouvelle Liberté – a sculpture made with recycled material. Douala’s dance form “Kossa” gave birth to the popular Cameroonian music style of Makossa. Around 350km northeast of Douala lies Foumban – known for its traditional monarchy and local art scene. The Royal Palace and the museum of traditional arts and culture are Foumban’s main highlights.
If you are intrigued by scenic drives – visit the traditional kingdoms of the Ring Road in northwest Cameroon. The bumpy yet dramatic drive curves through grassland-fields, mountains and clear lakes. After the bumpy ride, you can spend a few lazy days at Limbe’s volcanic sand beach. Located in southwestern Cameroon, Limbe is sandwiched between the foot of Mt Cameroon and the Atlantic coast and is a popular spot for tourists – both local and foreigners. It has black volcanic sand, a delightful promenade and wonderful views. Limbe is a good base for exploring the mighty Mount Cameroon – one of the biggest active volcanoes in Africa and also the focal point of Mount Cameroon National Park, the country’s most desired hiking destination. Located in the south, Kribi is a resort town on the coast of the Gulf of Guinea. With dazzling beaches, crystal clear waters and fresh seafood, Kribi offers a welcome escape from the hullabaloo of city life.
Southeastern Cameroon, seldom explored by travellers is home to the semi-nomadic Baka people – universally known as Pygmies. The Pygmies are relatively short in height, averaging five feet and relying on hunting and gathering. To the extreme southeast, along the borders of the Central African Republic, we have the Lobéké National Park, home to wild elephants and giant forest hogs.
Cameroon is the gateway to West Africa. From various indigenous tribes to alluring natural beauty – a trip to this country will surprise you at every level.
Cameroon encapsulates the entire African continent and is thus called ‘Africa in miniature’.