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Travel Guide Africa Cameroon Yaoundé

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Introduction

Yaoundé is the capital of Cameroon and after Douala, is the second largest city in the country. It is located in the south central part of the country on an elevation of about 750 meters above sea level and has about 1,5 million inhabitants. Yaoundé was founded in 1888 by German traders and nowadays is real African city with the usual hustle and bustle, local colourful markets but also some high rise buildings. Although it is home to the Presidential Palace and is the administrative heart of the country, Douala remains more important economically, partly thanks to its major role as the country's important port city. It has good facilities for travellers and some interesting sights and is only about 3 hours away from Douala, but the climate is better here.

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Sights and Activities

The city's not really set up for tourists, but some fun things to see are the Mvog Betsi zoo (primates and lions, with a kid's playground), the Mokolo market (very big and in-your-face), Mont Febe, or maybe the swimming pools of some of the hotels.

The city centre houses government offices, some hotels, and the central market. The Bastos neighbourhood, with most homes owned by Cameroonians, is home to foreign embassies and the expatriate European community (drawn mainly from the diplomatic corps). The presidential palace and compound is in the Etoudi neighbourhood.

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Weather

Yaounde average around 28 °C during the day, 18 °C at night, with just a few degrees difference between the warmest and coldest month. There are two wet seasons: one from March to June and a second shorter but heavier one in September and October. Only December and January are fairly dry with almost no rain.

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Getting There

By Plane

International
Yaoundé Nsimalen International Airport (NSI) has connections to Brussels, Casablanca, Nairobi, Paris and Zürich.

Domestic
Yaoundé has flights to and from Garoua, Maroua, Ngaoundéré and Douala and flights are with Cameroon Airlines or National Airways Cameroon.

By Train

Cameroon Railways (CAMRAIL) is the national service provider. There are trains between Yaoundé and Ngaoundéré in the north and between Yaoundé and the coastal city of Douala. Travelling to the north is best done by train which is more comfortable than buses. However, buses are faster on the Yaoundé - Douala route.

By Bus

Buses and minibuses offer connections between Yaoundé and Douala and to many other smaller cities and towns up north.

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Getting Around

City buses do exist, but routes are limited.

Shared taxis are the way to go. They will slow down for you, but you should flag anyway, to call your destination, and beep to say yes. The price is normally 200CFA, unless you're travelling a long way, or if you're not going far, you can try calling "cent francs" and your destination. In some cases you may be asked how much you'll pay "paye combian?" just say 300 francs (in French...) and you'll probably be fine. You can also say "depot" if you want the taxi to yourself. This will cost you more, probably around 1000 francs; negotiate before hand. You can also rent by the hour, around 2500 or 3000 francs per hour. Negotiate before hand, and don't pay more than 3000.

If a taxi doesn't stop for you, it's probably because they are taking someone who has hired the whole taxi. Taxis are normally only four passengers, but some drivers will fit up to six (four in the back, two in the front). Trust your own judgement about getting into a taxi with sketchy looking passengers. The driver should have a license to operate hanging from the rear-view mirror, you could try and check that the photo matches.

Motos (motorbike taxis) also exist. Don't use them, they are very dangerous.

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Eat

Street stalls are everywhere, but a nice place to go is Nlongkak round about. Here there's a bit of a variety, and plenty of places to get a beer. A plate of beans should cost between 200-500CFA, an omlet around 500 (or 1,000 if in a restaurant with chips), and a plate of spaghetti maybe 500CFA. Prices may vary considerably depending on the honesty of your vendor.

Prices for street vendors shouldn't vary too much for many items. E.g. Three or four bananas or a grilled corn (maize) cob should be 100CFA, anywhere in the city.

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Learn

The Pilot Centre, near the Finance Ministry, is a government run institution teaching French and English. There is also the American Language Centre in Bastos, if you want to learn American English.

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Keep Connected

Internet

You can find Internet access all over the place, but the speed might be slow.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Cameroon is 237.
To make an international call from Cameroon, the code is 00.

To make local and international calls you need to buy a pre-paid SIM card. Check if your cell phone has a compatible GSM standard (Africa/Europe) - if not, in addition to a SIM card you probably need to buy a new phone. "MTN" and "Orange" are two major telephone companies in Cameroon.

Post

National post service is considered to be unreliable.

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Contributors

as well as Hien (4%)

Yaoundé Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Yaoundé

This is version 5. Last edited at 8:22 on Jul 11, 17 by Utrecht. 6 articles link to this page.

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