Travel Guide Africa Cameroon





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Despite occupying the somewhat disconcerting area of coastline known as "The Armpit of Africa", Cameroon is a land of exquisite natural beauty, cultural vigour and culinary delight. Rain forests flourish throughout the southern and eastern areas of Cameroon; if you're starting to get withdrawal symptoms from the usual dry savanna landscape characteristic of the African continent, head over to Cameroon's northern reaches, where the national park at Waza capitalizes on the region's abundant wildlife. Mount Cameroon, near the western border with Nigeria, is an excellent hiking opportunity, with the 4,095-metre tall summit offering some splendid scenery.

French and British colonialism had pronounced effects on Cameroon's culture, though the country prides itself on its heritage. Cameroon's musical stylings are extremely popular, whether they're pumping from a club in Yaoundé or the stands at a soccer match.

Cameroon is mostly French speaking, but the former British colonial areas like Bamenda, Limbe, Buea are English speaking (people speak all sorts of local languages but French only in ex French areas and English only in ex English areas).

Warning: Political upheaval, terrorist activity, crime and kidnappings are affecting many parts of Cameroon. Avoid all travel within 40 km of the Cameroon's western and eastern borders, to the Extreme North province, and to the North West and South West (Anglophone) regions. Reconsider travel to the North and Adamawa provinces..



Brief History

Before Portuguese sailors reached the coast in 1472, the area now known as Cameroon was inhabited by various tribes and ruled in the form of kingdoms, empires and chiefdoms. Over the following few centuries, European interests regularised trade with the coastal peoples, and Christian missionaries pushed inland. The German Empire claimed the territory as the colony of Kamerun in 1884 and began a steady push inland. They initiated projects to improve the colony's infrastructure, relying on a harsh system of forced labour. With the defeat of Germany in World War I, Kamerun became a League of Nations mandate territory and was split into French Cameroun and British Cameroons in 1919. The French carefully integrated the economy of Cameroun with that of France and improved the infrastructure with capital investments, skilled workers, and continued forced labour. The British administered their territory from neighbouring Nigeria.
On 1 January 1960, French Cameroun gained independence from France under President Ahmadou Ahidjo, and on 1 October 1961, the formerly British Southern Cameroons united with its neighbour to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon. The Cameroon National Union (CNU), became the sole legal political party on 1 September 1966 and in 1972, the federal system of government was abolished in favour of a United Republic of Cameroon, headed from Yaoundé.
An economic crisis took effect in the mid-1980s to late 1990s as a result of international economic conditions, drought, falling petroleum prices, and years of corruption, mismanagement, and cronyism. Cameroon turned to foreign aid, cut government spending, and privatised industries. With the reintroduction of multi-party politics in December 1990, Anglophone pressure groups called for greater autonomy, with some advocating complete secession as the Republic of Ambazonia. In February 2008, Cameroon experienced its worst violence in 15 years when a transport union strike in Douala escalated into violent protests in 31 municipal areas.




Cameroon is located in Central Africa and shares borders with Nigeria, Chad, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, and along the Bight of Bonny, part of the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean. Cameroon lies between latitudes 1° and 13°N, and longitudes 8° and 17°E. At 475,442 square kilometres, Cameroon is the world's 53rd-largest country. Cameroon is often described as "Africa in miniature" because it exhibits all major climates and vegetation of the continent: coast, desert, mountains, rainforest, and savanna.
Cameroon is divided into five major geographic zones distinguished by dominant physical, climatic, and vegetative features. The coastal plain extends 15 to 150 kilometres inland from the Gulf of Guinea and has an average elevation of 90 metres. It is densely forested and includes some of the wettest places on earth, part of the Cross-Sanaga-Bioko coastal forests.
The South Cameroon Plateau rises from the coastal plain to an average elevation of 650 metres. Equatorial rainforest dominates this region, and the area is part of the Atlantic Equatorial coastal forests ecoregion. An irregular chain of mountains, hills, and plateaus known as the Cameroon range extends from Mount Cameroon on the coast almost to Lake Chad at Cameroon's northern border. Its soils are among Cameroon's most fertile, especially around volcanic Mount Cameroon. Volcanism here has created crater lakes. This area has been delineated by the World Wildlife Fund as the Cameroonian Highlands forests ecoregion.
The southern plateau rises northward to the grassy, rugged Adamawa Plateau. This feature stretches from the western mountain area and forms a barrier between the country's north and south. Its average elevation is 1,100 metres. The northern lowland region extends from the edge of the Adamawa to Lake Chad with an average elevation of 300 to 350 metres. Its characteristic vegetation is savanna scrub and grass. This is an arid region with sparse rainfall and high median temperatures.
Cameroon has four patterns of drainage. In the south, the principal rivers are the Ntem, Nyong, Sanaga, and Wouri. These flow southwestward or westward directly into the Gulf of Guinea. The Dja and Kadéï drain southeastward into the Congo River. In northern Cameroon, the Bénoué River runs north and west and empties into the Niger. The Logone flows northward into Lake Chad, which Cameroon shares with three neighbouring countries.




  • Adamawa
  • Centre
  • East
  • Far North
  • Littoral
  • North
  • Northwest
  • South
  • Southwest
  • West






Sights and Activities

Waza National Park

Waza National Park is located in northern Cameroon and with a total area of around 1,700 square kilometres it is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 1979. Unfortunately, both numbers of wildlife and park rangers have declined in recent years and poachers have become active again, hunting for bush meat for both local use and trade, as is the case with many parks in Central Africa. Still, it probably is one of the better parks to enjoy a safari. Recently several more park rangers were added to guard the park. Wildlife includes elephant and giraffe, species of antelope, several predators and numerous birds.

Korup National Park

Korup National Park is located in the west of the country close to the Nigerian border and is most famous for its dense tropical rainforest and high biodiversity with dozens of mammals and birds living here. This is one of the oldest rain forest in this part of Africa and has even stayed rain forest throughout the Ice Age.

Dja Faunal Reserve

Dja Faunal Reserve in the central part of Cameroon is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in the country. It is one of the best examples in Cameroon and in Africa for that matter to preserve tropical rain forest and it has an extremely rich biological diversity with over 100 species of mammal, several of which are endangered. It also has high numbers or divers primates, birds and flora. The park is almost totally surrounded by the Dja River.

Other Sights and Activities

  • Mount Cameroon
  • Kribi and Limbe beaches
  • Sultan and King palaces in places like Bafut, Foumban and Bafoussam



Events and Festivals

Each year each of the villages will host a cultural festival. This is a unique opportunity to see dancers, masquerades (jujus), gun firing, snake dancers and fire dancers. After marvelling at these sights, sit with the locals and enjoy a glass of the famed palm wine. All visitors are welcome to the festivals and all festivals are free of charge.

African Music Market

Music lovers should definitely attend the African Music Market or the Le Kolatier, as it’s known colloquially in Cameroon. This festival which takes place every two years in Douala is an amazing gathering of some of the best African musicians in the region. These individuals and groups come together in the spirit of collaboration to perform a celebration of the region’s vibrant music. There are also interactive activities like seminars, workshops and a fun trade fair.

Nyem-Nyem Festival

Held during July in Ngaoundéré, a city in the Adamawa area, the Nyem-Nyem Festival is held to commemorate the resistance movement of the Nyem-Nyem people against German control. Locals come out in full force, showing their support for those who fought for the region’s independence. The occasion is marked by cultural dances with full traditional attire.

Culture Week

Observed in either August or September, Culture Week takes place all over Cameroon. The youth travel back to their villages to pay respect to their families and ancestors. The week also involves music shows, wrestling matches, sports games and traditional dances that involve sacred masks.

African Theater Festival for Children and Young People (FATEJ)

November in Cameroon marks the exciting arrival of the FATEJ. Held every two years in Yaoundé, the festival brings together young people from across Africa and around the world to participate in theatre workshops delivered by industry professionals. The event is a great opportunity for troupes around the country to hone their craft in a cosmopolitan and collaborative environment.

Festival National des Arts et de la Culture (FENAC)

FENAC is the largest festival in Cameroon that has no religious affiliation. Simply a celebration of the country’s vibrant arts scene, artists from all over help to grow the event and promote the rich heritage of the region. Taking place in Moroua in December, FENAC is characterized by lively parades, colorful music and dance shows.

Ngondo Festival

Also taking place in December, Ngondo is a celebration of one of Cameroon’s many ethnic groups. Held in the city of Douala, the festival’s main goal is to showcase the arts and culture of the Sawa people who mainly inhabit the region’s coastal areas. The event takes place on the banks of the Wouri River and it’s a wonderful time to see the streets taken over by dance, song and friendly competitions like canoe races. The lucky travelers who can make it here during this time are bound to have a good experience.




Cameroon lies entirely within the tropics, but there are huge differences throughout the country.
The north of the country is relatively dry with a single wet season from April to September, averaging between 1,000 and 1,750mm of rain. July and August are the wettest months. Temperatures are above 30 °C during most of the year, with March to May being the hottest period. Temperatures can rise to over 40 °C during this period. In January and December though, nights can be rather chilly, around 15 °C.

The south of Cameroon is hot and humid year round, but temperatures are generally lower than in the north. Yaoundé 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.

The coastal areas are very hot and humid with comparable temperatures as Yaoundé but warmer nights (above 20 °C), for example in the city of Douala. Here, rainfall is very high throughout the year, with only December to February bringing some relief of the wet conditions. June to September is extremely wet with 500 to 750 mm of rain in each month!

Mount Cameroon is one of the wettest places on earth, averaging around 10,000 mm (10 metres!) of rain a year. Only places in Hawaii and India (Assam) are this wet!



Getting There

By Plane

The Douala International Airport (DLA), located 10 kilometres outside Douala, is the main gateway to the country. It is also the base of the flag carrier, Cameroon Airlines. Destinations from here include Abidjan, Bamako, Bangui, Brazzaville, Cotonou, Dakar, Dubai, Johannesburg, Kinshasa, Lagos, Libreville, Malabo, N'Djamena, Paris and Pointe-Noire. Brussels, Casablanca and Istanbul, Tripoli, Zürich are other destinations are served by their respective national airlines.

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

By Car

If you have your own vehicle, you will be able to cross borders at the ones mentioned below by public transport. Have your papers and insurance in order and expect to pay bribes and to have rough conditions on some roads, especially to the Republic of Congo. The crossing to Chad is difficult regarding hassling.

By Bus

Cameroon borders with neighbouring countries are open, including those with Chad, Central African Republic, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of Congo. They mostly require domestic transport, crossing borders and again onward transport in the other country.

To the CAR there is a rough route is via Garoua-Boulaï to Bangui (via Bouar). An alternative is to travel to Kenzou, south of Batouri.

For Chad, travel from Maroua to Kousséri and across the border to N'Djamena.

The most remote route to another country probably is the one to the Republic of Congo, which is impossible in the rains. The route goes from Yokadouma to Sokamba. Here, you can catch a ferry (large enough for 4WDs) or pirogue across the Ngoko River to the Congolese port of Ouesso. From there, head for Pokola and the logging road to Brazzaville.

The crossings with Equatorial Guinea and Gabon are close to eachother and reachable from Amban. The roads east goes to Gabon (Bitam/Libreville) and west to Ebebiyin and Bata in Equatorial Guinea.

To and from Nigeria the main crossing points are Ekok, west of Mamfé, where you cross to Mfum for shared taxis to Calabar and at Banki in the extreme north for crossings to Maiduguri.

By Boat

There are regular passenger ferries between the port city of Douala and both Malabo at Bioko Island as well as Bata at the mainland part of Equatorial Guinea, also called Rio Muni.

To Nigeria, there is a twice-weekly ferry from Limbe to Calabar on Monday and Thursday, and in the opposite direction every Tuesday and Friday.

To the Republic of Congo, there is a ferry across the Ngoko River to the Congolese port of Ouesso.



Getting Around

By Plane

Garoua, Maroua, Ngaoundéré, Yaoundé and Douala are all served by Cameroon Airlines. National Airways Cameroon does approximately the same.

By Train

Cameroon Railways (CAMRAIL) is the national service provider. There are trains between the capital 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 Car

There are paved roads from Douala to Yaoundé, Limbé, Buéa, Bafoussam and Bamenda and between main centres. Many other roads are of a significant less quality and require a 4wd as roads become almost impassable after heavy roads. Driving at night is not recommended, because of poorly lit vehicles and chances of carjackings, especially in the north. Renting a car is only possible in Douala and Yaoundé, and renting one with a driver is recommended. If you feel the need to drive yourself, be sure to bring your international driving permit and buy a temporary Cameroon driver's license, ready within a day.

By Bus

Buses, minibuses and shared taxis link Douala and Yaoundé and many other smaller cities and towns up north. Services can be uncomfortable and unreliable sometimes. Most buses leave only when totally full and actually overcrowded.

By Boat

There are no notable ferry services except for a few boats travelling along the coast.



Red Tape

Most people will need a visa except citizens of Mali, Chad, Central African Republic and Nigeria, and it is very advisable to obtain one before arriving. There any many types of visa: airport transit visa for airport transit; visitor visa for visiting friends and family in Cameroon; business visas for work-relating activity in Cameroon; tourist visa for tourism purposes; student visa for studying abroad and learning at the universities; employment visa for taking up work in Cameroon; and permanent residence visa, which is issued if you a marry a Cameroonian.

What is needed to get the visa:

For all visas:

  • A yellow fever vaccination certificate, regardless of what country you're from. You must also show this to the authorities at the airport once arriving in Cameroon.
  • The application form and 2 passport-size photographs.
  • The application fee (e.g., in March 2018, this was US$141 for citizens of all countries except the visa waiver countries mentioned above).
  • Your passport with at least six months remaining before expiration.

Then, depending on whether you are requesting a Visitor Visa or a Tourist Visa, you will need:

For a Visitor Visa:

  • A letter of invitation (for a visitor's visa) and a reservation confirmation from your hotel (for a tourist's visa). If you need a visitor visa, the person you're visiting must create the letter invitation, and get it approved and stamped by the local authorities before sending it to you. The letter must state that you have a place to stay during your trip (e.g. the home of your hosts). If you're staying in a hotel, a hotel reservation will suffice.

For a Tourist Visa:

  • A consular letter from your bank stating your current balance. It must be signed by the bank for it to be valid.
  • A reservation confirmation from your hotel.
  • Check the Cameroon Embassy website in your country of residence (or closest) for more up to date info.
  • The Cameroon Embassy in London now asks £100 pounds for a tourist visa.




See also Money matters

Cameroon uses the CFA Franc as a currency. The CFA Franc is divided into 100 centimes. Coins come in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 500 francs while banknotes come in denominations of 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000 francs
The exchange range is fixed at approximately 656 CFA Francs for one Euro (€).

In Cameroon the Central African CFA Franc (XAF) is used which has the same value as the West African CFA Franc (XOF), but it's not possible to use both currencies in the same country.

Fourteen countries in Africa use this currency, eight in West Africa and six in Central Africa. The West African CFA Franc can only be used in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo, while the Central African CFA Franc can only be used in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.




The effects of French and British colonization are still very evident in the country. Officially, Cameroon is a bilingual country speaking both French and English. In ten of the twelve provinces, French is almost universally spoken. However, in the North West Province and the South West Province the populate primarily speak English.

From 1884 to 1916, Cameroon (known as Kamerun) was under German control. There is still some evidence of this era from the fact that some small villages along the old German trading routes still utilize a bastard German, although knowledge of standard German is rare.

Cameroon has over 230 tribal languages, with each tribe speaking its own language. As a result "pidgen" is widely spoken across Cameroon. Pidgin is a mix between English, French and the tribal languages.

Pidgen varies across the anglophone and francophone zones.




Here are some of the staples:

  • Corn Fufu - Widely eaten across many parts of Cameroon. The corn is separated from the cob, peeled and ground. The mixture is then placed in plastic bags, tied, and then boiled in water until it reaches a pasty, almost mashed potatoes-like appearance. Corn Fufu is normally eaten with jamajama (huckleberry).
  • Water fufu - Similar to corn fufu but made from cassava. Water fufu is normally accompanied by the vegetable eru.
  • Goat - Goats are widely eaten and are a common sight along country roadsides.
  • Other staples include yams, plantains, and rice. Other vegetables include dhole (bitter leaf) normally accompanying plantains.




Hotels in the major cities will range from XAF6,000 up to and in excess of XAF50,000. Clean and safe rooms can usually be found for under XAF11,000.

In more rural areas prices vary wildly depending on demand and local economy. It is not uncommon to find comfortable accommodations for XAF2,000-3,000 per night.

Unless you are with a guide on a trek it is not recommended that you camp due to security concerns.




Always check “best before” when buying a bottle - some drinks are way out of date.

Avoid drinking tap water, even in restaurants. Bottled water can be found most anywhere at reasonable prices. Expect to pay XAF400 for 1.5 L in the major cities, more in more remote areas.

Coca-Cola is available everywhere. For something different try one of the flavourful TOP sodas. They are much sweeter than most European or North American sodas but they are very tasty.

Cameroon is rich with choice when it comes to good beer due to its past as a German and later French colony. Bottled Guinness can be found everywhere although in the heat, try one of the excellent lighter beers such as Castel, Beaufort, Mützig, Isenbeck, Satzenbrau or 33. These are inexpensive and excellent in the heat. Castel Milk Stout is an excellent choice for those who like darker beer. Outside of the cities you will sometimes be hard pressed to find them chilled (due to a lack of electricity).

Palm Wine is the traditional drink. It comes in two varieties depending on the species of the palm tree from which it is tapped: palm wine or raffia wine.




See also Travel Health

Proof that you had a yellow fever vaccination is required upon entering Cameroon. You have to have a cholera stamp (prove of the fact that you don't have that disease) when entering overland.

It's a good thing to get your vaccinations in order before travelling to Cameroon. The general vaccination against Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio (DTP) is recommended. Also both hepatitis A as well as typhoid would be recommended.

If you are staying longer than 3 months or have a particular risk (travelling by bike, handling of animals, visits to caves) you might consider a rabies vaccination. Vaccination against Tuberculosis as well as hepatitis B are also sometimes recommended for stays longer than 3 months. When staying longer than 6 months, vaccination against meningitis might be recommended, depending on your contact with other people.

Like most African countries south of the Sahara, Malaria is prevalent in the country. Don't underestimate this tropical disease and take precautions. Buy repellent (preferably with 50% DEET), and sleep under a net. Dengue is present in the country as well, mainly in and around urban areas and other places where there are many people.

Finally, other possible health issues include diarrhea and other general travellers' diseases like motion sickness. Watch what you eat and drink and in case you get it, drink plenty of fluids (to prevent dehydration) and bring ORS.




See also Travel Safety

Due to an ongoing civil war between the government and Cameroon's anglophone population, the security situation in the Northwest Highlands is volatile. Many governments also advise against all travel to areas within 30 km of the borders with Nigeria, Chad, and the Central African Republic.

As is the case in any developing country, you should do whatever you can to blend in with the local population. What this means is that you should avoid presenting yourself in a way that would get others to think you are affluent or wealthy, and you should most certainly avoid isolated areas and travelling alone at night.

As long as you apply a modicum of common sense, your visit to Cameroon will be hassle free.

Cameroon's crime levels are fairly high, even for a developing nation. There have been reports of carjackings, armed robberies, banditry, and the like.

Petty theft is common. As obvious as it may sound, avoid flashing objects like cameras, mobile phones, laptops, and the like; muggers are fascinated by them. In the unlikely event you are robbed, do not fight back or else you might end up being dragged into a violent fight.

Taxis often operate like buses, picking up all sorts of people along the way. While this may be an interesting experience to some, some taxi passengers have been robbed and attacked by other passengers. Some countries, such as the United States, forbid their diplomatic staff from using Cameroonian taxis. If you must get around a city, only use trusted, pre-arranged taxis. Your hotel may help you with this.

Car theft and carjackings are serious problems. In 2000, the US Ambassador to Cameroon almost became a carjacking victim. If you are driving around in your own car, don't leave anything in your car; this may deter smash-and-grab robberies.

Corruption is a serious problem in Cameroon and has been described as "Cameroon's worst-kept secret". The police are notorious for being highly corrupt and woefully ineffective, and the locals themselves do not trust them at all.

Boko Haram, a Nigerian terrorist group, is active in Northern Cameroon. The group is known to implement a very harsh form of sharia law and they have kidnapped all kinds of people for ransom. If you absolutely must visit Northern Cameroon, it is strongly recommended that you go with an armed escort.

Cameroon is a politically troubled country. Demonstrations against the government are common and they can turn violent rather quickly.
You should do all you can to avoid political protests, demonstrations, and marches. Don't feel tempted to act like a hero (take photos of protests, helping out injured protestors, and so on); you might lose your life or get severely injured.
If you feel a protest is about to take place, evacuate the area immediately. Always assume that roads can be blocked during political protests and that public transportation services will be affected.

During your stay, it is strongly recommended that you regularly monitor local media. Information is your best friend.

Since 2017, the Northwest Highlands region has been in a state of war. Anglophone separatists, who feel marginalised and written off by the Cameroonian government, aim to create a new state called Ambazonia. The security situation in the region is extremely volatile and some 500,000 people have been internally displaced by the conflict.

In December 2021, dwindling water resources led to clashes between farmers in Chad and Northern Cameroon.

There are no laws forbidding photography in Cameroon, but taking photographs of government buildings, military installations, and public facilities can land you in serious trouble with the authorities. If in doubt, always ask.

Cameroon is not a safe destination for gay and lesbian travellers. Many Cameroonians frown upon LGBT activities and LGBT individuals can expect to be harassed, intimidated, threatened, or at worst, attacked. If you are LGBT, it is strongly recommended that you do not travel to Cameroon. Homosexuality is frowned upon by the vast majority of Cameroonians. LGBT Cameroonians often face discrimination and are often ostracised by society. Under current laws, same-sex activity is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and there are no laws and policies in place that protect the rights of members of the LGBT community.



Keep Connected


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


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.


National post service is considered to be unreliable.


Quick Facts

Cameroon flag

Map of Cameroon


Unitary republic
17 000 000[1]
English, French
Indigenous beliefs, Islam, Christianity
Central African CFA Franc (XAF)
Calling Code
Time Zone


as well as Peter (6%), tamara_p (5%), Hien (3%), UliS (3%), dr.pepper (2%), Whitakerjo (2%), hasbeen (2%), Sam I Am (<1%), nigelpeaco (<1%)

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