Don't Miss Places In Cameroon
A long arm of this West African country stretches right up to the marshes that border the Lake Chad. To the south, Cameroon broadens out, taking in savanna, tree covered mountains, tropical forests, and the palm lined beaches of the Gulf of Guinea. The people belong to many ethnic groups including the Bamileke, Fulani, and Fang. Only a small section works in the industry because most of the people make a living from farming. As the population grows, many rural families are moving to the cities especially in Yaounde and Douala in search of work.
These are the top ten not to be missed places in Cameroon.
Chutes de la Lobe
The tour of the waterfalls begins upstream in the Lobe River by renting a dugout canoe. The ride will take you to the beautiful nature that surrounds the falls and meet the sellers along the way who will invite you to taste the shrimp, eat grilled fresh fish, and visit a pygmy falls and their houses at the Chutes de la Lobe. To reach this place you need to take a taxi from the city of Douala that will take you to the town of Kribi. The exotic falls is located right at the mouth of the river which is located along the south bank through a small town after the bridge. The attraction is pleasant, calm and the canoe can get really close to the falls.
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There are crafts that the local hawkers sell for an affordable price. It is also considered an ideal bird watcher’s heaven because most of the common migratory birds can be found there like; egrets, sandpiper knights, African darter, pelicans, tern, golden plover, etc. Swimming near the falls is allowed if the current is not too strong. The falls jump or flow directly into the sea and the adjacent beach is a sight to behold. You can take nice pictures but prepare to get wet and cover your camera with plastic to protect it from water splashes. This falls is ideal for families with children.
La Nouvelle Liberte
The monumental sculpture with a symbolic value La Nouvelle Liberte was created in 1996 by artist Joseph Sumegne. It is entirely built from recycled objects (metal scraps, bolts and nuts.) which are characteristic of the artist’s major works. It stands at the center of the rotunda of the Deido neighborhood. The landmark monument is well accepted by the indigenous people who live within the area and proudly describe the sculpture with a hint of pride and patriotism. The work symbolizes the ability to reproduce the complexity, life, and freedom of expression of expression in Cameroon.
The nearby center for contemporary art is not to be missed in a Pagoda like structure within the proximity of the monument. It is part of the heritage and history Douala and its people. It served as the residence of King Douala Bell, the recognized founder of the city and the defender of the natives against the colonizers. The center is worth visiting especially during annual events and when the contemporary artists of Cameroon hold their exhibits including the triennial SUD (Salon Urban Douala). The garden serves as a peaceful oasis of culture and a quiet place to briefly visit in the heart of the chaotic Douala.
Limbe Wildlife Center
Experience a good overview of the Cameroon wildlife with a visit to the Limbe Wildlife Center. It will not take you more than an hour but it is all worth it. The center is a small zoo with the basic function of recovering endangered primates. The huge enclosures contain the large primates in general like; mandrills, lowland gorillas, monkeys, chimpanzees and other kinds of apes that freely roam in their open air habitat. There is also a python and 2 crocodiles that are safe and comfortable in their own cages. Animals that were either orphaned in the jungle or recovered from some locals are brought here and once they are properly nurtured and cared for are then released into their natural habitat.
Part of the entrance fee contributes to the maintenance of the zoo and the care animals. The ideal time to see them is when the animals are being fed. Looking around and seeing how organized the center is you will have an impression that the foundation is doing a great job to save and care for their endangered and protected primate species. The center truly stands out for its purpose as it takes in animals that have been confiscated by the Cameroon Customs or from the wildlife authority. The enclosures are quite large and secured for the animal’s protection.
Limbe Botanic Garden
The Limbe Botanic Garden stands next to the wildlife center and offers a fantastic walk in a real African bush without the pitfalls. There are nice greenhouses and typical garden structures (ponds for aquatic plants and gazebos) that highlight a set of all the flowers and exotic plants of Cameroon. There are orchids and rare plants in abundance over the large horticultural attraction. Take a guide with you that will explain the identity of the flowers and plants because they don’t come with any plates or markers at all that will help identify the specie.
They will also discuss with you the various cycles of the cocoa, tea trees, coffee (Arabica, Robusta, etc.) and their respective season to bloom and bear fruit. Learn about the various medicinal plants and the history of the garden. Towards the end of the visit check out an amphitheater carved into the stone and the cemetery of the missionary monks that can also be found within the park’s premises. Enjoy a nice lunch with a view of the sea and the shady trees on a local restaurant situated inside this attraction. It is within walking distance from the nearby city center and the various luxury hotels of the region.
In Down Beach you will enjoy the fresh seafood cooked on the spot as you eat with your feet in the water while being served by a local restaurant. You get to admire the sea and breathe the fresh and cool breeze of the ocean along with seeing the imposing German Lighthouse that dates back to the time of colonization in the late 1800’s. You can eat delicious grilled fish at a reasonable price. The beach brings together both local inhabitants and tourists. There are small shops and market stalls around where you can buy and bring home with you the latest catch of the day.
The local craft shops are relatively expensive. Clean water and washroom facilities are not easily accessible but the restaurant owners provide a bowl of water that you can wash your hands with but with no soap. Bring your own soap or hand cleaners because the fresh seafood that is being served is best enjoyed with the hands. The menus offered are varied and the prices to cook them are easily negotiable.
Mefou National Park
In Cameroon, do not miss the opportunity of experiencing a technical and touristic adventure at the Mefou National Park. With friendly and knowledgeable guides you will not regret paying an entry to support this wonderful initiative and arrive at a muddy and slippery landscape designed as the natural habitat for the fascinating gorillas, aggressive chimpanzees, and cute monkeys of all sizes.
Enclosed with high metal fences, the experience will bring you to the middle of the forest in Yaounde where you can witness how the young animals are doing and how they are properly treated. You can also spend a few hours visiting the aviary that contains forest birds located in the park. Avoid taking pictures of government establishments or any edifice since there are national guards who are tasked to confiscate cameras and video equipments and you will be asked to pay a fine to retrieve them.
Benedictine Museum of Mount Febe
The Benedictine Museum is located on a hill behind the town center which houses the Benedictine Monastery and the Marian Grotto. It is a quiet place that allows you for a full moment of contemplation and soul searching. It is away from the pollution and the incessant horns and noises of the capital city. It is a relaxing place surrounded by lush green and the idyllic view of the city. The museum presents art pieces that require a little more explanation about its date and purpose. The Spiral of Progress Monument (a symbol of national unity and independence of the nation) in Yaounde is visible from this mountain region. The wide and beautiful church is often used for baptisms, marriages, and the celebration of the holy mass.
Inside this premises that has a built in hotel, anyone can make a private retreat regardless of whether one is a believer or not. There are not enough signs to identify this landmark so it is best to hire a taxi that can transport you from the monastery, to the hotel, and to the Mount Febe in the much latter part of the tour. At the top, you can get an impressive view of the Presidential Palace and all the hills that surround Yaounde even if the mountain is entirely located outside the city. There is a tennis club, golf side area, and swimming pool in the monastery grounds.
Rumsiki – Kapsiki Mountain
The barren, lunar like landscape of the Rumsiki – Kapsiki Mountain can be found in northern Cameroon. Small volcanic cones were formed in its background. The eerie backdrop and atmosphere is created by weather erosion. It is one of the most photographed and explored mountain in Cameroon. The huge natural structure was formed due to a volcanic eruption and molten lava.
Even the unpaved road has remnants of hard molten volcanic rocks that are very humid during summer. There are walking trail paths for a chance to get near the cones and a little village within the premises of the mountain. Since the place is highly elevated, the opportunity of seeing the whole region and its nearby mountains, and the Atlantic Ocean is truly a wonderful sight to behold. Visit a local village a few kilometers away from the mountain where you can see how the local pottery (managed by the ethnic women of Cameroon) and livelihood industry is flourishing in this region.
They make use of the local mud, form them into wide mouthed pots, and decorate the outside of each piece using a locally made dye and colored mud. The high peak is visible from all parts of the densely populated province.
Waza National Park
When in Maroua, a visit to the famous Waza National Park is a must. Tours on this open air savannah can be arranged and pre-booked online. Hire a 4x4 and brace yourself to a more than two hour drive along a dusty and unpaved road to reach this attraction. Animals roam around freely in their water holes especially during the arid and humid season. Giraffes, hippos, lions, antelopes, elephants, and a good variety of bird species can be sighted on this vast vegetation land in the northern part of Cameroon.
There are small huts in the nearby community where you can also get a better idea of the basic life in this remote wildlife site. On weekends, a group of the so-called voodoo queens who practice traditional spells and healing perform their traditional dance. Their faces are painted with clay. Belief in the spirit world is still kept alive by the many tribes in Cameroon. The tourism center looks modern and the entrance fee is priced fairly enough to learn and understand the ethnicity of this country.
Prepare for a tedious climb on this 4,000 meter high mountain and volcano that proudly stands in the South west part of the country. It takes three days to reach and assault the summit of this peak but there are overnight huts provided by the locals at a certain fee.
Porters, guides, and security staff are also readily available if the need for assistance to reach the guided trails of the mountain is needed. Packaged tours can also be pre-arranged with a tour and mountaineering company in the nearby town of Buea.