Cameroon, in West Africa, is a mixture of desert plains in the north, mountains in the central regions, and tropical rain forest in the south. Cameroon’s tourist industry is a victim of geography. It is bordered by some problematic countries. But this shouldn’t put you off, as Cameroon really has everything a traveler could want. One of the most culturally diverse countries on the continent, its people include ancient tribal kingdoms, Muslim pastoralists and forest-dwelling pygmies.
The landscape is no less dizzying in its diversity. Mount Cameroon (4095m) is the highest peak in West Africa and attracts plenty of trekking interest. A still-active volcano, it rises almost straight from the sea in a spectacular manner.
You may enjoy with some fine palm-fringed beaches and fantastic seafood, throw in a cold beer or two, some lively home-grown makossa music and the Indomitable Lions of the national football team, and you’ll be revelling in your discovery.
The major cities, Douala and Yaoundé, both have reputations for petty crime, especially in the crowded central areas. The roads pose a greater risk, with plenty of badly maintained vehicles driven at punishing speeds.
Facts about Cameroon:
- Time: GMT/UTC +1
- Population: 16.4 million
- Borders: Nigeria, Chad, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Central Africa Republic (CAR) all open; borders with Democratic Republic of Congo sometime closed, check in advance
- Seasons: Hot year-round; north: wet (April to September); south: heavy rain (June to October)
- Telephone: Country code 237, international access code 00
- ATMs: At banks in large cities, linked to Visa
- Budget: US$40 per day
- Visas: Required by all, available in neighbouring countries for US$60
- Capital: Yaoundé
- Languages: French, English and many local languages
- Area: 469,440 sq km (a little smaller than Spain, a little bigger than California)
- Religion: Indigenous beliefs, Christian, Muslim
- Currency: CFA franc (Central African CFA; US$1 = CFA498)
- Life Expectancy: 48
- GDP per Capita: U.S. $1,700
- Literacy Percent: 79