Aside from certain no-go areas, Cameroon has much to offer adventurous travellers. From its verdant rainforests to its iconic wildlife, the country is bursting with life. Go and you shall be handsomely rewarded.
While referring to Cameroon as “africa in miniature” has become a bit of a cliché, this statement certainly rings true: everything you would expect from the African continent seems to be consolidated here, in this enticing and eclectic land.
The beautiful south is characterised by tropical rainforests and deserted golden beaches, which would be chock full of bathers in a more developed destination. There's a hearty appetite for independence in the English-speaking south, but, despite the best efforts of local pressure groups, it has yet to break free from the rest of the country.
In contrast to the south, the dramatic landscapes of northern Cameroon are dominated by great expanses of desert, lakes and savannah. Traditional villages still cling on in this unforgiving land, which is perhaps the most culturally diverse region in Cameroon, home as it is to some 50 ethnic groups. Though largely peaceful, the region has been rocked by attacks from extremists in recent years. Keep abreast of the latest news.
Pack your hiking gear if you're heading to western Cameroon, which is dominated by volcanic mountains. Looking out across these rugged ranges you could be forgiven for thinking you were on Mars, such is their otherworldly appearance. It's not all about the landscapes, though. Scattered across the country are a handful of game reserves, which offer ample opportunity to observe impressive wildlife, including elephants and lions.
Cameroon really should be one of africa's leading destinations, but poverty blights much of its infrastructure, meaning transport and accommodation are chronically underdeveloped. Outstanding border disputes haven't helped, either – travellers are advised to steer clear of the frontiers with Nigeria, Chad and the Central African Republic, which are considered unstable.
Cameroon Holiday Highlights
History & Culture – Cameroon derives its name from the term Rio dos Camarões (“River of Prawns”), which was used by Portuguese explorers reaching the coast where the River Wouri spills into the sea in the 15th century. Cameroon became a German colony in 1884 and the capital city Yaoundé was founded in 1888 under the German colonial administration. Cameroon is ethnically diverse and many different cultures can be found here. The country is filled with historical ruins and relics that show a wonderful glimpse into the country's past, with many different national monuments, museums and other cultural sites that offer an insight into the flavor of the country. There are also many well-preserved buildings that offer an interesting look into different architectural styles.
Nature & Wildlife – Cameroon is the perfect place to explore nature and wildlife with terrain that includes rain forest, desert plains, beaches, mountains and high plateau plus the tallest mountain in West Africa. There are plenty of National Parks and Reserves, and wildlife includes elephants, lions, giraffes, antelopes, buffalo, hartebeest, cheetahs and gorillas plus a rich variety of birds.
Trekking & Mountain Climbing – There are a number of mountainous and hilled areas in Cameroon that offer great trekking and mountain climbing opportunities from easy to challenging. Mount Cameroon is the highest peak in West Africa at 4095m and attracts plenty of trekkers as it rises from the coast in a spectacular manner and is an active volcano.
Scenery & Landscapes – The landscape is incredibly diverse, and there are areas of thermal springs and indications of volcanic activity throughout the country. Mount Cameroon is the highest mountain in West Africa at 4,095 meters and is an active volcano.
When To Go
Cameroon has a vast diversity of landscapes and November to February gives the best chance of good weather in all regions. It is during these months that the country is coolest and driest, making it the optimal weather for outdoor explorations. Between July and October rains often make roads impassable, and the hottest months are March to May.
The southern area has a humid, equatorial climate, with the northern regions being more varied. The grassland areas, in particular, are much cooler than other areas and also see more regular rainfall. Although the country can be visited at any time, the rains can hamper outdoor activities. From December to February you may experience the harmattan, which is the winds that blow sands from the Sahara, creating a haze.
- Photographing the rural areas of Cameroon is frowned upon, and permission should always be asked before taking a snapshot.
- The religious traditions, which are normally in tandem with the Islamic faith, should be respected in the country.
- Visitors should be sure to never wander into a Muslim prayer circle, which is often seen by a large circle of rocks.
- When trekking take warm clothes as it can get cold in the mountains at night.
- Visit one of the oldest rainforests in Africa at the Korup National Park, where a wide variety of primates, birds, and recently discovered plants can be seen.
- Explore the history of the Baka pygmies, examining their traditional medicines and hunting methods in the country's southeast region.
- See King or Sultan Palaces in Foumban, Bafut, and Bafoussam.
- Climb Mount Cameroon, the highest mountain in West Africa.
- Visit the Babungo palace and museum at Ngoketunjia to experience culture and tradition.
- Go trekking in the Mandara Mountains and visit Rhumsiki.
- Watch elephants visit waterholes at Waza National Park.