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Travel

  • Pointsof Interest
  • Accommodation
  • Getting There
  • Getting Around
  • Entertainment
  • Health & Safety
  • Money & Currency
  • Visas & Passports

    The Centre & East
    Yaoundé, the capital city, stands on seven hills. There are 13 modern hotels and many markets, museums, shops and cinemas. To the northwest, jungle-clad mountains rise to an altitude of 1000m (3280ft). Mont Fébé, which overlooks the city, has been developed as a resort, with a luxury hotel, nightclub, casino, gardens and golf course. Its high altitude ensures a pleasant climate. 

    Luna Park, a permanent fun-fair and weekend holiday resort 40km (25 miles) north of the capital, can be found on the road to Obala. Further on, one can view the Nachtigal Falls on the River Sanga and continue to Bertoua, Yokadouma and Moloundou with its abundant wildlife, most notably a small population of lowland gorillas. 

    The West 
    Douala, Cameroon's economic capital, is 24km (15 miles) from the sea, on the left bank of the Wouri and dominated by Mount Cameroon. The cathedral, the shopping avenues, the Artisanat National (a craft/souvenir market), Deido market, the harbour, the museum, Wouri Bridge and the electric coffee-grading plant are worth visiting. 

    Buéa is a charming town situated on the slopes of Mount Cameroon. For those interested in climbing the mountain (the highest in West Africa, but relatively easy), a permit from the local tourist office is necessary (these are not issued during the rainy season from March to November). 

    Limbé (formerly Victoria) is a pleasant port with a botanical garden and 'jungle village'. There are beautiful white sandy beaches a short drive out of town. The tourist season runs between November and February. 

    Dschang is a mountain resort at an altitude of 1400m (4600ft) where the temperature is pleasantly cool. The road southwards to Nkongsamba and Douala passes through some splendid scenery – spectacular valleys and waterfalls. 

    Bamenda, in the highlands north of Dschang, has a museum and a craft market. 

    Foumban, northeast of Dschang, has many traditional buildings dating from its period of German colonisation, including Fon's Palace which includes a craft centre. There is also a museum and a market. The town serves as an excellent base for experiencing the Bamileke region's colourful Bamoun festivals and feast days. 

    Kribi, a small port and beach resort south of Douala, has perhaps the finest beach in Cameroon, Londji Beach. It is also a convenient starting point for tours to local villages and the Campo Game Reserve region. Buffaloes, lions and elephants roam the virgin forests inland. 

    The North 
    North Cameroon presents unexpected natural landscapes, with an average altitude of 1500m (4900ft) and plains, reaching an altitude of 300m (1000ft), covered by savannah. 

    Maroua is located in the foothills of the Mandara Mountains, along the Mayo River. Places worth visiting include the market, the Diamare Museum (mainly an ethnographic museum where local craftwares are on sale: jewellery, tooled leather articles, etc), the various African quarters and the banks of the Mayo Kaliao. There is a National Park nearby (see below). 

    Mokolo is a picturesque town in a rugged rocky landscape. Aproximately 55km (34 miles) away is the village of Rhumsiki, which features a maze of paths linking the small farms known as the Kapsiki; here live the Kirdi, whose customs and folklore have changed little for centuries. 

    Going further north, there is a very typical village called Koza located at an altitude of 1100m (3600ft). From here the road continues to the village of Mabas which gives a panoramic view on the large Bornou plain of Nigeria and where one can still see primitive blast furnaces.

    National Parks 
    The Kalamaloue Reserve is small but offers opportunities for viewing several species of antelopes, monkeys and warthogs; some elephants cross the reserve. 
     

    Waza National Park covers 170,000 hectares. There is a forest area (open from November to March) and a vast expanse of grassy and wet plains, called Yaeres (open from February to June). Elephants, giraffes, antelopes, hartebeest, cobs, lions, cheetahs and warthogs are numerous. There is also a rich variety of birds: eagles, crested cranes, maribous, pelicans, ducks, geese and numerous guinea-fowl. Accommodation and other facilities are available. There are no vehicles for hire at the park, but buses run from Maroua. 
     

    The Boubandjidah National Park is on the banks of Mayo Lidi River in the very far north of the country. 
     

    There are several other parks and reserves which are not open to the public.

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    ACCOMMODATION

    Good accommodation of international standard is available in Douala, Yaoundé, Bamenda, Garoua and Maroua. The good hotels (government-rated 2-star and above) have air-conditioning, sports facilities and swimming pools; most rooms have showers. Most large hotels will accept major credit cards. Rates are for the room only. Cheaper accommodation is also available. Campement accommodation, with two pavilions and individual rooms comprised of straw huts, is available just outside Waza National Park, north of Maroua in the far north of the country. Hotel facilities are in heavy demand: it is advisable to book in advance, and to obtain confirmation of your booking in writing. 

    For more information on hotels in Cameroon, contact the Ministry of Tourism 

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    GETTING THERE

    AIR
    Cameroon's national airline is Cameroon Airlines (UY). Other airlines which run flights to Cameroon are Air France, Nigeria Airways and Air Afrique There are regular flights from Cameroon to Nigeria, Côte d'Ivoire, Benin and Togo. 

    International airports
    Douala (DLA) is 10km (6 miles) southeast of the city. Facilities include a duty-free shop, bar, post office, bank, shops and buffet/restaurant. Taxis are also available at a cost of 1500CFAfr. Nsimalen (NSI) airport, serving Yaoundé, has recently been constucted about 25km (15.5 miles) from the city. There are no buses, but taxis are available at a cost of about 3000CFAfr. Journey time by taxi is about 20 minutes. 

    Departure Tax
    CFAfr10,000 for international flights, CFAfr500 for domestic flights. 

    SEA
    Irregular sailings from European ports to Douala take up to three weeks, with stops in the Canary Islands and West African ports. There are also berths on some cargo boats for six to 12 passengers. 

    RAIL
    There are plans to extend the rail network from Mbalmayo to Bangui in the Central African Republic. 

    ROAD
    There are road connections to Chad, Equatorial Guinea, the Central African Republic, Nigeria and Gabon. Travel on these routes is rough, and should not be attempted in the rainy season. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended. The Trans-Africa Highway from Kenya to Nigeria is under construction. 
     
     

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    GETTING AROUND

    AIR
    This is the most efficient means of national transport. There are daily flights between Douala and Yaoundé; less regular flights to other interior towns. 

    RAIL
    Rail travel within Cameroon is slow but cheap. Daily trains run from Douala to Yaoundé, with onward connections to Ngaoundéré, and from Douala to Nkongsamba. Couchettes are available on some trains, and a few have air-conditioning and restaurant cars. Children aged 5-9 pay half-fare. There is no charge for children under 5. The final section of the Transcameroon railway was completed in 1987. It runs from Yaoundé to Ngaoundéré covering a distance of 885km (550 miles). 

    ROAD: There are paved roads from Douala to Yaoundé, Limbé, Buéa, Bafoussam and Bamenda and between main centres. Other roads are generally poorly maintained and become almost impassable during the rainy season. Traffic drives on the right. Bus: Modern coach services are available between Yaoundé and Ngaoundéré. Bus services also exist between other main centres and more rural areas, but tend to be unreliable and are often suspended during the rainy season. Car hire: This is limited and expensive and is available in Douala, Yaoundé and Limbé, with or without a driver. Documentation: An International Driving Permit is not a legal requirement but recommended. 

    URBAN
    Bus services operate in Douala, Yaoundé and other major cities at flat fares. Taxis are available at reasonable fixed rates (none are metered). A 10% tip is optional. 

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    ENTERTAINMENT

    Food and Drink
    Cooking is often French or Lebanese, while local food can also be very tasty. Luxury items can be extremely expensive. The country abounds in avocado pears, citrus fruits, pineapples and mangoes. Prawns are in plentiful supply in the south. There are many restaurants in big towns and cities, with good service. Drink: Most international hotels have bars. There are no licensing hours, and hotel bars stay open as long as there is custom.

    Nightlife
    In Douala and Yaoundé particularly, nightclubs and casinos can be found independently or within most good hotels. There are also some cinemas. 

    Shopping 
    Local handicrafts include highly decorated pots, drinking horns, jugs, bottles and cups, great earthenware bowls and delicate pottery, dishes and trays, mats and rugs woven from grass, raffia, jewellery and camel hair or cotton and beadwork garments. 

    Sports 
    Fishing is good in many rivers and coastal areas. Hunting licences are limited. Swimming in the sea and swimming pools of luxury hotels, which generally also have tennis courts, are both available. A golf course is available to hotel residents in Yaoundé. Football is a popular spectator sport. 

    Social Conventions
    Handshaking is the customary form of greeting. In the north, where the population is largely Muslim, Islamic traditions should be respected. Visitors should never step inside a Muslim prayer circle of rocks. In other rural areas, where traditional beliefs predominate, it is essential to use tact. Photography: Cameras should be used with discretion, particularly in rural areas. Always ask permission before taking a photograph. Do not photograph airports, military establishments, official buildings, or military personnel in uniform. Tipping: The average tip for porters and hotel staff should be about 10%, otherwise service charges are usually inclusive. 

    Holidays & Events
    Ramadan
    New Year's Day
    Feb 11 Youth Day.
    Good Friday.
    Easter Monday.
    May 1 Labour Day. 
    Ascension Day. 
    May 20 National Day. 
    Christmas
    Djoulde Soumae (End of Ramadan)

    Note: Muslim festivals are timed according to local sightings of various phases of the moon. During the lunar month of Ramadan that precedes Djoulde Soumae (Eid al-Fitr), Muslims fast during the day and feast at night and normal business patterns may be interrupted. Many restaurants are closed during the day and there may be restrictions on smoking and drinking. Some disruption may continue into Djoulde Soumae itself. Djoulde Soumae may last anything from two to ten days, depending on the region. 

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    HEALTH AND SAFETY

    Special Precautions

    A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required of all travellers over one year of age. 

    Following WHO guidelines issued in 1973, a cholera vaccination certificate is no longer a condition of entry to Cameroon. However, cholera is a serious risk in this country and precautions are essential. Up-to-date advice should be sought before deciding whether these precautions should include vaccination as medical opinion is divided over its effectiveness. For more information, see the Health section. 

    Malaria risk exists all year throughout the country, predominantly in the malignant falciparum form. Resistance to chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine has been reported. 

    Water precautions are recommended outside of main hotels, but all water should be regarded as being potentially contaminated. Water used for drinking, brushing teeth or making ice should have first been boiled or otherwise sterilised. Bottled water is readily available. Milk is unpasteurised and should be boiled. Powdered or tinned milk is available and is advised, but make sure that it is reconstituted with pure water. Avoid dairy products which are likely to have been made from unboiled milk. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish, preferably served hot. Pork, salad and mayonnaise may carry increased risk. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled. 

    Health care
    There are roughly 250 hospitals in Cameroon, but health facilities are not recommended to foreign travellers. Facilities outside Yaoundé and Douala are extremely limited. International travellers are strongly advised to take out full medical insurance before departure. 

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    MONEY AND CURRENCY

    Currency:
    CFA Franc (CFAfr) = 100 centimes. Notes are in denominations of CFA 10,000, 5000, 2000, 1000 and 500. Coins are in denominations of CFA 500, 100, 50, 25, 10 and 5. Only notes issued by the Banque des Etats de l'Afrique Centrale are valid; those issued by the Banque des Etats de l'Afrique de l'Ouest are not. 

    Currency exchange
    It is advisable to bring French Francs or US Dollars into the country rather than Sterling. 

    Credit cards
    MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club and Visa are accepted on a limited basis (most major hotels and some restaurants will take them). Check with your credit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which may be available. 

    Travellers cheques
    To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take travellers cheques in French Francs although it is possible to exchange Sterling travellers cheques. 

    Currency restrictions
    Import of both local and foreign currency is unlimited, subject to declaration. 

    Banking hours
    0730-1530 Monday to Friday.

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    VISAS AND PASSPORTS

    PASSPORTS
    Passports valid for a minimum of 6 months required by all. 

    VISAS
    Required by all except: 

    (a) nationals of Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon for a stay not exceeding 90 days; 

    (b) those in transit, holding onward tickets and continuing their journey on the first or same aircraft within 24 hours and provided not leaving the airport. 

    Types of visa
    Transit and Short-stay, £40; Medium-stay, £80. 

    Validity
    Short-stay visas are valid for up to 3 months and Medium-stay visas up to 6 months. Both types of visa should be used within 3 months of issue. Applications or extensions should be made to the Embassy. 

    Application to: Consulate (or Consular section at Embassy). Visas are also available on arrival for countries where Cameroon has no diplomatic representation. 

    Application requirements
    (a) Valid passport. 
    (b) 2 completed application forms. 
    (c) 2 passport-size photos. 
    (d) Copy of ticket. 
    (e) Proof of hotel booking. 
    (f) For a business visa, a letter from applicant's company and a letter from business partners in Cameroon. 

    Working days required
    24 hours if application is delivered by hand, a few days if by mail. 

    Temporary residence: Applicants must have Residence and Work Permits. Apply to Immigration authorities in Cameroon

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