Cameroon, Africa - Wontra Travels

Cameroon

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Welcome to Cameroon

Cameroon

Cameroon
Continent: Africa
Capital: Yaounde
Population: 22,534,532 (2013 estimate) 
Dialing Code: +237
Currency: Central African CFA franc
Time zone: WAT (UTC+1)
Official language: French, English

 

 

 

Cameroon is in West Africa.Officially known as the Republic of Cameroon, this country is known as "Africa in miniature". It features French and English speaking portions, Muslim and Christian dominated regions, the tallest mountain in West Africa and terrain that includes rain forest, desert plains, mountains and high plateau.

Cameroon is a diverse and multi ethnic country. American tourism is rare; most of the country's tourists come from Europe. Everything you would expect from the African continent seems to be consolidated here, in this enticing and eclectic land.

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.

Information & Facts

Attraction Overview

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. Notwithstanding, recent development has paved the way for tourism opportunities.

Visit the Limbe Botanic Garden, Benedictine Museum of Mont Febe, National Museum of Yaounde and the Kribi. These are famous attractions in the city of Yaounde, meant for tourists.
Hop in a 4-wheel drive and explore the splendid scenery of the central highlands. Find colonial architecture in Foumban. In this culture-rich town, discover many traditional buildings dating from Cameroon's period of German colonisation. Go on a gorilla safari in Lobéké National Park

Lobéké National Park is home to elusive families of western lowland gorillas. For the best chance of viewing these graceful giants, visitors can spend the night in a specially built watchtower.
Learn about the local fauna at Limbé. Make for Maroua for hiking and rock climbing.Reserve some time for nature spotting, head to Cameroon's northern reaches to see monkeys, snuffling warthogs and an abundance of antelope in the Kalamaloué Reserve. Scale an active volcano, at 4, 095m (13, 435ft) Mount Cameroon is the highest mountain in West Africa and Africa's highest active volcano, making it a popular destination for mountaineers.

Business

Cameroon has enjoyed broad economic success since independence through agricultural performance and the growth of its modest oil industry, although it is vulnerable to changes in world commodity prices.

The main agricultural products are cocoa, coffee, palm oil, wood and rubber. There are some offshore oil deposits, and sizeable but largely unexploited deposits of iron ore, copper, uranium and other metals. Hydro-electric projects supply most of the country's energy, while oil and gas are largely exported.

Cameroon’s economic development  is impeded by corruption, inefficiency and an excess of red tape.

Climate

Cameroon’s climate varies with terrain, from tropical along the coast to semiarid and hot in the north.

The south is hot and dry November-February. The main rainy season is June-October. Temperatures in the north vary. On the Adamaoua Plateau, temperatures drop sharply at night; the rainy season is May-October. Grassland areas inland are much cooler than the coast with regular rainfall. The best months to visit are January- April.

If you are going during the summer, plan on lots of rain every day. It might be cold up in the mountains, especially at night.

Communications

Mobile Phone coverage is okay. International calls can be made from Camtel offices but can often unreliable. Roaming agreements exist with a number of international mobile phone companies. Coverage is patchy but better in the south.

Main towns will have Internet cafés. Charges are significantly higher outside Yaoundé and Douala. The service is often slow and unreliable. Stamps can only be obtained from post offices. Mail usually takes at least a week to reach Europe.

Media is highly government controlled.

The main newspaper is the government-controlled Cameroon Tribune, published daily in French and English. Cameroon Radio Television is the state-run broadcaster, while Canal 2 and STV are private broadcasters. Cameroon Radio Television also operates state-run radio stations. Radio Reine is a Catholic-owned station.Radio Siantou is a private broadcaster.

Customs

The majority of the population hold Christian (mainly Roman Catholic) or traditional animist beliefs. The sizeable remainder are followers of Islam. 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.

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.
 

Duty Free

The following goods may be imported into Cameroon without incurring customs duty:
• 400 cigarettes or 125 cigars or 500g of tobacco.
• 1L of spirits and 3L of wine.

Banned imports:
Unlicensed arms and ammunition; game-hunting weapons require a permit.

Banned exports:
Endangered flora and fauna, unless licensed. You must also obtain permission to export artworks.

Electricity

220 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs with two round pins are standard.

Getting Around

Camair-Co is currently operating as a national carrier and on domestic flights.

Train service, Camrail , exists from the capital, Yaoundé, to the port city of Douala and the northern city of Ngaoundéré. While bus service is quicker and more reliable to Douala, the overnight train is the best mode of ground transport to the north. Check for current schedules and pricing.
Safety can be a concern with dangerous roads, overworked/drunk/hungover drivers and poorly-maintained vehicles the norm. However, other than extending your stay an extra day or 2, in bad weather your options are limited.Note that buses rarely leave at a set time; instead, they wait until they are full and then depart.

Rental cars are available although very expensive. As paved roads are rare away from the major cities of the west and northwest, a 4 x 4 is a necessity when traveling to the eastern or central areas of Cameroon. The roads in the north are paved between cities and even the dirt roads tend to be in decent condition due to the lack of rain.
 

Health

There are a number of district and private hospitals in Cameroon, although health facilities are not recommended to foreign travellers. Sanitation levels are low, even in the best hospitals and clinics.

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.

Hepatitis B is hyperendemic. Hepatitis E, dysentery, dengue fever and typhoid fever are widespread. Bilharzia (schistosomiasis) is present; avoid swimming and paddling in fresh water. Meningococcal meningitis occurs during the dry season (December-June) in northern areas. HIV/AIDS is prevalent. Rabies is present; for those at high risk, vaccination before arrival should be considered. If you are bitten, seek medical advice without delay.

Language

French and English are the country's two official languages. Two of the ten regions of Cameroon - in the north-west and the south-west of the country - are primarily Anglophone, representing 17% of the country's population. The lingua franca in these areas, however, is Cameroonian Pidgin English.

The remainder of the country is primarily Francophone. Although the nation is officially bilingual, very few Cameroonians speak both French and English, and many speak neither. Cameroon is home to 230 languages, with Fulfulde being the lingua franca in the north, and Ewondo in much of the Centre, South, and East provinces.

Money

Cameroon, together with CAR, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, belongs to an economic and monetary community sharing a common currency, the Banque des États de l'Afrique Centrale (Bank of Central African States) CFA Franc, which is pegged to the Euro.
CFA (Communauté Financière Africaine) Franc (XAF; symbol CFA) = 100 centimes. Notes are in denominations of CFA10, 000, 5, 000, 2, 000, 1, 000 and 500 and Coins

Passport Visa

A passport valid for a minimum of six months is required by visitors to enter Cameroon. Visa applicants require a legalised letter of invitation and must show return or onward tickets and proof of travel insurance.All applicants require a valid polio vaccination certificate.

Safety

Violence is rare, but be smart about wearing jewelry or anything else that would make you stand apart from the crowd. Take a taxi after dark if you're unsure of the area. Be aware that Boko Haram, a Nigerian jihadist group, operates with other Islamists and Salafists in the north of Cameroon, and they have kidnapped Europeans, Canadians, Americans and other Westerners there. Boko Haram may implement very harsh forms of sharia law including amputation for theft. Churchgoers should not proselytize to Muslims, gathering in large groups should be avoided due to possible suicide bombings, and alcohol should not be consumed in public

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