Yaounde, Cameroon - Wontra

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Welcome to Yaounde

Yaounde

Yaounde
Country: Cameroon
Population: 2,440,462 (2012) 
Dialing Code: +237
Currency: Central African CFA franc
Time zone: WAT (UTC+1)
Official language: French, English

 

 

 

Yaounde is the capital of Cameroon and, with a population of approximately 2.5 million, the second largest city in the country after the port city Douala. It lies in the Centre Region of the nation at an elevation of about 750 metres (2,500 ft) above sea level.

Yaoundé stands out from other West African capitals because of its lush green and hilly setting. The air is also cooler in the city because it is 750 meters above sea level. This combination makes the city a pleasant place to visit, and although it is short on traditional attractions, it makes up for it in friendliness and charm. 

Information & Facts

Activities

Cameroon is home to abundant wildlife, and visitors can see a sizable collection of native animals up close at the Mvog-Betsi Zoo. The zoo is one of the best in West Africa and is run by the British non-profit Cameroon Wildlife Aid Fund. Most of the animals, including drills, gorillas and chimps, were rescued from the bushmeat trade and poachers. The collection also includes exotic birds, lizards, snakes, hyenas and lions, but the primates are the most popular.

The Musée d'Art Camerounais provides visitors with a great introduction to the country's art, history and culture. The wonderful collection includes pottery, masks, wooden bas-reliefs, bronzes and more. One of the most notable pieces the “Great Maternal Figure, ” a brass sculpture found in the country's northeast region. Replicas of the statue can be purchased at nearly all the souvenir shops, but seeing the original is a must for any visitor to Yaoundé.

The Musée National pales in comparison to the Musée d'Art Camerounais, but it is still worth a visit. The small collection highlights sculptures and masks from across the country, but the labels are not as informative as those at the Musée d'Art Camerounais.

To see even more regional artwork, visit the Musée Afhemi. The gallery is in a private residence, but tours can be arranged with an English guide by calling in advance. The friendly owner often invites visitors to lunch, exhibiting the welcoming spirit of the locals.

Climate

Yaoundé features a tropical wet and dry climate with constant temperatures throughout the year. However, primarily due to the altitude, temperatures are not quite as hot as one would expect for a city located near the equator. Yaoundé features a lengthy wet season, covering a ten-month span between February and November. However, there is a noticeable decrease in precipitation within the wet season, seen during the months of July and August, almost giving the city the appearance of having two separate rainy seasons. It’s primarily due to the relative lull in precipitation during these two months that Yaoundé features a tropical wet and dry climate, as opposed to a tropical monsoon climate.

Eating Out

Local food is excellent, but luxury items can be extremely expensive. There are many restaurants in big towns and cities, with good service. Douala and Yaoundé have by far the greatest variety, with many different styles of cuisine represented, including Lebanese, Asian, African and European. Cheap and tasty Cameroonian food is served in chantiers and chop houses.

Getting Around

City busses do exist, but shared taxis are the way to go. They will slow down for you to call your destination, and beep to say yes. The price is fixed at 200CFA, unless you're travelling a long way, or if you're not going far, you can try calling "cent francs" and your destination.

Language

French and English  are  the official language.

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.

Negatives

Taxi sharing can be risky, even for Cameroonians, and you may wind up with your cell phone and wallet stolen. It is recommended to hire a private taxi recommended by your hotel or a friend.

Night Life

In Yaoundé, nightclubs and casinos can be found independently or within most good hotels. Both Douala and Yaoundé have a few sophisticated restaurants which double as live music venues and attract the expat crowd.

There are also plenty of basic bars and clubs, some of which host live bands at weekends. The music on offer varies from local sounds to reggae, rap and rock. There are no licensing hours, and hotel bars stay open as long as there is custom. Every large town also has at least one cinema.

Restaurants

There is a Casino (a large French supermarket chain) next to the Notre Dame cathedral in the center of town where you can buy typical European brand-name foods. Also the presence of native restoration centers nearly at every turns with a local menu and the many accustomed may provide a unique experience if you care to stop by.

Street stalls are everywhere, but a nice place to go is Nlongkak round about. Here there's a bit of a variety, and plenty of places to get a beer. A plate of beans should cost between 200-500CFA, an omlet around 500 (or 1000 if in a resturant with chips), and a plate of spagetti maybe 500CFA. Prices may vary considerably depending on the honesty of your vendor.

Kajazoma is a very chic art gallery/eatery that is defiantly worth checking out for dinner or for drinks. 

Shopping

Local handicrafts include highly decorated pots, drinking horns, jugs, bottles and cups, wood carvings, great earthenware bowls and delicate pottery, dishes and trays, mats and rugs woven from grass, raffia, jewellery and camel hair, cotton and beadwork garments. These are sold in the marchés artisanales (tourist or craft markets) found in large towns and tourist areas.

Some stallholders offer items which they describe as antique: in many cases they're merely distressed. Special permission must be obtained from the Delegation Provinciale de Tourisme in Douala or Youndé to take genuine antiquities out of the country. The main markets in most towns sell fresh produce, cheap clothing and household essentials rather than souvenirs, but can be good places to find African-style printed cotton fabric.

Sightseeing

 Places of interest in Yaounde include:


• The Cathédrale Notre Dame des Victoires, the seat of the Archdiocese of Yaoundé
• The Basilique Marie-Reine-des-Apôtres, built on the site of the first missionary church in Cameroon
• The Cameroon Art Museum (located in a former Benedictine monastery)
• The Cameroon National Museum (located in the former presidential palace)
• The Afhemi Museum
• The Palais du Sport


There is a small zoo in the Mvog-Betsi neighbourhood. Yaoundé has a small assortment of nightclubs and restaurants.

  • Wed, 26 Jul

    Showery. Mostly cloudy. Mild.

    79 | 66 °F

    Showery. Mostly cloudy. Mild.

    58 %  Chance of Precipitation

  • Thu, 27 Jul

    Thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy. Mild.

    79 | 68 °F

    Thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy. Mild.

    59 %  Chance of Precipitation

  • Fri, 28 Jul

    Tstorms late. Mostly cloudy. Mild.

    78 | 68 °F

    Tstorms late. Mostly cloudy. Mild.

    52 %  Chance of Precipitation

  • Sat, 29 Jul

    Showery. Mostly cloudy. Mild.

    78 | 69 °F

    Showery. Mostly cloudy. Mild.

    55 %  Chance of Precipitation

  • Sun, 30 Jul

    Isolated tstorms. Breaks of sun late. Mild.

    79 | 68 °F

    Isolated tstorms. Breaks of sun late. Mild.

    42 %  Chance of Precipitation

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