Cameroon Holidays – Tours & Adventures Travel Guide
“Cameroon has been called Africa in miniature because it has so much to offer travelers. There are tropical rainforests and golden beaches in the south, a mountainous area in the west containing Mount Cameroon, which is the highest peak in West Africa and is a still-active volcano, and desert expanses, vast lakes and savannah in the north. The wildlife is as diverse as the landscape, with large game and birds found throughout the country, plus abundant marine life. It is one of the most culturally diverse countries in Africa with Portuguese, German, French and British influences. Its people are friendly and include ancient tribal kingdoms, Muslim and Christian dominated regions and pygmy forest-dwellers.”
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.
Cameroon Holidays In Focus
History & Culture - Cameroon was formed in 1961 from the former French Cameroon and part of British Cameroon. The Cameroon culture is one of a proud people with much to offer. There are numerous museums, relics and national monuments all throughout the country displaying the various cultures that have made their mark on the country. Crafts are important and Cameroon locals are especially well known for their wood carvings and artifacts, many of which have been around for centuries while many locals still practice this art today.
The capital city of Yaoundé straddles seven hills and is home to most of Cameroon's national monuments, as well as several museums. Attractions include the Benedictine Monastery’s Museum of Mont-Fébé, also known as the Musee d'Art Cameroonais, which houses a collection of traditional arts and crafts, and the newer National Museum of Yaoundé.
At Foumban there are many traditional buildings dating from Cameroon's period of German colonization, but the major attraction is the Palais Royal. This is where the sultan who is the ruler of the Bamoun dynasty resides. It has a historic cultural past that dates back to the late 1900s. This palace boasts medieval style architecture, and houses a Sultan’s museum. This museum is a good place to see ancient jewelry, traditional royal gowns, musical instruments, statues and thrones that have been in the country’s possession for decades. Foumban is also Cameroon’s center for arts and crafts. Bafut Fon’s Palace includes a craft center. The Musée du Palais and the Musée des Arts et des Traditions Bamoun and the market are well worth visiting.
There is an annual Cameroon National Festival, which is the country's biggest non-religious festival with parades and lively celebration. The Nso Cultural Week happens in November and horses are raced through the streets of Kumbo in western Cameroon. There is also an Arts & Crafts Museum there. In the southeast region you can learn about the traditional medicine, hunting methods, and dances of the Baka pygmies first-hand in a week-long expedition.
The northern area of Cameroon is home to some of the country’s largest museums and crafts markets. Bafoussam is one of the most popular place to find crafts in the country. Here, woodcarving has been practice by the locals for centuries with many of the regions best artifacts shown in these wooden pieces. The city of Maroua is also well known for its large markets where colorful local crafts are on display. Bamenda is the provincial capital of Cameroon's North West Province and is a popular area for hiking and boasts some incredible art as well. The rolling countryside around Bamenda is known as the Ring Road.
In the far north the village of Rhumsiki is a popular place to visit. The small farms known as the Kapsiki are linked by a maze of paths and the mountain scenery is beautiful. The Kirdi people live here and their customs and folklore, including crab sorcery, have remained the same for centuries.
On the coast, the small picturesque town of Limbe is located on the Gulf of Guinee and has beautiful white sandy beaches. The town’s traditional markets and interesting bars and shops make it worth exploring and there is a port with a botanical garden and 'jungle village'. Another popular beach is Londji Beach in Kribi.
Wildlife & Nature - Cameroon’s nickname of “Africa in miniature” hints at the amazing amount of nature and wildlife that can be found in the country. This is because Cameroon consists not only of savannahs and deserts, but also rainforests, beaches and grasslands. The country contains excellent wildlife parks, National Parks and nature reserves.
The Korup National Park is regarded as Africa’s oldest and most biologically diverse rainforest with a wide variety of primates, birds, plant life, including dozens of species that have only been discovered recently. Dja Faunal Reserve, bordered by the Dja River, is one of Africa’s biggest and best-protected rainforests known for its biodiversity and primates. In Lobeke National Park you can visit lowland gorillas as well as elephant, buffalo, giant forest hog, red river hog, yellow-backed duiker and bongo antelope. There are watchtowers where you can spend the night to view wildlife.
In the far north of the country there are black rhinoceroses, elan, buffalo, elephants and lions in Bouba Ndjidah National Park on the banks of Mayo Lidi River. Also in the north is the excellent Waza National Park where large herds of elephants gather at water holes in the dry season. There is abundant birdlife here including eagles, crested cranes, maribous, pelicans, ducks, geese and guinea fowl. Animals including elephants, giraffes, antelopes, hartebeest, lions, cheetahs and warthogs also roam the forest and a vast expanse of grassy and wet plains
The large Benoue National Park has buffalo, hippopotamuses, crocodiles, hyena, giraffes, while the small Kalamaloue Reserve has several species of antelopes, monkeys and warthogs, and some elephants cross the reserve. Buffalo, lions and elephants roam the virgin forests inland in the Campo Game Reserve region.
About one hour from the center of Yaoundé is the forested Mefou National Park which has a primate rehabilitation center with electrified enclosures housing Chimps, Gorillas, Baboons, and various species of monkeys. The primates are cared for by volunteers and this is a great place to visit.
The country’s riverbanks are also popular areas to see the natural beauty of the country. The main rivers in Cameroon are the Benue, Nyong, and Sanaga. These waters have rich estuaries that are home to prawns and many fish.
Trekking & Mountain Climbing - Because of the country’s diverse terrains and mountain areas there are many opportunities for trekking and mountain climbing in Cameroon. These activities offer a great adventure to visitors, and also allow them to see the beauty of the country’s natural surroundings. A popular mountaineering destination is Mount Cameroon, the highest mountain in West Africa and Africa’s highest active volcano. The climb takes three to four days and you can use the colonial town of Bueau as a base for your climb.
The Mandara Mountains, located just west of the northern town of Maroua, is a popular trekking destination that also offers places to climb. The lovely villages with round huts and large stone monuments add a unique twist to the area. In Mindif, a park south of Maroua, there is a huge rock known as Le Dent de Mindif, which is highly regarded for rock climbing The northern region near Mora and the highland area around Bamenda in the southwest are also good areas for trekking. A variety of hiking trails can be found at Kribi and in Limbe Botanic Gardens.
Scenery & Landscapes - The scenery and landscapes include beaches, rainforest, desert plains, mountains and a high plateau. The far north of the country is a semi-desert broadening into the vast Maroua Plain, with game reserves and mineral deposits. To the west this is bordered by the lush Mandara Mountains with isolated villages. The Benue River rises here and flows westwards into the Niger. The country to the northwest is very beautiful with volcanic peaks covered by bamboo forest rising to over 2,000m (6,500ft). There are waterfalls and villages scattered over the lower slopes. There are savannah uplands further to the south and west, while dense forest covers the east and south. The coastal strip is tropical and cultivated and the beaches have white sand. The road south to Nkongsamba and Douala passes through some magnificent scenery including spectacular valleys and waterfalls.