7 of the best things to do in Cameroon

1. Atlantika Mountains

Mountains around Poli, Cameroon (Shutterstock)

This mountain range in the north of Cameroon is made up of more than 600 peaks, some of which are active volcanoes. The range forms a natural border between Cameroon and Nigeria. Most visitors explore the region on a small group tour or with a local guide – Poli is the nearest town. You can trek in the mountains all year round, although June to October is rainy season.

One of the highlights is meeting the Koma people who inhabit villages in the massif such as Bakiba, Bimlerou le Haut, Koilo, Librou, Louga, Nagamalo and Somlari. The tribe follows a traditional way of life, living in mud dwellings and wearing skirts made from leaves. If you’re lucky you may be able to join them around a campfire or in a dance, listen to drumming and handmade musical instruments, or observe an animal sacrifice ceremony.

2. The Dja Faunal Reserve

A mandrill (Shutterstock)

Founded in 1950, this reserve in the south east of Cameroon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, valued for its unspoilt rainforest and biodiversity. The Dja River circumnavigates most of the rainforest, 90% of which is untouched – making it one of the largest and best-preserved primary forests in Africa.

Roughly the same size as the county of Norfolk in the UK, the reserve is home to 107 species of mammal, including forest elephants, leopards, the stripy antelope-like bongo and African grey parrot. Visitors may also spot primates such as chimpanzees, gorillas, white-collared mangabey and the red and blue-nosed mandrill.

3. Sangha Trinational

Sitatunga antelopes (Shutterstock)

So-called because it’s shared between Cameroon and neighbouring Congo and Central African Republic, this conservation area is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is home to three national parks – one of which is Lobeke National Park in the south east of Cameroon – which have largely been left alone by humans.

A buffer zone protects the vast area, which is made up of wetlands, swamps and tropical forests of evergreen species. On land, visitors may get to see forest elephants, critically endangered gorillas and endangered chimpanzees, while the waters are the lair of Nile crocodiles and Goliath tigerfish, a formidable silver fish with sharp teeth. Sitatunga antelopes inhabit the swamps.

4. Mongo ma Ndemi National Park

Mount Cameroon (Shutterstock)

This National Park is close to the coast in the west of Cameroon, near the city of Buea. The park’s highest peak, Mount Cameroon, is also known by the indigenous name Mongo ma Ndemi, which means Mountain of Greatness. At 4,070m, it is great indeed.

Fako is the highest of the two peaks. Even though it’s an active volcano which erupts frequently, it’s still popular with campers and hikers, who must hike with a registered guide. There are plans for night tours and a canopy walkway, too. Every winter, you can also watch endurance runners race the 38km from Buea to the summit and back, which takes about four and a half hours.

The park is home to forest elephants and various primate species with distinctive features. As well as chimpanzees, you may come across drill, red-capped mangabey, the putty-nosed monkey – which has a white nose – mona and red-eared monkeys and Preuss’s and crowned guenon. Twitchers, stay close to your binoculars, as Mount Cameroon spurfowl and Mount Cameroon speirops are endemic here.

5. Mandara Mountains

Mud houses in the Mandara Mountains, Cameroon (Shutterstock)

Like the Atlantika, the Mandara massif is also volcanic and along the border of Nigeria, but it’s in the far north corner of Cameroon. At 1,494m, Mount Oupay is the range’s highest point and it’s a popular hiking spot.

Mandara tribes live in villages nearby, in huts with dirt walls and thatched roofs. They farm sheep, goats, chickens and bees, and exchange handicrafts and produce at local markets.

6. Foumban

Crafts and jewellery made in Cameroon (Shutterstock)

This historic town near the middle of Cameroon has a Saturday market, a landmark mosque with green domes and a palace. Completed in 1917, Foumban Royal Palace is home to the Sultan’s Museum, where you can browse displays of royal gowns, weapons and jewellery.

But most visitors are drawn to Foumban because of its art scene. A road lined with artisans selling sculptures, baskets, embroidery and wood carvings runs south of the town from the palace to Village des Artisans, which is home to Musee des Arts et des Traditions Bamoun. Here you can browse traditional African art and cultural exhibits such as musical instruments, statues and masks.

7. Limbe

Limbe, Cameroon (Shutterstock)

Once an epicentre for the slave trade, the seaside town of Limbe on Cameroon’s south west coast is now better known for its black sand beaches, botanical garden and wildlife centre.

Limbe Wildlife Centre rescues orphaned and injured native animals. Visitors can see a silverback gorilla and ill-treated former pets including chimpanzees and baboons.

The 52-hectare Limbe Botanical & Zoological Garden is nearby, en route to the seafront. Here you can see native species such as orchids, as well as palms, medicinal plants and fruit trees including the moabi. Look out for herons and kingfishers on the banks of the garden’s riverside trail, then stop for a picnic on the lawn.

If you visit in spring you may experience the town’s annual Festival of Arts and Culture, which is celebrated with a parade, canoe race, wrestling and traditional dances.

Read more about Cameroon:

Would you get a manicure by candlelight in Africa?

Here’s how taxis work in Yaounde, Cameroon. A taxi driver sees you and slows down his cab. You yell out your destination – in French – followed by how much you’re willing to pay. If he agrees, he honks once and stops his taxi. If not, he keeps going.

Great, I thought, when my bus pulled in from the Cameroonian coast. So hailing a taxi in Yaounde would be… well, not easy, considering I can’t speak French.

Fortunately, there were taxi drivers waiting at the bus park, so I didn’t have to test my poor language skills. Of course, they couldn’t understand my accent and didn’t know where the hotel I’d chosen was, but at least I didn’t have to yell at them from the side of the road.

I tried asking for my hotel, Meumi Palace – which I’d chosen due to its location near embassies – using different pronunciations.

“Moo-mi Pah-lass?”

Blank stare.

“May-you-me Pah-lahce?”


“Chad Embassy?”

Ah, that worked. The hotel was across the street from the Embassy of Chad. I checked in and headed downstairs to a small shop in search of a bit of chocolate.

I was in Yaounde because I needed visas before I could continue the next leg of my ten-month round-the-world trip. Gabon. Republic of Congo. Democratic Republic of Congo. Each would take at least a day, more if I didn’t pay for express service, but given the price of hotels in Yaounde (on the high side), it was in my interest to pay the express fees.

I asked at the hotel reception for directions to the Embassy of Gabon.

“It’s not far,” said a woman that wore a cool wig featuring a purple streak. “But it’s complicated. You’d better take a taxi.”

Could you be an International Adventure Wrangler?

After three years, eight months and three days of gallivanting around the globe organising ridiculous adventures, I have finally departed the cosy bosom of The Adventurists. Making the jump has felt rather like splitting up with a long-term boyfriend, and telling Tom Morgan, The Adventurists’ Chief, of my departure, felt akin to that ghastly, gulping moment when you tell your other half it’s all over. But a freelance life of writing calls, hence the gusset-wrenching decision to leave the life of an International Events Wrangler behind.

Before I begin the next chapter of This Life, here’s a spot of insight into some of the weird, wonderful and occasionally dastardly aspects of setting up new adventures for The Adventurists. It ain’t all tea swilling and swanky hotels you know.

On my first day at The Adventurists in March 2008 Tom, turned to me and asked ‘How do you feel about Africa?’ A few days later I was sitting on the runway at Paris airport, bound for Cameroon, with a riot escalating around me. A Cameroonian man was being deported from France, held down by eight heavily armed French gendarmes. The more he screamed and fought, the more it inflamed my fellow Cameroonian passengers. After an hour long battle the police gave up and the man was bundled off the aeroplane, back onto French soil. It was my first taste of Africa.

Then there was hearing Jock Munro, the oldest rider on the first ever Mongol Derby, playing the Scottish bagpipes in the middle of the Mongolian steppe at the finish party of the Derby. The visceral, incongruous sound of the bagpipes drifting on the steppe wind was quite extraordinary.

Multiple visits to the Nouvelle Destinee Orphanage in Douala, Cameroon during the 2008 and 2009 Africa Rallies have stayed in my mind too. In 2008 enough funds were raised from the Rally car sales in Cameroon to put 33 of the children through school for the year. The children were always so cheerful, and the ladies who ran it so dedicated and compassionate, being able to help them was a brilliant feeling.

Surreal moments include trying to convince the Malaysian Department of Road Transport that no, we really didn’t want a 250km police escort through Malaysia on the Pioneer’s ASEAN Rickshaw Run. While the Malaysian Government thought they were offering our teams the ultimate token of hospitality, we had to politely tell them that being mollycoddled by a fleet of Malaysian police cars wasn’t quite in the spirit of The Adventurists.

Organising the first Mongol Rally Czechout party in the summer of 2008 was a challenge. Our original castle pulled out a few weeks before the event, leaving me to scour the entire Czech Republic for a willing and suitable replacement. After seeing over 30 castles in a week, I found Klenova, a ruined 14th century pile nuzzling in the rolling hills of Bohemia. In the end, the party was a storming success. Seeing 800 people dressed up as ‘Knights and Wenches’ was a sight to behold, even more so when they were still dancing to searing techno at 4 am.

Drinking ten bottles of vodka on a Mongolian mountain top, with four large Mongolian men, at the end of the 2010 Mongol Derby was not my wisest move. We sat in the burning steppe sun, toasting Tengri and Gadzer (the gods of the sky and earth), drinking shot after shot of Chinggis Gold vodka, getting increasingly plastered and taking it in turns to sing. Hilarious.

Chuntering across the Siberian wilderness on the back of an old Ural motorbike last winter, on a test trip for the Ice Run, was a real highlight. Nowhere have I ever witnessed stars like it, or looked up at that diamond scattered vault and felt so infinitesimally small.

I could have done without being shouted at by one of the 2009 Africa Ralliers when the plates temporarily ran out at the finish party supper. We were in the Cameroonian jungle, at a bash I had pulled together with the help of the local Bantu pygmies. The plates had run out and one of the pygmies had delved off into the jungle to find a few more. I felt the shouty chap was perhaps being a little unreasonable, given the circumstances.

Another bizarre moment was watching two high-ranking officials from the Cameroonian Ministry of Tourism and the Customs Department, having a fistycuffs over the auction of the Africa Rally cars in Douala in 2008.

Who could forget the short spells in hospital in both Siberia and Jakarta? Once for being reversed into by a drunken fool, the other time for some mystery virus.

Discovering that Avi Sivan, the charismatic co-director of the charity we were working with in Cameroon, was head of the BIR, the elite army unit that looks after Cameroonian President Paul Biya, was a surprise. He was also a former commander of the Israel Defence Force’s elite Duvdevan unit; not the sort of fellow to be taken lightly. The charity’s HQ in Yaounde was always swarming with heavily armed soldiers, one of whom, Molu, was given the task of being my personal bodyguard. Molu was a former national karate champion, muscles and guns straining at every inch of his BIR uniform. I never did quite get used to him checking his three guns were all loaded before we got out of the car to go to government meetings.

I’ll never forget trekking into the Cameroonian jungle behind a machete-wielding local to go and meet the local pygmy chief, hoping to enlist the musical talents of his tribe for the Africa Rally finish party. His cooperation was secured upon receipt of five litres of ‘pygmy gin’ (ferocious local moonshine).

Then there was meeting Vassily, our self-appointed Russian bodyguard on the test trip for the Ice Run. Vassily insisted that because of the all ‘bears, wolves and bandits’ Tom, Buddy and I couldn’t possibly set off across the frozen tundra on our own. A few days later, miles from anywhere, we had stopped to fix the bike (again) when Vassily appeared from the car, a large gun in each hand, maniacal smile spread across his face, and started shooting randomly into the sky. ‘Wolf’ he said, pointing to fresh wolf tracks on the snow in front of us. At that point I’m not sure who we were more scared of, Vassily, or the wolf.

Finally, my most mystical moment, undergoing a ceremony with a Buryat shaman in northern Mongolia, to ascertain whether the spirits would allow her to do a ceremony at the Mongol Derby finish party. I was the first foreigner her spirits had been exposed to, and before I was even allowed into the room she went into trance to see if I was worthy of being in their presence. Luckily they deemed me a ‘white spirit’ and approved her participation in next day’s finish party.

I have a feeling my life won’t be quite as adventurous for a while!

You can follow Ant’s new adventures on her blog, The Itinerant, or on Twitter, @AntsBK.

From time-to-time The Adventurists are looking for new adventure wranglers in some form or another. Keep an eye on their job board here.

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