TOURISM – CAMEROON.
Situated at the end of the Gulf of Guinea, Cameroon has a triangular shape, it stretches from Lake Chad between the second and third northern pillars. It is bounded by the following countries:
- Chad to the North and North East
- Nigeria to the North and North west
- Central African Republic to the East
- Gabon and Equatorial Guinea in the South
- Republic of Congo in the South East
This geographical territory is characterized by its natural and human diversity giving her the tittle; Africa in Miniature. This territory got its name (Cameroon) from the Portuguese appellation “Rio Dos Cameros” meaning ‘the River of Prowns’. This country was under German occupation from 1884 to 1916, the League of Nations mandate from 1919 to 1945 and under the United Nation from 1945 to 1960. The French speaking region (West Cameroon) obtained its independence on the 1st of January 1960 and later reunified with the people of West Cameroon (English speaking region) on the 1st of October 1961 making the country a federation. From the 20th of May 1972 referendum to through the pacific revolution, the United Republic was born. While the unification process of the two regions was successfully completed in 1984 leading to the Republic of Cameroon
Considering the hospitable atmosphere of this country, numerous classical religions coexist with various religious sects as well as traditional beliefs; all of these with neither clashes nor excesses. It is also highly conducive ground for visitors and investors alike.
HUMAN AND GEOGRAPHICAL ASPECTS
Been considered as Africa in miniature, it represents a large variety in its physical and human facets:
The climate is a conflicting diversity while peasant at the lee-ward meridian of Mount Cameroon shelters against the quasi – permanent rains; that of the North in more than half of the year is digging the dry beds of Mayos (seasonal rivers) with hopes finding water. Similarly, Dschang (a town in the West region) and Garoua (North region) have very cold climatic conditions but divergent which can be grouped into two types. That is the tropical and equatorial climate.
Its characterized with less precipitation which reduces considerably from South to North that is from 1500mmto less than 650mm. On the other hand, temperatures increases as one moves towards the Northern region.
It dominates the South Cameroonian plateau, the high plateau of West Africa and the coastal plains. It is characterized with regular and abundant rains, high and constant temperatures (>26oc) and low thermal amplitudes. Debundscha in the South West has the second heaviest rainfall in the world with about 10,000mm of rainfall annually.
Cameroon is composed of principally high lands which form the Cameroon range. It is a chain of mountains ranging from the South West region to the North with massifs such as the legendary and volcanic Mount Cameroon (4095m), Mount Manengouba (2050m), the Bamboutos(2740m) and the Mandara Mountain located in the North of the Benue Basin and to the West of the Chadian plain. Also, the country consists of some low lands in the coast (coastal plain) and at the interior (the Benue and the Chadian Plain).
The vegetation zone is traced along the climatic lines. As such it suffers from human activity.
The vegetation subdivides into two large zones and passage.
Dense Equatorial Forest
This forest is made up of several variant;
- The littoral mangrove composed of mangrove trees,
- At the higher altitude towards the grasslands of the West, the forest slowly disappear giving way to ferny and stunted plants as well as bamboos and raphia at the lower hydromorphic depths.
- The real humid equatorial forest, large and luxuriant, covers the vast Southern plateau. At low altitude, it is rich with variable species.
Outside the Mbam forest reserve there is a transition zonebetween the humid part of the forest and the desertic fringes of the Northern Savannah. The different variant are;
- The Guinea Savannah (vegetation of the Adamawa plateau); it is a mixture of herbaceous species and trees. It is a region with large herds of Zebu and other species which patrol the numerous pastures of the high plateau.
- The Sudan Savannah; it covers the Benue depressions, the Diamare plain and the Mandara range which is a woody country – side having trees with thick barks; capable of shedding all its leaves in the dry season to protect itself against draughts and bush fire. This type of savannah extends from South West boundary leading upward to form the grasslands of Nkambe, Wum, and Fundong through Bamenda.
The population of Cameroon is estimated to be over 22,000,000 inhabitants. The peopling is increasing and from diverse origin. The oldest settlers are the pigmy of the forest zone. Engulfed with the mosaic ethnic groups.
The Northern Population
It constitute three ethnic groups;
- The Sudanese: they are subdivided into the Paleo-Sudanese (Mofou, Matakam, Toupouris etc.) and the Neo-Sudanese (Massa,Mousgoum, and Kotoko). Inhabitants within this area who still live wild and reject Islam are been referred to as “kirdi”
- The Arab Choa: they occupy the region around the Lake Chad. They are origins from Sudan who have settled in the area for over 315 years, they are semi-normads and speak Arabic
- The Peuls (Foulbe): these are indigents of West Africa, they introduced Islam and created empires whose reminiscences are found today incarnated by organized and structured Laminads. Amongst them,they are in two different groups; the sedentary (settled) ones who are merchants in towns and the normads (bororo) who are breeders.
THE POPULATION OF THE SOUTH
Here two distinct group is identified that is, those of the forest and those of the Western High Plateau. These group of people are considered as the people of the forest (pigmy and the Bantus).
since 16th century, they have occupied the entire South Cameroon. The Bantus are also divided into two group;
- Those of the North West coastal region like the Duala, Bakweris, the Batangas, the Malimbas, the Bassas, the Mbos and other groups coexisting with it.
- Those of the Equatorial region such as Maka’s of the east and the Pahouins composed of the Fangs, Bulus, Etons, Ewondos, Yezums, Ntumu just to name but these
they are the pioneer population in the forest zone of Cameroon and live in isolated camps. They live in symbiosis with the forest which they understand and protect better. The pigmies are no longer the wild people today as they progressively are adapting to modern ways of life with the help of some NGOs, public authorities and other visitors.
THE PEOPLE OF THE HIGH PLATEAU OF THE WEST
This group of people are called the Bantoids, Semi-Bantu or better still the Bantu of the high plateau. They have suffered a strung Sudanese influence leading them to an eventual cultural hybrid. They constitute three subgroups;
- The Bamileke: found mostly in the West land, excellent crafts men and good farmers who exploit almost every available piece of land.
- The Bamoun: settled around the 18th century from the Tikar land. They are partially Muslim community following their interaction with the Peuls (Foulbe) with the rest being Christians. They are also good in arts and architecture.
- The Tikar: they migrated from Nigeria and are presently occupying the Mbam and Bamenda regions (Bafut, Kom, Nso, Bali, and Widikum).
1. Adamawa (Ngaoundere)
Founded around 1830 by the Foulbe conquerors on the mboum village area called Delbe. Ngaoundere is the head quarter of a great Foulbe lamidat that bears its name. this lamidat was founded in 1835 by Ardo Ndjobdi. It has a population of about 160,792 persons with a surface area of 13860km2
a. Soya (roasted beef)
b. Other grills
2. Center (Yaounde)/Mbalmayo
The name Yaounde signifies groundnuts in the Ewondo dialect.At first Mbalmayo was called Vimli from the name of a large rock. The name Mbalmayo comes from “Mballa Meyo”, the name of a great elder in the ragion. It has a population sieze of over 1,244,322 persons with a surface area of 69037km2. Some common dish includes;
a. The Ekok (hard forest finly chopped), prepared in palm nut with grilled or fresh groundnuts)
b. The Ndomba; meat or fish steamed with local ingredients and wrapped in banana or plantain leaves, cooked under hot ash.
c. The Nkwem; pounded cassava leaves, prepared without salt , eaten with cassava tuber, coco yam or plantain.
d. The Nam wondo or Nam Ngon; paste prepared using grilled groundnuts or cucumber mixed with smoked fish or meat wrapped in banana leaves. It is eaten with cassava or other tuber.
3. East (Bertoua)
The name Bertoua is a deformation of Mbartuo, who was the successor of chief Ndiba Mbartoua (Wala, 2000 pg.52) killed in 1903 by the German colonialists.it has a population size of about 429,024 inhabitants and a surface area of 117395km2. A common meal in the area is;
a. Ouinga: a sauce with meat, tiny local herbs and lots of spice (pepper)
4. Far North (Maroua)
It is a cosmopolitan town made up of Muslims, Christians and animists. Their major food type include:
b. Folere; a local sauce with meat or fish accompanied with wheat or corn-fufu
c. Baobab leaves prepared with meat and fish, eaten with wheat or corn-fufu.
5. Littoral (Douala)
It got its name from one of the most principal town and tribe in the region callDuala. The chief town were the signing of Cameroon’s annexation took place with coastal chiefs in 1884. Their traditional meal range from:
a. Ndole; vegetable prepared with smoked fish or meat, a bit of fresh crayfish in groundnut paste. Eaten with meondo (cooked cassava paste wrapped in leaves), fried plantain or other tubers
b. Mbongo; ablack soup made using burnt and crushed local spices, gamed animal or fresh fish and bleached red oil. Eaten with several tubers.
c. Mintumba; a type of cassava bread from fresh cassava paste wrapped in banana leaves mixed with palm oil and some local spicies.
6. North (Garoua)
Garoua was founded in 1839 by th Kilba Peuls who settled at the banks of the Benue river. It has a population of about 647,400 inhabitants and a surfacr area of 66306km2. They share a similar gastronomy with the people of Far North.
7. North West (Bamenda)
The town was founded by Germans in 1901 (Wala, 2000 pg.72) it is divided into two parts; High and Low lands. It has a population of about 1,323,362 inhabitants and a surface area of 17568km2. It is also noted for its consistently visited ring road. It is also noted for its variety in local dishes includes:
a. Achu; coco yam paste or pounded taro and Yellow sauce (Palm oil sauce with local spices and meat)
b. Corn fufu (cus-cus) and vegetable (leaves from huckle-berry) mixed with smoked fish and meat locale called “fufu-corn and Njama-Njama”
c. Corn Chaff: dry maize boiled in salt petre, later cooked with beans with tomatoes, spices, and palm oil.
8. West Region (Bafoussam)
Bafoussam is a town cut out through valleys surrounded by hills covered with savannah grass while the lower section is occupied by raphia. The town was originally found by three ethnic groups being the Balengs, the Bamungums, and the Bafoussams. The region has a total population of about 1,795,000 inhabitants and a surface area of 13991km2. The people of this area share the following as staple:
a. The Nkwi; slimy sauce made from twelve ingredients, eaten with corn-fufu.
b. The Condreh; plantain cooked with meat, palm oil and appropriate spices
c. Pounded food; plantain, banana, and tubers boiled and pounded palm oil, beans and pepper
d. Kohki; maize pudding cooked with young cocoyam leaves and palm oil
9. South Region (Ebolowa),
The town was founded in the 20th century by the German colonizers (Wala, 2000 pg.90). it has a hot and humid equatorial type of climate. The name Ebolowa emerged from a decayed chimpanzee that was found on one of their forested highlands which gives it the name the land of the rotten chimpanzee. The region as a population size of about 721,404 persons with a total surface area of 4336km2. Some of the local dishes are;
a. The Ndomba; a highly spiced fish, cooked in banana leaves
b. The”Ebandjea”; a meal prepared with fish, pepper, lemon and tomatoes
10. South West Region (Buea)
Buea is the port city in the Anglophone Cameroon, constructed on the slopes of the legendary volcanic Mount Cameroon. It was the capital of Cameroon during German annexation. Buea was the capital of west Cameroon during federation (1961 to 1972) and after 1972 it became the capital of the region. The South West region has a population size of about 560,069 inhabitants measuring a surface area of 24854km2. Some staples within the region includes:
a. "Kwacoco" (cocoyam paste) and "Mbanga Soup" (Palmnut sauce); cooked cocoyam paste wrapped in banana leaves and eaten with palm nut sauce mixed with smoked or fresh fish/meat
b. Fufu and Eru; cooked cassava paste eaten with Ekok (locally called eru) and water leaf mixed with cow skin, smoked fish, crayfish and palm oil
c. Ekwang; cooked cocoyam paste wrapped in cocoyam leaves mixed with smoked fish, crayfish and palm oil
It is believed that Cameroon has all the necessary assets to become a real alternative to regular destinations and makes it self a qualitative and quantitative exotic touristic product that visitors will appreciate. It therefore gives a breeding ground for visitors who have once visited to discover more while those who have never had the pleasure of visiting Cameroon can take this opportunity to attempt an expedition…..Read more (link to Our Package)
Some touristic sites/attractions
A visit in the South West Region; some touristic sites includes
- Mount Cameroon (4095 in altitude)
- Palm and Tea Plantation
- The Muea market
- Art Gallery
- The virgin forest at the foot of Mount Cameroon
- Solidified Lava of 1999 volcanic Eruption
- The residence of Von Puttkamer
- Crater Lakes
- Botanic Garden and the jungle village constructed by the British
- The wildlife center (Chimpanzee, reptiles, Gorilla, antilopes….)
- Bismark Fountain
- German Sanctuary
- The Holy shrine
- Fisherman village
- The Engelbert church Bonjongo; 2km climb from Bonjongo market, the first catholic church in West of Mungo constructed be the Pallotine priests in 1894
- Junior Mount Cameroon (Mount Etindi, 1713m)
- The Alfred Saker Monument; founder of the town of Limbe
- Water falls at Bomana
- The Ekombe water fall (one of the highest inAfrica)
- The hot spring at Ekenzru
- The Manenguba Twin Lakes
- The ancient hydroelectricity dam in yoke
- The ferry crossing between Yoke and Pendamboko
- Korup National Park (one of the richest reserve in Africa)
- Nice beach with soft golden sand close to coconut trees (Kribi)
- The Wolf rock
- The Bikon fall or Banana fall
- Nkolaw also called the Dark Mountain
- Pigmy camps
- Lobe Fall
- The Campo Ma’an National Park