Cameroon, Africa - Stein Travel



    • 16+ years

    • 12-15 years

    • 2-11 years

    • 0-23 months


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Welcome to Cameroon

Situated on the Gulf of Guinea, on the west coast of Africa, Cameroon is sandwiched between its powerful neighbour Nigeria to the north and Equatorial Guinea to the south.

The area was a German protectorate until after World War I, when it was divided between the British and the French, with the French receiving the larger share and Britain controlling the northernmost strip along the Nigerian border. French Cameroon achieved independence in 1960, and the largely Christian southern third of British Cameroon voted to join the Republic of Cameroon the following year. The northern two-thirds of British Cameroon, mainly Muslim, eventually joined Nigeria.

Tourism is limited, but those who venture to Cameroon will find a nation of remarkable diversity, from its varying landscapes of tropical rainforests and beaches, mountains and desert, to its assortment of people and cultures. National parks and reserves lay claim to some of the richest flora and fauna in Africa. Southwest Cameroon is a mountainous region dominated by the highest mountain in West Africa, and Africa's highest active volcano, Mt Cameroon, which sits on the edge of the Gulf of Guinea and is a popular mountaineering destination. On the coast there are beautiful beaches around Limbé and at Kribi while the north of the country boasts Cameroon's most famous national park, Waza National Park, with its huge numbers of elephant, giraffe, lion, antelope and birdlife (open from mid-November to mid-June). Yaoundé, the capital city situated on seven hills, has modern hotels, shops and markets, but it is Douala that is the biggest city and Cameroon's economic capital, positioned on the Wouri River a few miles from the coast.

Whether going to the cities, the beaches or exploring its natural resources, visitors to this land they call 'Africa in One Country' can be sure that they will be pleasantly welcomed by a people whose custom is to receive strangers as if they were friends; a country where hospitality is the golden rule.


Climate

The climate varies according to the region. In the south, the dry season runs from November to February, the little rainy season from March to June and the big rains come between August and September. The average temperature is 79°F (26°C). The tropical coastal areas receive a lot of rain that can reach in excess of 30ft (9m). In the north the rainy season is spread out from May to the end of September, but receives very little over the year and drought is a way of life in the far north.

Communications

The international dialling code for Cameroon is +237. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0027 for South Africa). City codes are not required. International phone calls can be made from CAMTEL offices. A GSM 900 network provides cellphone coverage mainly in Yaoundé, Malabo and the southwest of the country. Internet cafes are available in the main towns.

Customs

Law requires that everyone carry identification at all times. It is forbidden to take photographs of ports, airports, government buildings and military sites. Homosexuality is illegal.

Duty Free

Travellers to Cameroon do not have to pay duty on 400 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 5 packs tobacco; 1 bottle of alcohol; and 5 bottles perfume. Entry to the country with sporting guns has to be accompanied by a license.

Electricity
Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. Round two-pin attachment plugs are in use.
Health

A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for all travellers older than one year of age to Cameroon. There is a risk of malaria throughout the country and prophylaxis is recommended for all travellers. Cholera outbreaks do occur in Cameroon, particularly between the months of December and June. Travellers should drink only boiled or bottled water. Medical facilities are very limited with frequent shortages of medication and outdated equipment; visitors should ensure they have comprehensive medical insurance, which includes emergency air evacuation. Doctors and hospitals generally expect immediate cash payment.

Language
French and English are the official languages, although French is more commonly spoken and is the language of business. There are also numerous other African dialects.
Money

The official currency is the Central Africa CFA Franc (XAF), which is divided into 100 centimes. The CFA franc is tied to the Euro at a rate of EUR1 = CFA 655.957, or CFA 100 = EUR0.152449. Cash is easier to exchange than travellers cheques, and Euros are by far the easiest currency to change for CFA francs. Credit cards have limited acceptance and ATMs are few and far between.

Passport Visa

All travellers require confirmed onward or return tickets and all necessary documents for next destination. Visas on arrival can only be issued to those holding a prior approval from Le Delegue General de L'Immigration. All other visas must be acquired before travel to Cameroon.

Safety

Occurrences of banditry and mugging are serious problems throughout the country, and car hijacking and robbery along roads has resulted in several deaths. Foreign governments advise against travel to the areas bordering the Central African Republic and Chad, as well as to the area bordering Nigeria in the region of the Bakassi Peninsula. If travelling in the north it is advisable to do so in a convoy and to limit travel to daylight hours only. Incidents, often armed, are common in towns and cities and visitors should be vigilant in public places. Armed attacks have occurred at restaurants and hotels where foreigners are known to stay and eat, and travellers are advised to avoid carrying valuables or wearing jewellery in public, and to keep cash on person to a minimum. Petty theft is also common on public transport and travellers should try and avoid travelling alone in taxis, especially at night. The safety and reliability of internal flights in Cameroon cannot be vouched for.

Time
Local time is GMT +1.
Tipping

If service charges are not included then 10% is customary.

A popular tourist haunt, Limbe is a gorgeous seaside town located on Cameroon's western coast. Set within a beautiful bay, against the backdrop of an imposing mountain range, Limbe was an important port city in colonial times - and retains a vestige of this history, in the form of a magnificent German-built Bismarck Tower overlooking Down Beach. Down Beach, with its black sand and warm sea temperatures, is a favourite place for tourists to kick back and relax, while the nearby Limbe Wildlife Centre and Botanical Gardens are also worthwhile day trips. Boasting the best nightlife of any Cameroonian city, tourists are sure to find Limbe a fun-filled and relaxing stopover on their great African adventure.


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