Cameroon

Sometimes described as ‘Africa in miniature’, Cameroon is a country of great beauty and diversity. It contains 200 or more ethnic groups and may have been the starting point of the migrations of Bantu-speaking peoples towards the south. The scenery is seldom dull. In the south you will find unspoiled tropical beaches at Kribi and Limbé on the Atlantic shore; Mount Cameroon, the highest peak in West Africa and mainland Africa’s only active volcano; hills covered by lush forest; the rolling hills of the ‘grassfields’ in the northwest; and plantations of coffee, tea and oil palms. In the north you come to dry savannah country and rocky mountains inhabited by people whose traditional beliefs have resisted the advance of Islam and Christianity.

There are plenty of things for the visitor to enjoy: a number of national parks, including Lobeke, where lowland gorillas are to be found; the historic town of Foumban, setting of Gerald Durrell’s book The Bafut Beagles, where you can visit the Fon’s palace and museum; and the amazing traditional mountain village of Rhumsiki in the north. The capital, Yaoundé, is a pleasant city. Douala, the commercial capital, is very hot and humid, with the highest rainfall in Africa. Colonized by the Germans, the country was divided between the French and British after World War I and both are now official languages, with Pidgin English as a vernacular in the south. It is strange that such an attractive country with such friendly people has attracted few tourists. Those who do get there do not regret it.