Cameroon, land of diversity
Why Africa in miniature? Because of its diversity of climates, geological formations and the origins of the people who inhabit the country. Cameroon has vast plains and high mountains (Mount Cameroon is over 4,000 metres high) and a wide variety of climates, ranging from tropical and humid in the south to a Sahelian, almost desert-like zone in the north. There are many types of landscapes, ranging from dense equatorial forest to savannah, and also including wetlands, coastal areas and highlands in the west.
This variety is also reflected in the origin of the people who live in the country. There are no less than 350 ethnic groups, while 240 languages have been recorded. This mosaic of peoples and natural conditions explains the great cultural richness of the country, which can be seen in its architecture, dances, music, etc. These particularities were impregnated by the growing influence of European traders from the 15th century onwards, and then even more strongly during the period of colonisation which, in Cameroon, had the particularity of being imposed by Germany, England and France.
Today, it is considered that Cameroon can be divided into four major cultural areas: Fang-Beti, Sawa, Grassfields and Sudan-Sahelian.
SIGHTSEEING IN YAOUNDE
To visit at less than 50km from Yaoundé
The sanctuary of primates: the park of La Mefou
A wildlife park located 45km south of Yaoundé. Connected as a sanctuary for the primates native to Africa: the monkey, the chimpanzee and the gorilla, and home to a rich and diverse flora.
This is one of the 7 hills of Yaoundé. This beautiful natural area is ideal for hiking and walking. In particular in the vira course which has free sports facilities for all. You can also discover a Benedictine monastery, its art museum and a small cave that welcomes pilgrims who come to pray every day. You can also admire one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world.
The Tsinga and Red Anne's Rising Craft Market
The monument of the reunification
The site of Ebogo
Located at about 1 hour from Yaoundé, not far from Mbalmayo, Ebogo offers a peaceful setting for relaxation and escape for a pleasant ecotourism. This site has been chosen by the World Tourism Organisation to develop sustainable tourism. The following activities can be carried out there: canoeing down the Nyong River, hiking in the forest on the botanical trail, talk to wild birds, visit the parrot island, capture butterflies, visit the mouth of the So'o River.
The Noah Village
More than a place of relaxation, it is an institution, an emblematic place of Yaounde that our tennis champion Yannick Naah, once chosen as successor of his father, the legendary Papa Zach, has just restored to make an oasis of greenery in the heart of Yaounde. You will taste Papa Zach's marvellous arranged rum, with honey from the beehives of his village and spices that only he had the secret and that he was willing to leave as a legacy for the happiness of the lovers of good things quietly at the counter under the eyes of the patriarch.
The bangalows of an extra beauty with remarkable comfort will welcome you for your soft and peaceful nights with for only decoration the nature.
CULTURAL AREAS IN CAMEROON
THE FANG-BETI CULTURAL AREA
It extends over the central, eastern and southern regions. It is the area of the equatorial forest, bordered on the northern side by the savannah. In this cultural area, there are archaeological remains representative of one of the oldest iron civilisations in Central Africa.
The majority of the population are sedentary Bantu farmers and some groups of Ubangians. These populations recognise that the forest has been occupied since time immemorial by nomadic hunter-gatherers. It is likely that it was these early occupants who introduced all other groups to the particular way of life adapted to this type of forest.
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Dja Faunal Reserve (RFD)
This is one of the largest and best protected rainforests in Africa. Almost 90% of its area remains untouched. Virtually encircled by the Dja River, which forms its natural boundary, the reserve is most notable for its biodiversity and for the wide variety of primates that live there. It is home to 107 species of mammals, five of which are endangered. It covers 526,000 ha and has been one of the two UNESCO World Heritage sites since 1987. Source: UNESCO
The Lobé Falls
This is a remarkable natural site, where the waterfalls of the Lobé River flow directly into the Atlantic Ocean. It is a place full of symbols for the Batanga populations, among others, whose socio-cultural life revolves around water, the river and the sea. The site is inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage Indicative List.
Former Presidential Palace (National Museum) in Yaoundé
A brick building of monumental proportions built in two phases: a central block in the 1930s and the addition of two wings in the 1960s. It was the residence of the French commissioner, after that of the first Cameroonian president (Ahmadou Ahidjo) and today it houses the National Museum.
THE SAWA CULTURAL AREA
It corresponds roughly to the Littoral (French-speaking) and South-West (English-speaking) regions, which have played a central role in the country's history. Mount Cameroon, the highest mountain in West Africa, is located in the South West region. The ports of Douala and Limbe, which are points of connection with the world, are located in these two regions. Cameroon takes its name from the Wouri River in the Littoral Province. The coast from Rio del Rey to Campo played an important role in the slave trade from the 16th to the 18th century. The former slave port of Bimbia, near the seaside town of Limbé, could rival the importance of the forts built in Ghana or Senegal.
The contact with the West for a long time is reflected in the many impressive colonial monuments found in this area. The permanent architecture found here is what has been borrowed from the West. The traditional architecture often consists of cob and thatch roofs.
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Korup National Park
Korup National Park was established in 1986 and has a management plan. It is located in the South West Region, shares a common border with Cross River National Park in Nigeria and covers an area of 126,000 ha. The park has boundaries that allow it to provide a viable habitat for animals and plants. The site is inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage Indicative List.
Limbe Botanical Garden
The Limbe Botanical Garden covers more than 150 ha and was founded in 1892 by Dr Preuss. This vast garden contains a wide variety of medicinal plants. A large part of the Cameroonian flora is represented in this garden.
King Bell Palace, known as "The Pagoda
This building was built at the end of the 19th century and has the picturesque appearance of an oriental pagoda. Today it houses an art gallery. It is probably the oldest monument in the city of Douala, a testimony to the German colonial presence. It is built in red bricks imported from Germany.
Former slave port of Bimbia
The slave port of Bimbia is a forgotten part of the history of slavery, although it represented more than 10% of the slave trade. Gradually, the authorities are mobilising to revive the remains of Bimbia, the first archaeological evidence of the slave trade in Cameroon. The site has been classified as a national heritage site and development projects are beginning to emerge. (source: France 24)
Mount Cameroon or "the chariot of the gods"!
Mount Cameroon is an active volcano nicknamed "the chariot of the gods". It culminates at 4100 meters of altitude and is one of the highest mountains on the African continent. Internationally known, it hosts the international "Friendship" race every year in February. The temperature at the top sometimes drops below 0°. The climb begins in the town of Buea, the former capital of Cameroon under the German protectorate. The 2nd highest peak in Africa at 4,100 metres, Mount Cameroon is above all a volcano with a rare but devastating fury. The last eruption was in 2000. A 300-metre long lava flow devastated everything in its path, ravaging the surrounding palm groves and plantations, stopping just a few dozen metres from the Seme Beach Hotel in Limbé. The lava flow is black and smoky after each rainfall and is on average 10 metres high.
THE GRASSFIELDS CULTURAL AREA
The Grassfields cultural area is located on the plateau areas in the west of Cameroon. It is made up of two regions, West (French-speaking) and North-West (English-speaking). It is a high-altitude area bordering a tropical forest zone. It is from here that the Bantu languages spoken today in many parts of Africa originated. Linguistic, ethnographic and especially archaeological data suggest that this area has been inhabited by ancient populations for at least 30,000 years. This cultural area is characterised by numerous kingdoms of different origins, sizes and complexities, some dating back to the 17th century. It is therefore not surprising that palaces are very common. This traditional architecture, including palaces, is characterised by the use of bamboo structures built on a square plan, sometimes covered with earth, and which are crowned by a conical thatched roof. In this area, there are many waterfalls, caves and forests that have a sacred character and are the site of specific rituals and cults.
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Archaeological site of Shum Laka
Located 15 km from the town of Bamenda, this large rock shelter of 1200 m2 is situated at an altitude of 1500 m. It contains lithic industries, faunal and flora remains, and ceramics. Man lived on this site 32,000 years ago. It is the only site in Central Africa where we can see the evolution of man from the Stone Age to the Metal Age. Ancient burial practices can be found here. The preservation of all materials is assured. The site belongs to the Mbu-Baforchu community. As the site is a sacred place for the local population, its protection is assured. The site is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Indicative List.
This chieftaincy is one of the most important in the cultural area. The large hut was built about 4 centuries ago and has been rebuilt on several occasions. Its upper part is used as a granary for peanuts and maize, as are the other huts. It is supported by sculpted pillars, of which the middle ones are the oldest, having resisted the three fires that took place in the chiefdom.
Palace of the Bamoun kings. This palace of monumental proportions made of clay bricks was designed and built by the Bamoun at the beginning of the 20th century.
THE SUDANO-SAHELIAN CULTURAL AREA
It includes the Far North, North and Adamaoua regions. It is a Sahelian zone, composed of savannah, high plateaus and plains. It is here that, from the 8th century AD, the Kanem-Bornou empire developed, one of the largest in West Africa. It was Islamised from the 11th century onwards. In the 18th century, the Foulbés, still called Foulani or Peulh, who are nomadic pastoralists from the West, spread to Adamaoua. They subjugated the local chiefs and founded the first lamidats, territories ruled by a lamido, a political and religious chief for life, chosen from the reigning family. The lamidats played a major role in the new organisation of this cultural area and in the ethnic redistribution. Indeed, certain populations were resistant to Islam. Later on, they were the target of the Christian churches that spread in this area during the colonial period. Among these peoples, ancestral traditions are still very much alive. Thus, there are populations that still speak languages that belong to the Afro-Asian and Nilo-Saharan families.
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Waza National Park
Created in 1968, Waza National Park is located in the Far North region. It covers an area of 170,000 ha. It is characterised by a semi-arid and tropical Sudanese-Sahelian climate with a rainy season and a dry season. Rainfall is irregular, 600 mm. per year. Artificial pools of water serve as watering points for animals. The site is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Indicative List.
Rhumsiki is a natural site with a remarkable landscape, rich in material and immaterial heritage. It is a place of living traditions: crab witch doctor, blacksmith, palaver tree, sacred mountain.
Traditional sultanate. A group of buildings made of clay. The sultanate of Rey-Bouba is one of the most important and famous in the far north. It is surrounded by a wall nearly 8 m high, built entirely of clay. The organisation of the sultanate corresponds to that of the other chiefdoms. Built between 1805 and 1808, it is a place of memory and identity.
Old Palace of Gulfei
A former traditional palace built of earth, deserted a century ago when the sultan was rejected by the "totems" as not being part of the royal lineage. Since 1997, the palace has become a museum and is regularly maintained using traditional techniques. Every year the women of Gulfei work hard to refresh its earthen plaster. It is a remarkable ensemble, a jewel of Sao architecture.
Case Teulek, or case-obus
This is a group of five elements built in earth, surrounded by a fence, which was the subject of a reconstruction training camp between 1996 and 1997. It is maintained by the Teulek association. The Teulek hut is remarkable for its particular typology, characteristic of the Mousgoum people.