Cameroon is a country with several major towns, amongst which are YAOUNDE, the political capital of the country with about one million inhabitants. DOUALA, which is the major economic city, has more than two million inhabitants. The other main towns are GAROUA, BAFOUSSAM, MAROUA, BAMENDA etc.
Cameroon has more than 240 tribes which are found in three main ethnic groups; Bantus, Semi-Bantus and Sudanese. The number of national languages spoken in the country is more than 240. The most notable tribes are:
BANTUS: Beti, Bassa, Bakundu, Maka, Douala, Pygmies……
SEMI-BANTUS: Bamileke, Gbaya, Bamoun, Tikar……..
SUDANESE: Fulbe, Mafa, Toupouri, Shoa-Arabs, Moundang, Massa, Mousgoum….
French and English are the official languages, which are spoken by 70% and 30% of the population respectively. Spanish and German are equally spoken by a few city-dwellers.
Cameroon is a secular state. Two major religions have followers; Christianity and Islam. Animism is also widely practised.
Religious: Good Friday, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, Assumption, Christmas, End of Fasting, Feast of the Ram.
Secular: New Year, Youth Day (11th February), Labour Day (1st May), National Day (20th May).
Besides the shooting season which is practised in the northern part of the country from November to May, all other tourist activities can be undertaken throughout the whole year.
TOURISM IN CAMEROON
Cameroon is a choice destination with a lot of attractions for any visitor. The country has a lot of natural attractions and many other phenomena that are not found anywhere else in the world, making it possible to have various categories of tourism.
Situated in the heart of Africa, indeed straddling West Africa and Central Africa, and stretching from the elbow of the Gulf of Guinea on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, going through evergreen forests which gradually fade into grass land savannah until it reaches the sandy regions of Lake Chad, Cameroon has features which are found in all parts of Africa.Seaside Tourism:
The 400 km long coastline of the Atlantic Ocean is very suitable for tourism, with a lot of attractions like colourful bays, rich sandy beaches, a variety of small islets, mangrove vegetation and waterfalls that plunge directly into the ocean.
Fishing goes on in all the settlements along the coastline, carried out by individual and commercial fishermen. Any visitor can take a try at fishing. A wide variety of fishes can also be found in the many rivers which can be found throughout the country.
Safari and hunting:
There are seven national parks in Cameroon, with the most interesting and properly maintained one being the Waza Park in the Far North Region. These parks have a large number of animal species found in Africa ( elephants, lions, giraffes, rhinoceros, panthers, buffalos, antelopes, hippopotamus, hyenas, gorillas, cheetahs etc…). Besides the national parks wherein hunting is prohibited, there are 14 hunting zones in the northern part of the country with more than 500 km of motorable roads. Cameroon is the place of choice in West and Central Africa for safari tourism as the national parks and other animal reserves like Boubandjida in the Adamawa Region are properly preserved.
As a result of the concerns for the preservation of the environment, measures have been undertaken to classify and protect some natural sites for various purposes, including scientific, ecological and tourist activities. Some of the prominent ones are:
- The Korup National Park which has plant species that are more than one million years old.
- Dja Reserve, which is classified among humanities heritages by UNESCO.
- Mount Cameroon, which is 4,070 m highand has vegetation which dates back to the Quaternary period and has been accepted for international mountain-climbing events. It is an ecological site with remarkable potential that is being improved by the German NGO, “GTZ”. Mount Cameroon is still an active volcano with the most recent eruption occurring in March 2000. The rainfall in this area is also very high, especially at Debuncha on the West Coast.
- The Site of Mayo-Rey where footprints of dinosaurs are still visible.
The population of Cameroon is made up pf more than 200 ethnic groups with different customs and traditions, some of which have survived till date, especially in the north and west of the country.
A lot of diversity can be observed in the way of life, the folklore, the religion, housing and culinary habits. The oval houses of the Massa people in the north are unique in design in the world.
The historical artefacts that abound in Cameroon are a testimony of the creative nature of the people, while the monuments and other vestiges of past events attest to the colonial history of the country. English and French are a remarkable indication of the bilingual culture of Cameroon.
Mountaineering is a good pass time, as Mount Cameroon, Mount Manengouba offer a lot of hospitality. The Climatic centre in Dschang provides a place for a quiet holiday.
Conference and Business Tourism:
The major cities of Yaounde and Douala, with infrastructure of international standing (conference centres, international airports, hotels etc), are the main centres of conference and business tourism.
Dry and rainy seasons alternate in the country, with the dry season generally going from November to April. Temperatures range from 23 to 31°C in January to 21 to 35°C in July.
ISO code is CM
Time: 1 behind GMT