Some Important Travel Tips about Cameroon
- Surface Area: 475,442 km 2
- Population: about 20,000,000 inhabitants (2011)
- Administrative divisions: Regions (10), Divisions (58) and Sub divisions (373)
- Official Languages: French (80%), spoken in 8 regions and English (20%) spoken in 2 English regions.
- Ethnic groups: more than 250 ethnic groups.
- Political capital and seat of administrative institutions: Yaounde
- Economic capital: Douala
- Flag: Green-Red-Yellow with a golden star on the red stripe.
- Motto: Peace-Work-Fatherland
- Currency: Cameroon uses the Central African franc (CFA). ATMs can be found in most of the major banks in the cities, but credit cards and travellers’ cheques are only accepted in few hotels and restaurants. In remote areas, only cash is accepted.
- Customs: Tourists benefit from the temporary import exemption system for the following personal use items: jewels which weigh less than 500g, clothes and linens, cats and dogs, two small cameras, a small cine-camera, a portable television and a radio, a portable video-tape recorder, a pair of eye glasses, small camping and sports items, toiletries, baby carriages, three litres of wine, one litre of spirits; 500g of tobacco or 400 sticks of cigarettes or 125 sticks of cigars.
- Work schedule: Public Service offices as well as banks open from 7:30am to 3:30pm every day from Monday to Friday. Shops remain open until 6pm even on Saturdays.
- Airport stamp: The airport stamp from Cameroon is 10,000FCFA (15.50Euros) for international flights and 1,000FCFA (1.53Euro) for domestic flights.
- Time in Cameroon: GMT+1
- International dialling code for Cameroon: +237
- Voltage in Cameroon: 220V or 50Hz AC
- When to visit Cameroon: Cameroon can be visited all year round depending on your travel destination or motive.
November to February are the driest months throughout Cameroon and are considered the best months for hunters and lovers of wildlife safari to visit the country.
April/May to September/October are the wettest months in the north of Cameroon. Southern Cameroon, with its constant humid and equatorial climate, experiences the wettest months from June to October. Because of the rains, many roads throughout the country are impassable between July and October.
- International airports: The country has 2 main international airports. The Nsimalen International Airport (NSI) is 26km south of Yaounde. The Douala International Airport (DLA) is 10km from the Douala city centre. Buses and taxis for shuttles are available at the airports.
- Domestic flights: Domestic flights are available throughout the country. These flights are comparatively expensive, but the safest means of transport, though there are becoming more and more unreliable.
- Land transport: There is a well-organised bus system with fixed prices and reserved seats. The best way to travel to the north from Yaounde to Ngaoundere is by train but the trip is slow and long. Within the cities, taxis and motorcycle-taxis commonly known as ‘’benskin’’are the regular, cheapest and fastest ways of getting around.
- Cameroon food & drink: Rice and fufu or couscous (mashed yam, corn, plantain, cocoyam, millet, rice or cassava) are the traditional bases for Cameroonian meals, served with cooked chicken, beef or goat inside vegetable soup. Many meals come in soup or stew form. The fufu is dunked into the bowl. Outdoor grills offer fish and soya (grilled beef) and spicy sauces. Within the cities, Chinese and Italian restaurants are becoming increasingly popular, and burgers and sandwiches are also available.
Cameroonian patisseries are considered to be among the best in Africa and offer cakes, baguettes and beignets (sweet fried dough). Beer is the drink of choice, although mineral water is available in all major towns.
- Health in Cameroon: Consult your General Physician or travel health clinic to check the appropriate vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis before travelling to Cameroon and other CEMAC countries. A yellow fever vaccination and certificate is required for all travellers to Cameroon. Ensure all water is boiled or otherwise sterilised before drinking it, or use bottled water.
- Safety in Cameroon: Like in all big cities in the world, there is high rate of crime in the major cities of Cameroon, including robbery and scams. Police regularly check for identification documents, so travellers should always have their passports or their certified copies with them at all times, as well as the yellow fever vaccination certificate.
- Photography: You can take photos freely all over Cameroon, except for presidential palaces, airports, military zones and installations, security and military personnel and situations liable to tarnish the customs and good reputation of the country. It is advisable to ask before taking pictures of people.