Kingdoms of Cameroon


Kingdoms of Cameroon

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 14 days
Type: GroupTravel with a small group of other travellers

Dossier

Cameroon stands at a crossroads, absorbing elements of both West and Central Africa but with a charming character all of its own. Home to some of the most traditional societies on the continent, in much of Cameroon the word of the local chief or sultan still holds more weight than that of the government, and visitors here find themselves transported back to a time when the land was divided into numerous separate kingdoms. This tour spends time in two different regions of the country. In the highlands area we explore the traditional chieftaincies of Bafoussam, Bamenda and Foumban, incredibly colourful places with fascinating histories and packed full of tradition. We spend time in a small village to soak up the rhythms of rural Cameroon, and then head east, through thick rainforests to the homelands of the Ba’Aka. We spend a couple of days as guests of a local community, learning about their forest lifestyle and how they have maintained their unique traditions – this is a chance to meet one of Africa’s most interesting ethnic groups. Finally we head to the coast at Kribi, before returning to Douala. Cameroon is often ignored by travellers, but its amazing variety of landscape and people place it among Africa’s most spectacular countries.


Tour Rating

Fitness ●●●○○ | Off the Beaten Track ●●●●○ | Culture ●●●●○ | History ●●●○○ | Wildlife ●○○○○

Tour Pace

Busy

Tour Highlights

  • Relish the verdant beauty of the Cameroon countryside
  • Meet the amazing peoples who call Cameroon home, including those of Okpwa, and Dja Reserve
  • Immerse yourself in the histories and traditions of the ancient chieftaincies
  • Finish the tour by the wonderful beaches of Kribi

Tour Essentials

Accommodation: Mix of comfortable hotels, guesthouses, rooms in Okpwa village and huts in the Dja Reserve.
Included Meals: Daily breakfast (B), plus lunches (L) and dinners (D) as shown in the itinerary
Group Size: Maximum 12
Start Point: Douala
End Point: Douala
Transport: Private minibuses- because of the terrain, and availability of vehicles locally, it is not possible to provide Air Conditioned minibuses on this tour.
Countries: Cameroon

Tour Itinerary Notes

While our intention is to adhere to the day-by-day itinerary as printed below, a degree of flexibility is built in. Overnight stops may vary from those suggested and on occasions alternative accommodation, of a similar standard to that named below, will be used.

Tour Guide

Our guides are a key strength, chosen for their knowledge of and passion for the areas in which they work. All of our guides are carefully hand-picked, and are not just passing through these countries, but are usually locally born. Unlike some companies it should be noted we do not send a guide or tour leader from Undiscovered Destinations in the UK as we have every confidence in our locally appointed representative who is responsible for operating the tour on our behalf. Where possible you will have the same guide throughout your trip but on occasions it may be necessary to change the guide at one or more points during the tour.

Day 1 – Douala

On arrival in Douala you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax or explore this lively city. Overnight at Aquarius Hotel or similar.

Douala

Douala is Cameroon’s largest city, although it is not the official capital – this honour falls to Yaoundé. A large, brash and vibrant city, Douala can be a rather blunt introduction to the country, but there is no better way to get to grips with modern Cameroon. Lacking in conventional sights, Douala makes up for it with excellent nightlife and restaurants, and a zest for life which can be intoxicating. The city was originally born out of the small settlements established by Portuguese traders who arrived in the 15th century, and went on from humble beginnings, to become an important port and the economic powerhouse of Cameroon. Although not the most attractive of African cities, in the right light the tropical ambience of Douala can be rather pleasant.

Day 2 - Mboroukou

The drive today takes us through rubber, banana, pawpaw, pineapple, cocoa and coffee plantations, visiting a palm oil mill and a tropical flower plantation. We arrive at Ekom village in time for a picnic lunch from where we can see the beautiful, 80m high Ekom Waterfalls. We continue to the village of Mboroukou which sits at the foot of the Manengouba Mountains. Overnight at Villa Luciole Lodge or similar. (BD)

Day 3 – Baham-Foumban

After breakfast we depart for Baham to visit the palace of a traditional Bamileke chief. We continue on to Foumban, renowned for its excellent traditional crafts it is rich in history, with good museums and a superb royal palace, and we spend time exploring the town’s key sites. Overnight at Paradise Hotel  Koutaba or similar. (BD)

Foumban

Foumban is an important centre for African art and one of Cameroon’s most culturally rich towns. The centrepiece of the town is the sultan’s palace, which resembles a medieval chateau and is the seat of power for the Bamoun people. Foumban’s museums hold excellent examples of Bamoun arts and crafts as well as exhibits on local history, masks, traditional dress and everyday items that have been used in Bamoun life. The Rue des Artisans is home to all manner of small shops and workshops and is one of the best places in Central Africa to buy wood carvings. Foumban is a predominantly Muslim town and one of the oldest in Cameroon

Day 4- Batoufam

After breakfast, we visit a Bororo village to gain some insight into rural life in Cameroon. Here, life is dominated by activities that reflect the people´s lifestyle, such as small-scale production of milk which is one of their main food items and is used by the women to produce butter. These people, especially the women, are renowned for their skill in braiding. Depart for Batoufam via Bafoussam visiting the sacred Mectchie waterfalls en route, where local Bamileke people come to make sacrifices in the hope that their wishes will be granted. Overnight at the chief’s palace in Batoufam. (BD)

Day 5 – Yaounde – Mbalmayo Forest Reserve.

Today we leave for Yaounde stopping at the small town of Makenene on the way, On arrival in Yaounde we will take a short city tour and then continue to the Mbalmayo Forest Reserve, about 70kms outside Yaounde, and the eco- tourism village of Ebogo. Overnight at the "Centre d'Acueil" Lodge. (BD)

Yaounde

Cameroon’s official capital city is smaller and more pleasant than its rival Douala, which remains the most important city of the country – although the pace of life here can still be hectic, it feels slightly more relaxed and its location on a series of leafy hills makes the climate here more conducive to exploring. Although it does not have too many specific attractions, there is an interesting museum of Cameroonian arts and crafts situated in a Benedictine monastery atop one of the hills, with some superb examples of masks from the many ethnic groups of the country.

Day 6 – Nyong River- Mefou Primate Sanctuary

This morning we take a pirogue along the Nyong River and walk through the rainforest to learn something of the medicinal qualities of some of the plants. From here we will visit the Mefou Sanctuary which cares for rescued and orphaned primates such as chimpanzees and gorillas. We end the day by returning to Yaounde. Overnight at Merina Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 7 –Abongbang – Lomie (363 kms, approx. 6hrs 30mins)

Leave Yaounde and drive to Lomie, via Ayos and Abongbang. This is a long drive which cuts through thick equatorial rainforest and passes picturesque Ba’Aka and Bantu villages. Overnight at Raphia hotel or similar (BD)

Days 8 & 9 – Dja Reserve

Drive to the village of Djoamedjo at the entrance of the Dja Reserve. From here we continue on foot to the Ba’Aka village of Matisson. We are welcomed by the community and spend these days immersing ourselves in their unique and complex culture, taking walks in the forest, learning about traditional hunting techniques, discovering local folklore and more. This is a superb opportunity to spend time with a fascinating people. Overnight in huts in the village. (BLD)

Please note that conditions in the village are very basic, with squat drop toilets and limited washing facilities. Please contact us for further information.

Ba’Aka (Pygmy) People

The Ba’aka people are the original inhabitants of this region, having lived here for centuries before the great Bantu migrations, which saw them eventually reduced to minority status in their traditional lands. Typically their villages are located in the forest, close to the flora and fauna that they hunt and gather by age old methods. The villages are usually constructed from materials found in the jungle, with houses being simple affairs made from branches, leaves and animal hides. They are expert hunters and organise group hunts for animals as large as forest elephants, although with the encroachment of logging and mining firms into their lands, wildlife is becoming less plentiful than in previous years. The term Pygmy is not used by the people themselves, who derive their names according to their particular ethnic group, such as Batwa or Ba’aka. In some areas Pygmy populations still live as virtual slaves to Bantu overlords. In recent years Pygmy groups have become more organised and have sent representatives to the UN and the World Bank in order to lobby and defend their rights, and be allowed to maintain their traditional lifestyles.

Day 10 – Yaounde (373km, approx. 6hrs 45mins)

After bidding farewell to our Ba’Aka hosts we begin the drive back to Yaounde. Overnight at Merina Hotel or similar. (BD)

Day 11- Douala-Edea Park

We leave Yaounde and drive via Edea to the Douala-Edea reserve, which is home to the endangered Central Chimpanzee, one of West Africa’s most threatened primates, along with other rare species such as the Gabon Black Colobus Monkey. Numerous species of forest antelope and a small population of African Forest Elephants also live in the area. The reserve is managed by an association that subsequently releases young chimpanzees onto Pongo Songo Island on the Sanaga River when they become adults- we can take a boat ride to the island to watch the chimpanzees. Overnight at Hostelerie de la Sanaga. (B)

Day 12- Kribi

Today sees us head to the coastal town of Kribi. In the afternoon we take a boat ride on the Lobe River, and visit the Lobe Falls which flow directly into the sea, a rare natural phenomenon. Overnight at Tara Plage Hotel or similar. (BD)

Day 13 – Douala (165km, approx. 2hrs 30mins)

Spend a relaxing morning at leisure before transferring back to Douala, visiting the fishing village of Londji on the way. Overnight at Aquarius Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 14- Douala

Depending on your time of departure, there may be time to take a boat ride through the nearby mangrove forests and visit some local fishing villages. Tour ends with a transfer to the airport. (B)

As a result of current British Foreign Office advice we have reviewed the tour itinerary to avoid areas of concern highlighted by them. To view the revised itinerary please look under "Downloads"- as the advice is unlikely to change soon we will be following this for the tours in January and March 2019. 

Inclusions:
Arrival and departure transfers at the beginning and end of the tour
All accommodation
Transport throughout the tour in private minibuses.
Services of English speaking guide / tour leader
Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary

Exclusions:
International flights
Any airport taxes
Travel Insurance
Visas
Tips
Drinks

Updated 24/11/2018