Cameroon — Attractions
Cameroon has no shortage of interesting attractions which are as varied as the country’s demographics. From historical explorations at the Fon’s Palace in Bafut to brushes with culture in the Museum of Cameroonian Art, and the breathtakingly beautiful Waterfalls of Lobe in the Southeast of the country, Cameroon has a lot to offer travelers in the way of heritage and natural beauty.
Musée d’Art Camerounais (Museum of Cameroonian Art)
Located in the Benedictine Monastery in Yaoundé, the Musee d’Art Camerounais has one of the best collections of local art and handicrafts in the region. From traditional masks and handmade pottery to ancient wooden bas reliefs and bronze sculptures, the museum is the perfect place to gain greater insight into this intriguing country’s culture. The monastery building itself is a work of art, with the chapel intricately decorated with local textiles and handicrafts. There is a English/French guidebook available for those wanting an in-depth tour.
Address: Quartier Febe, Yaoundé
Fon translates to “a local chief” and Fon’s palace near Bamenda is the site of one of the oldest dynasties in the country. Located in a region which is home to a large Tikar community, Fon’s palace is over 700 years old. There are several buildings through which visitors can roam including the abodes of the current Fon’s 150 wives, the Takonbang House which keeps the ceremonial drum and a burial site for all nobles who spent their lives serving the Fon. For those who are interested in learning more about the compound and the culture, there is also a museum which houses traditional costumes, masks, weapons and carvings.
Address: Bafut, Northwestern Cameroon
Once a private residence, the Musée Afhemi has been transformed into a public gallery. The museum houses an extensive selection of artwork from both Cameroon and countries in the region. The collection is purely a reflection of the owner’s personal taste, but is nonetheless a comprehensive catalogue of West African contemporary art. Only four miles outside of the Yaoundé city center, visitors who make an appointment in advance can request a guided tour in English.
Address: Quartier Nsimeyong, Yaoundé
The Mvog-Betsi Zoo is one of the best in the region and unlike most animal enclosures, acts as a rescue and rehabilitation center. Working closely with the UK-based organization Cameroon Wildlife Aid Fund, the Mvog-Betsi zoo has saved and takes care of many primates including chimps, gorillas and drills, which were in danger being of poached and potentially going extinct. There are also several other notable residents including lions, birds, hyenas and reptiles.
Address: Quartier Melen, Centre Ville, Yaoundé
Limbe Botanical Gardens
Travelers looking for a bit of greenery without venturing too far outside the city limits should head to the Limbe Botanical Gardens. Located just outside Limbe, the park is home to several indigenous species of flora. From tall, shade-bearing trees to aromatic flowers, the gardens offer a beautiful respite from the craziness of Cameroonian cities. Embark on a guided tour, have a quiet picnic or simply enjoy the sounds of nature.
Address: Limbe, Eastern Cameroon
Chutes de la Lobe (Waterfalls of Lobe)
The waterfalls of Lobe are an absolute must see when in Cameroon. Unlike many others, the water connects directly into the ocean. There is a relatively large public beach where visitors can spend a couple of hours catching a tan or frolicking in the waterfall’s ripples. Also in the area are canoe rentals and stalls selling traditional handicrafts.
Address: Kribi, South East Cameroon
Open Air Mass
Visitors need not be of any religious affiliation to attend the open air mass in Yaoundé. Attracting visitors from across the country, don your Sunday best to experience something unlike any mass found in the West. In fact, this mass, which incorporates drumming, vibrant dancing and passionate singing appears more like a cultural celebration than a religious ritual. The festivities begin at 9:30 a.m. sharp every Sunday morning.
Address: Quartier Melen, Yaoundé