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Cameroon

Main attractions

Landscape near Rhumsiki peak, Cameroon
Landscape near Rhumsiki peak / Alfred Weidinger, CC BY 2.0

The natural and man made heritage of Cameroon is very rich and, most likely, there are additional outstanding landmarks which are not known to wider audience and even specialists. This large country has huge landscape diversity ranging from sea and lowland rainforests to volcano summits and savannah. Highlights of Cameroon are:

  • Indigenous architecture. Several ancient cultures evolved in Cameroon and traces of their impact are seen up to this day. Some styles of vernacular architecture in Cameroon are truly unique, such as Musgum architecture in the north of country. Amazing landmarks are palace complexes of local chiefs (fons), especially the historical centre of Bafut.
  • Crater lakes. Lake Nyos and Lake Monoun got the dubious world fame of "lakes - killers" in the 1980s, when they exploded, emiting huge clouds of carbon dioxide. Other crater lakes may also have gas in their sediments but are unusual due to unique ecosystems - each of them has whole collection of water animals which are not found anywhere else in the world.

Natural landmarks

Cliff formations

  • Kola Gorges - North. Narrow and impressive, some 4 km long gorge. Depth of gorge is 30 - 35 m, it ends with some 20 m tall waterfall and cave.
  • Rhumsiki volcanic plugs - Far North. Mountainous area with amazing volcanic plugs - giant rock needles. This area with its traditional cultural landscape and round houses of Kapsiki people belongs to most beautiful places in Africa.

Caves

  • Fovu Caves (Baham Cave) - West. Rock shelters under giant blocks of granite. The largest cave room is 40 m long, 20 m wide and 15 m high. Sacred site.
  • Nka'a Cave - West. 168 m long cave with river running through it. After the cave there is natural bridge over the river. Cave is used for ritual purposes and locals consider that this is dangerous place at night.
Ekom Falls, Cameroon
Ekom Falls / Carlos Reis, , CC BY 2.0

Waterfalls

  • Ekom Falls - Littoral and West. Spectacular, approximately 50 m (some sources mention 80 m) tall plunge of Nkam River. Beautiful scenery adds to the beauty of falls.
  • Lobé Falls - South. Large waterfall which falls directly into the sea. The total height of falls exceeds 20 m (tallest step - 15 m) and width - 100 m. Sacred site to local people.
  • Menchum Falls - Northwest. Approximately 30 m tall waterfall of the powerful Menchum River. There are more rapids and waterfalls on this river.
  • Métché Falls - West. 40 m tall, rather wide plunge over cliff overhang. Sacred site to local people, reportedly used to get rid of curse.

Crater lakes

Lake Nyos, Cameroon
Lake Nyos one month after the eruption of carbon dioxide / US Geological Survey, , public domain
  • Lake Barombi Mbo - Southwest. 5 - 7 km² large volcanic lake with large number of endemic freshwater species. 11 species of cichlids, catfish Clarias mclareni, sponge Corvospongilla thysi and shrimp (Caridina sp.) are found only here. Lake deposits contain much carbon dioxide, like many other local volcanic lakes.
  • Lake Bermin - Southwest. Although this crater lake is only 0.583 km² large, 9 species of cychlid fish are endemic, found only here. Not far is another crater lake - Lake Dissoni - which has only three species of fish - but all these species are found only here.
  • Lake Ejagham - Southwest. Small lake, formed by groundwater and surrounded by tropical forest. Although this lake is only 1000 by 700 m large, here have evolved 7 endemic species of fish.
  • Lake Monoun - West. So called exploding lake which can emit huge amount of carbon dioxide thus killing the people and animals around the lake. Last eruption in 1984 killed 37 people.
  • Lake Nyos - Northwest. Crater lake with a pocket of magma, which leaks carbon dioxide in the lake water from below. As a result lake sediments become oversaturated with carbon dioxide. From time to time lake explodes, emitting huge amount of carbon dioxide. Last eruption in 1986 killed 1,700 people.

Other natural landmarks

Vivianite crystals in Anloua swamps, Cameroon
Vivianite crystals in Anloua swamps / , historical image
  • Anloua swamps - Adamawa. Unique lake deposits where the largest vivianite crystals have been found. Largest crystals were up to 1.35 m long, now are found up to 40 cm long, green and translucent crystals. The formation of such large crystals in lake deposits is unique.
  • Mount Oku swamp - Northwest. The highest sphagnum swamp in West Africa, located at the height of 2,900 m. Swamp contains unique species of plants and is surrounded by pristine cloud forest.

Man made landmarks

Archaeological monuments

  • Bidzar petroglyphs - Far North. Find of some 500 petroglyphs etched on marble surface, mostly geometric symbols: circles, cupules.
  • Diy-Gid-Biy - Far North. Abandoned settlement or sacred site, which was abandoned sometimes around the 15th century AD. Consists of a group of dry stone walls which rise up to 6 m tall. Site contains also tunnels which are overlaid with massive stones. In this region are found 15 similar sites.
  • Shum Laka shelter - North West. Enormous rock shelter - space under rock overhang. People have lived in this site over the last 32 thousand years and deposits contain numerous artefacts, including burials. This place is sacred to local people.
  • Saa-Mbura and Saa-Machub megaliths - Littoral. Two large groups of megalithic structures - standing stones arranged in circles, squares, alignments. Time of construction is not known.
Buildings in Bafut Palace, Cameroon
Buildings in Bafut Palace / Che Patrick Ndoh, CC BY-SA 3.0

Settlements

  • Bafut - Northwest. Centre of Bafut Chiefdom with shrine, palace, houses for secret societies, lodges and women's houses. Houses are built from mud brick, roofs are tiled with terracotta. In the centre of this town is located Achum Shrine (Bagangu), rebuilt in the 1910s in traditional style, with interesting, distinct ornamentation. Another important building is Bafut Palace where lives ruler - Fon of Bafut. Only he and his wives can enter Achum Shrine. Palace was built more than 400 years ago, current palace was rebuilt in the early 20th century.
  • Musgum mud huts in Pouss - Far North. In this remote area of Cameroon has evolved unique style of construction - unusual, beehive formed buildings with ornamentation and bright colors. The small settlement of Pouss is rich with these buildings, interesting is also Sultan's Palace.

Palaces

  • Foumban Royal Palace - West. Administrative centre of Bamoun people, large palace which was constructed in 1917. Today it contains Sultan's museum and rich collection of traditional weapons. Foumban is centre of culture, where indigenous writing (Shumom or Bamum script) was invented and used.
  • Palace of King's Bell - Littoral, Douala. Palace of the King Auguste Manga Ndumbe, built in 1905 in Eclectic style.
  • Rey Bouba Palace - North. Centre of power for Rey Bouba sultanate - large complex of buildings over an area of 5 ha. Core part of the complex is surrounded by 800 m long and up to 7 m tall wall, with 6 doors. Complex was constructed in 1805 - 1808.

List of described attractions by regions

Cameroon is divided into 10 regions.

Adamawa
Centre
East
Far North
Littoral
North
Northwest
South
ArrowLobé FallsWaterfalls
Southwest
West

Map of Cameroon

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