CAMEROON BY DIANE NGAKO
There is an old saying that 'traveling broadens your mind'. When I travel and visit other countries or Cities (Praha, Istanbul, Montréal, Frankfurt, Barcelona, New York, Atlanta, Niamey, Marrakech…) I see how others live. Travel also taught me to take risks and really challenge my perceptions. I love meeting people, visiting places even if I feel uncomfortable or scared about being ridiculed or rejected. Although Cameroon is my homeland, I spent almost 10 years without stepping my feet in Cameroon so when I travelled to Douala in may 2013, I felt good to be back at home. I went back home for my dad’s birthday. Could you imagine, I spent almost 10 years without seeing my dad. He was sick for his 60th birthday and I wanted to show him some love so I bought my ticket and I went to Douala to tell him face to face that I was there for him and I love him.While at home I ate, ate and ate. No seriously, I spent 3 weeks with my family and my childhood friends. I worked at my dad’s office, I was his shadow, everywhere he went I followed him. During this trip, I learned a lot about my roots. The feeling that I had when I left my country was : (Diane Audrey you have to come back and live in this country, in your country as your father did 30 years ago when he finished his studies in France) I took the decision, to live in Africa after my studies. I want to invest in Africa, explore every country, play a role in influencing the direction in which our countries are going. I’m African in the diaspora and I have the potential to influence so much in my homeland. Africans who live outside the continent need to become change agents on the ground. As daughters and sons of this continent, I believe it’s our responsibility. We call Cameroon, Africa in Miniature. The country offers all the diversity of Africa—in climate, culture, and geography—within its borders. After 9 years of traveling, I know that if you do not get out of your comfort zone, you will never learn about the language and culture of others.
For those who plan on visiting here are some of Cameroon’s top destinations:
- Musée de Douala: A must-see for art aficionados, this museum is located inside Douala City Hall, also known as the Hôtel de Ville de Douala. Featuring collections of Bamoun and Bamileke art, the Musée de Douala contains thrones, statues, and more relics from the country’s precolonial period. The building also has a shopping area with wood and brass sculptures available for purchase.
- Lobe Waterfalls: Nestled in the coastal town of Kribi, which is about 93 miles from Douala, is the Lobe waterfalls. Lobe has the distinction of being the only waterfall that empties in to an ocean.
-Hike Mount Cameroon: Mount Cameroon, at 13,353 feet (4,070 meters,) is the highest point in Cameroon. It rises almost straight out of the coast, through a tropical rain forest, and has a bare summit that is sometimes dusted with snow. An active volcano, Mount Cameroon trickles lava down almost all the way to the sea, although it’s difficult to see the peak of the mountain because of cloud cover. Debuncha, at the southwestern corner of the mountain, is said to be the second-wettest place in the world.
- Parc National de Waza: Open from November until June, Waza National Park can claim the prize as Cameroon’s most famous national park. Featuring snapshot-worthy animals, the park can be viewed by automobile (a park guide is required for each vehicle). While camping isn’t allowed within the confines of the park, accommodations are available in the nearby village of Waza.
- Kribi: A relaxing beach resort and seaport on the Gulf of Guinea coast, Kribi is located near the mouth of the Kienké River, approximately 49.5 miles (80 kilometers) south of Doula. Among the nearby attractions are the Lobé Waterfalls, and roads inland extend as far as Lolodorf, through the Littoral Evergreen Forest. A great spot for tanning and relaxing on sandy beaches, Kribi is a good halfway point to Gabon and Equatorial Guinea via the border town of Ebolowa.
- Tea Plantation Factory: The Tea Plantation Factory is located in Limbe on acres and acres of tea leaves with a remarkable mountainous backdrop. The plantation manufactures tea for CTE Tea, Cameroonians’ premier tea company.
- Limbe Zoological Garden: This zoo has a wide array of primates, such as gorillas and chimpanzees, which have been illegally detained and traded. Visitors can also see cages that the animals lived in before their rescue as well as a moody crocodile and an imposing python.
- Botanical Garden: Started by German horticulturers to grow medicinal plants, the Botanical Garden, is the place to see nearly 1,500 medicinal trees. The amphitheater, though, is a nice treat, because traditional dances in an unexpected clearing that is buttressed by dozens of trees are often performed there.
- Bimbia Slave Trade Site: Just as Senegal and Ghana have Goree and Elmina, respectively, Cameroon has Bimbia, the slave port that was active during the infamous Atlantic Slave Trade.
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