An African heart
Just above the equator, you can encounter the heart of Africa, a heart whose vibrations you'll hear as you land in Douala, a heart that beats to the rhythm of makossa, this cross of rumba and mambo. Stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to Lake Chad, the land of Cameroon offers a breath-taking escape.
For the ‘River of the Shrimp' (Rio dos Camarões) as Portuguese explorers called it, there is not one capital, but two: Douala, the principal commercial city and Yaoundé, the political and cultural centre. On the shores of the Wouri river, Douala is in a constant race to construct its own future. Here is where business in Cameroon was born, on its banks, in its ports. It is here that the Cameroon of tomorrow is evolving, the country that is already the top economic power in French-speaking central Africa.
Poised and thoughtful on its seven hills, Yaoundé is tranquil and amiable, leading the nation in political diplomacy and culture. The city is the high place for the heritage of some 200 ethnic groups that make up the people of one of the greenest countries on the continent, both ecological and untouched. Imagine a land with 30 natural parks and the most beautiful reserves of butterflies, rare woods and monkeys. You can indeed breathe in the jungle, touch it and hear it…
In 1998, barely 78 visitors had pushed open the door of the Ecotourism Office in Buéa, a pioneering structure in Cameroon. Now, almost twenty years later, ecotourism is no longer considered an intrusion, because it shows respect. The Office knows how to make sure communities benefit from new equipment and infrastructure. Though colonialists left their architectural heritage, with the German lighthouse of Kribi, the French villa of Mundemba or Foulassi, and the English church, these remnants live alongside a history thousands of years old. But it is not in capitals with galloping demographics that the past will be evident. Leave Douala or Yaoundé on excursions to other landscapes. Dive deep into the décor of traditional tales. Nothing has disturbed nor will disturb the chefferie of Bafut in Bamenda, or the village of Nkolandom in Centre South of Cameroon, which means ‘mount of elegance' in Bulu. Elegance, indeed, is the perfect definition for Cameroon and Cameroonian.
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