Hello, welcome to Cameroon, the country with a great variety of landscapes!
Cameroon is situated between West Africa and Central Africa. The country extends from the dry savannas around the Chad lake up to the Atlantic Ocean and the tropical rainforests of Central Africa. Infact, Cameroon’s landscape has everything: mountains, desert, forest, savanna and coast. That's why Cameroon is called "Africa en miniature".
Cameroon is located between Nigeria in the west and Chad and the Central African Republic. Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of the Congo border the south of the country. Cameroon is near the equator. The Chad lake is located in the outermost north. The climate here is dry and hot. People and animals suffer from frequent periods of drought.
The Mandara Mountains and the Rhumsiki Peak
Rhumsiki Peak is located in the Mandara Mountains in the north of Cameroon. The scenery looks like an almost lunar landscape with its volcanic plugs, the remnants of long-dormant volcanoes. The largest of these rocks is Kapsiki Peak, a plug standing 1,224 m tall. These volcanic peaks and their surroundings have been considered as one of the most beautiful landscapes in Africa. Near by is Rhumsiki village. The inhabitants, the Kapsiki people, live in small houses built from local stone and topped with thatched roofs. These homes are scattered throughout the village and surrounding valley. Added to the region's fascination is the Crab sorcerer around the neighbourhood. He is said to have the ability to tell anyone's future after an encouraging tip. The area is also famous for its blacksmiths, potters, spinners, weavers and native dancers.
The inner region of Cameroon is characterized by a plain where there are many volcanoes and mysterious seas. Volcanic mountains extend in the west, including the highest mountain of West Africa, Mount Cameroon. At over 4,000 metres tall it is the highest point of West Africa. This hilly landscape is one of the rainiest areas in the world.
Yaoundé , the Capital of Cameroon
Yaoundé is the capital of Cameroon, situated in the southern part of the country. It is known as the city of seven hills, because it is dramatically spread over seven hills. With more than two million inhabitants it is quite a big city and it is still rapidly expanding. The city shows various exuberant styles from colonial times until the seventies. Yaoundé is Cameroon’s centre of government and administration. The city was founded by a German tradesman, because Cameroon was a center of the ivory trade during colonial times. A special urban culture has developed in Yaoundé, locals engage in urban agriculture. The city is estimated to have over 50 000 pigs and over a million chickens. For tourists it has not much to offer, despite its vibrant bars and restaurants.
Peoples and Languages
Cameroon is the native country of almost three hundred people. The Hausa and the Fulbe are nomads in the Shahelzone and raise cattle. The Bamiléké, the largest people of Cameroon, live in the north and in the centre. They are well-known as tough business men and dealers. The Bantu people live in the south. The rainforest is the home of the pygmies, the forest dwellers. In Cameroon many African languages are spoken. French and English are also official languages.
Religion and Education
In Cameroon half of the people are Christians and a quarter Islamic. Like in most African countries most of the people have kept their African faith. When missionaries from Europe arrived here they built western schools. Although, nowadays it is compulsory to attend school in Cameroon, a quarter of the people are illiterate. This does not mean that these people are not educated. On the contrary: the Pygmies, the people that live in the woods of Cameroon, know a lot about nature, animals and plants. If the children attended western schools, some of this invaluable local knowledge would be lost.
Games Children play
Football is the most prominent game in Cameroon. Every boy who loves sports wants to join Les Lions Indomptable, Cameroon's national football team. The team has qualified seven times for the World Cup, and was the first African team to reach the quarter-final. Samuel Eto'o became one of the best known footballer from Cameroon. What about the girls? They also like to play football, the women's national football team has competed in their first ever FIFA women's World Cup in 2015.
Economy and Natural Resources
Half of the Cameroonians live of agriculture and fishing. Most agriculture is done by local farmers using simple tools. They sell their surplus produce, and some maintain separate fields for commercial use. They cultivate bananas, jams, maniok, cocoa, oil palms, rubber, and tea. On the South Cameroon Plateau, cash crops include coffee, sugar, and tobacco. Forestry and arboriculture contribute a lot to the revenues of Cameroon. But the export of timber and other noble woods has destroyed many tropical forests. The main natural resoures are crude oil, bauxite and natural gas. Not so much of the natural resources are prcoessed in the country. However, cell phone networks and Internet providers have increased dramatically.
Plants and Animals
Mammals including different species of apes, antelopes, reptiles and insects survive in the tropical forests of Cameroon. The rainforests are the habitat of many birds and amphibians. Dangerous snakes such as the King Cobra and interesting animals like chameleon roam through the woods. Many species of fish live in the rivers, seas and the coast of Cameroon. You can find many beautiful butterflies in the savannas and woods. Along the border of Nigeria the Takamanda National Park was set up to protect gorillas.
Celebrations and Holidays
The state in Central Africa celebrates its national holiday every year on May 20th. The highlight is a parade in the capital Jaounde. The gloriously colourful Bamoun festival takes place annually in the Bamileke region besides Islamic and Christian holidays.
Because of this little shrimp the country is called Cameroon. The name is derived from the Portuguese word, Camaroes, meaning shrimps. As Portuguese sailor Ferdanando Poo arrived in 1472 at the Wouri river and discovered so many shrimps he decided to call it Rio Dos Camaroes. The earliest inhabitants of Cameroon were the pygmies. They still inhabit the forests of the country. Archeological findings show that Cameroon was settled by Bantu people thousands of years ago. In the 15th century the Muslim Fulani arrived in the north of Cameroon. It was around the time when European ships sailed along the African coasts and set up trade posts in Cameroon. The ivory and sugar trade flourished. The Portuguese also wanted to acquire gold and slaves. The northern part of Cameroon was an important part of the Muslim slave trade. The slave trade was largely suppressed by the mid-19th century. German, French and English powers dominated the country during the colonial times. Cameroon became independent on 1st January 1960.
Since independence Cameroon has faced many political changes. Cameroon has strived for democracy. The state of Cameroon remains with a relative healthy economy, but most of the people have a very low income. And also there are a lot of social problems. Is Cameroon a democray today? Not really. The country is ruled by a president, who controls the nation since many years and suppresses the freedoms of opposition groups. The good thing about Cameroon is that most of the children go to school. Indeed Cameroon has one of the highest school attendance rates in Africa. But many children are working to contribute to the income of their families. Half of the pupils aged 7 to 14 combine work and school. Cameroon is a young nation, half of the population is 15 years old and younger. Some are organized in pro-democracy movements. Hopefully they will make the change for the better.