Cameroon: holidays, events, climate
There are a number of public holidays that do not have a fixed date but are based on the location of Easter. Easter takes place on the first Sunday that follows the first full moon after the beginning of spring. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, which ends on Holy Saturday, is 46 days before Holy Saturday. The date for Pentecost is then 50 days after Easter. The Corpus Christi festival is celebrated on the 2nd Thursday after Pentecost. All Saints’ Day is celebrated for Orthodox Christians on the 1st Sunday after Pentecost, but for Catholic Christians the date is fixed on November 1st. On October 31, Protestants celebrate Reformation Day. The Halloween festival also takes place on this day.
|January 1||New Year|
|February 11||Youth day|
|February March||Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice)|
|1st of May||Labor Day|
|May 20||National holiday|
|May||Ascension of Christ|
|15th of August||Assumption Day|
|October 1||National holiday|
|November 1||All Saints Day|
|November December||Eid-al-Fitre (end of Ramadan)|
Source: Countryaah – Cameroon Holidays
The dates for the Islamic holidays are calculated according to the lunar calendar and therefore shift every year. During the fasting month of Ramadan, which precedes the festival day Eid-al-Fitre, Muslims do not eat during the day, but only after sunset. Many restaurants are therefore closed during the day. The festivals Eid al-Adha and Eid-al-Fitre last 2-10 days, depending on the region.
The colorful Bamoun Festival takes place every year in the Bamileke region.
There are numerous Muslims living in the north, whose customs and traditions should be respected by tourists. Women in particular should pay attention to decent clothing. Beach clothing outside the bathing zone is taboo, and long pants are also recommended for men outside the hotel zones. Photographing locals without their permission must be avoided at all costs, as the image of people is traditionally a taboo in Islamic countries or regions. Stone prayer circles may not be entered.
“Ashia” is called out to people, which means something like hello but also excuse me or a kind of hello.
In Cameroon, people believe in witchcraft. The legal system also supports this belief, so that judgments for (proven) witchcraft are permitted. Anyone who accuses someone of witchcraft can “prove” this with the help of a witch doctor as a witness. The penalties for witchcraft in Cameroon range somewhere between fines, long prison terms, and forced labor.
Homosexuality is officially prohibited in Cameroon and is punished. You either have to pay a fine of around 300 euros. However, prison sentences can also be imposed, the length of which is set between six months and five years.
The climate in Cameroon can be divided into three different climate zones, the south, the centrally located area and the coastal section.
In the south of the country there are predominantly warm temperatures. The hottest time of the year is from March to May, with April even reaching temperatures of up to 40 °C during the day. The coldest time in the south is from December to January and from July to September. At this time it is about 31 – 33 °C during the day. Temperatures rise again to around 35 °C by October, and then drop again in December. At night from November to February temperatures are below 20 °C, but in April they can be above 25 °C. From July to October they remain relatively constant at 23 °C. There is a rainy season from May to October, but there are only less than 15 rainy days per month. Approx. 500 – 700 mm of precipitation falls.
From May to October, the average daytime temperatures are between 26 and 28 °C. Then they rise to around 33 °C by March and then drop again. At night, the average temperatures from April to October remain between 17-18 ° C. However, they can drop to 11 °C by December. From the end of March to November there is a more productive rainy season in the central area, with around 2,000 mm of rainfall. Up to 11,000 mm of precipitation can occur in the highlands.
The average daytime temperatures are around 28 – 31 °C and the nighttime temperatures around 22 – 23 °C. Seasonal fluctuations usually do not occur. On the coast it rains almost all year round, which is why many rainforests grow there. The rainy days per month increase until May, decrease until July, and then increase again until they peak in October. Around 4,000 mm of precipitation falls annually in the coastal area.
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Presents the way that CM stands for the nation of Cameroon as a two-letter acronym.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Game Reserve The Djain Cameroon Game Reserve is located in a large loop on the upper reaches of the Dja River in the districts of Dja-et-Lobo and Haut-Nyong. Its area is about 5,300 km².
The Dja River is a tributary of the Sangha, a tributary of the Congo. About 90% of the area of the park is still covered by rainforest. Its average altitude is 600 m between the forests on the Sanaga River and the Congo Basin.
The biodiversity of vertebrates in the Dja remains unsurpassed. About 120 species of mammals live there – exact counts are not yet available. The endangered species there include two species of crocodiles, forest elephants, chimpanzees and the lowland gorillas. There are also primates such as monkeys and white-eyed mangaben (ground-dwelling animals that are distantly related to baboons) and monkeys. A census from 1994-1995 revealed 349 native bird species and around 80 species of migratory birds.
The endangered species are the brown-cheeked weaver, the buntkopf rockhopper and a warbler (a bird). The reserve has been a biosphere reserve since 1981 (a biosphere reserve is a protected area that is representative of the flora in question) and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.
The park is one of the largest and best preserved rainforests in Africa. Since 1987 the park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Sangha Tri National Park
The SanghaTri National Park is an amalgamation of national parks in the Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and Cameroon, making it one of the cross-border world natural heritage sites.
In Cameroon it is the protected rainforest areas of the Lobeke National Park with the Boumba-Bek-Park and Nki-Park. The Ba’Aka pygmies, for example, live in this park and their habitat is protected there.
In the Republic of the Congo, the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park is one of the protected areas.
Approx. 2,000 elephants, approx. 2,800 gorillas and many other species of mammals that are native to the rainforest – such as swamp antelopes, forest buffalos, bongos, leopards and chimpanzees – live in Lobeke Park. There are clearings in the forest guarded by rangers, where elephants and monkeys can often be found.
There are also many endemic birds, amphibians, swallowtail butterflies and forest pigs that only occur here. In the lakes there is a very high fish population with some endemic fish species.
The species diversity of plants in the rainforest is also very abundant. The people who live here harvest bush mangos and honey, which they also sell.
The protection of these forests is absolutely necessary because they are constantly being cleared, not reforested and therefore large areas are already karstified. The penalties for illegal fishing and poaching are very high, unfortunately poachers are caught far too rarely.
Special attention – with particularly high fines – is placed on the illegal trade in ivory.
Bamenda is the fourth largest city in Cameroon with around 450,000 residents. It is located in the northwest of the country and is the largest Cameroonian city of the English-speaking minority. Bamenda continues to be an important commercial, university and transport city. The many buildings that are still children of the German colonial era are interesting for tourists. One of them is the fortress of Bamenda, which towers over the city.
Douala is the largest city and the financial, industrial, commercial and cultural center of the country with around 1.4 million residents. The city is located on the Atlantic Ocean and has the largest and most important port in Cameroon. Douala is a melting pot of diverse ethnic groups, as Douala International Airport is where most travelers set foot on Cameroonian soil for the first time. The city offers a whole range of sights. These include the former governor’s building, the neo-Romanesque cathedral, the Palace of Justice and the city museum.
Around 287,500 people live in Garoua, the third largest city in Cameroon. This is also where Ahmadou Ahidjo, the first president of Cameroon, was born. He had contributed a lot to the development of his hometown during his reign (1960-1982). But Garoua is also a center of inland shipping. The city has an international airport and is an important factor in the trade in the north of Cameroon.
Yaoundé (German Yaoundé)
Cameroon’s capital Yaoundé is the second largest city and the most densely populated area in the country with around 1.3 million residents. It was built on hills around the Mfoundi River. The two mountains Mont Mbankolo and Mont Fébé rise in the western urban area. The latter is probably the best vantage point for views over the city and its surroundings. Yaoundé is still framed by tropical jungle. The city is an important transport hub in Cameroon and the industrial center of the tobacco, milk, glass, clay and wood industries.
Basilique Marie-Reine-des-Apôtres in Yaoundé
In Cameroon’s capital, Yaoundé, the Roman Catholic Basilique Marie-Reine-des-Apôtres rises with dignity, a basilica consecrated to the Virgin Mary and belonging to the Archdiocese of Yaoundé. The Christian sacred structure is exactly where the first mission church of Cameroon was once built.
Former presidential palace in Yaoundé
The former presidential palace in Yaoundé’s Quartier du Lac dates back to the French mandate. It once served as the official residence of former President Ahidjo.
Cathedral of Yaoundé
The Cathédrale Notre Dame des Victoires, built in Yaoundé in 1951, is located on Rond Point de la Poste. It acts as the seat of the Archbishop of Yaoundé.
Monument de la Réunification in Yaoundé
In Yaoundé’s district of Ngoa-Ekele is the Monument de la Réunification, i.e. the memorial to commemorate the reunification of the French-influenced and the English-specific part of Cameroon. The monument was built in 1961.
Temple du Centenaire in Douala
The Temple du Centenaire in the city of Douala is a kind of church that was built in. The purpose of the sacred building was to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of Alfred Saker, the missionary of Cameroon.
Babungo Palace and Museum in Ngoketunjia
The pretty and well-organized Babungo Museum in Ngoketunjia gives the visitor the opportunity to view traditional artifacts while learning about their significance for the history and the country. The museum, which is open every day, belongs to the Babungo Palace, for which an extra entrance fee is required.
Diamaré Museum in Maroua
The Diamaré Museum in Maroua is located directly on the town’s market square. Objects of art and handicrafts from the many different ethnic groups who live in North Cameroon are exhibited there. These include the Mousgoum, the Massa and the Kapsiki.
Bamenda Municipal Museum
In Bamenda you can visit the Municipal Museum. Indigenous artifacts, figures and masks that go back to the grassland ethnicities are housed there.
Private universities in Yaoundé
The Cameroonian capital Yaoundé has – besides the state one – two private universities. One is the Université de Yaoundé-Sud, founded in 1996. The other is the Université Catholique d’Afrique Centrale.
Université de Yaoundé
The University of Yaoundé, the largest, oldest and most prestigious university in Cameroon, was founded in 1962 under the name Université Federal de Yaoundé. The university, whose four local campuses had been expanded in the 1980s, had to contend with considerable congestion in the 1990s, as around 40,000 people studied at the educational facility, which was designed for 5,000 students. In 1993 there was a university reform, as a result of which the Université de Yaoundé was divided into two universities – the Université de Yaoundé I and the Université de Yaoundé II.
Boumba-Bek National Park
Isolated in the extreme southeast of Cameroon, the Boumba-Bek National Park, an area of 2,383 km² that has been on the list of proposed UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 2006. It was named after the two rivers Boumba and Bek, which flow through it. The park, which is inhabited by pygmies, among others, consists mainly of lowland rainforest and is the natural home of forest elephants, chimpanzees, gorillas, bongos and around 255 species of birds.
Campo Ma’an National Park
The Campo Ma’an National Park, founded in 1932 and designated as a biosphere reserve in 1999, extends over an area of 2,640 km² in southwest Cameroon. More than 1,500 species of flora, gorillas, chimpanzees, hippos and hundreds of species of birds make the park an incredible natural experience. The park is also home to the Bagyeli pygmies, whose habitat is threatened.
Kala Maloue Reserve
Antelopes, monkeys and warthogs are at home in the small animal sanctuary, which also has an elephant trail.
Kirdi in the vicinity of the village of Rhumsiki
The indigenous tribe of the Kirdi still live according to a centuries-old tradition.
Korup National Park
Located in southwest Cameroon, Korup National Park extends to the border of the Nigerian Cross River National Park. The 1,250 km² area is mainly dominated by tropical lowland rainforest, the trees of which can reach a height of 50 meters. The Korup is also the habitat of around 25% of all African primate species. Two special features still have to be mentioned: On the one hand, the Goliath frog, which is up to 30 cm tall and can weigh up to three kilograms, lives in the Korup National Park. On the other hand, the American National Cancer Institute was able to discover a new type of liana in the park in 1987, which, with its active ingredient michellamine B, can inhibit the AIDS virus.
The Lobé waterfalls, a wonderful natural spectacle that has been on the list of proposed UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 2006, are located in the southern province of Cameroon. From a height of about 20 meters, the waters of the Lobé River plunge into the Gulf of Guinea, making it one of the few waterfalls on earth that pour their water directly into the sea.
Lobéké National Park
In addition to forest elephants, gorillas and chimpanzees, great white-nosed monkeys, gray-cheeked monkeys, giant and pin-eared pigs, as well as yellow-bridged ducks and bongos live in Lobéké National Park, a 2178 km² area in southeast Cameroon. Apart from the fascinating animal world, the park, which has been on the list of proposed UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 2006, impresses with an impressive bird world with over 280 species recorded so far.
The Mont Cameroun is the highest mountain in West Africa with a height of 4,070 m.
Nki National Park
One last true wilderness is the Nki National Park in the southeast of Cameroon, which has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2006. Of the large rivers that flow through the park, the Dja forms the imposing Nki waterfall (see below). The park is also criss-crossed by around 75 salt pans, some of which are known for a high level of game migration. Small groups of pygmies who belong to the Baka ethnic group live within the national park.
In addition to dwarf cichlids, Nile crocodiles are also at home at the Nki waterfall. In addition, around 300 different fish species are said to have been counted in the rivers of the Nki so far.
This crater lake is one of the three world-famous lakes that store carbon dioxide at greater depths due to volcanic activity. The other two lakes are about 200 km away – also in Cameroon – Manoun Lake and the Kiwu Lake – located between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Lake Nyos has a round shape with a diameter of around 1,800 m and a depth of around 200 m. In August 1986, as a result of tectonic earthquakes, large amounts of the CO2 stored under high pressure in the lake were released and killed around 1,800 people in the vicinity of the lake.
Takamanda National Park
Established in 2008 along the border with Nigeria and 676 km2 in size, the Takamanda National Park was established primarily to provide protection for the endangered Cross River gorillas. The park is also a natural habitat for reptiles and birds, among others.
Waza National Park
The approx. 1,700 km2 park consists of forest and large wet meadows, the Yaeres. Elephants, giraffes, antelopes, lions, cheetahs, porcupines and countless species of birds, such as eagles, cranes, marabous, pelicans, ducks, geese and guinea fowl, live here.
Bastos in Yaoundé Yaoundé
‘s noblest residential area extends to the north-west of the city. Most embassies, consulates and foreign NGOs have set up in the area. A highlight of the quarter is the palatial house of Bernard Fokou, who is one of the richest men in Cameroon.
Port of Douala
The port of Cameroon’s largest city extends along the river’s delta. It is the largest and most important port in the whole country.
Mvog Betsi Zoo in Yaoundé
The small Mvog Betsi Zoo in Cameroon’s capital Yaoundé is located in the Mvog-Betsi district and shows monkeys and lions, among other things. A small playground has been set up for children.