Yaoundé (constitutional). Population: 1.4 million (2005). Douala (economic). Population: 2 million (2005).
Republic. Gained independence in 1961.
Head of state:
President Paul Biya since 1982.
Head of government:
Prime Minister Philemon Yang since 2009.
110/220 volts AC, 50Hz. Round two-pin plugs are used.
While referring to Cameroon as 'Africa in miniature' has become a bit of a cliché, this statement certainly rings true: everything you would expect from the African continent seems to be consolidated in this diverse slice of land. The south boasts tropical rainforests and deserted golden beaches; the northern parts are awash with great expanses of desert, lakes and savannah; volcanic mountains dominate the southwest and northwest, and game-viewing areas scattered throughout the country offer ample opportunity to observe impressive wildlife, including elephants and lions.
Poverty blights much of Cameroon's infrastructure, meaning transport and accommodation are underdeveloped. Outstanding border disputes with Cameroon's powerful neighbour Nigeria (linked in part with control of the oil-rich Niger delta) mean relations are somewhat awkward. While a key dispute, involving the Bakassi Peninsula, has been officially resolved, the border region is still considered unsafe. The areas bordering Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR) are also unstable.
Aside from certain no-go areas, Cameroon offers a wealth of activities and beautiful destinations to keep the adventurous traveller enthralled. From its verdant rainforests to its powerful creatures, this country is bursting with life; go, before it becomes 'discovered'.