Getting around Cameroon
This is the most efficient means of national transport. Elysian Airlines (tel: (99) 098 748; www.elysianairlines.com) runs services to a number of destinations within Cameroon including Douala, Yaoundé, Garoua and Maroua. It's possible to travel by private charter but there are no scheduled services in operation at present.
There are paved roads from Douala to Yaoundé, Limbé, Buéa, Bafoussam and Bamenda and between main centres.
Other roads are generally poorly maintained and become almost impassable during the rainy season.
Many vehicles are poorly lit and badly driven.
Night driving is not recommended.
Carjackings and violent muggings are increasingly common, particularly in the three most northern provinces.
Driving on the Yaoundé/Douala trunk road should be avoided; accidents happen frequently.
This is expensive and limited to Douala, Yaoundé and Limbé. Cars are available with or without a driver. Roadside assistance is non-existent.
An International Driving Permit is not a legal requirement but recommended, especially for those hiring a car. By law, a driving licence must be carried when driving; a Cameroonian licence can be obtained within 24 hours for a small fee.
Taxis and share-taxis are available at reasonable fixed rates (none are metered). A 10% tip is optional. City taxis do not generally comply with basic security norms and seat belts are often absent. Violent assaults on taxi passengers are not uncommon, so the choice of taxi must be considered carefully. However, they are cheap and fast.
Note: Petty theft is common on trains, coaches and bush-taxis, and visitors to Cameroon who rely on public transport are urged to remain vigilant.
Cameroon Railways (CAMRAIL) is the national service provider. Services are good, if relatively slow, but it is still much quicker to go by train than by bus. There are daily services from Yaoundé to Ngaoundéré on the 'Gazelle du Nord', which runs along the Trans-Cameroon railway from Douala to Ngaoundéré via Yaoundé and Belabo, with a branch line from Ngoumen to Mbalmayo.
There is a rail route running from Douala to Nkongsamba, with a branch line leading off from Mbanga to Kumba. Daily trains also run from Yaoundé to Douala, with onward connections to Nkongsamba. Couchettes are available, as are first- and second-class seats. Trains usually have a restaurant car. Tickets must be booked on the day of travel.