Ecotourism

 

How to Get To Mount Cameroon National Park

You can choose Buea and Limbe as base for discovering Mount Cameroon National Park; most tours into the National Park start from Buea. Buea and Limbe are 65 km and 75 km respectively from Douala (1,5 hours). Douala has an international airport. Limbe is situated at the coast whereas Buea stretches from 600-1100 m up the mountain. Buses and taxis are regularly circulating between Douala and Buea/Limbe.

 

HistoryOfEcotourism

 

History of ecotourism on Mount Cameroon

Eco-tourism on the mountain started before the creation of the National park in 2009. In 1999/2000 the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) supported the establishment of Mount Cameroon Eco-tourism Organization (Mount CEO), an NGO with the mission to promote eco-tourism as an instrument for biodiversity conservation and improvement of local livelihood. Through this project, former hunters were trained as guides and porters - a different livelihood option. Tourists had to pay a daily fee for a stakeholder fund, of which a part went to a village development fund for the benefit of the surrounding communities. Mount CEO got also support from the German Development Service (DED). Mount Cameroon Eco-tourism Organization changed in 2002 into the “Mount Cameroon Inter-Communal Ecotourism board” which went into a partnership agreement with the Ministry of Tourism; this agreement has elapsed. After creation of the National Park, management of eco-tourism inside the National Park is considered a park management activity under the mandate of the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF). Until 2012 Mt CEO was the main tour operator, since then, following the park’s community-based ecotourism approach more operators have been authorized by the park service to facilitate tours in the National Park (see below).

HowToOrganiseYourActivities

 

How to organize your tour activities in Mount Cameroon National Park

After having got an overlook of the possible activities on this website the best for you is to contact one of the official authorized local tour operators (see list below). Their services comprise organising your activities with guides and porter, booking and paying accommodation in the park and/or providing you with camping equipment, provide food for the day and paying the park entries. It is not permitted to enter the park without a guide from a registered local tour operator. The park is currently only accessible on foot. It is not allowed and permitted to enter with a vehicle into the park; a regulated shuttle service to the lodges will be organized in future with improved road access.

 

 

List of local tour operators authorized to facilitate tours in the National Park

ORGANIZATION CONTACT PERSON WEBSITE EMAIL TELEPHONE
BIPAHET Benjamanin Yayin Yomi http://bipahetcig.webs.com/ecotours bipahet_cig@yahoo.com 677246105
Charis Eco-tourism Buma Peter http://charisecotourism.com/ info@charisecotourism.com 677037475
CMC Anthony Motinda www.CMCtours.org info@cmctours.org 699526738
Fako Guide and Porters Association Ikome Ferdinand   fkome2007@yahoo.com 675093284
Flora Travel and Tours Ltd Agatha Forsac Iyok www.floratraveltours.com info@floratraveltours.com 678553913 / 233333582
HADY Walters Nyuyune Chin www.hadyguides.com hadyguides@gmail.com 677430301
MOSEECO Ernest Mosonge mosecomoceco@gmail.com   655289905 / 677491075
Mount CEO John Lyombe www.mount-cameroon.org mountceo@yahoo.co.uk 675863341 / 678689160
Mt Cameroon Trekking Jean Claude Tsafack www.mountcameroon-trekking.com info@mountcameroon-trekking.com 676272887
NA BRA O GBAKO John Ngomba     675844826
NGUEN - Ecotours Asu Joseph Fobia     678684484 / 673068994
OTEO Njie Motombi .F   Njiefrank2008@yahoo.com 691838615 / 675402521
Queens Tour Sarah Etonge www.mountcameroontour.org mountcameroontour@gmail.com 677161861 / 675810344

 

 

Park entry fees

Park entry fees are fixed by a decree of the Ministry of Finance of Cameroon for all National Parks in Cameroon and are currently:

Park entry fee per person per day:

Personality Amount (FCFA)
Cameroonians 1,500
Foreign residents in Cameroon 3,000
Foreigners 5,000
ActivitiesAndAttractions

 

Activities and attractions

Trekking

 

Trekking on Mt Cameroon National Park’s wilderness trails

The only available activity currently for visitors in the park is walking or trekking. However a number of specific attractions and points of interest can be covered by this activity. Tourists can choose between different tours ranging from some hours, one day, to several days tour with overnight in the park. Everybody can find something according to interest and physical condition. Part of the tours are strenuous and need good physical condition. The trails lead through the different vegetation zones and landscapes as farmland, lowland, sub-monane and montane rainforest, grassland, pioneer vegetation on lava streams and volcanic rocks and volcanic ashfields. The variety of landscapes and ecosystems make the tours unique. The currently used trails are listed and further described below, see also the eco-tourism map. The park plans to develop and extend the trail network in future, to put in place signalization and organize permanent trail maintenance.

 

 

Equipment for trekking

Trails are often stony, narrow and the surface not smoothened. You need to wear firm shoes and to walk carefully, but no special mountaineer equipment is needed. Specially in the grassland on higher altitude solar radiation (UV) is very strong. It is important to protect yourself by a cap or hat and treat you skin with sun cream. It is often very windy and cold in higher altitudes so a wind jacket which shall protect against wind and rain is needed. Even in the dry season you may experience short rainfalls specially towards the west coast. Temperatures are descending with higher altitudes (see climate). A woollen pullover or fleece jacket is needed, thick socks and for comfort a woollen cap. Take always one dry set of clothes for the night. In the eco-lodges you will find beds, bedsheets and pillars and light is provided by the solar system from which you can charge also you phones but you should take always a torchlight with you.

 

Overview of tours

The above duration is based on average physical conditions.

 

ToursWithAccomodation

 

Tours with lodge accomodation

Currently only Fako Mountain lodge and Mann’s Spring lodge are managed. If you want to sleep in a comfortable cabin without camping you have the choice of tour 1a, 1 b, 2 a, 2 b, 3a (and 2c and 3b when not sleeping at the Crater lake). In the other tours you will need at least some camping equipment.

OvernightTrekkingTours

 

Short description of overnight trekking tours

We recommend the following two tours for people getting the first time in touch with the park:

For 2 days:  Tour N° 3a – This route introduces you to the mountain you walk through the sub-montane and montane forest, learning about plants and animals, experience the grassland, pass a wonderful moment in Mann’s Spring Lodge and go back to Bokwango either on the same trail or passing the craters of the 1999 eruption. If you really want to enjoy stay for 2 nights in Mann’s Spring Lodge and make it a 3 days trip, it is worthwhile.

For 3 days: Tour N°2a or N° 2b – This is the most popular route to get a full experience of the landscapes of Mount Cameroon National park. Particular in day 2 you experience a volcanic and kind of “lunar” landscape, incomparable to what you have seen up to now. Physical fit trekkers pass through the summit on the way to Mann’s Spring Lodge, the others have the choice of a path which is easier and leads only up to 3,300 m.

 

Tour N° 1a: Buea-Upper fams – 1000m, Hut 1 – 1800m, Fako Mountain Lodge 2,850m (overnight), Summit 4,095m, Buea-upper farms (2 days) – “Race Track”

This is the famous track of the Mount Cameroon “Race of Hope”. It is a tour for very sportive persons, difficult. The main issue here is to reach to the summit and come back. In the second day you climb 1,200m and descent 3,000m!

On my way to the Summit
View from Summit

 

Tour N° 1b: Buea-Upper farms 1000m, Hut 1 – 1800m , Fako Mountain Lodge 2,850 m (overnight), Summit 4095 m, Fako Mountain Lodge 2,850 m (overnight), Buea-Upper farms (3 days)

Same as 1 a but you stretch it over 3 days and enjoy a second night in Fako Mountain Lodge, benefitting by chance from the sun in high altitudes, a beautiful starry night sky and great views on Buea and the bay of Limbe.

Sunrise at Hut 3
 
Relaxing on the terrace of the restaurant of Fako Mountain lodge after an enjoyable walk

 

Tour N° 2a: Buea- Upper farms 1000 m, Hut1 1,865m , Fako Mountain Lodge 2,850 m (overnight), Hut 3 -3,775 m, Summit 4,095 m, Camp 2, Camp 1, Mann’s Spring Lodge 2,400 m (overnight), Buea-Bokwango 850 m (3days)

This is the most popular tour to experience fully Mount Cameroon National park landscapes.

Day 1: Upper farms at 1,100 m was a dairy farm in German Colonial times – the place is now used as prison. Recently a new prison building has been constructed. Shortly after upper farms you can visit the oldest water supply system from German Colonial time, still functioning. It is a stream intake system. Just above a nice small waterfall. The place is called Etunge in Bakweri language. Ask your guide to take you there, it is only five minutes from the main trail. You start with the farmland after upper farms and learn about farming systems in these area, in particular coco-yams farming. In the farmland and specially in the sub-montane forest the guides will explain you useful medicinal plants of the Bakweri. You may see also one of the mahagony trees of these forests (Entandophragma angolensis). All the way along the calls of the Green and Yellow billed Turaco are accompanying you. The park entrance is reached at 2840m. A rest stop is done usually in hut 1 for a small snack – the basic structure of hut 1 is from German Colonial time. It provides basic shelter. The spring is called Mosake in Bakweri. In the 1950s the German Biologist Eisentraut spent quite some time in this hut for his field studies. At the time he heard each evening the cries of Chimpanzees (Eisentraut, 1982) which is not the case now. However the guides confirm that you can see Preuss Guenons around the area. From hut 1 you are already close to the savannah in which you will enter after half an hour walk. The slope becomes steeper. The next rest for lunch is made in intermediate hut at 2,250 m. This hut is simple but provides shelter if needed. From intermediate hut to Fako Mountain lodge (former hut 2) you will climb on the steepest slope of the journey mostly on loose volcanic stones and lava flows. The distance is not long but it is very strenuous to climb. If the clouds are fading away you may have great views on the canopy of the mountain forest and Limbe coast line more far. Sometime you can see also Bioko island along the steep slope in SW direction. Once you have reached Fako Mountain Lodge you are compensated for your efforts having reached a very comfortable place to enjoy a sunny afternoon, the sunset and the night. Close to the lodge (5 min.) you can visit a volcanic cave.

Day 2: The next day is long, with an estimated average of 10 hours walking: Four hours to climb further up to the summit (1245 m difference in altitude) and then six hours walking gently down in direction SW to Mann’s Spring Lodge (towards the coast), from 4095 m to 2,400 m. Therefore you need to get up early and start early walking. The slope is less steep than between intermediate hut and Fako M. Lodge. In the morning you walk on a lava ridge upwards you see along some from the fire attacked, knobby but resisting Auguria salicifolia – Mweli in Bakweri language. On the way to the summit you pass a volcanic cave where you make take a short glimpse at the entry and you reach hut 3 at 3,800 m; the hut is currently in a bad state. The park plans to build a new refuge at the location. Close to the summit you can visit the 2000 crater (3900 m) created through the last eruption and impressive in size and rising above a big plateau where its lava flew down. With clear weather a good view. In the bottom of the crater smoke is still coming out. After this small excursion to the crater taking half an hour you are close to the summit. By good weather you have a good view on the various volcanic cones of the plateau below. After a short stop and summit photo – it is very cold here – you descend, sliding on ash fields, until Camp 2 (3,435m), a place for resting in the shelter of some small tree and shrubs. From there soon you will cross a large lava field – walking is not easy and needs a lot of intention until reaching Camp 1, another rest place. On the whole trip and also in camp 1 you have magnificent views back to the summit and the lava flows you have passed. From Camp 1 walking becomes more easy and you start descending to Mann Springs, passing before at radar antenna on several hill tops (“Elf station”). A major attraction is still in front of you: the craters of the 1999 eruption – they are 7 in number and you can all visit them and look into the bottom – some sulphurous smell is coming out still of one of them. You descend on ash fields and admire pioneer vegetation installing itself on the ash. From there you reach Mann’s Spring in 45 min- 1 hour after a long and strenuous walk but it is worthwhile with all the different experiences of the exceptional “lunar” volcanic landscape. Again you are compensated for the end of the day with the soft sunlight of the afternoon and evening hours at the terrace of Mann’s Spring Lodge recovering forces by drinking a tea made of mountain mint. For sure you can have also clouths passing through – the weathter is changing very quickly on the entire Mountain. Mann’s Spring is our favourite lodge, situated at the edge of savannah and forest with a lovely and special atmosphere. The spring nearby the lodge was named after the German Botanist Gustav Mann who did research on the mountain in 1862 working for Kew Gardens. The Bakweri name of the spring is Mowe. If chancy you may observe Preuss Guenon around. Birders will find also their account, around 50 species can be observed in the mountain forest and savannah (pers.communic. Czech researchers). If the weather is clear and if you are not too tired just climb five minutes above the solar panels and you will have a breathtaking view over Mt. Etinde, the atlantic ocean, Bioko Island with the Pico Basilé 3015 m and the coastline between Bakingili and Idenau. Third day: The third day is shorter with 6-7 hours walk. After having passed 15 min in the very beautiful montane forest of Mann Spring you walk two hours through grassland and open woodlands (Auguria salicifolia). If the weather is clear you have beautiful views on Mt Etinde and the atlantic ocean and the coastline until Limbe. You pass one of the impressive lava flows of 1999. Then you descend 4 hours to Bokwango, through montane and sub-montane forests, experiencing the atmosphere of tree fern (Cyathea manneana) forests. The last hour of walk is going through farmlands of Bokwango.

Back view to the summit from camp 1
From Elf station towards Mann’s Spring

 

Tour N° 2b: Buea- Upper farms, Hut 1, Fako Mountain Lodge (overnight), Camp 1, Mann’s Spring Lodge (overnight), Buea-Bokwango (3days)

The difference to tour N° 2a is that instead of climbing the summit after having slept in Fako Mountain Lodge on day 2, you take the road which was opened to Mann Spring, moving first up to 3,300 m and then gently going down to Elf Station 2,945 m and then to Mann Spring. Day 2 of this tour needs six hours of walking and easier walking than on tour 2a, as you are walking of a 3 m opened access road. However the volcanic landscape and views offered this day are in nothing less great then the ones of the tour 2 a. The road and the path of tour 2 a are joining close to Elf station and you may from here continuing on the path in order not to miss the 1999 craters.

Trekking from Fako Mt. Lodge to Mann’s Spring Lodge - view back on the summit
Crossing a lava field on high altitude plateau

 

Tour N° 2c: Buea-Upper farms 1000m, Hut 1, Fako Mountain Lodge 2,850 (overnight), - Summit-4,095m or not, Camp 2-3435m, Mann’s Spring Lodge 2,400m (overnight), Crater Lake 1,850m (eventual overnight)- Drink Garry Camp- Bakingili Park entrance (3-4 days).

The variation of this tour to the previous ones (2a and 2 b) is on the third day and eventual fourth day. Instead of descending 1,550 m in the case of Bokwango, on this tour you are descending to the park entrance of Bakingili. The park entrance with two bungalows have been built here. Vehicles can take you up from there, if not you have to add another hour to continue through farmland and oil palm plantations to Bakingili village at the coast. Bakingili is 30 min from Limbe by vehicle. From Mann’s Spring lodge you enter quite quickly into the mountain forest. You cross at approx 2000 m altitude the lava flow of 1982 - it is nearly 1 km wide. If you have clear weather you have a fantastic view on Mt Etinde and on the coast from this point. The next attraction is the crater lake, elephant movement around this lake is frequent in the dry season. You have to be careful. A elephant viewing platform has been built at the lake and permits you to put your tent on it in order to pass the night and have the chance in the morning to see elephants and bush bocks. Briefly after the park entrance you are moving on an old German farm road, which led at the time to an oil palm plantation and factory. You can observe the road and bridges built out of stone.

Elephant crater lake
                      Wildlife viewing point by the lake side

 

Tour N° 3a: Buea-Bokwango 850 m , Mann’s Spring Lodge 2400 m (1- 2 overnights) –Buea-Bokwango (2- 3days)

This is the best tour when you have only two days and you want nevertheless to get a good experience of what Mt Cameroon National park is offering; the difficulties are moderate compared to some of the other tours. From Bokwango you pass one hour through the farmland before climbing three hours through sub-montane and montane forest. Then a two hours walk leads you through the savannah, still a little bit climbing but then more or less staying on one level before entering the forest of Mann’s Spring. On clear weather you may have some beautiful views of Mt Etinde and the coast. The second day you can return the same path or another path to Bokwango. The other paths climbs up to the 1999 craters and permits you to visit them before continuing a savannah walk, crossing quite some ashfields and lavaflows and then descending into the forest until Bokwango.

Walk through the mountain forest
Sunset at Mann Spring

 

Tour N° 3b: Buea-Bokwango 850 m, Mann’s Spring Lodge 2400 m (overnight) – Crater Lake 1,850 m (eventual overnight)- Park entrance Bakingili (2-3 days)

As Tour 3a, however on the second day you descend to the craterlake and to Bakingili, with an eventual overnight stay (with a tent) at the craterlake. Bakingili is 30 min from Limbe by vehicle.

Strangler Fig in the mountain forest
Elephants near craterlake

 

Tour N° 4: Bonakanda 870 m, Antenna 2580m , P&T Lodge 2,340 m (overnight), Nitele 1,820 m, Elephant Opening 1,585 m (overnight), Bomana 545 m (3 days)

Bonakanda is 20 min by vehicle from Buea.

Day 1: On the first day the walk passes on the road from Bonakanda to P&t station. After the farmland of Bonakanda – the cultivation of Yams has extended enormously in the last few years – you reach the park entrance in the sub-montane forest. A park entrance has been built here with three bungalows. Moving up in the forest you have on your left site the park and on the right sit

Day 2: The second day you walk down to Nitele. The area of Nitele and also Elephant Opening are good wildlife viewing points but you need some time. Before reaching Elephant opening a big lava stream is crossed. In the middle of the lava stream a big cave with bats can be visited. At Elephant opening a stream is coming down the mountain, it is an open wet place, with very steep mountain slopes all around, visited by all kind of wildlife, including elephants. For the night you camp in the nearby forest.

Day 3: From there you can walk down to Bomana on the Bomboko side of the mountain. Bomana is 1,15 hours with a vehicle from Limbe passing through Idenau.

View from P&T Lodge
At Nitele

 

Tour N° 5 : Buea- Upper farms 1000 m, Hut 1 , Fako Mountain Lodge 2,850 m (overnight), Summit 4,095m , Elephant Opening 1,585 m (overnight)- P&T Lodge ( overnight)- Bonakanda- Buea (4 days)

This tour is not any more frequently realized and trails may be not completely open – ask your tour operator for more information. From the summit the trail descents to Elephant opening, 2,510 m difference in elevation! However it offers beautiful views on the savannah landscape and forest below. Elephant opening is good point for wildlife observations: elephant, bush bock., chimpanzee. The same is true for Nitele. P&T is not managed for now and you have to camp on the entire part from Fako Mountain Lodge.

Elephant Opening – Mosingeseli
Camping around elephant opening

 

Tour N° 6: Buea-Bokwango 850 m , Mann’s Spring Lodge 2400 m (overnight), Camp 2- 3435m (overnight), Summit 4,095m , Elephant Opening 1,585 m (overnight)- P&T Lodge ( overnight)- Bonakanda- Buea (5 days)

This tour comprises all attractions of the National park. It permits to see also wildlife and extends the pleasure to be in fantastic landscapes and vegetation types.

HalfAndFullDayTrekking

 

Short description of half- and full day trekking

 

Tour N° 7: Buea-Upper Farms (1100m) – Hut 1,865m- Buea-Upper farms (5-6 hours)

An experience of the forest and if you add one hour in climbing you will enter also in the beginning of the savannah.

Hut 1 – Mosake Hut
View on canopy with mountain behind close to Hut 1

 

Tour N° 8: Woteva (810m) –1959 Lava Flow 755m and back (3-5 hours)

The tour starts in the small villae of Woteva (half an hour by vehicle from Buea), passing then in their community forest to reach the target which is the lava flow of 1959 which has come down here between Woteva and Ekona Lelu village. This tour is not entering into the National Park.

 

Tour N° 9: Woteva (810m) –1959 Lava Crate 1830 m (3-5 hours)

The tour starts in the village (half an hour by vehicle from Buea) going up on a forest road through the community forest. After some walk through the forest you cross lava flow before entereing again in the forest and walking up into the grassland up to the crater of the 1959 Lava. On the way back another track can be chosen. In the forest you can observe big Mahogany trees (Entandophragma Angolensis) and you may here Chimpanzee or see their nest in the trees.

Start in Boteva village with Dracaena trees in the back
Woteva lava flow passing through the forest

 

Chimpanzee nests on the way
Crater of 1959 lava

 

Tour N° 10: Etome-Mt. Etinde 1713 m – Etome or Ekonjo 665m (7-8 hours)

You walk one hour through the farmlands of Etome before reaching a deep valley by the side of the path and you hear a waterfall below you. Here you enter into the lowland rainforest, one of the few real lowland rainforest experiences the mountain offers not far from Limbe . You walk until the junction to Ekonjo village. The forest hosts drills and chimpanzee which you may here when chancy. After the junction steep climbing through the forest start not really on a path. With time trees become smaller and by going up you get a good impression of the different vegetation zones. Spectacular is the walking of the last part of the trip – you climbing up on a very narrow ridge (2-3 m) from which the mountain walls fall nearly vertically down of both sites. The summit is a small platform of few meter . On the ridge and on the summit you have great views on the sea and Bioko island if the atmospheric conditions are favourable. For the descent you choose again Etome or you walk to Ekonjo to get a different experience in the lowland forest.

Mount Etinde or “Small Mount Cameroon"
On the way to the top of Mt Etinde (1713 m)

 

Tour N° 11: Plantation of Rechstfluss camp (Idenau) –Mbonge waterfall (3-5hours)

By vehicle you pass Idenau, Rechtsfluss camp and travel on some stony road until the start of the tour (1, 5 hours from Limbe). After few minutes of walking you enter into the lowland rain forest, one of the few places of easy access to it. The Mbonge waterfall is spectacular falling 30-40 m down in the middle of the forest. You can take a bath in the fresh water and picknick before going back the same path.

Walk in the forest

Mbonge waterfall

BirdWatching

 

Bird Watching

Some of the tour operators have specialised guides for bird watching and can organize specific bird watching tours for visitors either one day or several days in the National Park or outside the National Park or in other areas in South West Region, North West Region or Littoral. The Grey necked Picathartes can be seen in a place in the lowland forest on the Western slope of the Mountain, inside the National park.

                                  Birdwatching guide at work

Northern Double Collared Sunbird (Cinnyris reichenowi) in the savannah

ViewingOfWildlife

 

Viewing of wildlife (big mammals)

Some of the tour operators are more specialized in wildlife viewing than others. You need experienced guides who know how to approach animals, specially elephants. You may discover wildlife on your trekking tours specially N° 2 c, 3 b by passing or staying at crater lake, wildlife viewing platform has been constructed there, on which you can place your tent. Tours N°4, 5 , 6 offer good wildlife viewing opportunities around Nitele and Elephant Opening. In discussion with the tour operator and guide you choose the tour which best corresponds to your wishes and eventually modify it. It may be necessary just to stay quiet for some hours in one of the places, which extends the described tours by a day. Elephants and other wildlife like chimpanzee, Preuss Guenon, other monkeys, bushbuck and antilopes can be viewed in forest zones specially around water points as crater lake, Red lake, Bomana Lake, Nitele. Apart from Elephant opening; the antelopes are seen also in the savannah. You need to take particular attention to see wildlife. You better walk alone or in a small group and avoid noise. For sure you can combine bird watching and view of other wildlife.

                                  Guide tracking elephants with elephant dung
Bush bock (Tragelaphus scriptus) at the crater lake

 

Preuss’ Guenon (Allocchrocebus preussi) filmed at Mann's Spring

Camera trap video of Forest Elephant (Loxodonta Africana cyclotis)

Volcanism

 

Observation of volcanism

The best tours to observe craters, lava flows, ash fields and other phenomena of volcanism are 2 a ,b, c and where you see the craters of 1999 (close to Mann’s Spring) and/or 2000 craters (close to the summit) and a lot of different lava flows and astonishing volcanic landscapes but you will discover volcanic activities also on the tours N° 3 a, 5,6, 8 and 9.

1999 craters close to Mann’s Spring
Caves

 

Caves

Caves have their interest in their own as part of the signs of volcanic activities but also as habitat of wildlife – quite some caves are sleeping places for bats on the mountain. You find caves on all tours passing from Fako Mountain Lodge to the summit (one at Fako Mountain Lodge, one on the way to hut 3). The most famous bat cave is found on the lava flow between Nitele and Elephant opening (Tour 4,5,6); however they are quite some other bat caves on the mountain – your tour operator and guide can give you more information.

Bats in a cave
Cave
MCNPWaterfalls

 

Waterfalls

The most beautiful waterfall in the National Park to visit is Mbonge Waterfall (Tour N° 11). You will enjoy also the lowland rainforest around.

Mbonge Waterfall
Waterfall at Buea stream intake (Etunge in Bakweri) – 10 minutes from Upper Farm
AccomodationInThePark

 

Accomodation in the National Park

There are three lodges in Mount Cameroon National park of which two are operational: Fako Mountain Lodge and Mann’s Spring lodge. These lodges have been built by the Programme for Sustainable Management of Natural Resources – South West Region (PSMNR-SWR) with funds from the German Development Bank KFW. (see also flyer: Discover Mount Cameroon National Park and its lodges).

 

Fako mountain heights video

FakoMountainLodge

 

Fako Mountain Lodge

Fako Mountain Lodge is situated at 2,800m altitude on the main hiking trail from Buea to the summit. The site offers great views of the landscape stretching down to Buea, Limbe and the coastal line up to Douala. The site is protected against wind through lava ridges all around. Fako Mountain lodge has a restaurant, a bar and five cabins with three beds. All facilities are powered by solar energy. Ten tent platforms are available. Guides and porters have their own accommodation and kitchen.

 
Fako Mountain lodge has a restaurant, a bar and five cabins with three beds. All facilities are powered by solar energy.
 
Ten tent platforms are available.  Guides and porters have their own accommodation and kitchen.

MannsSpringLodge

 

Mann’s Spring Lodge

Mann’s Spring Lodge is situated at 2,300 m altitude, on the edge between the forest and savannah. It offers splendid panoramic views.

Manns Spring view of Mt Etinde and Bioko island
 

The lodge can be reached on a day’s walk directly from Buea or from Fako Mountain lodge. It can be used as a base to go to elephant view points around the crater lake.

 

Mann’s Spring lodge has a restaurant, bar and six cabins –two in the savannah and four in the forest - each with three beds. The site is equipped with water and solar energy. The restaurant is a beautiful wooden structure, nicely integrated into the forest-savannah edge, with a wide terrace to the West catching the evening sun and on the other side with a view into the forest.

 

Ten tent platforms are available. Guides and porters have their own accommodation and kitchen.

 

Prices for Fako Mountain and Mann’s Spring Lodge

CABIN Price (FCFA)
A cabin with one person 20,000
A cabin with two persons 25,000
A cabin with three persons 30,000
Additional mattress on request 12,500
 

Prices for Fako Mountain and Mann’s Spring Lodge

CABIN Price (FCFA)
Camping in a tent*, on or outside of platform 20,000
Shower for camper, incl. towel and soap 25,000
Lodging for guides and porters (tent not provided) 1,000
 
Restaurants

 

Restaurants

Food and drinks (coffee, tea, beer, soft drinks, wine, spirits) can be ordered on site. For larger groups it is advisable to order meals in advance. The kitchen is excellent and run by experienced cooks. They serve breakfast (eggs, pancakes) and good meals available in a price range from FCFA 1,000– FCFA 4,500 (vegetable soup, smoked chicken and fish, spaghetti, rice with vegetables,…)

Breakfast on the terrace in Fako Mountain Lodge
Dinner in Mann’s Spring Lodge
InformationAndReservation

 

Information and Reservation Lodges (Fako Mountain Lodge and Mann’s Spring Lodge) Reservation and information lodges

EMICAM Buea, Mt Cameroon National Park Headquarter
Tel:  (+237) 6 94 51 77 04
         (+237) 6 77 60 39 85
Email: emicamlodge@gmail.com

Reservations can be made also through the local tour operators (see above).

PAndTLodge

 

Lodges at P&T Station

The World Bank financed PCFC project built an eco-lodge at P&T station (Old Post and Telecommunication station) at 2,390 m altitude. The place offers great views on old craters and the forest below. A road from Bonakanda is leading to the lodge, however the road is currently completely degraded. Once rehabilitated the park envisages to organise through a concessionaire a shuttle service for guests of the lodges. The road shall not be opened for private vehicles. P&T station has two VIP lodges and one standard lodge. Each VIP lodge has double bedroom, dressing room, a bathroom, a WC, a small kitchenette and a saloon with an open fireplace. The standard lodge has 5 bed rooms, planned for 4, 3, 2, 2 and 1 bed respectively, giving a capacity of total 12 visitors. Two common bathrooms with shower and WC, a kitchen, a dining room and a round saloon with fireplace are completing the standard lodge. Water is provided by gravity from a spring 4 km away. For electricity supply a generator has been installed.

For now, the lodges are not operational.

P&T VIP lodges
ParkEntrances

 

 

Park entrances

The park has constructed three park entrances, one on the main trail towards hut 1, one at Bonakanda and one at Bakingili built by the PCFC project with limited possibility of accommodation. So far the bakingili and Bonakanda entrances are not operational.

Park entrance towards Hut 1
Bonakanda Park entrance

 

Bungalows at Bonakanda Park entrance
Bungalows at Bakingili Park entrance
DevelopNewExperienceAndActivities

 

Developing of new experiences and activities

Mount Cameroon National park is a relatively “young” national park. The Eco-tourism Development Plan has identified quite an important potential for further eco-tourism development. Some experiences which could be developed in the future through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) are:

  • Interpretative (game) drives by giving controlled access to vehicles managed by a concessionaire; pre-condition is to find means to rehabilitate the degraded road.
  • Construction of a canopy walkway.
  • Mountain-biking could be developed outside the park and on certain sections inside the park.
  • Improving wildlife sightings.
  • Astronomy in one of the lodges – there are perfect conditions for star gazing when the sky is clear as there is no light pollution.
  • Night-tours – organize a walk in one night or on a over-night trip and experience the life of the forest during night hours.
  • Horse-riding may present an opportunity to the park but has to be carefully studied.
  • Beside the mountain race new events could be created as trail runs, mountain bike races, or even wedding events in one of the lodges.
  • It may be possible to organize small executive meetings in P&T lodge.

Also the park discovery centre of the National Park it is planned to be constructed with the support of the German Cooperation close to the Park Headquarter in Buea. The natural history and attractions shall be made accessible in a pedagogic manner to a wide public including school pupils.

 

Together let's keep the mountain clean and sane!

You say it needs only a little bit of common sense to keep the mountain environment clean and sane. You are right! but nevertheless as a support for this collective commitment we ask for the respect of the following

RulesAndRegulations

 

Rules and Regulations in the National Park and at the lodges

Sites reserved for Camping in the park
The lodging in cabins and tents in the Fako Mountain and Mann’s Spring Lodge is obligatory for visitors, guides and porters for the tours between Buea, Summit and Mann Spring. No wild camping close to these sites or at any other place is authorized, except Camp 1 and Camp 2 between Summit and Mann Spring if required by the tour planning or in case of urgency, for now, Camp 1 and Camp 2 can be used free of charge. Other places for camping which can be used so far free of charge are P&T station and the camping site in the forest close to Elephant opening. No other places are authorized for camping. There are no facilities – water, toilets, electricity, shelters- in these places; pls take care to keep them clean.

 

Use of firewood for cooking and warming

Use of firewood harvested in the park is forbidden. Firewood harvesting specially at Fako Mountain Lodge with an increasing number of visitors will have a negative impact on the environment. A kitchen for guides and porters has been built in Fako Moutain Lodge or is under construction in Mann’s Spring Lodge, tour operators shall bring up their own cooking gear (gaz, kerosene or charcoal ovens) for their cooking, they can be stored in the lodging facilities. The tours shall then transport their kerosene or charcoal for the tour. For visitors cooking of simple meals can be ordered in the lodges. As the lodges are in a National Park it is not authorized to use any part of the natural vegetation (bushes, grass, bark, dead timber) from the park to make a fire in order to cook or to warm yourself. Fires in the park especially in the dry season can have dangerous consequences and cause huge bush fires spreading over many kilometres of the grassland and destroying trees and shrubs. In future the concessionaire of the lodge may organise official fireplaces in the restaurant or outside the lodge for creating a “warming” ambiance”, however firewood will be brought from outside the National Park.

 

Drinking water

Water is found only at a few places in the mountain, at Hut 1 or Mosake spring at 1,865m, Mann’s Spring – Mowe in Bakweri – at 2,400 m, Nitele at 1820 m, Elephant Opening –Mosingiseli in Bakweri – at 1585m.. In Mann Spring you can fill your bottles with clean spring water – the other springs are not managed and may need filtering in order to avoid any contamination. Tour operators organize your water bottles with mineral water for the day. Please think to carry the empty bottles back to town. In the Fako Mountain and Mann Spring Lodge you can buy mineral water.

 

Harvesting of plants or animals
In a national park any harvesting of plants or animals is strictly forbidden if not authorized by specific permits and management measures. Therefore guides and porters shall strictly observe that no plants or animals, even dry flowers are collected in the park. Keep the beauty of the flowers in your photographs! ‘’Take nothing but pictures---Leave nothing but foot prints.’’

 

Waste management under the motto “Trash in – Trash out”

All waste which is brought up by tourists, guide and porters has to be carried back by them to town. It is not authorized to dump it at one of the lodges or on the trails. A good example to follow is to take up the waste of people who have dropped it on the way before you. The waste is not heavy because it consists of mainly plastic bottles, papers, sardine tins, etc. All guides shall give voluntarily this good example (see picture below) and waste management will be not any more a problem in the National Park. You as a tourist will not complain that the park is dirty. For this please, tourists should find out before you start the tour, if the guides/porters who are accompanying you are carrying along an empty plastic bag to collect the waste of your own tour but also that of people who have dropped waste on the way before you. The management of the different tour facilitation organisation are equally solicited to control the respect of waste management measures adopted.

                     Waste Management at lodges

 

Toilets in the National park

So far water flushed toilets only exist in Fako Mountain Lodge and Mann’s Spring Lodge. They also exist in P&T lodge but the lodge is not yet operational and the toilet facilities cannot yet be used. No other toilet facility (latrine or dry toilet) has been installed on the trails. Please ask your tour operator to take a plastic spade or trowel along before you start the trip. If you need to relieve yourself during the trip please go at least 20 m to one of the sides of the trail, dig a hole with the spade or trowel, and cover the whole with earth when you have finished.

 

Cleaning of guides and porters facilities in the lodges
Guides and porters are responsible to clean the cabins which they are using and leave the place clean for the next team.

 

Smoking in the lodges and in the park
All the constructions of the lodges are made of timber. Smoking is not allowed by tourists/guides/porters or any other person in the cabins and in the restaurant. Special attention should be paid in the dry season for smoking outside – the grassland can easily burn and create damage to persons and infrastructure.

 

Other rules to be respected in the lodges
The lodges are of simple and solid construction in an isolated but very rewarding natural environment. To guarantee a most pleasing stay for all visitors we ask you to respect the following rules:

  • Please remember that lodges and places for tents have to be reserved with the lodge operator or the tour operator; space is limited!
  • Please announce your arrival to the manager of the lodge immediately when you arrive – he will arrange all necessary that your stay will be comfortable.
  • Please respect the instructions of the camp manager and eco-guards of the National Park
  • Please order your food and your drinks in the restaurant; it is not allowed to bring food and drinks from outside for consumption in the restaurant. To give you a pleasing stay the place has to be permanently managed and these services have to be paid by your lodging and consumption.
  • Please respect the place, keep it clean and take along the waste brought by you, so that people behind you will enjoy the place also
  • Please inform the camp operator if you detect any faulty part in the infrastructure of the lodges
  • Please respect other people who are lodging in the site and want to enjoy an extraordinary quiet environment, keep silent specially in the night.
  • Please use the toilets in the lodges also in the night even if you have to make some steps to reach the toilet – the visitors using the lodge after you will thank you for this effort, because seeing or stepping through toilet paper and other stuff on the ground is not of the nature to make you feel comfortable….

The lodge management encourages you to leave a comment, appreciation or suggestion in the guest book available in each site!
The National park team wishes you a wonderful stay in the park!

AttractionsAroundThePark

 

Attractions Around The Park

 

Accomodation around the Mount Cameroon National Park

A lot of different hotels, lodges and guesthouses can be found in Buea , Limbe and at the beach sites. Please consult the tour operators or specific websites to this regard.

CultureAndEconomicActivities

 

Cultural and Economic Activities

 

Traditional houses

To our knowledge traditionally constructed houses are not found any more around the Mountain. Construction was done with the stems of tree ferns. Similar traditional structures, are still used in Kupe Manenguba, which gives an idea of Bakweri traditional houses long time ago. Most of the houses in the villages are made with walls out of timber planks “Calabot” and have roofs of corrugated zinc.

Bakweri tradition house (drawing of 1870)
House in Bomana village

 

Bakweri traditional houses

 

Traditional Agriculture, food and markets

Main food crops around the mountain are cassava, cocoyams, yam and plantains. You can visit the different farming systems in the villages. Do not miss also a visit to one of the markets in Buea or in other villages. The most famous meal in Bakweri land is Kwakoko with Mbanga soup. Kwakoko is made out of grated cocoyam tubers, grated and wrapped into banana leafs and then steamed. Mbanga soup is made of fresh palm nuts and smoked fish is added. Quite a number of other meals and dishes are to be discovered!

Cocoyam farm on the mountain
Yam tubers on Buea Market

 

 

Elephant dance

The elephant (Njoku in Bakweri) is the totem of Bakweri people. Members of the “Male” societies have “their” elephant in the bush and can transform into this elephant. Villages meet from time to time to perform the “Male” or “Elephant Dance”. There a number of other traditional dances of the Bakweri people.

Male Elephant dance in  Bonakanda village

Mask greeting visitors in Bokwango village during the Bakweri Nganya dance

 

 

Traditional wrestling (Pala Pala) and Tug of War

Traditional wrestling or “Pala Pala” are rotating between the Bakweri villages.

Traditional wrestling in Limbe during FESTAC (Festival of Arts and Culture)
Tug of war in Limbe during FESTAC (Festival of Arts and Culture)

 

 

Canoe race

Another impressive top event is the canoe races of the villages of the coast. Each village has his race canoe and his team: more than 20 rowers moving these long canoes forward with an incredible speed. The event is rotating between villages; During FESTAC (Festival of Culture and Arts), Limbe, the canoes start from “Down Beach” and round the 3 km distant Ndame island coming back to the beach.

Start of canoe race “Down Beach” Limbe

 

 

Down Beach fish market

A place where you can admire big Benin or other fisherboats from West Africa, and as well eat a roasted fish on the beach or buy barracuda, capitain, bar, shrimps, gambas, crabs sea snails.

Fish market at Down Beach
Fishing boats ready to take off

 

 

Idenau fishing port

45 km from Limbe on a good road you get to Idenau, another fishing and trading port. A small river is entering the sea and serves as natural port. Behind the steel bridge (from German Colonial time for railway transport) you can visit a number of fish smoking places. From here the road continues to the Bomboko side of the mountain. You can continue with some time all around the mountain the “Mount Cameroon Ring road” towards Muyuka, however from Idenau the road becomes stony (average speed 20 km/h).

Customers and canoes at Idenau fishing port

 

 

Development of Agro-industrial plantation around Mount Cameroon - Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC)

The Bakweri had settled around Mt Cameroon in the seventeenth century because of the wildlife rich forests and the fertile land. Gbea (Buea) in Bakweri language is associated with abundance. (Lemoigne, 2010). Most of the natural vegetation around Mt Cameroon (tropical lowland forest) has been transformed into agro-industrial plantations of actually oil palm, Hevea (rubber), Banana and tea. Most of them are under the ownership of CDC a para-public company, with head office in Limbe, and second biggest employer after the government with 22,036 employees, including temporary workers. The Tole tea plantation has been privatised recently (see below). The agro-industrial plantations were created under German colonial rule, the biggest plantation owner and somehow the owner of the core plantations of CDC was the West African Plantation company (West-Afrikanische Pflanzungsgesellschaft (WAPV)), founded in 1896. Beginning of the 20th century there were in total 28 plantation with 98,000 ha from which 18,000 ha were cultivated, mainly cocoa, rubber (Funtumia and Hevea) and Oil palm. (see also German colonial period below) After World War I the companies were expropriated and in 1925 they were able to buy back in an auction these plantations from the British. In these years banana and tea plantations were started. First Banana shoots were introduced in Cameroon in 1908 (see Limbe Botanical Garden). Bananas were developed mainly in Tiko area. In the port of Tiko a strong wooden dyke of 220 m was constructed where unlike in Bota a deep-water landing place for ocean vessels exists. After World War I the Likomba Kamerun Bananen Gesellschaft AG (LKBG) was founded. In world war II the German owners of the plantations were expropriated again and in 1947 CDC was founded and increased the planted area from 20,000 ha to 42,187 ha actually (Oil plalm 15,240 ha, Hevea 22,262 ha, Banana 4,525 ha).

Oil palm plantation (Elea guinenis)
Rubber exploitation (Hevea brasiliensis)

 

Banana plantation (Musa spp) - production for export
Fresh Fruit Bundles of Oil palm waiting for transport (Elaeis guineensis)

 

 

Plantation Railway

The WAPV in 1901 started to build a extensive network of small gauge railway network (60cm) to link the plantations to the sea port at Bota (Limbe) and Tiko. The main line was between Bota, passing Tole to Small Soppo at 650 m altitude, completed in 1909. In total 74 km were developed before 1914 and extended by WAPV and LKBG in the twenties and thirties up to 125 km. Locomotives were using first imported coal, then briquettes and sometimes also Bongossi timber (“ironwood”). After world war II the plantations became of WAPV and LKBG became the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC). They extended the plantations. The railway was still used some years and then most of it abandoned successively in the fifties in favour of roads. Until 2001 there was a 7 km trail between Tiko and Sonne which was occasionally still used by a train. In 1953 CDC built a concrete wharf in Tiko. The railway dams and bridges can be found still all away around Mt Cameroon in the plantation areas; some locomotives can be visited in the CDC railway workshop in Tiko or in CDC senior staff club in Tiko . One of the locomotives, the “Governor Ebermaier” was made running in 1997 on a short track for the 50th anniversary of CDC. Projects to rehabilitate a track to make it usable for tourists did not conclude. A number of plantation houses from the colonial period are also found in these plantations as well as camps for the workers which are sometimes still used (Bratzel, 2009).

Abandoned Railway dam (Tea road between Limbe and Buea)
Old locomotive in Senior Staff club CDC in Tiko

 

 

Tole tea plantation

Passing through the tea road from Buea to Mile 4 downwards to Limbe is a pleasure for the eye seeing the smoothly welled tea plantations in a special green in front of the Mount Cameroon massif. In good atmospheric conditions you will see even Bioko island. Tea was first brought by German 1914 to the Limbe botanical garden and an experimental plot established in 1928 (see Limbe Botanical Garden) This plot was used as seed bearer by the British to develop Tole estate in 1954 with 283 ha. In 1958 a small factory was built. You pass a part of the plantation and an old colonial house which is cold “Saxenhof” – a german name. Belonging before to the Cameroon Development Corporation Tole Tea estate has privatised some years ago. Close to Tole the tea factory is found where the tea is fermented and dried with firewood from the Eucalyptus plantations around; before the establishment of the Eucalyptus plantations in the 1980s firewood extraction depleted the natural forests in the area.

Tea plantation with Mt Cameroon in the background
                                        Harvesting tea at Tole

 

 

Flowers

Buea and the villages around have several flower producing farms. You can visit such a farm and admire the beautiful flowers. They are transported and sold mainly on the Douala Flower market in Bonapriso (close to the artisanal market).

Growing of Heliconia flowers
                                       Flower of Porcelain rose

 

Flowers in vases
Flowers packaged for export from Buea

 

 

Cocoa cultivation

The cocoa plant whose botanical name is Theobroma cacao, the genus, Theobroma, comes from two Greek words: theos, meaning gods, and broma, meaning foods. Thus, literally, “food of the Gods. The plant origin is South America. Cocoa cultivation was introduced in German Colonial time (1886) and realized by plantation companies. The Trinitario variety of cocoa they introduced was from Venezuelan and West Indian planting material, with distinctive red-podded trees. The result is cocoa withunusually high fat content and a red-colored powder. The Trinitario variety, called “German cocoa”, is still planted around Mount Cameroon even if higher producing hybrids are successively introduced. Today cocoa is cultivated by small holders (2-4 ha). Cocoa farms have quite a number of shade trees and play a important role in biodiversity conservation and carbon stockage (Laird.S: Cocoa farms in the Mount Cameroon region: biological and cultural diversity in local livelihoods). Mount Cameroon on the Bomboko and Muyuka site of the mountain (between Bomana village and Muyuka) is an important cocoa production site in Cameroon. The park between other actors has supported several villages in improved cocoa farming (Farmer Field and Business Schools) and juvenilization of cocoa farms.

Cocoa plantation close to Bova Bomboko
Nursery of a cocoa farmer

 

Cocoa pods
Drying of cocoa beans in the sun
AttractionsOfHistoricalValue

 

Attractions of Historical Value

 

Slave trade port Bimbia – memorial site

The slave trade site can be reached 20 min by vehicle from Limbe continuing from downbeach eastwards. In 2010 Limbe III council secured this place of a great historical value and is organising guided tours on it. The Cameroon Government has recognized the site in 2013 as National Cultural Heritage site. The important vestiges of the atlantic slave trade and the explanation of the guide are making you understand and also feel emotionally in a unique way this dark part of history and the human tragedies which have taken place here. Bimbia is composed of several villages: Dikolo, Bonagombe, Bonabile, Mabeta. The people are Isuwu. From about 1500 Bimbia was one of the big kingdoms beside Douala on the coast. After 1472 Portuguese have discovered Cameroon (“Rio dos camaroes” – English: River of Prawns) they established business contacts with Bimbia, buying slaves, ivory and other items. Slaves came mainly from the grassfields of Cameroon were shipped from here to Sao Tome, Principe, Fernando Po (Bioko island) and to America and Caribbean islands. The slave trade was flourishing: A US researcher Dr. Lisa Aubrey already identified 166 ships having left Cameroon territory (Bimbia, Rio del Rey, Wouri) between 17th and 19th century. Involved were Portuguese, then in the 17th Century the Dutch, but in the 18th century the British. 70% of the ships were from Britain. There are much more ships to be identified. The researcher Dr Lisa Aubrey has worked in the framework of an African Reconnection Program to allow Afro-american to trace back their history. Limbe Council III on request is also organizing a re-enactment spectacle of the slavery at the site. (Hors Série: Villages d’Afrique, Juin 2015: Transatlantic slave Trad Bimbia)

Columns where slaves were chained and door of “no return” behind
“Feeding trough” for slaves

 

 

Abolition of slavery, Baptist Church and British colonial History in Limbe

The abolition of slavery took time and started with the abolition of the slave trade before stopping slavery as such; enforcement of both took several decades. Britain abolished slave trade in 1807, an abolition act of slavery was passed in 1833. The French abolished slave trade in 1815/17 and slavery itself in 1848 before having abolished it already in1794 after the revolt of slaves in Saint Domingue under François Dominique Toussaint Louverture, but Napoleon re-introduced it in 1802. The Dutch and the Portuguese respectively abolished slave trade in 1814/1815 before abolishing slavery in 1860 and 1869. In 1827 Britain established through Captain Owen a post in Fernando Poo (Bioko island) which served to fight slave trade and to track and arrest slave ships. Baptist missionaries (John Clarke, and G Prince in 1841, Merrick 1842, Fuller, Saker 1858) all came to Fernando Poo before passing to the mainland in Bimbia. The British post was transferred in 1843 to Sierra Leone in agreement with the Spanish who had exchanged in 1778 with the Portuguese land in the bight of Biafra agains possessions in Brazil and wanted to take possession of the island. Systems of servitude and slavery were common in parts of Africa before the contact with Europeans. However, kinship structures and rights provided to slaves (except those captured in war) appears to have limited the scope of slave trading before the start of the Arab slave trade and the Atlantic slave trade. Slaves were often not treated as property and were related to kinship eg in some cases children of slaves born into families could be integrated into the master's kinship group and rise to prominent positions within society. King Williams from Bimbia was a big slave trader in the 19th century until he made an agreement to suppress slave trade with Joseph Merrick in 1844. Jospeh Merrick a son of former slave in Jamaica became Baptist missionary who, assisted by Joseph Jackson Fuller, established the first successful mission on the Cameroon coast of Africa. In these years freed slaves from Jamaica had pushed the Baptist church for “an evangelical mission to return to the African homeland”. Despite some initial resistance because King Williams and his people had had enough of God’s palaver” which was disturbing their trade, the king finally accepted the suppression of slave trade and installation of the Baptist mission. Merrick translated parts of the New Testament into the Isubu language, set up a brick-making machine and a printing press, and used the latter to publish his Bible translation and a textbook for teaching in Isubu. Merrick and Fuller’s efforts paved the way for Alfred Saker, the Baptist missionary who arrived in 1858 in Bimbia. A monument of Joseph Merrick is found in “Camp Saker” in Bonabile.

Joseph Merrick Memorial
An old canon close to the Joseph Merrick Monument in Bonabile

 

The Baptist missionary Alfred Saker came 1858 to Bonabile (Bimbia) where King Williams of Bimbia granted him some land in the place of down beach Limbe before called Liwo La fo (“Beach market”). After the agreements with King Williams, Saker went back to Britain to get an annexation treaty signed between Queen Victoria and King Williams. The place of Liwo Fa Fu was then called “Victoria” to honour the Queen. In 1877 the Ebenizer Baptist Church was built. Alfred Saker is considered as the founder of Limbe; a memorial for Alfred Saker was built in 1958 after 100 years of the creation of Victoria/Limbe. The church you find more or less opposite the memorial on the same street. One of the oldest colonial houses in Limbe is “Brook mount” constructed in 1874, just beside the mouth of the Limbe River. It is behind the Presbyterian Press and occupied by the Presbyterian Church. 1886 Great Britain and Germany agreed to exchange Victoria and its vicinity for German rights at the Forcados River in Nigeria and St. Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. In 1887 Victoria and its vicinity were handed over to the German administration. At the same time Swiss Basler Mission (today Presbyterian Church) bought the land from the Baptist Missionary Society in 1887. In 1982 Victoria was named Limbe by presidential decree.

Alfred Saker memorial in Limbe
Brookmont house in Limbe from British period (1874)

 

 

German Colonial Period

Although the British monopolized trade along the coastal region of Cameroon, after 1860 the Germans led by the Woermann, Jantzen and Thormaelen firms became more and more involved in the trade with the Doualas. This trading companies made pressure on Bismarck to annex Cameroon as protectorate in order to expand their trade and further exploit the country. The Germans occupied successively all parts of Cameroon after Gustav Nachtigall signed treaties with the Chiefs of Douala and Akwa in July 1884. He advanced few days the British in the end of 19th century “scramble for territories” between the European Nations. The military occupation of the territory and fight against many resistant people in Cameroon took several years. In 1891 captain Karl von Gravenreuth was charged to bring the Bakweri under German control. However the resistance of the Bakweri under Chief Kuva Likenye the German Troops were beaten in Likoko Membea, captain Gravenreuth killed and had the German troops had leave the town. Only in 1994 the german commanders von Stetten and Dominik broke the resistance against German power in a surprise attack . One of the main objectives of the Germans was the economic exploitation of the Mt Cameroon area, in particular the creation of agro¬-industrial plantations, at the time mainly for cocoa . For this they grabbed the land (90,000 ha see above CDC) from the Bakweri (Lemoigne, N. 2010). The local population was limited to small land reserves and this also only after protests of the Basler mission. As in other colonial systems the changes in land tenure led to social disorganisation. The fact were aggravated by bringing a lot of people from elsewhere as plantation workers, either “voluntary” (recruited under agreement with the chiefdom of Bali, many people sent their slaves instead of working themselves) or condemned forced labour. (Michel, 1969). Bakweri people were not enough and showed not much enthusiasm to work as plantation workers on their expropriated land under difficult conditions. Many foreign workers after end of the contract decided to settle in the area aggravating the land problem. Working and living conditions on the plantations were notoriously harsh, often regarded by Africans as a new form of slavery ; labourers were known to have a high rate of mortality (Ralp A. Austen in Eckert A. 1998, Lemoigne N. 2010). Things changed after the Basler mission now together with the German trade companies who were in competition with the plantations for workers (used as porters) accused the plantations publicly in Germany of disastrous working conditions. This protest lead to the establishment of a labour legislation in many aspects ahead of other West African Colonies (Michel, 1969). Buea has been capital under German colonial rule between the years 1901-1915. The Germans had been from 1884 to 1901 in Douala but moved to Buea because of the more healthy environment, many died in Douala from fever. In 1901/1902 the Governors palace for the first Governor Jesko von Puttkamer was built in Buea, inspired by a Kaiser Wilhelm Hunting Pavillon. The “Von Puttkamer Schloss” is known also as “Prime Minister Lodge” in Buea as it served between 1954- 1961 as residence of the Prime Minister of Southern Cameroon and then from 1961-1972 as residence of the Prime Minister of Western Cameroon. Today it is belonging to the Presidency of Cameroon. The Schloss is surrounded by a park. The interior is not accessible for visitors. Close to the Schloss there are some other administrative buildings from German time: The old secretariat (1902/1903) today used by the police, the Bismarck Fountain (1899) – The German Chanceler Bismarck (1805-1898) started in 1984 with German Colonial politics-, the old post office (1898), the construction office for the Schloss (1901), later used and known as “old Buea native school” and today used by the army. Close by you find also some historical houses and a mission church of the Basler Mission (1896) (now Presbyterian Church) and not too far close to the round point the old german cemetery (1898). There are quite some other houses built between 1903 and 1914, mostly residences of plantation managers which are built on pillars out of timber with corrugated iron sheets at the exterior. West farm, Upper farm and lower farm were used to grow vegetables and as dairies, the buildings of Upper farms still exist (E.W Ardener “Anmerkungen zur Geschichter der geschuetzten Denkmäler Westkamerun 1965)

Von Puttkamer Schloss in Buea
Upper farms in Buea

 

From Upper farms you are only 15 minutes of walk from the colonial water stream intake for Buea, still operational, and the waterfall up-streams.

Stream intake system from colonial time
Waterfall above stream intake

 

Old German Cemetery
Grave of Old German Cemetery

 

Houses from German Colonial time in Buea: on the left is the South West Chiefs Conference and on the right is the Regional Delegation of the Ministry of Arts and Culture

 

Old German Post office (1902)
German colonial building close to the old secretariat, today used by the Police

 

Limbe

Also in Limbe there are a number of buildings from German Colonial time eg. The District Office (german Bezirksbureau), which has been built after 1890. A number of them are found downbeach, eg the Woermann house (German shipping line) and in the botanical garden, which was created in 1892. Close to the garden you have the hotel “Atlantic Beach” which has been the residence of Dr Preuss, the first director of the Botanical Garden, later it was a hospital.

District office (1890)
Woermann House

 

 

Bonjongo: Church Engelsberg

You reach here from Buea descending the tea road and just before the village of Wotutu branching right to Bonjongo. The Church was one of the first catholic churches built in Cameroon by the Palotine Fathers. Its construction started in 1894 a hill from where you have on clear weather a wonderful view on the coast and also on Mt Etinde. In German colonial time the place was called “Engelsberg” – “Montain of the angels”

Engelsberg church

 

 

Crater Lake and German Lighthouse Cape Debundscha

Debundscha is the next village after Bakingili coming from Limbe (30min) on the road to Idenau. The Nachtigall crater lake is unique as just being situated few meters from the atlantic ocean. You can reach through a small walk from the beach or from Debundscha village, where you can see also observe fishermen on their daily job. The old German Lighthouse is not far from the crater lake.

Nachtigall Crater lake at Debundscha
Old German Lighthouse at the craterlake

 

 

Recent Cameroonian History in Buea

Buea was the seat of the Parlament of Southern Cameroon from 1954 -1961 and after the reunification with French Cameroon in 1961 of the parlament of Western Cameroon from 1961-1972. As said above the von Puttkamer Castle served as Prime Minister’s residence. One of the state owned hotel’s in Buea“Parlamentarian Flat” origins from the same period. A memorial was built in 2013 for the 50 years of reunification of the British Southern Cameroon with the French Cameroon and can be found close to old post office.

Buea 50 reunification monument

Parliamentarian Flat Hotel, Buea
AttractionsOfNaturalAndLeisureValue

 

Attractions of Natural and Leisure Value

 

Limbe Wildlife Centre

LWC is situated opposite of the Botanical Garden. Here you can see mainly primates of South West Region but also other areas of Cameroon. The LWC is a cooperative effort between the Ministry of Foresty and Wildlife (MINFOF) and Pandrillus, a NGO working to protect endangered primates in Nigeria and Cameroon, and specially the Drill (Mandrillus leucophaeus). LWC started in 1993 by rehabilitating the form Limbe Zoo and transform it into a wildlife rescue centre. Most of the animals coming to the centre are orphans, victims of poaching or pet trade. The mothers have been often shot for bush meat by hunters. Most of the primates are kept in the centre, other species which can be more easily reintroduced after some caretaking back into the wild. The LWC serves as a major sensitization and education tool, reaching each year around 40,000 visitors, most of them Cameroonians. More than 1,100 children are reached through the education outreach programme of the centre and provides high standard training in behavioural ecology and veterinary science to Cameroonian and international students. The ultimate goal of the LWC is to enable rehabilitated individuals of threatened species to be reintroduced for restoring wild population when and where appropriate in the future, while supporting national law enforcement efforts (Limbe Wildlife Centre website). A project for a semi-natural site for drills in Mt Cameroon National park is actually under discussion.

Main entrance Limbe Wildlife Centre
                Feeding a baby duiker

 

Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla)
Drill (Mandrillus leucophaeus leucophaeus)

 

 

Limbe Botanic Garden

The botanical Garden in Limbe was established in 1890 as “Viktoria Botanical Garden” by the Germans, under the directorship of Dr. Paul Preuss. The Garden possesses a herbarium, laboratories, classrooms, a museum, a library and staff accommodation. The objective was to introduce and test and improve tropical crops to support economic development in the new German Colony of Cameroon on

German Agricultural Research Centre (herbarium today)  
                                      Amphiteatre “Jungle village”

 

Palm collection
Sausage tree (Kigelia Africana) – a species of Mt Cameroon in the garden

 

 

Tiko Golf court

The Golf court is situated close to Tiko in Likomba. It is a 18 hole court. Most of the people playing golf here are coming from Douala.. You find in the vicinity fo the court the senior staff houses of CDC built in British Colonial time. Similar building are found also around the CDC headquarter in Bota.

Likomba golf court

 

 

Bota, Ndame and Mondoli islands

These are the islands in the “Bay of Ambas” which were all habited by Wovia people which claim to be related to the Bubi in Bioko. In 1855 Wovia people in Ndame were forced to leave because of a conflict with people from Bimbia (Isubu). In 1907 the Germans transferred the inhabitants of Mondoli to the mainland in order to use the island as an leprarium. Bota island was the only one habited until recently. Bota is the biggest of a group of islands also called “Pirate Islands”. It is interesting to visit it with a fisher canoe from Wovia port. Once arrived you climb a steep stairway hewn into the rock up to the cliff of the island top. Here you can see the vestiges of the former village. People of Wovia are fishermen and practised formerly even whale hunting (E.Ardener, 1996 : Kingdom of Mt Cameroon).

Wharf in Wovea to embark for Bota island
stairway to the top of Bota island

 

Vestige of former settlement on Bota island
View from Bota island on other “Pirate islands”

 

 

Lavaflow of 1999 at Bakingili

The signs of volcanic activities can be observed also outside the park at the different crater lakes (Debunscha, Njonji, Barombi Koto, Barombi Mbo) and very impressively at one of the lavaflows of 1999 which crossed the coastal road between Limbe and Bakingili (close to Seme Beach Hotel) and just stopped 200 m from the sea. Some steps and some sheds have been built on the lava flow to have a good point of view. Slowly it is re-vegetating with some pioneer plants.

1999 lavaflow at Bakingili

 

 

Beaches – Mile 6, Etisah, Seme, Tsabe

The volcanic influence has equally marked the beaches – they are of black sand. The black sand is contrasting in a beautiful manner with the blue colours of the sea and sky and the green colors of the surrounding vegetation. Specially the view on Mt Etinde and its forests from all of the beaches is unique and cannot be compared to any other known beaches. The beaches invite to relax, eventually after a exhausting hiking tour in the Mount Cameroon Nationalpark, to observe fishermen, to swim and do some other water sports (surfing, body surf, diving). A part from Mile 6 you find also restaurants and hotels at the beaches. In Seme Beach you will enjoy also the bath in a stream coming from the mountain in clear cold water; the water is used also to produce bottled mineral water by a factory beside the beach.

Etisah beach at Batoke (mile 8)
Sunrise at Tsaben Beach

 

Surfing and….
Body surfing

 

 

Bimbia Bonadikombo Community Forest

The Bimbia Bonadikombo Community forest is one of the last remnants of coastal littoral forests of the whole Gulf of Guinea and this habitat is very rare in the whole continent. The forests hosts tremendous biodiversity, including many specialists and endemics, especially in insects and plants, not anywhere well present in the country. (pers. Communication Robert Tropek). Unfortunately important parts of the community forest have been transformed into farmland or being currently transformed into farmland. The forest and the mangroves can be visited on a Nature trail. The office of the community forest is in Limbe.

Mangroves on the nature trail in the community forest
Tree with buttresses on nature trail

 

 

Our Lady of Grace shrine

The entrance of the shrine is found opposite to the entrance of Sasse College. The shrine is situated at a beautiful waterfall where the water is coming directly out of the rock. It was traditionally a shrine of the Bakweri in Sasse Village. The village agreed that the catholic church is using it as a shrine dedicated to Mary. Two chapels are built close to the waterfall. It is now a place of christian pilgrimage.

Our Lady of Grace shrine

 

Barombi Mbo crater lake

Barombi Mbo crater lake is found in Kumba town; it is a forest protection reserve now managed by Kumba I council. The lake is home of 12 endemic fish species! And therefore a quite special biodiversity hotspot. The lake is providing the drinking water for Kumba A beautiful walk can be done around the lake (approx 2 hours). Even if much of the environment has been transformed into farml

Barombi Mbo craterlake

BirdwatchingInSeaAndMangroves

 

Birdwatching on the sea and in the mangroves

A special experience is a bird watching trip by boat on the sea and in the mangroves of “Rio del Rey”. You start with the boat in Idenau, pass the ‘mud islands” at the entrance of the estuary and then navigate through mangroves and finally the river getting to Mundemba, stopping at Bulu Beach (10 km from Mundemba). You can observe marine birds on the beaches, the two pelicans species , and quite a number of birds in the mangroves and on the river side (eg Finfoot). Mundemba is the gate for a visit in Korup National park

Birdwatching tour through the mangroves

Mangroves on birdwatching trails

OtherAttractions

 

Other Attractions

RaceOfHope

 

Race of Hope

Mount Cameroon Race of Hope is an annual event organised by the Ministry of Sports and Physical Education together with the Athletic Federation of Cameroon generally in the month of February. Actually around several hundred athletes participate from Cameroon and from abroad. The competition comprises, male, female, relays, junior, veteran courses. The main course takes off at the Molyko stadium, then go to the summit of the mountain (4,070 m) and back to stadium (38 km). It is probably between the most strenuous races in the world. The winners of the races are back after unbelievable 4 hours 20 minutes and something, the female winners need one hour more. The first edition of the race on was held in 1973, organised by Guinness Cameroon and termed the Guinness Mount Cameroon Race, contested by 140 athletes, who were all male. Women first entered the race in 1983. Guinness Cameroon sponsored the race for many years. Famous in Buea is Sarah Liengu Etonge for winning the race seven times, hence her title "Queen of the Mountain" – she received a “doctor of honour” by Buea University. Sarah Etonge supported the team of the Ministry of Forests and Wildlife in the senisitzation of the population for the creation of the National park. The race is a major event in Buea, there a lot of spectators from the region and elsewhere in the country – it has character of a public festival specially in Upper Farms and at the stadium.

Athletes after the start coming up from Molyko towards Buea town
Towards Hut II

 

Conservator and staff at the event
Mount Cameroon National Park staffs towards Hut I promoting the event

 

Sarah Liengu Etonge on the way down (Upper farms)
Sarah Liengu Etonge, Queen of the Mountain

 

 

 

© Copyright Mount Cameroon National Park, all rights reserved.
Developed by Dr. Kato Samuel Namuene (Tel: +237 679731093 , Email: kato2025@yahoo.ca)