Cameroon Story
Grand Tour Edition
Photo Gallery
Tour Agenda

Eco Paradise
Botanical Garden
Cameroon Air
Cameroon Map
Dining, Cuisine
Fashion Shows
Festivals, Events
Hotels, Resorts
Wildlife Parks
ATA 29th Congress
Join ATA Online

Aigle Voyages
Bus Club Tours
Ebene Voyages
Yaounde Hilton

About ATA
ATA Awards
ATA Board

French Media
Cameroun: Un
Paradis Ecotouristique
Les Elephants

Africa in One Country
by Jerry W. Bird

"If you dance, you vibrate - and he who vibrates lives."
Popular quotation.

Mount Cameroon, West Africa's highest peak, stands like a giant sentinel, gazing out over the Gulf of Guinea on Africa's Atlantic Coast. Among it's legendary names is "Throne of Thunder," a fitting tribute to the powerful gods that are said to inhabit the mountain's inner core. Our group of ATA members and journalists approached the 'throne' shortly after one of its frequent volcanic eruptions, and the ribbons of cooled lava resembled grey frosting oozing from an enormous layer cake. The lava beds are evident from the main highway to Kribi and a hiking trail winds up and over them. The warning signs advised us to pay respect and to tread gently in this eco- sensitive area. Mount Cameroon's rugged peak is the crown jewel of a chain of volcanic mountains that are strung like a giant pearl necklace along the Cameroon Nigeria border. The range stretches from here all the way to the northern plains of Maroua, gateway to Waza National Park.

Cameroon' Tourism aims to win an important share of the tourist trade from North America and other markets. Each February the popular ' Course of Hope.' attracts aspiring climbers to the area and we're told that, while the ascent is challenging, it's not dangerous or overly strenuous. Many other sights would amaze and impress us that day and in the week to follow. Speaking personally, this trip was by far the most complete tour of any ATA- African host country I had experienced to date. At its conclusion most travelers in our group were tired - and somewhat bedazzled - yet I enjoyed a feeling of solid accomplishment. As a result I will never forget Cameroon and always hunger for more.

Road to economic success
This progressive country is already high on the preferred list in terms of business travel. Scan the financial pages, or dig a little deeper in the Internet, and you'll see what I mean - the country is rich with potential in terms of agriculture, forestry, marine life, minerals and natural resources. And a word to the wise, "Where business goes, tourism flows" - and vice versa. Europeans discovered long ago what most North Americans have yet to learn - that Cameroon is a Tourism Mecca in the raw. Ministry officials such as our tour leader Ebenezer Elimbi (below) agree with with the popular expression that their land is Africa in One country." In other words Cameroon is a little bit of everything, or as my Grade 9 Spanish textbook said in its title, "de todo un poco."

Cruising the West Central African Countryside

Our escorted bus trip through the hills, plains, valleys and coastline of Cameroon was quite similar to taking a small ship cruise or a personal rail tour. Why?- it provided whistle stops, combined with extended visits, photo opportunities and overnight moorings.

Ports of call on this 'amazing land cruise' from Yaounde and Douala, included Edea, Kribi, Limbe, Buea, Bafang, Bandjoun, Bafoussam, Bamenda, Bangangte, Bafia, Bafut, Foumban, Bafia, Maroua, Pouss, Mokolo, Rhumsiki, Mora and Waza National Game Park. Sounds like a heavy duty schedule - right? Well, the surprising thing was the fact that in spite of all the cities, towns and villages mentioned, nothing was the same. In other words, when they say "Africa in One country" they mean exactly that, as we discovered in a way that you could never do by flying . Whether the roads were smooth and broad or rough and dusty, there was always something new and interesting to look forward to.

Doors of Hospitality in Cameroon
Our overnight stays on the North-South tour were at Yaounde - Kribi - Douala - Limbe - Bamenda - Maroua and Waza, and while the accommodation was varied I would recommend all the hotels selected to our tour operator friends.


Editor's Comment: The tour, hosted by Tourism Minister Hon. Pierre Helé and his team, was so extensive, I will cover it in continuing installments during the year. Our travels in Cameroon will eventually be compiled in a book that will help future travelers from North America enjoy this fascinating country to the fullest. More chapters will be added in 2003 when Muguette Goufrani, Robert Eilets and I hope to return to Cameroon.

Jerry W. Bird is President of ATA Canada Chapter, Editor and Publisher of Africa Travel Magazine, and Webmaster for the ATA site He is also Publisher of Air Highways Magazine, Journal of Open Skies and voice of aviation, tourism and transportation worldwide. His career began with the Edmonton Journal Daily Newspaper, and expanded into the full spectrum of media - radio, television, magazines and Internet. He has won international awards for creativity in audio visual and print production.