Capital | Yaounde
Population | 18,879,301 (July 2009 est.)
Area | 469,440 sq km
Official language | French, English
Holidays | Republic Day 20 May (1972)
Currency | Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF)
Time Zone | UTC+1
Best time to visit | March and April, for wildlife viewing before the rains come.
Connecting with the Culture | Bargaining for local crafts at Foumban’s artisans market. Dining on grilled fish on the beaches around Limbe and Kribi. Exploring the mountains and picturesque villages around Maroua. Climbing Mount Cameroon, West Africa’s highest peak. Watching wildlife at Parc National de Waza. Hiking among ancient tribal kingdom’s and striking mountain scenery in the Ring Road area near Bamenda.
Read | The Poor Christ of Bomb, Mongo Beti’s recounting of the failure of a missionary to convert the people of a small village, or Kenjo Jumban’s novel `The White Man of God’, which deals with the country’s colonial experience.
Listen | to Manu Dibango’s hit album Soul Makossa.
Watch |Afrique, Je Te Plumerai (Africa I Will Fleece You), directed by Jean-Marie Teno an outstanding documentary about modern Cameroon life.
Eat | delicious sauces accompanied by riz (rice), or with pate or fufu, both think mashed potato like staples made from corn, manioc, plantains or bananas; feuille (manioc leaves).
Drink | tea served with loads of sugar in a small glass or, if you’re feeling brave, tackle a white mimbo (local brew).
In a word | No ngoolu daa (hello)
Characteristics | Tribal kingdoms; Pygmies; black rhinos; trekking; great food; makossa music.
Surprises | At the crossroads of West and Central Africa, Cameroon is one of the most culturally diverse countries on the continent. The country is made up of a network of ancient tribal kingdoms, and offers visitors the choice of rainforests and relaxing beaches in the south; rocky outcrops, terraced hillsides and hobbit like villages in the north. When travelling to areas that see few outsiders, its always best to announce your presence to the local chief (known as the Fon in western Cameroon, and Lamido in parts of the north). The ruler of the Bamoun is known as the sultan, and the Bamoun can trace the lineage of their sultan back to 1394.
NEWS ABOUT CAMEROON:
Poachers slaughter half the elephant population in Cameroon park
(3.10.12) - At least half the elephants in Cameroon's Bouba N'Djida reserve were slaughtered because the west African nation sent too few security forces to tackle poachers, the World Wide Fund for Nature said on Thursday. In what was described as one of the worst poaching massacres in decades, as many as 200 elephants have been killed for their tusks since January by poachers on horseback from Chad and Sudan, the fund said."WWF is disturbed by reports that the poaching continues unabated," Natasha Kofoworola Quist, WWF's representative in the region, said in a statement. (READ MORE from MSNBC)