Yaounde Travel Guide
Introduction to Yaounde
Sitting in the country’s interior, Yaounde is the capital of Cameroon. Sitting amidst a set of seven spectacular hills at an elevation of 2,382 feet above sea level, many prefer to begin their Cameroon trip here due to its cooler climate compared to the port city of Douala.
Before heading out into the countryside, be sure to check out the many cultural attractions that will give you a proper introduction to this West Central African country.
Cultural Attractions in Yaounde
After arrival in the capital, head to the National Museum of Yaounde to learn more about the past history and culture of Cameroon. The admission fee to this institution is a bit on the high side (almost $20 USD), but for those prepared to pay the price, its exceptional collection of artifacts, artworks, replicas of traditional Cameroonian villages, and the immaculate garden in the rear of the museum will give you a reasonable return on the money that you spend to get in.
As the former presidential palace for the leader of Cameroon, the extravagance of the building itself is an attraction for many visitors, so if you are into architecture as well as human history, a visit here will be worth the pain that your wallet will go through.
Those wanting to experience the arts and culture of Cameroon along with one of its most sacred religious sites will want to ensure that they include Benedictine Museum of Mont-Febe in their travel itinerary when visiting Yaounde.
Boasting a peaceful atmosphere compared to the hustle and bustle present on the streets of the capital, the focus here is placed on arts and culture artifacts of the country. Highlights include the thrones from which regional chiefs used to rule their fiefdoms, a variety of weapons that used to go to war in prior centuries, and a wide variety of sculptures that depict the animist gods that people worshiped before the introduction of religions such as Christianity and Islam.
Masses are held at the monastery on a regular basis and those wishing to remain in this oasis for longer will want to check out the accommodations on-site. With private rooms and dormitories available, there are options for budget and mid-range travelers.
Those looking for yet another option to check out the arts and culture of Cameroon will want to check out the Blackitude Museum. Started in 1998 by Her Majesty Queen Nana Agnes in response to the startling loss of cultural treasures in Cameroon at that time, this institution contains a variety of artifacts including arrowheads, traditional clothing, handicrafts, and other items of cultural importance sourced from her father’s kingdom in Western Cameroon.
Other Attractions in Yaounde
Those looking to interact with our primate cousins will want to take a 45-minute day trip outside Yaounde to Mefou National Park. Home to the NGO known as Ape Action Africa, a visit to this park will not only put you into contact with Cameroon’s Great Forest Apes, but it will also give you a chance to interact with gorillas, chimpanzees, and mandrills.
Visitors should be forewarned that there are limited facilities available at the park, meaning that you will have to take food in yourself, although there is a small bar on site available for those looking to enjoy a drink at the end of their experience here.
Furthermore, there are no official camping facilities at Mefou National Park, although it has been reported by previous travelers that one can camp on the grounds with a donation to Ape Action Africa.
After Germany’s defeat in World War I, the German colonial possession of Kamerun was split up into two parts: British Cameroon and French Cameroun. The northern segments of British Cameroon joined what is now Nigeria, but shortly afterward, its southern territories joined together with French Cameroun to form the present day nation of Cameroon.
In Yaounde, the Monument de la Reunification commemorates the day in 1961 when this portion of land joined the federal republic of Cameroon. It consists of two parts: a spectacular concrete spiral meant to resemble two snakes, and a sculpture of an elderly man holding a torch with five children in tow.
If you are looking for a great place to have a peaceful lunch while in the capital, head to Bois Sainte-Anastasie. Although a nearby river sometimes emits a smell that can be off-putting to some, the authentic African cuisine, fine wines and well-kept gardens of the surrounding park easily overcome this minor annoyance.