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Cameroon Country Guide

  1. CountryFacts
  2. Health
  3. Media
  1. Intro
  2. Geography
  3. People
  4. Travel
  5. Embassies & Visas
  6. Finance
  7. Cities/Regions

Quick Facts

Region: Africa
Full Name: Republic of Cameroon
Capital City: Yaounde
Language Spoken: 24 major African language groups, English (official), French (official)

Cameroon Travel Insurance

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Geographic data

6 00 N, 12 00 E

Elevation Extremes

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m highest point: Fako 4,095 m (on Mt. Cameroon)

Land boundaries

total: 4,591 km border countries: Central African Republic 797 km, Chad 1,094 km, Republic of the Congo 523 km, Equatorial Guinea 189 km, Gabon 298 km, Nigeria 1,690 km

Natural hazards

volcanic activity with periodic releases of poisonous gases from Lake Nyos and Lake Monoun volcanoes

Natural resources

petroleum, bauxite, iron ore, timber, hydropower

Land use

arable land: 12.54% permanent crops: 2.52% other: 84.94% (2005)

Environmental current issues

waterborne diseases are prevalent; deforestation; overgrazing; desertification; poaching; overfishing

Climate

The south is hot and dry between November and February. The main rainy season is from July to October. Temperatures in the north vary. On the Adamaoua Plateau, temperatures drop sharply at night; the rainy season is from May to October. Grassland areas inland are much cooler than the coast with regular rainfall. Required clothing Lightweight cotton clothes, canvas or light leather shoes or sandals. Rainwear is necessary for coastal areas.

Time difference

time difference: UTC+1

Population

17,340,702 note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2006 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 41.2% (male 3,614,430/female 3,531,047) 15-64 years: 55.5% (male 4,835,453/female 4,796,276) 65 years and over: 3.2% (male 260,342/female 303,154) (2006 est.)

Median age

total: 18.9 years male: 18.7 years female: 19 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate

2.04% (2006 est.)

Birth rate

33.89 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate

13.47 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 51.16 years male: 50.98 years female: 51.34 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate

4.39 children born/woman (2006 est.)

Business Practices

Business meetings are somewhat formal, but Cameroonians appreciate an opportunity to "get to know" a potential partner before beginning concrete discussions. It is helpful in Cameroon to supplement written communications with as many face-to-face encounters as possible. Adherence to western standards of punctuality is not the norm; patience and persistence are needed to do business in Cameroon. French is the dominant business language in Cameroon although approximately 20 percent of the population and much of the business community speak English, Cameroon's other official language, which can be used in the two English-speaking provinces and the larger cities. The Cameroonian workweek does not include Saturdays even though businesses are open that day. Holidays falling on Saturdays or Sundays are observed on Fridays or Mondays, respectively. When a working day intervenes between two recognized holidays, the working day is usually, but not always, declared a public holiday. Government offices are officially open from 7:30 am to 3:30 pm without interruption. Businesses generally are open from 8 am to 6 pm with a brief closing for lunch.

Crime

Armed banditry is a serious problem throughout the country, including tourist areas in Cameroon's far north province and in all major cities. To curb banditry, security personnel may request persons to show their passport, residence card, driver's license and/or vehicle registration at random checkpoints. Comply with security officers' requests. The risk of street and residential crime is high. Muggings occur frequently in Cameroon's urban areas. Thieves on motorbikes may target travelers' briefcases or handbags. Visitors should take sensible personal security precautions and maintain a high level of vigilance in public places. There are also occasional reports of carjackings and robberies. The perpetrators are usually well-armed and do not hesitate to use violence. In February 2006, a European victim died after resisting an attack. Muggings and robberies have been reported in the area surrounding the Mount Febe hotel, in Yaound?, at all times of day. There are regular reports of kidnapping, car hijackings and robberies, often armed and accompanied by violent acts. These have occurred most frequently along roads close to Cameroon's eastern border with Central African Republic (CAR) and Chad, in Douala, Yaound?, Kribi and Maroua as well as on the Edea-Kribi road. Westerners have been affected. Armed highwaymen operate in the three provinces of Adamaoua, the North, and the Far North. There have been recent incidents of child abduction, ransom demands and carjacking. If travel must be undertaken in these areas, it should be done only during daylight hours and in government-operated convoys. There have been a number of violent robberies by "coupeurs de routes" (translates to "road blockers"), which are gangs of armed bandits that target vehicles on the main commercial routes, especially north of Garoua, and in the area north of Mount Cameroon (on the Kumba-Ekondo Titi-Mundemba road). These gangs are known to be more active on market days in the larger towns. There have been some serious incidents of car hijacking and robbery, resulting in several deaths, along the Bamenda-Banyo axis in the northwest. A member of the British High Commission staff was attacked and robbed (along with others) near Foumban at midday in this region in December 2005. There has also been a series of attacks along the Douala-Bafoussam Road, especially in the region of Melong, during daylight hours. These roads are best avoided. There were more than 20 incidents of robbery and three rapes committed against the European community in Douala in 2005. Close and lock all doors and windows, including those above ground level, particularly at night. Do not rely on height or fly screens for protection. Identify callers through peepholes before opening doors, especially late at night. Avoid carrying valuables or wearing jewelry in public and avoid isolated or poorer areas of towns (notably, in Yaound?, La Briquetterie and Mokolo). Petty theft is common on trains, buses and in bush taxis. Take sensible precautions when using city taxis as most do not comply with basic security norms, such as seatbelts. Violent assaults on taxi passengers are not uncommon. Avoid travelling alone as far as possible, particularly after dark. The period before Christmas and the holiday season always see an upsurge in crime as those who cannot afford the festivities seek alternative ways to fund their celebrations. In 2006, this upsurge coincided with a significant increase in crime and carjackings in particular. There is an increasing circulation of counterfeit U.S. and Cameroonian currency and in recent years, business travelers have experienced difficulty in obtaining adequate services from Cameroon's banking sector.

Hotels

Good accommodation of international standard is available in Douala, Yaound?, Bamenda, Garoua and Maroua. The good hotels (government-rated 2-star and above) have air-conditioning, sports facilities and swimming pools; most rooms have showers. Most large hotels will accept major credit cards. Rates are for the room only. Cheaper accommodation is also available. Villas and houses are available for rent in most towns in Cameroon. Apartments are available for rent in Douala and Yaounde. Rates have dropped considerably since 1992 but are trending upward, particularly in the two main cities. While real estate brokers (or "agent immobilier") may help in securing housing for American visitors, a good local contact may be more useful. Many newly arrived businesspersons establish temporary housing and office space at one of the well-known hotels.

Communications

Telephone IDD service is available to and from Cameroon. The country code is 237. There are no city or area codes. The outgoing international code is 00. Telephones can usually be found in post offices and restaurants. Automatic dialing links the main towns in Cameroon, but this service is often unreliable. Fax services are available at Intelcom offices.

Electricity

110/220 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs are round two-pin; bayonet light-fittings are used.

Plug Types

C,E

Food And Dining

Local food is excellent; French or Lebanese cuisine is also available. Luxury items can be extremely expensive. There are many restaurants in big towns and cities, with good service. Most international hotels have bars.

National specialties:
? Manioc leaves (feuille).
? West african peanut soup.
? Banana bread.
? Zom (spinach with meat).
? Fried sweet potatoes or plantains.
? Beef with pineapple or coconut.
? The country abounds in avocado pears, citrus fruits, pineapples and mangoes.
? Prawns are in plentiful supply in the south.
? Many dishes are served with rice, couscous or mashed potato. Legal drinking age: 18 years. Tipping : The average tip for porters and hotel staff should be about 10 per cent, otherwise service charges are usually inclusive.

Nightlife
In Douala and Yaound? particularly, nightclubs and casinos can be found independently or within most good hotels. There are also some cinemas. There are no licensing hours, and hotel bars stay open as long as there is custom.

Entry departure requirements

Restricted entry A yellow fever vaccination certificate must be presented on arrival by all travelers.

Visa immigration information

Passports

Passport valid for a minimum of six months required by all.

Visas

Required by all except the following:
(a) nationals of Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Rep), Mali and Nigeria for stays not exceeding 90 days;
(b) those in transit continuing their journey on the first or same aircraft within 24 hours provided holding onward tickets and not leaving the airport.

Types of visa and cost

Tourist and Short-stay: US$57 (three months). Business: US$57 (three months); US$114 (six months). Transit: US$57 (five days). All visas are for multiple-entries.

Validity

Tourist and Short-stay visas are valid for up to three months; Business visas for up to six months. Transit visas are valid for up to five days.

Application to

Consulate (or Consular section at Embassy); see Passport/Visa Information. Visas are also available on arrival for countries where Cameroon has no diplomatic representation.

Application requirements

(a) Passport valid for six months. (b) Two completed application forms. (c) Two passport-size photos. (d) International Certificate of Vaccination for Yellow Fever; (e) Return ticket or letter of confirmation from travel agent. (f) Copy of recent bank statement or letter from the bank verifying that applicant has sufficient funds. (g) For a business visa, a letter from applicant's company and a letter from business partners in Cameroon that must be legalized by the local police. (h) Appropriate fee.

Working days required

Two if the application is delivered in person; several for postal applications.

Temporary residence

Applicants must have Residence and Work Permits. Apply to immigration authorities in Cameroon.

HIV entry requirements

No Test Required

Departure tax

Around US$15.

Embassies

Cameroon High Commission in the UK

84 Holland Park, London W11 3SB, UK
Tel: (020) 7727 0771.
Website: https://www.cameroonhighcommission.co.uk/
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0930-1600; 0930-1230 (visa applications).

Embassy of the Republic of Cameroon in the USA

2349 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008, USA
Tel: (202) 265 8790.
Website: http://cameroonembassyusa.org/camusa/

Travel Advice

All travel to the border area with Nigeria is advised against (in the region of Bakassi Peninsula), since this area is still subject to a territorial dispute between the two countries and tensions are rife, with localized violent incidents often occurring with little warning. All non-essential travel to the border area with the Central African Republic is advised against. The border area with Congo (Rep) is closed. In addition, there is a danger of mugging and banditry in Cameroon, including car-hijacking and robbery, often armed and violent, particularly in Douala, Yaound?, Kribi and Maroua. Jewelry and valuables should not be worn or carried in more isolated, poor regions of Cameroon (notably Yaound?, la Briquetterie and Mokolo).
In addition, you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate international terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organizations for the latest travel advice:

British Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Website: www.fco.gov.uk

US Department of State

Website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel.html

Currency

CFA (Franc de la Communaut? Financi?re Africaine) Franc (XAF) = 100 centimes. Notes are in denominations of XAF10,000, 5000, 2000, 1000 and 500. Coins are in denominations of XAF250, 100, 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1. Cameroon is part of the French Monetary Area. Only currency issued by the Banque des ?tats de l'Afrique Centrale (Bank of Central African States) is valid; currency issued by the Banque des ?tats de l'Afrique de l'Ouest (Bank of West African States) is not. The CFA Franc is tied to the Euro.

Currency restrictions

Import of local currency is limited to CFAfr20,000. Import of foreign currency is unlimited. Export of local currency is limited to CFAfr20,000 if traveling for tourist purposes, or CFAfr450,000 if traveling for business purposes. There is no limit on the export of foreign currency.

Banking hours

Mon-Fri 0730-1530.

Currency exchange

Euros are the easiest currency to exchange. US Dollars are the next most acceptable. Travelers should bring cash in preference to travelers cheques.

Credit cards

Major credit cards are accepted on a very limited basis (some airline offices and hotels will take them). Cards cannot be used in banks to obtain cash advances.

Travellers cheques

To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take traveller's cheques in Euros - although it is possible to exchange Sterling traveller's cheques. Commission rates tend to be high.

N/A

  1. Health Information
  2. Recent Disease Outbreak
  3. Hospital Database

Dental care

Dental care with internationally trained dentists is available on a limited basis in Yaounde & Douala.

Medication Availability

There are some supplies of international medications available and pharmacists are licensed

Blood supplies

Blood supplies should be considered as unsafe in Cameroon

Medical facilities

Medical facilities in Cameroon are limited. Sanitation levels are low, even in the best hospitals. Not all medicines are available. Travelers are advised to bring their own supplies.

General caution

Recent medical and dental exams should ensure that the traveler is in good health. Carry appropriate health and accident insurance documents and copies of any important medical records. Bring an adequate supply of all prescription and other medications as well as any necessary personal hygiene items, including a spare pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses if necessary. Drink only bottled beverages (including water) or beverages made with boiled water. Do not use ice cubes or eat raw seafood, rare meat or dairy products. Eat well-cooked foods while they are still hot and fruits that can be peeled without contamination. Avoid roadside stands and street vendors. Swim only in well-maintained, chlorinated pools or ocean water known to be free from pollution; avoid freshwater lakes, streams and rivers. Wear clothing which reduces exposed skin and apply repellents containing DEET to remaining areas. Sleep in well-screened accommodations. Carry anti-diarrheal medication. Reduce problems related to sun exposure by using sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, sunscreen lotions and lip protection.

Specific concerns

AIDS occurs. Blood supply may not be adequately screened and/or single-use, disposable needles and syringes may be unavailable. When possible, travelers should defer medical treatment until reaching a facility where safety can be assured. Walking barefoot is hazardous as fungus infections and worms are easily contracted. Climatic conditions of heat, dust and temperature fluctuation cause a high incidence of upper respiratory infections, coughs and colds - compounding problems for sufferers of hay fever, allergies or asthma. Daytime summer heat can cause sunstroke and heat exhaustion. The high concentration of carbon dioxide gas remaining dissolved in Lake Nyos represents a potential hazard for the release of another asphyxiating cloud of gas. Other lakes in northwest Cameroon may pose a similar threat.

Immunization

Disease risk summary

Insect-borne diseases: are major causes of illness. Many diseases, including yellow fever, are endemic, with only scattered cases being reported and, from time to time, more extensive outbreaks. Dengue fever - occurs Filariasis - prevalent Leishmaniasis - occurs (both cutaneous and visceral types may be found, particularly in the drier areas) Loiasis - prevalent Malaria - prevalent Onchocerciasis (river blindness) - prevalent Relapsing fever - occurs Trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) - occurs (human type is reported - mainly in small, isolated areas) Typhus - occurs (louse-, flea-, and tick-borne types occur) Food-borne and water-borne illness: highly endemic. The dysenteries and diarrheal diseases, giardiasis, the typhoid fevers and viral hepatitis are widespread. Echinococcosis (hydatid disease) is widespread in animal-breeding areas. Cholera - occurs Dracunculiasis - occurs Helminthic (parasitic worm) infections - prevalent Schistosomiasis - common

Entry requirements

Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers over 1 year of age coming from all countries.

Recent disease outbreaks

No recent disease outbreaks

NameAddress
Centre Medicao-Social de la Cooperation8 rue 3019 Quartier Vallee de la Mort Yaounde
Clinique Bel-AirRue Toyota BP 15270 Bonapriso Douala
Polyclinic BonanjoAvenue Charles de Gaulle P.O. Box 103 Douala

Media

Media is highly Government-controlled. However, Cameroon's first private TV station was launched in 2001. This followed a general liberalization of media in 2000, and a spate of private stations also emerged around this time. Nevertheless, libel laws inhibit journalists and some have even been jailed in the past. This is regarded as a genuine problem by the international community, who believe that Cameroon is becoming one of the most repressive countries worldwide in regards to freedom of expression.
Press: The main newspaper is the (Government-controlled) Cameroon Tribune, published daily in French and English. Other English-language newspapers include the Cameroon Post (weekly), Cameroon Times (weekly) and The Herald (three times a week).
TV: Cameroon Radio Television is the state-run broadcaster, whilst TV Max is a relatively new private broadcaster on the scene.
Radio: Cameroon Radio Television also operates state-run radio stations. Radio Reine, however, is a Catholic-owned station, whilst Radio Siantou is a private broadcaster.

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