Cameroon is a Central African country with a French heritage. It is often considered a West African country because of the neighboring countries and their position on the map. Cameroon is a diverse country both culturally and geographically, beyond that though, there are many interesting facts about Cameroon that might interest you.
Common Facts About Cameroon
Officially known as the “Republic of Cameroon.” It is a stunning African nation renowned for its varied landscape and abundant wildlife. More than 27 million people call it home. Its culture and history are fascinating. Beyond its animals and landscapes, there are interesting facts about Cameroon that make it a desirable travel destination.
Several countries in Africa are prone to armed conflicts and civil/social unrest. Always double check the latest situations from both your government and the local government advisories.
Historical Facts About Cameroon
Cameroon Is Over 1000 Years
Recent archaeological evidence shows that humans have inhabited present-day Cameroon for over 50,000 years.
The first settlers in the region were said to be the Baka people as far back as the Neolithic era.
Subsequently, the Bantu migration into Eastern and central Africa occurred. The Sao civilization was established around Lake Chad and the Bantu hunter-gatherers in the southern rainforest.
Europeans arrived in the area in the 15th century, with Portuguese explorers naming it Rio dos Camaroes.
When the Portuguese explorers arrived in Cameroon in 1520, they settled fully in the region. During that era, they created sugar plantations and started slave trading.
By the early 1600s, the Dutch took over the region. Later, in 1884 they created the German colony of Kamerun.
After WW I, the country was split between the French and Britain. In 1961, the two regions united and gained independence.
Cameroon gained independence from France on 1st January 1960.
Following almost two years later, it got total independence from the United Kingdom on the 1st of October 1961. However, the country became a republic only in 1984.
Long Serving Head Of State
Here’s an interesting fact about Cameroon politics, Cameroon president Paul Biya was elected for a 7th term in 2018.
He has been the president of Cameroon since 1982. That makes him the second longest-serving leader in Africa behind Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. He will certainly also be one of the oldest leaders to serve in Africa historically.
Paul Biya was the prime minister between 1975 to 1982 before he became president in 1982. He is the current longest non-royal national ruler in the world, after spending over 40 years in office.
Say No To Poaching
Poachers have continually plagued Central Africa. Between 2002 and 2012, there has been at least a two-third decline in the number of elephants in the Central Forest.
In 2016, in a bid to dissuade illegal poaching, the Cameroonian government burned over 2000 illegally trafficked elephant tusks and over 1700 ivory objects. A total that amounts to 3.5 tones.
This marked the largest burning of poached wildlife goods in the history of Africa. The authorities destroyed these goods as a means to keep them off the black market.
Facts About Cameroon For Travelers
Because of its large coastline, Cameroon plays host to some beautiful beaches. An interesting fact about Cameroon beaches is that they have distinct sand colors and crystal-clear waters, whether white or blue.
Supported by locals and travelers, Kribi Beach is one of the best beaches in Cameroon. It has long shores with plenty of palm trees.
This is a cool place to walk; with rocks along the way. It is also an ideal location for taking photos. You can enjoy the beautiful view of the sun setting from this beach.
One piece of advice, though, is to pack your umbrella and chair, as they are not provided on the beach. If you’re on a family picnic, you can as well get a large mart or clothing you can spread on the ground and enjoy your time with your family.
Wettest Places In The World
Considering that the country has desert plains, this probably comes as a surprising fact about Cameroon. Nevertheless, Cameroon does house one of the wettest places in the world, “Debundscha.”
The Debundscha is located between Mount Cameroon and the Atlantic Ocean. It records an annual precipitation of a little over 10 meters per year.
The equatorial location plays a significant role in that its peak is around 4000 meters high, thus preventing rain clouds from passing.
Another interesting fact about Cameroon is that it has the highest active volcano in Western and Central Africa. Mount Cameroon has an elevation of over 4000 meters above sea level. Its last eruption was in 2000.
Here’s a Cameroonian myth about the volcano. Due to its multiple eruptions, locals believe a god resides in the mountain, and when angered, it spits fire.
Waza National Park
This is one of many popular tourists attraction in Cameroon. The park, located in the northern region of Rohaya is home to over 25 species of mammals.
Hartebeest, Sudan cheetahs, lions, and African bush elephants are just some of the majestic beasts you can see there if you are lucky.
Waza also has over 300 species of birds like ostrich, water birds, white pelican, and marble duck.
Africa’s Oldest Forest
Here is an interesting fact about Cameroon animals; some have the luxury of inhabiting the oldest forest in Africa.
The Korop Nation Park Forest is estimated to be at least 60 million years old. And as you can guess, its longevity ranks it as the oldest remaining forest in Africa. It is located in the southern province along its border with Nigeria.
Over 4500 herbs, 600 tree species and shrubs are growing in the Korop forest. The forest also houses over 100 species of mammals. There are also a total of 435 species of bird, 170 species of reptiles and amphibians, and at least 100 kinds of fish.
Chimpanzees, red-eared monkeys, and baboons are some of the famous animals in the park. There are also leopards, buffalos, and elephants; it’s a sight to behold.
Cultural Facts About Cameroon
The official languages in Cameroon are French and English. But there are over 280 other languages spoken in the country.
It is not a surprise, though, as Cameroon is home to at least 200 ethnic groups. Here’s a fun fact about Cameroon: it ranks 9th as the world’s most linguistically diverse country. It ranks 2nd in Africa, behind only Nigeria.
Becoming A Man
The Fulani, one of the ethnic groups in Cameroon, have an interesting tradition. They host a ceremony where they initiate boys into men.
During the ceremony, young boys are lashed with sticks. The marks from this beating represent their coming of age. Interestingly, the Fulani also believe that your status is defined by the number of cattle you own.
Ndole The National Dish
The national dish of the Cameroonian people is Ndole. It is popular all around the country. In fact, many ceremonies usually conclude with Ndole.
More than just food, Ndole is one of the most cherished experiences of most Cameroonian tourists. It is a peanut-based soup made with bitter leaves (Ndole leaves).
This traditional Cameroon food is garnished with crayfish, prawns, spices and beef. It is usually also served with any swallow food or plantain.
Although the Duala people are credited as the originators of the Ndole soup, they enjoy the dish with miondo, a starchy mix of grounded cassava.
Simple Facts About Cameroon For Kids
The Cameroonian flag features three vertical green, red, and yellow stripes, with a star right in the middle. The star is said to symbolize national unity.
The green represents the vegetation of the country’s south, the yellow reflects the savannas of the country’s north, and the red signifies the link between the north and south, representing national sovereignty.
Rio dos Camaroes “Shrimp River”
Here’s another cool fact for kids about Cameroon. It is named after a crustacean. Cameroon’s early inhabitants included the Sao civilization and Baka hunter-gatherers.
Portuguese explorer Fernando Po landed in the region around 1472. He was shocked by the large number of prawns he found in River Wouri. He renamed the area Rio dos Camaroes. In English, it became Cameroon.
Yaounde The Capital
Yaounde is the second largest city in Cameroon and the country’s capital. It houses over 2.8 million of the country’s population. The city spans a total land area of 180 square km with an elevation of 726 meters above sea level.
Douala The Hub
On the other hand, Douala is the largest city in Cameroon. It is the economic and commercial hub of the country. The city sits on the fjord of the Wouri River.
It actually has the largest port in Central Africa and also houses Cameroon’s international airport. Therefore, you will almost definitely get to visit it if you are coming from abroad.
Geographical Facts About Cameroon
Africa In Miniature
Cameroon is also known as Africa in Miniature. Some even refer to it as the hinge of Africa. This is because the country has exceptional geographical and cultural diversity.
Here’s an incredible fact about Cameroon; the country features almost every climate and ecological system.
Lake Monoun And Lake Nyos
Cameroon houses two of the three exploding lakes in the world. Lake Nyos and Mononu contain carbon dioxide reserves in the form of magma underneath the water.
Well, as cool as it sounds, though, exploding lakes are extremely dangerous. They are a source of the limnic eruption. A natural phenomenon where dissolved carbon dioxide erupts from lake waters to form a gas cloud able to kill humans and livestock.
An unfortunate fact about Cameroon is that it has fell victim to these lake eruptions at least twice. In 1984, Lake Monoun erupted, claiming the lives of over 30 people.
Subsequently, Lake Nyos erupted in 1986. The episode was worse than Lake Monoun, claiming the lives of over 1500 people.
Cameroon Land Area
Cameroon ranks as the 25th and 53rd largest country in Africa and the world, respectively. It has a total land area of about 475,442 square km. This makes it larger than Sweden and slightly bigger than California.
The geographical makeup of Cameroon is unique. Different parts of the country have different landscapes, and therefore climates.
The southern region mainly hosts lush rainforests, the northern region has a vast desert plain, while the middle features towering mountains.
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Other Interesting Facts About Cameroon
Imagine a frog as big as a house cat. Yeah! That’s the size of the Goliath frog.
The Goliath frog is the largest specie of frog in the world. Interestingly they can only be spotted in Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea.
The National Sport Is Soccer
Cameroonians love football. The men’s national team is nicknamed “The Indomitable Lions.” They have qualified for FIFA tournaments at least 6 times. They participated in the World Cup at least 5 times. In 1990 they became the first African nation to reach the quarterfinals.
They have won the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) at least 4 times. In the 2000 Sydney Olympic games, they even won Gold.
Cameroon has a relatively long coastline that stretches over 402km. This is considered fairly long compared to many African countries.
Cameroon’s coastline rests on the Bight of Biafra, which runs through the Gulf of Guinea straight through the Atlantic Ocean.
Coffee In Cameroon
Cameroon coffee and beans are some of the best in the world. That said, it probably comes as no surprise that the country is one of the largest coffee producers in West Africa.
Robusta beans are exported, while the Cameroon Boyo bean is sold and consumed locally. At one point, Cameroon was even the second-largest coffee exporter in Africa. It had an annual production of over 130,000 metric tons.
Due to various volcanic activities, there are thermal springs across Cameroon. You can find these thermal springs in Ngaoundere and Lake Moundo, among other areas.
Locals leverage the springs as an energy source. They actually use them for gas, making up about 21% of the country’s needs. Certainly one of the cool facts about Cameroon.
Chad lake was one of the largest lakes in the world before it shrunk. It resides on the border of Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad, and Niger.
Due to climate change, unregulated irrigation, and rapid increase in population, the lake has shrunk by over 90%!
Discovering More Fun Facts About Cameroon
These are some of the interesting Cameroon facts that hopefully piqued your interest. This African gem is a fascinating country with many highlights to explore.
From the fascinating Goliath Frog, to its thermal springs and famous wildlife, Cameroon has an array of activities and landmarks that are waiting to be discovered!
To truly appreciate this beautiful nation in all its glory, you must visit yourself. You are sure to learn more incredible facts about Cameroon through some firsthand experiences.