From the Horse’s Mouth – Cameroon

Cameroon, officially the Republic of Cameroon on the Gulf of Guinea, is a Central African country of varied terrain and wildlife. Its inland capital, Yaoundé, and its biggest city, Douala, are transit points to ecotourism sites as well as beach resorts like Kribi – near the Chutes de la Lobé waterfalls, which plunge directly into the sea – and Limbe, which is home to a wildlife centre.

How are birthdays celebrated?

Birthdays are either celebrated quietly with a cake and a few friends and family members, or a feast is organised in which friends, family, and colleagues are invited to rejoice with the person celebrating. Birthday feasts are usually organised over weekends.

When you first meet someone, how do you greet them?

In Cameroon, it is not polite to offer a handshake to a person who is your senior. The junior will say good morning or afternoon and wait for the senior to offer his or her hand. It is not also advisable to shake the hand of a senior person whilst wearing a cap or hat – while your right hand reaches out to the hand being offered, your left hand should be used to remove the hat or cap.

What languages are spoken in your country?

French and English are the two official languages in Cameroon. The country has ten regions, eight are Francophone and two Anglophone. While these are the two official languages, Cameroon is home to about 230 ethnic groups and each group has its own language. Therefore about 230 local languages are spoken in Cameroon.

What side of the road do people drive on? What do we need to know about driving in Cameroon?

In Cameroon people drive on the right-hand side of the road. Driving is generally different from one town to another. In Douala, the commercial capital, driving is very hectic. You must have a valid driving license, of course, and your car must be in good condition. We also have lots of motorbikes which makes it difficult to drive as they don’t really respect rules and regulations. The roads are not good, even in the major cities such as Douala and Yaounde. It is quite common to be stuck in traffic for anything from two to four hours at any given time.

How important is punctuality?

Punctuality is commonly not very important and ‘’African Time’’ is the order of the day. Most people will generally be 30 minutes to 1 hour late and will routinely blame traffic jams for this. For official and government appointments, however, you are expected to be punctual.

What types of music are popular? Who are some of your most popular musicians?

Makossa and Bikutsi traditionally used to be the popular music forms in Cameroon. The advent of globalisation, however, brought many musical genres to Cameroon. For example, hip-hop, R&B, Congolese rhumba and music from Nigeria.

Some musicians presently popular in our country:

  • Petit Pays – Watch and listen here.
  • Manu Dibango – Watch and listen here.
  • Richard Bona – Watch and listen here.
  • and Charlotte Dipanda – Watch and listen here.


Are there any Traditional Dances?

As mentioned earlier, Cameroon has more than two hundred ethnic groups and each group has their own traditional dance. Here are examples of a couple of traditional dances:

  • The Bakan Pygmies Dance – Watch it here.
  • The Assiko (Bassa traditional dance) – Watch it here.


What traditional Festivals are celebrated in your community?

  • The Batanga community of Kribi celebrates Mayi on the 9 of May every year – Click here to watch.
  • The Duala community celebrates Ngondo each year on the Wourri river shores – Click here to watch.



What are your seasons like?

Cameroon has two seasons, a rainy and dry season. In the southern part of the country, the rainy season lasts up to nine months – generally April to November/December. Interestingly the 4th most rainy city in the world, Debudscha, is found in the Southwest Region of Cameroon.

And the dry season lasts only three months,  generally from December/January to March.

In the northern part of the country the dry season can last about ten months while the rainy season can last just two months.

What are Cameroon’s major industries?

Agriculture is the major industry (cocoa and coffee mainly but also vegetables and fruit). Other industries that contribute significantly to the economy of Cameroon is oil, gas, manufacturing, finance and trade.

How do people spend their free time?

In cities, people spend time in their homes with occasional visits to friends or family and trips to Limbe and Kribi over weekends during the sunny season. Whilst in the rural areas, people spend time chatting about politics and many other topics over a bottle of white wine or locally made spirit. People also like gossiping – we call it kongossa in Cameroon.

What do people drink?

What people drink in Cameroon depends on their pockets. The majority go for locally made drinks like white wine made from palm tree (matango) or locally made spirits (odontol, arki). Meanwhile those who can afford it drink beer – some favourites are Guinness, Heineken and Kadji. South African wines are also quite popular.

What is a popular local dish?

It is very difficult to pinpoint one popular dish in Cameroon. Each region may have one or two popular dishes. However, Poisson Braisé/Roasted Fish, which can be seen below, seems to be a dish found nationwide.

And the very popular breakfast of Beignets Haricots/Puff Puff & Beans (Puff Puff or Pof Pof are fried balls made mainly from flour and yeast and they are yummy).

What do you pay for?

  • (1 USD = XAF 603)
  • A cup of coffee in a restaurant will cost you approximately 880,00 XAF.
  • A can of Coca Cola will cost you approximately 750,00 XAF.
  • A 2-Course meal for 2 people at a midrange restaurant will cost you approximately 45 500,00 XAF.
  • A loaf of bread will cost you approximately 362, 00 XAF.
  • A litre of milk will cost you approximately 1 390,00 XAF.



Security – in general?

People visiting the far north, north Adamoua and eastern regions of Cameroon should be mindful of their safety. The Boko Haram group and rebel groups from the Central African Republic have made these areas unstable. The rest of Cameroon, however, is generally relatively safe and the main cities, Douala and Yaoundé are very lively with people enjoying going out at night. The surrounding cities like Kribi, Limbe, where people like go to relax and enjoy the sea are also safe.


To read more exciting blogs, please click on the link below:

Written by Eloise Williams

Edited by Saudika Hendricks

Contributions Jacob Kuh and Benjamin Nwall