Earth : Africa : West Africa : Cameroon : South Cameroon Plateau : Yaoundé
Yaounde is the capital of Cameroon.
There are daily flights from most major European destinations, like Paris, London, Belgium, and Amsterdam. While most flights descend in Douala, these flights frequently continue on to Yaounde and do not require passengers to disembark. Alternately, one could get off in Douala and take one of the numerous bus or train services to reach Yaounde (a 3-4 hour ride).
Trains are usually used to move cargo from the southern provinces to the northern provinces. There are passenger services that run daily from Yaounde to the Adamawa province.
It's really worth getting the 'prestige' service if you're coming from Douala. If for no other reason than the seatbealts, it's worth the splurge, but take a jumper incase they crank the air-con.
City busses do exist, but shared taxis are the way to go. They will slow down for you to call your destination, and beep to say yes. The price is fixed at 200CFA, unless you're travelling a long way, or if you're not going far, you can try calling "cent francs" and your destination.
The city's not really set up for tourists, but some fun things to see are the Mvog Betsi zoo (primates and lions, with a kids' playground), the Mokolo market (very big and in-your-face), Mont Febe, or maybe the swimming pools of some of the hotels.
The city centre houses government offices, some hotels, and the central market. The Bastos neighbourhood, with most homes owned by Cameroonians, is home to foreign embassies and the expatriate European community (drawn mainly from the diplomatic corps). The presidential palace and compound is in the Etoudi neighborhood.
Also found in Yaoundé are:
There is a small zoo in the Mvog-Betsi neighbourhood. Yaoundé has a small assortment of nightclubs and restaurants.
If you're volunteering with an NGO, make sure that you've verified its credibility with an independent source. A good way can be to look at the NGO's partner organisations; if it has any big ones (ie. UN etc.), they will probably have checked it out. It is sad to see eager and well intentioned volunteers have their time and money wasted (and their benevolent zeal diminished!).
If you need CFA, there are a handful of ATMs at banks around the city, as well as one in the Hilton in the center of Yaounde. There are also many people on the street who will change money, e.g. at the airport, outside the Hilton, and at the Casino supermarket. Money changers on the street can be recognized by seeing them rub their thumb and middle finger together at you (not a rude gesture, just a sign). They will generally accept Euros but some may also accept dollars. Know the conversion rate before you go in case you need to haggle, but the group of people who change money outside the Casino give a good rate without haggling (650 CFA per Euro, vs. a 656 CFA per Euro official rate).
There is a Casino (a large French supermarket chain) next to the Notre Dame cathedral in the center of town where you can buy typical European brand-name foods.Also the presence of native restoration centers nearly at every turns with a local menu and the many accustomed may provide a unique experience if you care to stop by.
Street stalls are everywhere, but a nice place to go is Nlongkak round about. Here there's a bit of a variety, and plenty of places to get a beer. A plate of beans should cost between 200-500CFA, an omlet around 500 (or 1000 if in a resturant with chips), and a plate of spagetti maybe 500CFA. Prices may vary considerably depending on the honesty of your vendor.
Kajazoma is a very chic art gallery/eatery that is defiantly worth checking out for dinner or for drinks. Located in a tranquil, open garden (Bastos).
Cosypool is a thai inspired restaurant with a lot of delicious options (Bastos).
Salsa the pizzas are amazing! (Bastos).
foyer international de l'eglise presbyterienne
Double rooms W/ shower are 6,000 CFA($12-$15) Double rooms W/ Tele and shower are 8,000 CFA($16-$20) Suites dble are 15,000 CFA($20-$30) It's on Carrefour Nlongkak, Phone # 22 20 98 52.
Yaoundé is well served by many mid-range hotels in and around the city-center.
Hotel La Falaise, CFA 55,000, is one of the best of the mid range. Nice rooms, with a pool and gym. Rooms either face the street or the courtyard where the pools is. Courtyard rooms can be a problem if there is a party in one of the halls on the main and second floor which can sometimes go well into the early hours of the morning. Street facing is better choice even if the sound of cars start quite early.
The restaurant is ok, but expensive. There are a few options around the hotel and a cheap cab ride away.
Hilton Yaounde, Boulevard du 20 Mai, Yaounde, Cameroon 11852, ☎ 237-2-223-3646 (fax: 237-2-222-3210),
Taxi sharing can be risky, even for Cameroonians, and you may wind up with your cell phone and wallet stolen. It is recommended to hire a private taxi recommended by your hotel or a friend.
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