Located in the Gulf of Guinea, Cameroon lies at the intersection of West Africa and Central Africa.
Throughout Cameroon there is a great variety of vegetation, from savannah around the shores of Lake Chad, to equatorial forests in the southeast. It is one of the most geographically diverse countries in Africa, comprising three major zones: the northern savannah, the southern and eastern rainforests, and the northwestern hill region near Nigeria. Of the two main rivers, the Benue is navigable several months during the year, but the Sanaga is not navigable..
The capital city Yaoundé, the second largest city after the port city Doula, is green, hilly and picturesque. On Sundays there is open-air mass outside the Paroisse de N’Djong Melen in Ayounda that is a fantastic blend of African and western culture, with African music, drums, dancing and women’s chorus. The Benedictine Monastery’s Musée d’Art Cameroonais, despite its small size, has one of the best collections of Cameroonian art in the world. Other important institutions include the University of Yaoundé, and research institutes like The Pasteur Institute of Cameroun.
Ecologically and culturally, Cameroon is extremely rich and diverse. The population is composed of over 130 different ethnic groups speaking dozens of languages. Islam and Christianity compete for souls with an array of traditional animist beliefs.
Cameroon’s valuable rain forests contain a variety of trees, including oil palms, bamboo palms, mahogany, teak, ebony, and rubber. Wildlife is diverse and abundant and includes monkeys, chimpanzees, gorillas, antelope, lions, and elephants, as well as numerous species of birds and snakes. Elephants and bongos congregate by the hundreds in some of Africa’s best game parks, and beachcombers laze on long, isolated beaches.
Mt Cameroon not only is West Africa’s highest mountain but also is the only still active volcano in Africa.
The music of Cameroon is among the most popular in Africa, especially makossa, a popular dance rhythm. Makossa is adaptable to a wide variety of instrumentation, from traditional thumb pianos to guitars and synthesizers. Another popular dance music is bikutsi, typically sung in Ewonde.
Because of its great geographical and cultural variety, Cameroon is sometimes called Africa in miniature