Start your Cameroon travel plans at the embassy and consulate office. Before making vacation plans, check the embassy. Be sure to obtain all the required documentations:
Three (3) major airports serve as port of entry to Cameroon:
The capital of Cameroon, Yaounde, has two major airports.
Nsimalen (NSI) is more modern and used by dignitaries for their Cameroon travel.
Yaounde International Airport, YAO, one of the first international airports in Cameroon is used less often. YAO is now mainly a Cameroon military airport base.
The economic capital of Cameroon, Douala, has an International Airport (DLA). This is the busiest in the nation.
As of 2009,
Cameroon reportedly had 36 Airports ranking 107 in the world
11 of these had paved runways and 25 were unpaved.
Source: CIA - The World Factbook.
Several reputable and trusted international travel airlines service Cameroon airports. Most US airlines do so through partnerships. For instance, American Airlines partners with Brussels Airlines which flies frequently to Cameroon.
Vacation ticket? Getting a ticket is somewhat tricky. Follow this guide to get the cheapest flight tickets:
Tried Bing.com yet? It has a price tracker. Use this to determine the best time to make you purchase.
Note the TOTAL cost, including taxes and all for your departure date.
Expect kayak.com to be cheapest and you probably would not find anything cheaper than this. Please let us know if you do.
However, if your departure dates match Brussels Airlines' and JetAirways (best flight experience I ever had was with Jet Airways; I fly often, nothing like JetAirways) you will definitely get some really cheap deals from AA.com and be in for an amazing Cameroon travel experience.
For my travel, I booked my flight ticket directly on American Airlines website (AA.com). I followed the steps outlined above.
It was just under $1050.00. I also bought travel insurance from Access American to cover my entire stay (which came in handy). This brought my total cost to just under $1400.00.
This was during the off season, April - June. Tickets are more expensive during the winter months as many in diaspora return home for Christmas and new year vacation with their families.
Now your story.
Banking? Yeah, you need money on your Cameroon travel trip.
The Euro and Dollar bills are readily accepted. If you intend to use this option, be sure to go to your bank and get very recent new looking bills. They carry a better exchange rate for some reason. Stores will welcome you.
Visa is accepted at most ATM. There are lots of these in Douala and Yaounde. All major banks now have ATM available. Note that VISA is the card of choice. From my experience, SCB-CLC was the only bank accepting MASTER CARD.
I had a MASTER CARD from ING. I walked up to the SBC ATM with a MASTER CARD signed. There were two armed security men and the ATM was housed in the wall giving me some privacy. The guards asked me to wait, that there was someone in - the glass doors were tinted for privacy too. They let one person in at a time. I swiped my card, put in my pin and the amount. Voilà! Bingo! that was it. I got my money. I was very happy that there was no extra fees to pay.
When I took a look at my ING statement I noticed, of course, that I was charged a foreign transaction fee by ING. Now what puzzles me is how Cameroon banks make money by not charging for such services. It was a very secure, clean and peaceful experience for me. No contacts with whomsoever.
I used my card in Yaounde, Douala, Buea and Bamenda. In Yaounde, several shopping centers and bakery accepted my cards. I tried both debit and Credit cards with no issues. Have you used a credit/debit card at a bank or shop in Cameroon? Would you do that again? Let us know.
Hotel accommodation is easiest in the major cities, Douala and Yaounde. There are several hotels to choose from. You will find out very quickly that "you get what you pay for".
Cheap hotels can go for as little as $10/day. You will want to avoid these. They are reportedly dirty to varying degrees.
Many reputable hotel chains are in Douala and Yaounde. Hilton, Ibiz, Sawa, Akwa Palace, and others. These keep a very high international standard. You will very much enjoy the services they provide.
Another alternative is to rent a villa. These are reasonably priced. You can arrange for any facilities to be provided.
Transportation? You got a few options.
Cameroon's public transportation system is one of the best. It is very efficient and gives you many options (like New York city).
If you prefer to have your own private car with a driver or drive yourself, check out the list of reputable car rental companies in various cities. Hertz is a worldwide chain and offers several services.
Need more information on Cameroon travel?
According to State department reports thousands (over two (2) thousands) of Americans live and visit Cameroon yearly. Chances are, you know someone who knows someone who has been to Cameroon. Peace Corps volunteers are best.
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