Thursday 29 December 2011

Hiking Rhumsiki, Extreme North, Cameroon

Hiking Rhumsiki is Cameroon's number one tourist attraction (if you could call it that as not many tourists come to Cameroon in the first place!). Located in the Mandara Mountains of the Extreme North region, Rhumsiki is located just 3km from the Nigerian border. The native inhabitants to the area are the Kapsiki who live in thatch-roofed, stone homes.

From the village of Mokolo, we jumped on motobikes to get to Rhumsiki at 2.500CFA each. I love negotiating with motomen as they always assume we are rich tourists and not Peace Corps Volunteers. If we were rich tourists, don't you think we'd hire a private car instead of negotiating with you over $1US? Case won!

An hour and a half later, we were ready to hike. To the disappointment of the tour guides that surrounded us, we stated that we already had Oliver (70 58 01 13) to guide us around. A friend of a friend, he accepted 3.000/person no problem.

The hike quite nicely parallels hiking Mali's Dogon Country. You are traveling through and surrounded by mountainous layers of Earth which have been untouched for generations. Cell phone service doesn't exist and time is relative.

First stop: the Peak of Rhumsiki!

Peak of Rhumsiki

Oliver took us down to the Nigerian border before watching cotton being spun and playing a few traditional instruments. The prices of crafts were much cheaper than in town as the villagers make the crafts themselves.

Spinning cotton using a traditional wood-machine

Traditional wooden instruments and crafts next to carved calabashes

Though it is a tourist trap, we had to get our fortunes predicted by the crab sorcerer! The old man comes out, charges you 1.000CFA (~$2US), lets a crab move around pieces of wood, and voila! Crab sorcerer translates what the crab says i.e. you will have a successful career, good fortune, and an attractive husband. But really, what else would you want to hear?

The Rhumsiki crab sorcerer! Yes, he will assure you of a happy life!

The three-hour hike ended with a nice stop to watch pottery being hand-made. Gorgeous to say the least!

Hand-made pottery bowls

After the long walk, the best lunch in the country was had at Chez Kodji a.k.a. Kirdi a.k.a. Vegetarian Omnivore! The five-course meal for 3.500CFA (~$7US) includes garlic bread (with amazing basil sauce), pizza, barbequed kabobs, fries, salad, and a fruit desert! Great way to end the hike!

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