Sunday 19 February 2012

Hiking (or Rather Climbing) Mount Cameroon

If you visit Cameroon, you must hike Mount Cameroon! Mount Cameroon, with its 10,000 foot summit is a live volcano (so live that there was a brief explosion a few weeks ago). Temperatures on the volcano change from humid hot to freezing cold as one traverses across savannah and rain forest. Contrary to popular guidebooks, this trek is not for the weak of heart or out of shape.

Rain forest of Mount Cameroon

Savannah of Mount Cameroon

We decided on a simple one-day hike due to time, money, and lack of interest in hiking! Though I am always interested in experiencing new things, I know my limits.

We utilized the local and trustworthy agency, HADY Guiding Services, to coordinate the trip. Peace Corps Volunteers have been using the agency for years. Lucky for us, Walters Chin, the owner of the agency, offered to walk with us himself.

In Cameroon, there is a proverb “On est ensemble” which translates into “We are together.” People use this in everyday situations to say goodbye and you see it displayed in various acts. As we were taking a rest break at Hut 1, a dozen guys came trekking down the mountain. It turns out that they were members of a soccer team and one of their teammates had tried running the marathon, but passed out near the peak. He ended up sleeping overnight on the mountain and every single one of his teammates climbed the mountain to see if he was well and to climb back down with him. It was “on est ensemble” to the extreme. Just wonderful.

Walters took us on a quick detour to see a waterfall and Buea's watersource

The mountainous trek was interesting and doable, but we were ready for some black-sand beach time! Just an 800CFA and 30 minute taxi drive away, we headed off to Limbe with the first stop being Mars Restaurant for ice cream from a New York-imported machine.

Mars Restaurant, Down Beach, Limbe

We walked along Down Beach doing a photoshoot before meeting up with a dozen other PCVs at the fish market. I highly recommend the Down Beach's fish market where shrimp and calamari can both be had! Delicious!

Black sand beaches of Limbe, Down Beach

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