Flag of Cameroon

Cameroon

Situated on the west coast of Africa, the Republic of Cameroon is bounded by the Gulf of Guinea to the West, Nigeria to the northwest, Chad to the northeast, the Central African Republic to the east, and Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Portuguese explorers reached the coast in the 15th century and named the area Rio dos Camarões (River of Prawns), the name from which Cameroon derives. Cameroon became a German colony in 1884, and was split between France and Great Britain after World War I. In 1960, French Cameroun became independent as the Republic of Cameroun, with the southern part of British Cameroons merging with it in 1961 to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon. It was renamed the Republic of Cameroon in 1984.

The country is known as 'Africa in miniature' for its cultural and geological diversity, with natural features including deserts, rainforests, beaches, mountains and savannas. The country to the northwest is particularly beautiful; volcanic peaks covered by bamboo forest rise to over 2,000 m (6500 ft), with waterfalls and villages scattered over the lower slopes. The capital, Yaoundé, stands on seven hills, and boasts many modern hotels, markets, shops and cinemas. Douala, Cameroon's economic capital lies 24 km from the sea and dominated by Mount Cameroon, West Africa's highest mountain at 4,095 m (14,435 ft).

Compared to many other African countries, Cameroon enjoys relative social and political stability, which has resulted in the development of roads, agriculture, railways and substantial petroleum and timber industries. Cameroon is home to over 200 different ethnic and linguistic groups, although English and French are the official languages. The country is well-known for its successful national football team, and for its native styles of music, particularly bikutsi and makossa. Cooking is predominantly French or Lebanese, although local food can be very tasty. Avocado pears, pineapples and mangoes are frequently used ingredients.

Map of Cameroon