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Preface Last Updated: 10/3/2003 3:14 PM

An Africa in miniature, the Republic of Cameroon contains examples of all the geography and people south of the Sahara: steamy equatorial jungles inhabited by pygmy hunters and the great apes; vast plains alive with African wildlife; white sand beaches; and Mount Cameroon, a still active volcano, rising 13,428 feet above sea level.

Each region is characterized by distinct societies: from the Muslim traders and pastoralists in the north; to the farmers and craft-makers of the west; to the forest peoples of the south. A cultural mosaic containing over 200 ethnic groups speaking 24 major African languages and three world languages — English, French, and Arabic — Cameroon’s only common feature appears to be its variety.

Cameroon’s two major cities are Douala and Yaounde. Douala, the most densely populated, is a major port of call along the coast of West Africa and is acknowledged to be Cameroon’s commercial center. Yaounde, situated in a lush hilly region in the interior, is the political capital and seat of government.

While not considered a tourist destination, Cameroon offers the determined traveler a broad spectrum of African sights and insights into the sub-Saharan region.

The Host Country

Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 10/3/2003 3:16 PM

The Republic of Cameroon covers an area (184,000 square miles) slightly larger than the size of California and is located just north of the Equator at the hinge of the West African coastline. Shaped like an irregular triangle, Cameroon extends north-eastward from the Gulf of Guinea to Lake Chad, and borders six coastal and inland countries: Nigeria to the northwest; Chad and the Central African Republic to the north and northeast; and the Congo, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea to the south.

Cameroon has four distinct topographical regions. The low coastal plains in the south are blanketed with equatorial rain forests extending to the Sanaga River. In central Cameroon, the rain forest yields to the Adamaoua Plateau-a vast, sparsely vegetated region. Stretching northward from the foot of this plateau to Lake Chad are the great northern plains, where savannas contrast starkly with unusual rock formations in the Mandara Mountains. To the west and northwest are rolling hills and volcanic mountains cloaked in lush vegetation. Here lies Mt. Cameroon, the highest peak (13,428 feet) in sub-Saharan West Africa.

Cameroon’s climate is as varied as its geography. High humidity and temperatures with little seasonal variations characterize the coast and southern lowlands. In the Douala area, these conditions may cause household goods to rust, mold, or mildew. In the north, extremely high temperatures and little or no humidity are normal, although seasonal fluctuations occur.

In Yaounde, humidity and temperatures are lower, but fluctuate daily. Two rainy seasons are interspersed with two relatively dry periods. April and May bring the “mango rains.” These moderately heavy rains average 8 inches monthly, then taper off into the drier months of June and July. Rainfall then increases to more than 12 inches monthly for August through November and recedes to as little as 2 inches monthly during the dry season of December through March. During the dry season temperatures may peak above 100 °F and dust is a serious problem. This causes discomfort and health problems, especially for people that suffer with hay fever, allergies, and asthma and results in higher than normal incidences of respiratory infections, coughs, and colds. High humidity, temperature fluctuations, rust, mold, or mildew may damage household goods and personal effects such as stereo equipment, paint and books.

Population Last Updated: 10/3/2003 3:18 PM

As of July 1999, the population totaled about 15.5 million, with a growth rate officially estimated at 2.79% annually. However, the urban population in the two major cities has grown at a faster rate due to migration from rural areas. Nearly one-third of the populace resides in Littoral and Central Provinces—the location of the two largest cities in the country, Yaounde and Douala. Cameroon’s population is young with 46% ages 14 and under. Life expectancy of the total population is short-only 51 years (males 49 and females 52).

About 11,000 Europeans (predominantly French) and 1,250 Americans live in Cameroon, including some 150 Peace Corps volunteers stationed throughout the country. There are also large immigrant populations of Chadians, Congolese, Senegalese, and Nigerians.

Cameroon and its neighbors have received countless human migrations. Cameroon’s western highlands are widely thought to be where the Bantu migrations originated some 2,000 years ago. In the 18th and 19th centuries further migratory movements resulted from Islamic holy wars waged by the Fulani. As a result, Cameroon has become a meeting place of important cultural groups: Puels from the coast of Guinea; Fulani and Arab people from western Sudan; and Bantus from the Congo.

Because of the intermixture and absorption of these peoples, Cameroon has more than 200 identifiable ethnic tribes. In the north, one finds Moslem Fulani and Hausa groups as well as animist, Christian, or Moslem “Kirdis,” the name given to the peoples who inhabited the region before the Fulani conquests. The western highlands are the home of the Bamileke and Bamoun peoples, among many others. The south is inhabited by the Beti, of which the Eton, Ewondo, Bulu, and Fang are the most important subgroups. The Bassa and Douala groups inhabit the coastal plains. The pygmies, the earliest inhabitants of the southern forests, still survive in that area.

Cameroon is unique among African nations because it is bilingual—French and English are the official languages. The elite generally speaks French in 8 of Cameroon’s 10 provinces. English, most commonly pidgin, is predominant only in the Northwest and Southwest Provinces. Fulant is widely spoken in the three northern Provinces. Throughout the country, 24 African languages plus assorted dialects are spoken.

Christianity and Islam are practiced in Cameroon. Christians are estimated to constitute 33% of the population and Moslems approximately 16%; the balance (51 %) practice animist or traditional beliefs.

Public Institutions Last Updated: 10/3/2003 3:21 PM

Cameroon became independent January 1, 1960, when East Cameroon (formerly French) became the Republic of Cameroon. On October 1, 1961, West Cameroon (formerly British) joined with East Cameroon to form the Federated Republic of Cameroon. With adoption of the constitution of May 20, 1972, the East and West formed a unitary republic. In January 1984, the National Assembly officially changed the country’s name by dropping the word “United” before the Republic of Cameroon. The 1972 constitution was amended in 1996.

The President can name and dismiss Cabinet members and judges, negotiate and ratify treaties, accredit ambassadors, commute sentences, grant pardons, lead the armed forces, declare states of national emergency, and be invested with special powers. If the President dies or is permanently incapacitated, the speaker of the National Assembly becomes Acting President for up to 40 days until elections are held.

In the National Assembly, laws are adopted by majority vote of members present, except for cases where the President calls for a second reading. Adoption then requires approval by a majority of the Assembly's total membership. Only the President may ask the Supreme Court to review a law's constitutionality.

Each of the 10 provinces has a governor and an administrative staff appointed by the President, and each province’s divisions and subdivisions have chief officers also appointed by the President. This internal administrative system is under the Ministry of Territorial Administration. Other ministries may have representatives at each level.

The legal system in eight provinces formerly under the French mandate is based on the French civil law system. The President, the Minister of Justice, and the President’s judicial advisers (Supreme Court) top the judicial hierarchy. Next are the provincial appeals courts, chief judges for the divisions, and local magistrates. Traditional courts still play a major role in domestic, property, and probate law. Tribal laws and customs are honored in the formal court system when not in conflict with national law. Traditional kingdoms and organizations also exercise other functions of government. Traditional rulers are treated as administrative adjuncts and receive a government allowance.

Under pressure from the opposition, the government introduced several reforms in the 1990’s to liberalize public institutions. These reforms provided for the creation of a bicameral legislature and the establishment of Provincial Assemblies. They also permitted formation of opposition political parties, independent newspapers, nongovernmental civic associations and ended censorship. While the government continues to occasionally impose restrictions on those with dissenting views, open public debate has increased greatly. Cameroon last held multiparty parliamentary elections on May 17, 1997. The former single party, the Cameroon Peoples’ Democratic Movement (CPDM), which once held all 180 seats in the National Assembly, won 116 seats in the multiparty election with six other parties accounting for the remainder. In October 1997, Cameroon held the second multiparty presidential election in its history. According to official results, President Biya was reelected with about 93% of the vote, while major opposition parties boycotted the election. Credible local and international observers found flaws due to irregular campaign practices and vote tabulations. The Government has been singled out by domestic and international human rights monitors for serious abuses, including unlawful detention, torture, and occasional extra judicial killing by security forces.

Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 10/3/2003 3:24 PM

Cameroon’s art reflects the ethnic diversity of its people. Although ancestral traditions form the basis for most art forms, certain crafts, such as carving and painting calabashes, bas relief sculpture, engraving abbia stones, weaving baskets, and embroidering cloth and traditional batik works illustrate the presence of art in the daily lives of Cameroonians. Traditional art forms consist mainly of wood sculpture. Objects such as carve masks, statues; various ethnic group thus translate decorative panels, beds chairs, and doors into a multitude o expressions in wood.

Two other interesting art forms are brasswork/bronzeworl and wood sculpture embroidered with glass beads by the peoples of the western highlands. In the northern provinces local specialties include cloth weaving leather goods, and decorative traditional arms made of brass. Copies of traditional art and native handicrafts are being encouraged by the Government to promote the country’s development efforts.

The Government wishes to combine the British and French educational systems into an integrated national education program, but the French system still prevails in most of the country. A comprehensive English program has been incorporated into the national curriculum to enhance Cameroon’s official bilingual policy. The educational structure consist of primary, secondary, post secondary professional, and university levels. Education in public primary schools is technically free and widely available, but expenses are incurred for books, materials, and uniforms. Primary education is compulsory for ages 6 to 14 and the enrollment rate is one of the highest in Africa. However, regional disparities exist with enrollment in the center and south higher than in the north. Further, enrollment drops off dramatically at the secondary level.

Most Cameroonians consider a university degree as a prerequisite for social and professional advancement, and education is highly valued. The government dedicates a large portion of the national budget to education, though universities are still woefully underfunded.

Cameroon has six national universities. The universities are officially bilingual though French is the dominant language at all of them except at Buea which is the country’s sole “AngloSaxon” university and is modeled on the British system. The six institutions are Yaounde I University, Yaounde II University, the University of Douala, the University of Dschang, the University of Ngaoundere, and the University of Buea.

There are also several highly regarded special institutions, the Grandes Ecoles. Two are affiliated with Yaounde I University: the Ecole Nationale d’Administration et de Magistrature (which trains much of the ruling elite and the senior technocrats), the Ecole Normale Superieure (which trains educators and administrators). Three of the institutes are affiliated with Yaounde II: the Institut des Relations Internationales du Cameroon (which trains all of the country’s diplomats, as well as diplomats from 10 other African countries), the Ecole Superieure Polytechnique (which specializes in engineering and information technology), and the Ecole Superieure des Sciences et Techniques de l’Information et de la Communication (which trains journalists). Douala University houses the Ecole Normale Superieure de l’Enseignement Technique (which specializes in business management and economics), while Buea University is the home of the Advanced School of Translators and Interpreters.

The Catholic University of Central Africa is the country’s sole accredited private university. Established in 1994, it is well funded and managed and aims to have regional importance. Other private universities have been established in recent years, but the Government does not recognize degrees from these universities. The most important of them are the Bamenda University for Science and Technology and the Ndi Samba Private University of Yaounde.

Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 10/3/2003 3:36 PM

Cameroon has abundant natural resources, but it is a poor country whose estimated per capita income in 1999 was about $590. Cameroon is in the African Financial Community along with six central African and eight west-African countries and France. Through special arrangement, these African countries have as their currency, the African Franc, which provides for unlimited convertibility into the French Franc at a fixed rate (currently, 1 French Franc equals 100 African Francs). Cameroon is the largest economy in central Africa, and Yaounde hosts the regional central bank for the six central African countries that use the African Franc.

The government, in cooperation with the IMF and World Bank, has pursued since 1997 an economic reform program to reduce government control over the economy and stimulate more private-sector investment and growth. Between 1997 and 1999, Cameroon’s economy grew annually at a 4%–5% annual rate, while at the same time the government more strictly controlled its own spending and allowed government employee salaries to decline relative to inflation. Cameroon’s economy depends on agriculture, and Cameroon is a major exporter of bananas, coffee, cocoa, cotton, and rubber. Low world prices for cocoa and coffee in 1999 hurt Cameroonian farmers, while banana exporters faced stiff competition from Latin American producers. In some areas, farmers found export prices so low that they began to uproot cash crop acreage to produce food. Cameroon is generally self-sufficient in terms of food production. Cameroon exports a relatively small quantity of oil and its petroleum sector accounts for about one-fourth of export earnings and one-fifth of the government’s budget. Cameroon's existing oilfields are nearing depletion, and the government adopted a new petroleum code in December 1999 to attract new foreign exploration of potential commercial fields in the Gulf of Guinea and in Cameroon’s far north.

The government has been privatizing large state-owned companies such as banks, utilities, and food processing firms. Cameroon had suffered a major banking sector crisis in the middle of the 1990’s, but by the end of the decade insolvent banks had been closed and the government privatized all state-owned banks. Today, Cameroon has nine banks, most of which are owned by foreign banking companies. The telecommunications infrastructure is overburdened and there are long delays for customers trying to establish phone service. The hope is to attract buyers for the state-owned telephone company to upgrade equipment throughout the country. Cameroon also has two new mobile telephone service companies. Internet service is relatively new, and the connections are very slow by Western standards.

Almost half of the country is covered by forest, but an inadequate transport system impedes the development of the agricultural sector because farmers cannot access larger markets. The rail network, totaling some 700 miles nationwide, is the most important element of the transport infrastructure. The main rail line links Douala Port to Ngaoundere in central Cameroon. Douala also serves as a landing point for much cargo ultimately destined for Chad and the Central African Republic.

Cameroon trades mostly with Europe and Asia; the U.S. accounts for only about 10% of Cameroon’s foreign trade. Most of Cameroon’s $73 million in exports to the U.S. in 1999 were crude oil, while the U.S. sold Cameroon about $38 million in goods in 1999, including machinery, cereals, and chemicals. U.S. firms operating in Cameroon include Del Monte, Dole, Mobil, Texaco, Citibank, and DHL. The U.S. closed its assistance mission in 1994 but continues to operate some small-scale projects through an Embassy Self-Help Program, Peace Corps Volunteers Program, and the African Development Program. The government in 2000 is working with international donors on a national strategy to reduce poverty with special emphasis on education and health programs and rural infrastructure. Cameroon is also seeking foreign debt relief as part of its poverty reduction program.


Automobiles Last Updated: 8/24/2005 5:44 AM

An automobile is essential for Americans in Cameroon. Interagency regulations allow employees to ship any foreign-made, foreign-purchased car to Cameroon at U.S. Government expense. Duty-free importation can be arranged by the Embassy. European and Japanese models can be purchased in Cameroon duty free. However, buyers can purchase these cars directly through the manufacturer and ship them ahead at Government expense. A limited selection of used automobiles may be purchased from departing Mission employees, other expatriates, and locals. Vehicles can be any size or color; however, it is generally conceded that any color, rather than white, is preferred because many cars of the diplomatic community are white and easily identifiable. In the major cities, sedans are the norm in Cameroon. Many people prefer 4-wheel-drive vehicles for out of town driving especially during the rainy season. High-end vehicles such as Land Rovers or Toyota Land Cruisers are not recommended because they have been specifically targeted by carjackers in the extreme north. Many staff members feel safer in a high, large vehicle that affords better visibility given the undisciplined driving.

Although several European and Japanese automobile companies have sales and service facilities in Cameroon (Renault, Peugeot, Mercedes, Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Hyundai), many Mission members have their personal vehicles serviced at the Embassy GSO. Spare parts for American cars, are rarely available locally but can be shipped through the pouch subject to restrictions, weight, and size limitations. Spare parts for standard European models and some Japanese models, when available, are priced substantially higher than in the U.S. For these reasons, bring spark plugs, points and condensers, oil filters, windshield wipers, fan belts, water hoses, extra tubes for tires, etc., for your vehicle.

Gasoline costs about US$4.00 per gallon (US$1.00 per liter); local high-octane gas is equivalent to U.S. low-octane gas, so vehicles designed to operate on low octane gas fare better. There is no unleaded gas, yet both leaded gas and diesel fuel are readily available throughout Cameroon. Automobiles equipped with narrow fuel tank filler necks and catalytic converters will require modification. The narrow filler neck can easily be replaced at post by requesting a regular one from the car manufacturer and forwarding it, or a neck filler adapter can be purchased locally. If the car is to be shipped back to the U.S., an Environmental Protection Agency waiver must be obtained before a U.S. garage can modify the equipment. If you operate the vehicle without first removing the catalytic converter, the leaded gas will damage it, and it will have to be replaced before the car can again be operated legally in the U.S. The cost for replacement is reimbursable, if done after returning to the US. Costs incurred to have equipment removed, before shipping the car to post, are not reimbursable.

Local Transportation Last Updated: 2/3/2005 6:30 AM

GSO operates a daily shuttle to and from the Embassy and housing at a reasonable cost. Official vehicles may be used to and from official after-hours functions at no cost. However, a trip ticket must be purchased and used for all other authorized, (unofficial) use of official vehicles. The mission does not allow officers to self-drive official vehicles except in limited circumstances.

Yaounde has no bus transportation. Local taxi service is available in most cities and towns at reasonable rates. However, because of overcrowding, lack of safety precautions in taxis, indirect routes, frequent accidents, and increased criminal activity, Mission personnel are advised not to use local taxis. If it is necessary to use a taxi for personal errands it is possible to arrange for a taxi through known, reputable, persons for an hourly rate for sole use only.

Regional Transportation Last Updated: 2/3/2005 6:32 AM

Air service between the Cameroonian cities of Yaounde, Douala, Ngaoundere, Garoua, and Maroua is provided by Cameroon Airlines but is unreliable. Intra Cameroon flights may be delayed or canceled. Most flights to other African destinations depart and arrive from the Douala airport. All fares are generally high with flights often delayed.

Trains run twice daily between Douala and Yaounde, and once daily to Ngaoundere. Each trip takes between 6 and 12 hours. “Bush taxis” or small van; provide intra-country travel between cities; however, they are usually over crowded and should be used only as a last resort. Foreign and Cameroonian freighters sail frequently between the majo European ports and Douala. America freighters sail between the U.S. and various West African ports, including Douala but due to lack of cargo, stops in Douala are infrequent. Several French and American freighters accept passengers.


Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 10/3/2003 3:44 PM

An automatic dialing system exists between Yaounde, Douala, and most large towns. Local telephone service is poor because existing lines cannot handle the demand. Cameroon and the US. have a direct telephone link via satellite. In addition, the Embassy maintains a satellite link for both voice and internet access by Mission personnel. Because telephones and telephone lines are difficult to obtain, those located in Embassy residences are the property of the Embassy. Mission personnel are responsible for all charges associated with usage, including all local calls (billed on a “unit” basis) and long distance calls. Unlike in the U.S., telephone statements are not issued regularly and employees are advised to maintain a phone log of all calls. Direct calls to the U.S. are about $7 a minute. Long distance charges can be minimized by the use of a “callback” service. Direct calls are also possible to other African and European countries. Internet access costs about $60 for 20 hours usage per month or unlimited access for approximately $150 per month. Internet connections are slow and unreliable by Western standards.

Internet Last Updated: 8/24/2005 5:47 AM

Post is installing an ambitious wireless project to connect all residences with free Internet access including voice over Internet protocal (VOIP) phones that will permit free calls to the Washington, DC area. Private providers cost about $60 for 20 hours usage per month or unlimited access for approximately $150 per month. Private Internet connections are slow and unreliable by Western standards.

Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 2/3/2005 6:36 AM

U.S. mail to Yaounde is by pouch delivery and is solely at the risk of the sender. Air pouches arrive in Yaounde twice a week and outgoing pouches are shipped twice a week by an international express courier service. Pouch mail from U.S. takes 1 to 2 weeks to reach Yaounde from the Department of State mail facility in Washington, D.C. Domestic postage must be paid to Washington, D.C. Packages to Yaounde may not weigh more than 50 pounds or exceed 17x18x32 inches in size. Mail from Yaounde to U.S. (Washington, D.C.) by pouch generally takes from 7 to 10 days. Except for returned merchandise from catalog orders, only letters and videotapes under 2 pounds will be accepted for pouch mail to the U.S. Certain items are prohibited for pouch mail, i.e., aerosols, liquids (other than medically related), glass, firearms, explosives, ammunition, incendiary materials, alcoholic beverages, corrosives, currency (cash), controlled or illegal substances without prescription, animals or endangered species products, and bulk supplies or items of resale.

International airmail letters take from 8 to 15 days to arrive from Europe or the U.S. International surface mail takes from 3 to 6 months, although transit time may be less via surface/airpouches for all mail because of Customs complication, pilferage, and unreliable service.

The mailing address for all personal pouch mail, including USDAO employees and Peace Corps, is:

Name 2520 Yaounde PL Dulles, VA 20189-2520

The international mail address is:

Name American Embassy B. P 817 Yaounde, Cameroon

Radio and TV Last Updated: 8/24/2005 5:54 AM

All residences have an Armed Forces Network Television and Radio satellite receiver to permit viewing of American programs on 10 television and 10 radio stations. A private South African company (DSTV) is also locally available with approximately 55 mainly English channels for around $55 a month in a PAL format (see below). A shortwave radio is necessary for reception of BBC, VOA, and European stations. The three local stations (two AM, one FM) provide mostly domestic news and recorded music. Broadcasting is primarily in French, with three English newscasts daily. Cameroon television was inaugurated in March 1985 on the German PAL system, which is incompatible with the American NTSC system. The American School of Yaounde operates a tape video club of over 1,000 selections in VHS, NTSC format. Many Americans have VHS video machines in American NTSC format and bring videos or have family and friends mail videos. To enjoy DSTV, Cameroon television and other European videos, a multisystem (with PAL and NTSC formats) TV and/or VCR and/or signal converter are necessary. Such equipment can be ordered from major European duty-free stores or purchased from base exchanges at U.S. military installations in Europe.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated: 10/3/2003 3:49 PM

The International Herald Tribune (published in Paris) is available by subscription or may be purchased in Yaounde and Douala through local bookstores. Although subscriptions cost much less than issues purchased locally (US$630 for 14 months versus US$2.50 per issue), delivery time is slower and more sporadic (7–14 days versus 3–5 days after publication). Several French newspapers and selected British journals are available. The government-run Cameroon Tribune is published 5 days a week mostly in French but with some English content. Some private Cameroonian newspapers are published weekly or bimonthly in French and English.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities Last Updated: 9/23/2005 11:24 AM

The Embassy Health Unit is staffed with a full time Foreign Service Health Practitioner (FSHP) either a US trained Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner, a locally employed Registered Nurse, a Medical Technologist as well as an Administrative Assistant. Medical services include: health promotion and primary prevention, evaluation and treatment of acute illnesses, management of chronic problems, and routine laboratory analyses. These services are provided for all official Mission employees and their dependents who have been medically cleared. The Regional Medevac Center is London, England. All obstetrical cases are eligible for medevac to the U.S. 6 weeks prior to the delivery date.

The Health Unit has a small pharmacy in order to provide immunizations and medications for treatment of acute problems and malaria prevention and treatment. You are advised to bring an adequate supply of over-the-counter medications and updated prescriptions with at least a 90-day supply for all long-term medications. Prescriptions for maintenance medications can be ordered through Merck-Medco with most insurance plans. It is important to review your health policy and bring the necessary forms with you. A regional medical doctor (RMO), based in Lagos, visits the Embassy periodically and a regional psychiatrist based in Accra - Ghana, visits one to two times/year. Dr. Wali Muna is the local post medical adviser. He is a U.S. trained cardiologist who is well known to the Embassy. Consultations can be arranged as needed through the Health Unit with well-trained local physicians, including two with U.S. training.

Hospital and medical services available locally are well below accepted U.S. standards. L’Hopital General de Yaoundé, is used for emergency intervention and stabilization. The hospital has a 24-hour on-call service, with medical and surgical specialists with US and European training. The hospital suffers from inconsistent funding and inadequate medical supplies. Etoudi Clinic is a clean, fairly well equipped, private hospital that is primarily used for ophthalmology consultations. Good quality X-ray services are available at Cabinet de la Cathedral, a 5-minute drive from the Embassy. Women are strongly encouraged to have all necessary mammography screening completed before leaving the US.

We are fortunate to have a U.S.trained dentist in Yaounde who provides acceptable American dental services. There are several French-trained dentists in Yaounde and an excellent Belgian dentist in Douala.

Community Health Last Updated: 9/23/2005 11:26 AM

The U.S. Embassy’s Fitness Center, located above the Medical Unit, is open 24 hours a day only to U.S. direct-hire Americans and family members. The U.S. Standard Fitness Center is fully equipped with Stairmaster treadmills, stationary bike, elliptical and Stairstepper aerobic equipment, a full range of Nautilus weight equipment, a completely equipped aerobics room, men’s and women’s saunas, changing rooms and showers. There is no charge for its use.

The following tropical diseases pose a threat to those living in Cameroon: chloroquine-resistant malaria, amebic and other forms of dysentery, hepatitis, meningitis, filariasis, and fungal infections. HIV infections are increasing in Cameroon. All individuals relocating to Cameroon are strongly advised to begin antimalarial medicine prior to arrival at post. Individuals are encouraged to wear shoes at all times due to the increased risk for contracting parasitic or fungal infections.

During the dry season (December–March) there is an increased incidence of respiratory allergies, coughs, and colds. Individuals with allergies or asthma may be more likely to experience illness during the dry season. Normal childhood illnesses occur, but unusual problems among American children have been minimal.

Community sanitation in both Yaoundé and Douala is comparable to that found in other West African cities, but is well below U.S. and European standards. Both Yaounde and Douala lack a central sewage system and garbage collection is inconsistent. The city water supply has been plagued by multiple problems and is not considered safe to drink. Although the water is chemically treated, the poor condition of water transport pipes and sporadic interruptions in service provide sources of contamination. A distiller and a source for filtered water are provided in each home. Bottled water is locally available for purchase.

Two Western-style grocery stores have adequate refrigeration facilities and acceptable sanitation and health controls. Fresh milk is unavailable, but long-life sterilized milk, or powdered milk can be purchased locally. Local fruits and vegetables are abundant and generally excellent. They must be washed thoroughly with soap and water, and soaked in a Clorox or iodine solution before storing, peeling, or eating. All meats should be thoroughly cooked.

Preventive Measures Last Updated: 9/23/2005 11:27 AM

Yellow fever immunization is required for entrance into Cameroon. In addition, immunizations against polio, rabies, tetanus, typhoid, Hepatitis A and B, and meningitis are recommended before arrival. Antimalarial medications should be started 1 week before arrival at post.

First-aid supplies, aspirin, vitamins, insect repellant, sunscreen, Q-tips, and cotton balls may be unavailable locally. So, include these supplies in your consumables shipment. Children should take fluoride supplements while in Yaoundé; tablets are available at the Health Unit. The Chancery, Annex, and all official buildings are nonsmoking areas.

Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 8/24/2005 5:57 AM

The American Mission in Yaounde (State, CDC, Defense Attache Office, and Peace Corps) hires spouses and dependents as needed. Eligible Family Member (EFM) employment opportunities at Mission Yaounde are good; currently all EFM’s seeking work are employed at the Mission. There are currently two EFM positions in ISC/IPC, one in the Consular Section, one in the Budget & Fiscal Office, one in Public Affairs and three in the General Services Office. The Community Liaison Officer is also an EFM position. From time-to-time, EFMs are also hired in part-time or temporary positions for a specific task or job. Positions for teachers are sometimes available at both the American School of Yaounde (ASOY) and the American School of Douala. ASOY also has librarian, secretarial, and teacher’s aide positions.

There are numerous nongovernmental organizations in Cameroon. Local employment outside the Mission is possible depending on field of expertise but can be difficult to find. In the first 4 months of the year 2000, two EFM’s have been offered employment outside the Mission; one with an NGO, and another with a new private company. Any spouse or dependent interested in employment should write, e-mail, phone, or fax the Embassy Human Resources Office or the Community Liaison Office (CLO) at post. The Mission is committed to doing all it can to aid EFMs in finding employment. Volunteer work at local schools, missions, and medical facilities is plentiful and rewarding.

American Embassy - Yaounde

Post City Last Updated: 10/8/2003 9:29 AM

Yaounde, the capital, is in central-south Cameroon, 168 road miles inland, east of Douala. The Embassy, including the Defense Attachè Office, and Peace Corps offices are located here.

Yaounde is 4 degrees north of the Equator at an altitude of 2,500 feet and has a relatively mild climate. Daily temperatures can vary as much as 20 degrees Fahrenheit—from a high of 85–90 degrees Fahrenheit, to a low of 65–70 degrees Fahrenheit. Yaounde is situated amidst forested hills. The city stretches for 5 miles, over seven hills, in an area of lush vegetation. While Yaounde has modern buildings and services, a lack of maintenance, especially on roads, and infrequent garbage pickup degrade the quality of urban life. An excellent highway system connects Yaounde with the other major cities of Douala, Bafoussam, and Bamenda, as well as the beaches at Kribi and Limbe.

Yaounde’s population is about 1,200,000. The number of foreigners has steadily declined since Cameroon’s mid-1980’s economic downturn. Neither tourism nor business opportunities abound in Yaounde to attract significant numbers of visitors.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 8/24/2005 5:59 AM

The post was established as a Consulate on July 4, 1957, and raised to a Consulate General in 1959, and designated an Embassy when Cameroon achieved independence on January 1, 1960. USAID, established in August 1961 and designated a Regional Development Office, was elevated to full Mission status with regional responsibilities in July 1978 but was closed in August 1994. In 1999,

USIS was fully integrated into the Department of State and became the Public Affairs Office within the Embassy.

The Chancery is on Rue de Nachtigal, close to the main shopping area in the center of town. The Consular Section, Public Affairs Section, and Administrative Sections are located in a separate Annex building just behind the Chancery. The Peace Corps office is located near the National Sports Stadium.

The Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations is constructing a new embassy compound to consolidate various embassy sections into one location, in the Ntougou-Golf Mt. Febe area of Yaounde. The move is scheduled for November 2005 at the foot of Mt Febe golf course.

The international country code for Cameroon is 237. Embassy phone numbers are as follows:


223–40–14 222–25–89 223–05–12 222–17–94 223–07–53

As is customary, the Ambassador has responsibility for all U.S. Agencies in country (State, Defense Attaché, CDC and Peace Corps) and each agency head reports directly to the Ambassador through the Deputy Chief of Mission. The Regional Security Officer also reports directly to the Deputy Chief of Mission. The Embassy is open to the public from 7:30 am to 5 pin Monday through Thursday and 7:30 am to 12:30 pm on Fridays. A Marine Guard is on duty 24 hours daily.

Administrative services for all agencies are provided by the Embassy Management Office, which includes US. direct-hire personnel in communications, human resources, budget and fiscal, general services, and the health unit.

Requests for information may be sent to the management officer or the Community Liaison Office (CLO). When corresponding with post, please advise the management officer of your arrival. Newcomers arrive in Yaounde or in Douala (if the latter, personnel will clear customs there and proceed via road to Yaounde). You will be met and assisted in Yaounde if you notify post of your travel itinerary in advance. There are also meet/greet services available for travelers arriving in Douala. No special customs problems exist, but a valid entry visa and a health card indicating a current Yellow Fever vaccination are required.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 2/7/2005 8:15 AM

Yaounde has three first-class hotels, the Hilton Hotel, Mont Febe and the Djeuga Palace. There are several lesser quality, but acceptable, hotels. New arrivals seldom use hotels since personnel usually move directly into their assigned homes.

Permanent Housing Last Updated: 8/24/2005 6:03 AM

All personnel occupy furnished, government-leased, or government-owned quarters. Standard furniture is supplied in accordance with current regulations. All residences are Short Term Leases (STL), with differing attributes of quality, style, and charm. Everyone's place is a bit different, yet overall the housing pool is 'oversized' compared to OBO space standards.

The Embassy Housing Board makes housing assignments, of either duplexes or detached single-family homes. Factors considered in making assignments are availability of units, special needs requirements of family, the number of family members, and any required representational responsibilities. The Embassy leases about 40 houses in Yaounde and all have 24-hour guard service. Each home is fenced with at least a small yard; two or more bedrooms and two or more bathrooms; and, generally a screened porch and carport. Most housing is a 10 minute drive from the Embassy (even closer to the NEC!) or the center of town and about 15 minutes from the American School.

Furnishings Last Updated: 2/7/2005 8:34 AM

Each home is supplied with living room and dining room furniture; a queen size bed in the master bedroom and twin size beds in other bedrooms; additional other occasional chairs, tables, and bureaus as appropriate. Appliances furnished are: a refrigerator, freezer, washer, dryer, water heater, microwave, water filter, water distiller (for all drinking water), an upright vacuum cleaner, smoke detectors, and air-conditioners. Most houses have tile floors covered by appropriate sized area rugs. Draperies are furnished throughout.

You may wish to bring an inexpensive TV, VCR, computer, printer, shortwave radio, stereo equipment, and small appliances such as blenders, hairdryers, mixers, warming trays, and coffee grinders. Most 220v appliances are available for purchase locally but for greater savings, purchase in the U.S. (or via internet) those appliances that you use most frequently. A 220 volt iron is a necessity, purchased either in the U.S. or locally - you will also need to bring an ironing board. Because of the dust, a canister vacuum cleaner with attachments is handy. Battery-operated or windup clocks are essential due to frequent power failures. To receive local TV stations or to use cable service, a multisystem TV is necessary because they use the French PAL system for broadcasting. Your regular TV can be used with an antenna and decoder to receive rebroadcasts of the Armed Forces Network channels (three channels are currently received in Yaounde, with an upgrade to direct reception of 8 AFN channels in early 2005).

A VCR or DVD player, in either VHS or multisystem format, dramatically increases home entertainment possibilities. The American School of Yaounde Recreation Center and the British High Commission maintain videos and DVDs for rental. The commissary (operated by AERAY) also maintains a fairly good selection of DVDs for rental. Voltage regulators and surge protectors are strongly recommended for all valuable electronic components and an UPS (uninterruptible power source) is necessary for computer equipment. There are frequent power surges, and it is strongly recommended that sensitive equipment be unplugged when not in use. Dust covers are recommended for valuable or delicate electrical components. Non-electrical appliances such as ice cream makers and salad crispers are also suggested.

No bedding and linens are supplied except to the Ambassador and DCM for guest bedrooms. Personnel must supply their own table and bed linens, pillows, blankets, and towels. Beds are furnished in two sizes—twin and queen. Blankets are useful because night temperatures range from 60 °F to 70 °E Cotton cocktail and dinner napkins are practical here because paper products are expensive and often scarce. Bring tablecloths for your dining table—most tables extend to a 12-place seating capacity. You may want to bring inexpensive cotton tablecloths for card tables and for the 90-inch diameter portable party tables available from the Embassy.

Kitchenware and dining supplies (including tablecloths) are only provided to the Ambassador and DCM. Those who plan to entertain, either informally or formally, will need a full 12-piece set of dishes, flatware, and glassware. Depending on your style of entertaining, you may also need glassware to include cocktail, water, wine, and liqueur glasses. Entertaining at home is a popular social activity in Yaounde. For informal luncheons and garden parties you might want to pack attractive plastic dinnerware and glasses. Suggested miscellaneous kitchen items include: airtight plastic containers especially for storage of consumables, covered plastic pitchers, icetrays, serving trays, Thermos jugs, coolers, indoor garbage containers, containers for soaking fruits and vegetables, flashlights and batteries, and candleholders. The Mission provides basic garden tools. A Hospitality Welcome Kit consisting of a TV/VCR and a supply of kitchen and dining utensils, linens, etc., is furnished for use until household goods arrive.

Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 10/8/2003 9:35 AM

All housing has hot-and-cold running water, showers and/or bathtubs. Occasional interruptions in water service can last for 2 or 3 days. However, the Embassy has installed water storage tanks and electric pumps in all homes to provide a reserve supply of 2,000 liters of water for household use. Cooking is done on gas ranges with bottled gas supplied by the post. All appliances are American made.

The electrical current is 220v, 50 cycles. Some 220v/110v transformers with a 1,000–1,500 watt capacity are available; if extra units are necessary, please bring them with you. Stereos, tape recorders, VCR’s and all motorized appliances should either be 50/60 cycles or be converted to 50 cycles before shipping to post. Since current fluctuations and interruptions are strong and frequent, voltage regulators and surge protectors are necessary for computers, video, and audio equipment. Electric outlets are the continental European, two round-pronged variety. A supply of adapter plugs is recommended.

Food Last Updated: 2/7/2005 8:35 AM

Local produce (fresh fruits and vegetables) is plentiful and reasonably priced. Most other foodstuffs are available locally, but generally are imported and more costly than in the U.S. Fresh milk is not available — only dried and sterilized (UHT) long-life milk. Locally produced coffee, tea, soft drinks, and beer are plentiful. Specialty or ethnic food items are not available locally or are very scarce. Only French and other European products are widely available.

Butcher shops, grocery stores, and the local open-air markets provide fresh meat, fish and shrimp, canned goods, tropical fruits, and vegetables. Frozen meat from Europe is also available. Meats bought at the local market will need to be cleaned, trimmed, and cured before cooking. All fresh fruits and vegetables must be washed and properly soaked in an iodine or Clorox solution before being stored, peeled, or eaten.

The American Employees Recreation Association of Yaounde (AERAY) maintains a small commissary whose size and product range approximates that of a small convenience store in the U.S.

The commissary also organizes periodic group orders for frozen and dry goods.

Since general food items are priced higher, and certain items are unavailable, take full advantage of your consumables shipment, which at this post is a 2,500 pound allowance for a 2-year tour. Be sure to include such items as spices, especially extracts, detergent or soap powder, olive oil, paper products, ethnic food items, cookies, chips, snack items, canned meats and fish, and any specialty cooking items you and your family prefer. Because of restrictions on mailing liquids, aerosols, and glass through the pouch, your consumables orders should also include a good supply of products such as: shampoos, liquid dish soap, spray starch, mosquito repellent, sunscreen, favorite beverages, furniture polish, hair products, etc.

Clothing Last Updated: 2/7/2005 8:43 AM

Bring an ample supply of all types of clothing for each family member. Although the climate is mild for the Tropics, with no real change of season, 100% cotton or cotton/polyester fabrics are recommended. A light jacket, wrap or sweater is useful on cool evenings.

Drycleaning is expensive, and the service is variable or poor. Some people have had good success using Dryel (home dry-cleaning kit), a product available in the U.S. Umbrellas are a necessity. Local shoes are unreasonably expensive, of poor quality and durability, and selection is limited.

Men Last Updated: 10/8/2003 9:37 AM

Bring an ample supply of all types of clothing for each family member. Although the climate is mild for the Tropics, with no real change of season, 100% cotton or cotton/polyester fabrics are recommended. A light jacket, wrap or sweater is useful on cool evenings.

Drycleaning is expensive, and the service is poor. Umbrellas are a necessity. Local shoes are unreasonably expensive, of poor quality and durability, and selection is limited.

Women Last Updated: 10/8/2003 9:38 AM

Dresses, skirts, pantsuits, and slacks can be worn for office or everyday wear. Sometimes women wearing pantsuits are denied entry into Cameroonian Government buildings. At “American” casual gatherings, slacks, jeans, or informal dresses are typical. Americans are the casual dressers; Cameroonians rarely are! Shorts are appropriate only at the American School of Yaounde Recreation Center or for sports. Eveningwear consists of long, casual-to-semiformal dresses, as well as short cocktail dresses. Formal attire is appropriate at least once a year for diplomatic personnel. Long-sleeved dresses and blouses can be worn in the evenings. Shawls and sweaters are also useful for cool nights. Stockings may be worn, but they are neither necessary nor practical.

Children Last Updated: 10/8/2003 9:38 AM

Clothing, especially for children, has less durability in Cameroon than in the US., so be sure to bring an ample supply. Both girls and boys may wear jeans for school and play. Every child’s wardrobe should include a sweater or Windbreaker and rainwear. Due to the red clay content of the earth, white clothing, especially children’s playclothes, is not recommended. Students at ASOY, both sexes, wear T-shirts and shorts.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 10/8/2003 9:39 AM

Most essential nonfood items, such as cosmetics, toiletries, drugstore supplies (excluding prescriptions), sports equipment, pet supplies, and sewing materials and notions are sold locally. However, few American brands are available, costs are normally higher than in the U.S., the quality of the goods is often questionable, and availability is always uncertain. For these reasons and to meet personal preferences, ship a 2-year supply or order these items periodically from the U.S. Bring a 2-year supply of hair dye in consumables. Bring an initial supply of photographic film and plan to reorder later as local film is expensive and may have been on the shelf in non-air-conditioned stores for some time. Insect repellant is not available locally and it is advisable to bring products that contain at least 31.5% DEET. Hardware stores are well stocked with French-made goods. Thermos jugs, plastic utensils, coolers, and other picnic supplies are at least double U.S. prices and of lesser quality and durability.

Ship sports equipment for golf, tennis, and swimming, i.e., balls, racquets, clothing, shoes, etc., with your household goods. Sports equipment or supplies may also be reordered from several U.S. companies. For children, consider bringing several swimsuits, masks, goggles, flippers, inflatable armbands, and rings.

Purchase in the U.S. and bring party supplies, seasonal decorations, wrapping paper, notecards, stationery, and gifts, especially for children. Available gifts are limited and overpriced. Sewing notions should be purchased in the US. because availability of local notions is limited and those available are of inferior quality. Cameroon and other African countries produce attractive and reasonably priced 100% cotton fabrics for sewing projects. Synthetic fabrics are plentiful, usually imported, and often too warm.

Gardening is a joy because many plants and flowers prosper quickly. Many plant stands are located throughout Yaounde and offer a wide variety of flowers, shrubs, and trees for sale. Few vegetable plants are available. A limited selection of seeds can be purchased for flowers and vegetables. The CLO office maintains a supply of catalogs for restocking. The following are suggested seed varieties to bring: marigolds, zinnias, nasturtiums, and snapdragons; endive, romaine, Ruby, and Boston lettuce; cherry tomatoes; green peppers; hot peppers; herbs; and cucumbers. Natural fertilizers are inexpensive and readily available. Bring hand gardening tools, clippers, insecticides, fertilizers, etc.

Bring your own hobby supplies. Local availability is very limited. Many supplies may be mail ordered, but the pouch mail size restriction of 60 inches, combined length and girth, prohibits large boxes.

Basic Services Last Updated: 2/7/2005 8:54 AM

Repair of minor camera, radio, and stereo equipment is available, but the quality is questionable. Parts for most U.S.-made products are unavailable. Many local photo shops offer 25-minute developing of color film; quality varies from mediocre to very good, with prices around $15–$20 per 24-exposure roll. Many Mission personnel prefer to bring film mailers to send undeveloped rolls of film via pouch to the U.S. for processing, or have switched to digital cameras.

Hairdressers with Western-style standards of cleanliness are available but limited in number and of middling quality. Pricing is comparable to a smaller U.S. city. Several barbers are available at reasonable prices. Shoe repair services are acceptable.

Yaounde has many tailors and dressmakers. In general, dressmakers charge reasonable prices, but tailors of Western-style clothing charge more. Local fabrics are reasonably priced and many people have African-style shirts, pants, dresses, and casual clothes made to supplement their wardrobes. Dry-cleaning shops are expensive with inconsistent results (better to use home dry-cleaning kits available from U.S. stores).

Domestic Help Last Updated: 10/8/2003 9:41 AM

Due to the additional and complicated procedures necessary in food preparation, shopping, entertaining, gardening, and the extraordinary demands of house cleaning and laundry, domestic help is desirable. Most US. households employ at least one steward who may perform a combination of kitchen and household cleaning responsibilities. Depending on personal needs, one can also hire cooks, nursemaids, launderers, gardeners, and part-time help.

Both English-speaking and French speaking domestics are available. Salaries for domestics range from approximately US$50 to US$150 monthly depending on qualifications, duties, and hours worked. Additionally, U.S. Embassy personnel who hire domestics are responsible for compliance with Cameroonian labor laws. A full briefing is provided on arrival at post. Embassy personnel who hire domestics are responsible for payment into the Cameroonian equivalent of social security, CNPS (Casse Nationalle de Prevoyance Sociale) at a rate of 12.95% of the salary paid to the domestic. A 54-hour week, with 1 day off, is the official Cameroonian workweek. Few domestics live-in, and most Embassy homes do not accommodate live-in help.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 10/8/2003 9:42 AM

The Yaounde region is primarily Christian. Roman Catholic masses are held in French or a local language. English-language mass is held once a week at Mt. Febe monastery. Weekly English-language services are available at the Bastos Presbyterian Church, and Etoug-Ebe and Faith Baptist Churches. The Greek Orthodox Church conducts early masses in French followed by Greek masses. The American Jewish and Israeli communities jointly sponsor ad hoc Jewish holiday observances. The International Christian Fellowship (interdenominational) holds its services at the Hilton Hotel on Sunday mornings. A branch of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints holds Sunday morning services in French with English Sunday school classes.

Education Last Updated: 2/8/2005 1:35 AM

The American School of Yaounde (ASOY) is an independent coeducational school founded in 1964 which offers an educational program from Nursery through Grade 12 for students of all nationalities. The school year is comprised of four terms extending from early September to early November, early November to late January, early February to early April, and early April to late June, with 180 days of instruction.

Organization: The school is governed by an eight-member School Board elected for two-year terms by the parents. Half of the Board members are elected at each October meeting. The U.S. Ambassador to Cameroon also appoints his/her representative to the Board. Membership in the Association is automatically conferred on the parents or guardians of children enrolled in the school.

Curriculum: The curriculum is that of traditional US public schools with the use of modern materials including micro-computers, and up-to-date teaching techniques in all subject areas. All instruction is in English, with French being taught at all levels. English as a Second Language (ESL) support is offered through Grade 10 to students who are not fluent in English. The school is accredited by the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges and the European Council of International Schools. Students with moderate to severe learning problems may not be admitted if it is determined our program is not appropriate for them.

Faculty: There are 33 full-time and 4 part-time faculty members in the 2004-2005 school year, including 15 U.S. citizens, 11 host country nationals, and 11 third country nationals. All staff members are fully certified and registered with their respective country's educational department, and most of the teachers are U.S. trained and certified.

Enrollment: Enrollment at the beginning of the 2004-2005 school year is 154 students. Of the total, 28% are US citizens, 25% Cameroonian and 47% are children of 31 other nationalities. Of the US enrollment, 17 are dependents of U.S. government direct-hire or contract employees and 26 are dependents of other private U.S. citizens.

Facilities: The school has 20 classrooms, 2 computer labs, an English as a Second Language center, a fully automated library with electronic research capability, a college research center, a swimming pool, a covered volleyball/basketball court, four tennis courts and a restaurant. The playground is divided into an area for the smaller children with modern BigToys playground equipment and an abbreviated soccer field. The school is located on U.S. Embassy property, and has recently added boarding facilities.

Finances: In the 2004-2005 school year, about 95 per cent of the school's income is derived from tuition. The annual tuition rates are as follows: Nursery: $3,000; Pre-K: $3,500; Kdg: $8,100; Gr. 1-5: $10,200; Gr. 6-8: $10,750; Gr. 9-12: $11,200. ESL supplement: $1,000. Capital Levy for Nursery & Pre-K students: $1,500 and for Kdg through Grade 12: $3,000. Transportation by school bus (optional) is $750 per year per child for Nursery & Pre-K students, and $1,250 per year per child for Kdg through Grade 12 students. Annual Lunch fees (optional) Kdg-Gr. 5: $650 and Gr. 6-12: $850. (All fees are quoted in U.S. dollars).

Dependent Education

At Post Last Updated: 2/3/2005 6:20 AM The American School of Yaounde (ASOY) is an independent coeducational school founded in 1964 which offers an educational program from Nursery through Grade 12 for students of all nationalities. The school year is comprised of four terms extending from early September to early November, early November to late January, early February to early April, and early April to late June, with 180 days of instruction.

Organization: The school is governed by an eight-member School Board elected for two-year terms by the parents. Half of the Board members are elected at each October meeting. The U.S. Ambassador to Cameroon also appoints his/her representative to the Board. Membership in the Association is automatically conferred on the parents or guardians of children enrolled in the school.

Curriculum: The curriculum is that of traditional US public schools with the use of modern materials including micro-computers, and up-to-date teaching techniques in all subject areas. All instruction is in English, with French being taught at all levels. English as a Second Language (ESL) support is offered through Grade 10 to students who are not fluent in English. The school is accredited by the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges and the European Council of International Schools. Students with moderate to severe learning problems may not be admitted if it is determined our program is not appropriate for them.

Faculty: There are 33 full-time and 4 part-time faculty members in the 2004-2005 school year, including 15 U.S. citizens, 11 host country nationals, and 11 third country nationals. All staff members are fully certified and registered with their respective country's educational department, and most of the teachers are U.S. trained and certified.

Enrollment: Enrollment at the beginning of the 2004-2005 school year is 154 students. Of the total, 28% are US citizens, 25% Cameroonian and 47% are children of 31 other nationalities. Of the US enrollment, 17 are dependents of U.S. government direct-hire or contract employees and 26 are dependents of other private U.S. citizens.

Facilities: The school has 20 classrooms, 2 computer labs, an English as a Second Language center, a fully automated library with electronic research capability, a college research center, a swimming pool, a covered volleyball/basketball court, four tennis courts and a restaurant. The playground is divided into an area for the smaller children with modern BigToys playground equipment and an abbreviated soccer field. The school is located on U.S. Embassy property.

Finances: In the 2004-2005 school year, about 95 per cent of the school's income is derived from tuition. The annual tuition rates are as follows: Nursery: $3,000; Pre-K: $3,500; Kdg: $8,100; Gr. 1-5: $10,200; Gr. 6-8: $10,750; Gr. 9-12: $11,200. ESL supplement: $1,000. Capital Levy for Nursery & Pre-K students: $1,500 and for Kdg through Grade 12: $3,000. Transportation by school bus (optional) is $750 per year per child for Nursery & Pre-K students, and $1,250 per year per child for Kdg through Grade 12 students. Annual Lunch fees (optional) Kdg-Gr. 5: $650 and Gr. 6-12: $850. (All fees are quoted in U.S. dollars).

Away From Post Last Updated: 10/8/2003 9:46 AM Yaounde is approved for away-from-post educational benefits for Grades 9 to 12.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 8/24/2005 6:09 AM

The most popular sporting activities at post are tennis, golf, and swimming. Mission personnel or expatriates sometimes organize softball, basketball, soccer, and volleyball games. There is a biweekly Hash House Harriers run. Listed below are available recreational facilities at post.

Embassy Fitness Center. The U.S. Embassy’s Fitness Center, located above the Health Unit, is open 24 hours a day only to US. direct-hire Americans and family members. Probably the best gym in the AF Bureau, this U.S.-standard Fitness Center is fully equipped with Stairmaster treadmills, stationary bikes, ellipticals and Stairstepper aerobic equipment along with a full range of Nautilus weight equipment, a completely equipped aerobics room, men’s and women’s saunas, changing moms and showers. There is no charge for its use. The gym will move into the NEC around November 2005. In early 2006, the NEC will have a large outdoor pool, playground and snack bar overlooking the luscious Mont Febe golf course.

American School of Yaounde Recreation Center (ASOY). Membership is open to the international and Cameroonian community to take advantage of the school’s sports, restaurant and recreational facilities. Facilities include: a swimming pool and toddler’s pool supervised by lifeguards; four tennis courts, two of which are lighted; a combination volleyball and basketball court; a Ping-pong table; Video Club (DVDs); The Parrot’s Club Canteen, a bar and full-service restaurant; and, a multipurpose hall, which may be rented for private parties. Swimming and Tennis lessons and Tae Kwon Do are available. The Recreation Center is open 7 days a week, from 9 am to 6 pm except Mondays and holidays. The Club hosts special functions such as tennis tournaments and bazaars and will cater for private parties. The school’s soccer field and playground are available outside of school hours. Membership fees vary according to family size. The 2005 annual membership fees are 150,000 CFA (US$300) per adult & 60,000 CFA (US$120) per child for non-ASOY students/parents; ASOY students and their parents are automatically members of the Recreation Center, with no additional membership charges. Daily access fees are also an option instead of annual membership - daily feels are 3,000 CFA ($6) per adult and 1,500 CFA ($3) per child.

Hilton Health Club. The Club is located in the basement of the Hilton Hotel. Their facilities include a sauna, jacuzzi, weight room, pool, and tennis courts. They also offer a variety of exercise/fitness classes. Membership is based on family size, and can be arranged monthly or annually.

Tennis Club of Yaounde. The Club has four lighted tennis courts and a bar. Racquets can be strung here. Membership is usually full. The Club offers several good tennis exhibition matches every year and also sponsors various tournaments.

Club Noah. Serene hilltop location 10 minutes from Bastos, the primary residential area for most Americans and expatriates. It has three lighted tennis courts, a large swimming pool with poolside cabana offering snacks, and a squash court. Members are usually French speaking.

AMT. The French Military Club offers three lighted tennis courts and a clubhouse. Judo lessons are given, and there is a boliche area.

Club Hippique. This Club offers stables and riding lessons for the beginner to the advanced rider. There are also competitive riding and jumping events.

Yaounde Golf Club. Located at the foot of Mont Febe, this golf course is one of the most spectacular in West Africa. The Club offers an 18-hole course with sand greens, a practice range, and a clubhouse. Daily and weekend rates as well as annual memberships are available.

Par Cours Vita. Located near the Mont Febe Hotel, this one-kilometer outdoor course offers various exercise spots along a scenic walkway.

Mont Febe Club. Located in the Mont Febe Hotel, the Club offers a swimming pool, two tennis courts, indoor and outdoor restaurants and a bar. Daily, monthly, or annual fees may include either tennis or swimming, or both.

Club France. The Club France offers a wide range of facilities. The four tennis courts (three lighted), two squash courts, volleyball, basketball, semi-Olympic sized pool, kiddie pool, are only a small portion of activities available. There is also a multipurpose gym, library, pool room, bridge room, skateboard course, TV room (satellite dish), petanque, and a bar and restaurant.

Hotel Des Deputes. This Club offers two tennis courts and a swimming pool. Daily, monthly, or annual fees are available.

Hunting/Birdwatching. Bird and small-game hunting spots exist in the Yaounde area. Big-game hunting is possible in other parts of the country, although permits are expensive. While ammunition is available locally, it is expensive, limited in supply, and not the best quality. Bring all hunting equipment and ammunition from the U.S. The importation of firearms and ammunition requires the Ambassador’s written approval in advance (see Firearms and Ammunition).

An abundance of colorful African birds in and around Yaounde affords frequent opportunities to bird watch. Bring a pair of binoculars. West African and sometimes South African bird books are used for personal reference in identifying birds as there is no Central African book in print. The Bird Club of Cameroon, which is a member of the American Birding Association, organizes birding walks and trips within the area.

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 2/8/2005 2:24 AM

Activities such as a visit to the Yaounde zoo, a piroque (dug-out canoe) ride on the Nyong River (pack your life jackets), viewing Nachtigal Falls, guided tours of the Sanaga tobacco plantation in Batchenga, a visit to the Gorilla Sanctuary at Parc National de la Méfou and touring the Mbalmayo Art Institute are good diversions near Yaounde.

Mission personnel take in-country leave to see the varied and interesting sights of Cameroon. Long weekends to the beaches at Kribi and Limbe, trips to the mountains of the West and Northwest, or the northern plains and Waza provide changes of atmosphere and climate. Good roads exist between most major cities, but once off of the main roads, the secondary roads are in poor shape. Four-wheel- drive is a necessity on most secondary roads. Limited air transportation is available to all major cities.

Douala is 3 hours away by road and 30 minutes by plane. It is the biggest city in Cameroon, and because of its larger expatriate population, Douala offers many good restaurants with various cuisines. Shopping is better than in Yaounde because of greater selection and slightly more reasonable prices.

Limbe, an oceanside town formerly called Victoria, is located less than 1½ hours from Douala. Limbe is known for its wide, flat, black volcanic sand beaches; but white sand beaches also exist not far from the major hotels. Pleasant accommodations can be found at an oceanside hotel, which provides both fresh and saltwater pools and a tennis court. Another hotel about 6 miles out of town offers a quiet oceanside getaway near the site of the lava flow from when Mt. Cameroon erupted in early 1999. Several of the beaches in the area are tidal and do not exist at high tide. Buea is a mountainside village located about 30 minutes from Douala. Situated at the foot of Mt. Cameroon, it offers a charming setting, cool climate, and adequate accommodations. This is the starting point for climbing Mt. Cameroon.

Mt. Cameroon, at 13,428 feet, is the loftiest peak in sub-Saharan West Africa and provides a challenging, yet not technically difficult (by alpine standards), hiking experience. The climb normally takes 2 days. You must have camping gear (i.e., sleeping bags, portable stove, hiking shoes, etc.), warm clothing, and be prepared to spend the night on the mountain in a primitive hut. Many Americans have made this climb during their tour and found it to be an exhilarating experience. The American School of Yaounde organizes an annual Mt. Cameroon expedition in February each year and adults from the American community are welcome to join this group.

Kribi is a beach resort, about a 3-to 4-hour drive from Yaounde. The white sand beaches are wide and virtually deserted for much of the year. Hotel accommodations are numerous but fill up quickly on weekends during the dry season months of December and January. Some families enjoy camping on campsites along the beach.

The West and Northwest Provinces are located in a mountainous and cool region about a 5-hour drive from Yaounde. This area is the home of the interesting Bamileke and Bamoun cultures. African art and handicrafts of the region are among its attractions, with handicraft centers in Bamenda and Foumban. Older precolonial European style hotels in Dschang, Bali, Bafoussam, and Bamenda offer limited accommodations of uneven quality.

A trip to northern Cameroon offers by far the most striking change of scenery, climate, and culture. Its sparsely vegetated savanna terrain, scorching temperatures, Moslem culture, and primitive ambiance contrast starkly with the more developed southern parts of the country. Among several game reserves, Waza is considered one of the best in West Africa. During the dry season, many varieties of wild game are easily viewed as the animals congregate at the few remaining waterholes. Although a journey to the north is long and expensive and the climate hot and dusty, these factors should not deter those interested in a unique African experience. About 12 days are needed if traveling entirely by road. Another option, which is more expensive but saves time, is to travel from Yaounde to Ngaoundere by train, which will also transport your car, and drive north from there on a good paved road. Even more expensive air package tours include accommodations and meals. Rental ground transport is available in the extreme North but quite expensive.

Entertainment Last Updated: 2/8/2005 2:25 AM

One modern, air-conditioned movie theater in Yaounde shows European and American films—all dubbed into French. Although recent high-quality American films are shown occasionally, first-run European films are shown more often. Personnel with less than a moderate command of French usually limit their viewing of films to those shown at the Marine House, videos rented locally, or videos sent by family and friends.

Yaounde has several discotheques that are loud, dark, crowded, smoke filled, and expensive, but provide good Western and African music for both dancing and listening. Several clubs provide live African music.

Major Cameroonian holidays provide colorful parades with native dancing and music. Frequently, Mission personnel “adopt” a self-help project that is being funded by the Embassy and travel to the site for inspection and dedication of the project. These trips provide a wonderful glimpse of village life and customs—often accompanied by grand ceremonies, feasting and native dancing.

The American, French, and German cultural centers and the British Council offer occasional concerts, films, and lectures. Some well-known entertainers of international fame come to Yaounde at least once a year.

Restaurants. Yaounde has numerous restaurants: Italian, Greek, Vietnamese, Chinese, Lebanese, and many others that serve standard French cuisine. Hilton Hotel and Hotel Mount Febe also have good restaurants at more expensive prices. A few restaurants offer take-out service and a couple of restaurants recently began pizza delivery services. Prices at most restaurants are comparable to the U.S., for example, a two course meal usually costs between $10 and $20 each, excluding drinks, dessert, and tip. The tipping rate for service is much less than in the U.S. Don't miss the opportunity to try numerous African restaurants serving traditional Cameroonian dishes. “Chicken” or “fish” houses abound, serving chicken, fish, plantains, and/or fries. Most are good, some excellent, more reasonably priced than full-service restaurants, and are also frequented by Embassy personnel.

Social Activities

Among Americans Last Updated: 2/8/2005 2:26 AM Most entertaining is done casually in the home. Aside from representational entertaining, most get-togethers are informal dinners, luncheons, barbecues, and cocktail parties.

Tennis, swimming, golf, board games, and charades are among the most popular activities here. The American School of Yaounde (ASOY) has a good afterschool activity program as well.

International Contacts Last Updated: 10/8/2003 9:58 AM Americans mingle freely with both the Cameroonian and European communities. Since the vast majority of both these groups are French speaking, knowledge of that language is essential for easy socializing.

Broadening your contacts within the diplomatic and local community greatly enhances your tour and provides further social activities as well.

Official Functions Last Updated: 10/29/2003 8:18 AM

Upon arrival, new officers are informed of the requisite calls they should make. Formal calls are generally limited.

Entertaining among Americans, expatriates and locals is varied—from dressy to casual dress, game or theme parties, and informal and usually casual get‑togethers. However, official functions hosted by or including Cameroonians almost always are more formal, with jacket and tie de rigueur for men, and a skirt or dress for women.

Officers should have at least 100 calling cards when they arrive at post, more if their duties require extensive contact in the community. Printed cards are available locally for a reasonable price. If you prefer engraved cards, purchase these in the U.S.

Simple invitations, in both French and English, can be printed locally. All personnel will find single‑fold informal stationery useful for invitations and thank‑you notes.

Special Information Last Updated: 2/8/2005 2:28 AM

Post Orientation Program

In November 1979, a Community Liaison Office (CLO) was established in Yaounde. The management officer and the CLO coordinator are the first contacts at post. On receipt of an assignment cable, post issues a TM-2 cable with initial shipping instructions and a CLO welcome cable with general information. Subsequently, the CLO provides information regarding suggested items to pack and suggested consumables. The CLO coordinates the post sponsor program and advises newcomers of their sponsor’s name. On arrival at post, their sponsor and the post expediter meet all personnel at the airport. Sponsors coordinate all first day appointments and courtesy contacts within the Mission and schedules the security and health unit briefings within the first week for both employees and their dependents. In addition, sponsors orient newcomers to the post community, schools, shopping, and recreation immediately after arrival. From time-to-time a more formal, one-half day orientation seminar may be conducted.

Embassy Branch Office


The American Embassy of Yaounde maintains a branch office in Douala, the commercial center of Cameroon and a port city. The primary function of the Embassy Branch Office is to serve as customs facilitator for incoming shipments for the Embassy as well as US. Embassies in nearby countries. The EBO also meets visitors to Cameroon’s main airport, performs limited consular duties, and conducts political and economic inquiries as required by the Mission in Yaounde.

Douala is a 3-hour drive west of Yaounde and is about four degrees north of the Equator at an altitude of roughly 40 feet. It is 12 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean on the Wouri River. The surrounding terrain is flat or gently rolling and crisscrossed with numerous creeks. A tropical rain forest begins at the edge of town and extends inland.

High heat and humidity characterize the climate. Temperatures fluctuate between the mid-70’s and the low 90’s. Relative humidity averages in the mid-80’s. Dust can be a problem during the dry season for those with allergies.

Douala is a sprawling city of wide avenues crowded with cars and motor scooters during rush hour. Modern houses and buildings appear beside the prewar examples of traditional colonial architecture (with verandas, louvered shutters, and thick walls). A pleasant, cosmopolitan city, Douala is Cameroon’s largest urban center, with a population estimated at 2,800,000. It has a sizable foreign community, with particularly large Nigerian and French populations. About 200 Americans live in the Douala area, many of who are employed in the petroleum sector. The consular corps includes the Consulate General of France; Consulates of Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, and China; and honorary consuls for Zaire, the Netherlands, Belgium, Togo, the Central African Republic, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Italy, and Tunisia.

Douala is Cameroon’s economic capital and its gateway to the world. The port handles some 4 million tons of cargo annually for both Cameroon and the inland countries of central Africa. Its airport serves as a major regional air hub. Douala is the terminal point for Cameroon’s railroad lines. The city has considerable light industry located primarily in industrial zones on either end of the city, producing a variety of goods such as plastics, soap, perfume, household appliances, bags, cigarettes, cement, chocolate, and cocoa powder for the national and regional markets.

An American Business Association and an International Women’s Club hold monthly luncheon meetings.

EBO is located at the SNAC building in the Bonanjo govermnental/educational/ residential section of Douala. The office is within a 5-minute drive of the EBO Director’s residence. Office hours are 7:30 am to 5 pm, Monday through Thursday, and 7:30 am to 12:30 pm, Friday. Telephone numbers are: (237) 342–53-31, 342-34–34, 342–03–03, FAX (237) 342–77–90.

Temporary Quarters

Douala has two four-star hotels, as stated by Cameroonian tourist organization: the Meridien and the Akwa Palace. The Sawa and the Ibis are lower rated. The hotels La Falaise and Arcade offer acceptable lodging, are somewhat less expensive, and are commonly used by the Peace Corps.

Permanent Housing

A US. Government-leased and furnished house is usually available for the EBO Director immediately upon arrival.


Standard furniture is supplied in accordance with current regulations and window draperies are provided throughout. Beds are queen-size and twin-size. The rectangular or oval dining tables seat between 6 and 12 persons. A Welcome Kit consisting of a supply of kitchen and dining utensils, linens, etc., is furnished until HHE are delivered.

The employee must provide bed linens, pillows, lightweight blankets, and towels. Shower curtains are not easily found locally so bring sufficient quantity including curtain rings for each bath. In addition to tablecloths (for seating up to 12), bring cloth napkins as paper products are expensive. You may also wish to include tablecloths for card tables and for the 90-inch diameter portable party tables available from GSO supply.

Kitchenware, dishes, and ironing board are not provided. Since informal at-home entertaining is popular, include a full 12-piece set of glassware, silverware, and china in your HHE. Other items good to have are: airtight plastic containers for storing consumables, covered plastic pitchers, ice trays, serving trays, coolers, very good cutting knives, large plastic bins for soaking vegetables, flashlights, candles and holders, plastic dishes and glasses for poolside.

Utilities and Equipment

The apartment includes telephone, air-conditioning, refrigerator, upright freezer, electric stove, microwave oven, hot water heaters, water distiller, vacuum cleaner, and washer and dryer. The Embassy pays for the electricity.

Electrical current in Douala is 220v, 50 cycles. Two 1,500-watt transformers are provided for 110v equipment. Electric outlets are the European, round two-pronged variety; adapters and grounded plug replacements are readily available in Douala. Note that 220v appliances such as blenders, toasters, mixers, and hairdryers are available locally at almost twice U.S. prices. It is advisable to purchase at least a 220v iron. Due to occasional power failures and fluctuations in electrical current, sensitive equipment such as computers and entertainment systems should be protected with surge protectors, voltage regulators, and/or an uninterruptible power source. The UPS must be regulated at 50H frequency. Most U.S. units are 60H and will not work here. Specialty electronics stores may have 50H units. They are also available locally at prices ranging from several hundred dollars to a thousand or more depending on capacity. Some include power regulation and surge protection.

The telephone line is the property of the EBO and the employee is not charged for local line service; however, local calls are billed on a “unit” basis and long-distance calls to the U.S. cost $7 a minute. Telephone statements are issued infrequently unlike in the U.S. and do not include itemized statements of calls. Telephones can be code protected to limit calls to local (in city), long distance (in-country), and long distance (international). Long-distance charges can be decreased by using a “callback” service. Most callback services reduce the perminute charge to $1.50 or less.

No television is furnished. Bring a multisystem TV and VCR if you want to receive local service. Otherwise, your regular US. TV and VCR can be used for watching videos. It is suggested that you bring a good supply or have someone mail videos to you.


A wide variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and fish are readily available and are moderately more expensive than in Washington, DC. A trip to the local fish market will reveal very fresh fish of several species, including capitan, flounder, barr, world-class shrimp, and others. Take full advantage of your consumables allowance. Local paper products, cosmetics, toiletries, and baby and pet food are limited in supply, of quality significantly less than you may be familiar with, and expensive.


In Douala, there is little change in temperature and lightweight clothing is advisable due to the heat and humidity. Men usually wear a suit or jacket, shirt, tie, and slacks at the office. Women usually wear a lightweight suit or dress at the office. Only one or two occasions a year require formal dress, i.e., suit or tuxedo for men and short or long cocktail dresses for women. Cameroonians dress more formally in daily wear and do not normally wear shorts except when playing sports. Dry-cleaning services are plentiful and generally of good quality but more expensive than in Washington, D.C. Bring enough shoes to last an entire tour (or plan to mail order) because size, selection, and quality are limited. Umbrellas are necessary and available locally but raincoats are seldom worn due to the humidity.

Supplies and Services


Full use of the consumables allowance is suggested—particularly for items of individual preference or specialized use. Some items either not available or of a limited availability are: cosmetics, paper products, contact lens supplies, common contraceptives, shower curtains, and fragrances. Prearrange delivery from the U.S. prescription drugs to assure a continuous supply.

Basic Services

Douala has one recommended private medical clinic—Polyclinic Bonanjo. It is acceptable for general health care, but specialized treatment must be sought outside the country. EBO has an emergency trauma kit. The regional medical officer located in Lagos makes periodic trips to all posts in the region. Since Douala is an airline hub for central Africa, the RMO can usually be contacted for consultation on layovers if arranged in advance. The Foreign Service Nurse Practitioner based in the Embassy’s Health Unit in Yaounde is available for phone consultations and can be seen at the Embassy.

Competent tailors and dressmakers can be found and can copy existing clothing or make it from pictures you supply. Bring sewing notions (buttons, zippers, elastic, and favorite patterns) with you from the U.S. Colorful, locally produced cotton material is inexpensive; other materials are imported and costly. African-style dresses and caftans embellished with embroidery or batik are plentiful.

Shoe repair services are available and satisfactory. Barbershops and beauty shops in town are good, although expensive. Repair work on radios, videos, and electronic equipment is reasonably well done in Douala. Camera repairs are not generally done locally. Film is plentiful and local film development is good but expensive. Watch repair is limited to battery changes.

Although Douala has some specialty stores, sports equipment stores, and bookstores, bring sports and hobby equipment and supplies to avoid limited availability and high local prices. English-language books, records, and children’s games are best brought or ordered from the U.S.

Automobile servicing is satisfactory for most Japanese and European cars. Service and parts for most U.S. vehicles are minimal at local Cameroonian dealers. Local mechanics are innovative and can usually be relied upon to keep your car, whatever make, running. Bargaining in advance and ability to pay determine the cost.

Taxis are readily available and inexpensive but due to increased criminal activity should be used with caution. Taxis cannot be summoned by telephone. There are some car rental agencies located in Douala.

Domestic Help

Domestic help is recommended and readily available. Male domestics are plentiful; female domestics are harder to find. It is a good idea to request recommendations from your predecessor. Salaries are paid in CFA at the equivalent of US$75–$100 a month for a house domestic and up to US$150 for a cook/house domestic. They commonly work six 9-hour days a week. After serving a year they are entitled to 3-week’s paid vacation.

Religious Activities

Catholic, Anglican, and Moslem services are normally conducted in French. Douala also has a large Baha’i community.


Dependent Education

The American School of Douala (ASD) provides an American-style curriculum for pre-kindergarten through grade 8. High-school students must plan to attend schools in Europe or the U.S. Present enrollment is about 100 students. The other private school attended by expatriate children is the French-run Ecole Dominique Savio, which provides a traditional French education for nursery through the Baccalaureate. Aside from admission of 2- to 4-year olds to the nursery school, Ecole Dominique Savio only enrolls students with a firm knowledge of French.

Recreation and Social Life


Outdoor sports activities are somewhat curtailed during the heavy rainy season from June through October. Many people jog or swim throughout the year—single joggers should use caution. There is a weekly Hash House Harriers run and a Scottish dancing group. There are several active tennis clubs and Tiko has a 9-hole golf course nearby. The local marina has water ski and wind surf areas. In addition, there are riding clubs as well as several modern exercise/dance studios offering aerobic, circuit training, and other activities.


Perhaps the chief form of entertainment in the city is dining out in Douala’s fine restaurants, which offer French, Chinese, Southeast Asian, Lebanese, Indian, Russian, Italian, and Cameroonian cuisine. Douala also has three modern air-conditioned movie theaters that show movies in French.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

Three nearby towns (1 to 1½ hours drive from Douala) offer quiet diversions from the bustle of the city. Buea is charmingly situated at the base of Mt. Cameroon, West Africa’s highest mountain, and is the starting point for hikes to the summit. The Mountain Hotel has a swimming pool and good food. Limbe is a quaint ocean-side town with black volcanic sand beaches and a botanical garden. Several hotels are available and have swimming pools. Kribi has sparklingly white sand beaches and is the beach most frequented by expatriates. There are many hotels available. A good highway connects Yaounde and Douala in about 3 hours. Distant drives can also be made to Foumban, Bamenda, and Dschang in the western, mountainous sections of the country.

Social Activities

Much of social activity revolves around informal at-home entertaining and slackens as people vacation during summer. The International Women’s Club of Douala organizes weekly and monthly activities for members including French, English, and Spanish lessons, bridge, badminton, gourmet club, sewing, exercise classes, and Bible study. It raises funds during the year for charitable endeavors. Spouses are invited to participate in some activities.

Notes For Travelers

Getting to the Post Last Updated: 8/24/2005 6:14 AM

Since flight schedules and Department of State travel regulations change frequently, personnel should make their own travel plans and ensure that they comply with current regulations. Travelers from the U .S. or Europe may fly directly to Yaounde Nsimalen Airport from Paris (via Air France three times per week), Brussels (via SN Brussels) or Zurich (via Swiss Air). All employees of the Embassy are instructed to take flights directly to Yaounde.

Travelers around Africa must frequently go via Douala (regional airline hub) and sometimes an overnight stay in Douala is required. Official travelers who desire U.S. Embassy personnel to meet flights into Douala must notify the EBO in advance. Travelers flying via West Africa should avoid Lagos as a transfer or stopover point if at all possible. International carriers serve Douala with direct air service from Paris, Brussels, and Zurich on Air France, SN Brussels, and Swiss Air. Post does NOT recommend travellers take the Cameroon Airlines flight from Paris, due to its unreliability. If the contracted travel firm in the Department attempts to place you on CAMAIR, print this report and read them the quote, "Do Not Take CAMAIR."

HHE, household effects, (surface to Antwerp, then by air to Cameroon) usually take about 2 months to arrive from Europe or the U.S. Although the post supplies a Welcome Kit that includes basic kitchen and dining equipment, linens, ironing board, and iron, ship essentials by air. Most people find it useful to include in airfreight such items as kitchen equipment, dishes, tableware, linens, medical supplies, clothing, sports equipment and toys. Cribs should be sent in the airfreight, as post cannot guarantee one will be available. Send baby/pet gates with the HHE. All airfreight should be well packed, waterproofed, and banded to protect against rough handling and tropical weather conditions. Good packaging also discourages pilferage. Airfreight shipments take 2–6 weeks to reach Cameroon from Europe or the U.S.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Customs and Duties Last Updated: 8/24/2005 6:16 AM

Technically only the Ambassador has full continuing duty-free entry privileges. Other personnel are limited to “first installation” privileges (up to 6 months after arrival), which include a car, consumables, and household and personal effects. However “First-installation” is waived for people shipping additional consumables.

Passage Last Updated: 10/8/2003 10:17 AM

Obtain a Cameroonian visa before arrival, either a “visa de sejour” or a “visa de court sejour.” In the event you obtain the latter, a “visa de sejour” will be obtained after arrival at post. The Foreign Ministry issues identity cards to all personnel with diplomatic titles on the diplomatic list. The Frontier Police issue residence cards to all personnel on the administrative and technical list. Most personnel receive a single entry visa from the Cameroonian Embassy in Washington, D.C., before coming to post. On arrival, the Embassy obtains multiple entry and exit visas for all personnel assigned to Cameroon. International Certificates of Vaccination are carefully checked on arrival for current Yellow Fever vaccination.

Twelve photos, about 2 inches square, are needed on arrival to obtain visas, Cameroonian identity cards, and drivers licenses. Personnel planning to travel to other countries during their tour here are advised to bring 24 additional photos for visa applications.

Pets Last Updated: 10/8/2003 10:18 AM

Cats and dogs must have current certificates of good health and rabies vaccination. There is no quarantine imposed upon entry. Personnel traveling with pets should be sure to include this fact when informing post of their travel itinerary.

To ensure speedy processing, animals should, if possible, be brought in as accompanied baggage. African Gray parrots can be imported into Cameroon but must be accompanied by a CITES certificate and a health certificate. Yaounde has a few veterinarians with varying degrees of equipment, supplies, and training that Embassy employees have used. Heartworm medication is recommended for dogs as a precaution. Bring medication with you from the U.S. Fleas and ticks can be a problem for dogs during certain times of the year.

Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 10/8/2003 10:28 AM

Personnel assisgned to Cameroon must receive approval from the Chief of Mission prior to importation of any firearms or ammunition. An employee wishing to bring a weapon to post shall notify the Chief of Mission, through the Regional Security Office, in writing of his or her intent to import such a weapon. The written notification must provide the type of weapon by manufacturer, model, caliber, and serial number. Permission to bring the weapon to post must not be presumed. If confirmation is not received in a timely manner, it is incumbent upon the employee to contact post to determine the status of request.

Under Cameroonian law, an employee can import one shotgun. Employees are advised that the customs/clearing process for firearms is long and involved. There is a fair-to-good chance of eventually clearing customs and receiving a permit for one shotgun. If you try to import more than one shotgun, Customs could hold all the weapons for your entire tour. Moreover, a permit would be valid only in the vicinity of Yaounde or Douala, depending on where you applied. Mission policy stipulates that you must not bring firearms into the country without declaring them. Handguns or rifles are not authorized for shipment to Cameroon.

If you receive permissin from your Chief of Mission to ship firearms and ammunition in excess of those prescribed, and will ship them between foreign countries only, no license is necessary from the Office of Munitions Control (PM/MC). No Department of State license will be issued if you ship only shotguns (with barrels 18 inches and over in length) and shotgun ammunition not in excess of normal limit. You must, however, comply with the Chief of Mission’s determination and with export regulations of the Office of Export Control, U.S. Department of Commerce.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 8/24/2005 6:18 AM

Cameroon’s currency is the CFA (Communaute Financiere Africaine) Franc. The CFA is linked directly to the Euro and is thus a fairly convertible currency. As a result there is no problem with artificial exchange rates in Cameroon. There are ATMs in major cities. Credit cards (mainly Visa) are only accepted at major hotels.

The metric system of weights and measures is used exclusively in Yaounde and Douala and is the official system in Cameroon. Unofficial use of English measures is still encountered in parts of West (formerly British) Cameroon.

Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 10/27/2004 10:59 AM

No limitations exist on travelers checks, dollars, or other currency you bring or import after arriving. Dollars and other currencies are exchanged freely. The Cameroonian Government does not prevent export of currency previously declared or of amounts normally carried for travel expenses. Exportation of CFA Francs beyond moderate limits requires the permission of the Ministry of Finance.

Direct-hire American employees are paid in dollars, including all allowances and differential payments. Personal checks are cashed for all American employees and authorized dependents at the Embassy and EBO, using the accomodation exchange service provided by the cashier.

Money need not be converted before arrival. Your sponsor will have an amount sufficient to handle incidentals until you can make an accommodation exchange. Dollars and travelers checks are easily negotiable while en route Cameroon. Once at post, the accommodation exchange service can be used.

It is the policy of the post that personal property, including automobiles, imported by U.S. Government employees into Cameroon must be exported unless sold or otherwise disposed of in accordance with regulations. The importation, sale, or export of personal property must also be in accordance with the laws, regulations, and conventions of Cameroon. Personal property, including automobiles, imported into Cameroon by U.S. Government employees must be for their bona fide personal use or that of their dependents, and not imported solely with intent to sell or transfer.

Recommended Reading Last Updated: 10/8/2003 10:31 AM

These titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on Cameroon. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.

Barley, Nigel. Innocent Anthropologist: Notes from a Mud Hut. And, A Plague of Caterpillars. Penguin Publishers.

Beti, Mongo. Mission to Kala. The Poor Christ of Bomba. King Lazarus. Heinemann Publishers.

Bjornson, Richard. The African Quest for Freedom and Identity: Cameroonian Writing and the National Experience. Indiana University Press, 1991.

DeLaney, Mark W. Cameroon: Dependence and Independence. Westview Press, 1989.

DeLaney, Mark W. and Mokeba, H. Mbella. Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Cameroon (2nd Ed). Scarecrow Press, 1990.

Denis, Alain. Beyond Legends: West Cameroon. Beyond Sight: Cameroon. Editions du Damalisque.

Durrell, Gerald. Bafut Beagles. Available in English and American paperback editions, 1954.

Etienne‑Nugue, Jocelyne. Crafts and the Art of Living in the Cameroon. Louisiana State University Press, 1982.

LeVine, Victor T. The Cameroons From Mandate to Independence. University of California Press: Berkeley.

LeVine, Victor T. The Cameroon Federal Republic. Cornell University Press: New York, 1971.

Nelson, Harold, et al. Area Handbook for the United Republic of Cameroon. Government Printing Office: Washington, D. C., 1974.

Northern, Tamara. Expressions of Cameroon Art: The Franklin Collection. Rembrandt Press, 1986.

Local Holidays Last Updated: 10/8/2003 10:34 AM

In addition to official American holidays, the Embassy following Cameroonian holidays:

Youth Day February 11 Good Friday March–April Labor Day May 1 National Day May 20 Ascension Day April–May (Varies) End of Ramadan Varies Fete du Mouton 70 days after End of Ramadan Assumption Day August 15

Adapted from material published by the U.S. Department of State. While some of the information is specific to U.S. missions abroad, the post report provides a good overview of general living conditions in the host country for diplomats from all nations.
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