Douala features an excellent location along the coast as well as a large number of sights that make it popular among tourists.
Douala, which is the second biggest city in Cameroon, has something to offer to both sun worshippers and those interested in culture. For example, you can look at magnificent African art in the Museum of Douala or enjoy sun and sand in Limbe. To get a taste of the local atmosphere, you should take a walk round Cameroon Artisan Market. You will also be able to buy charming souvenirs and local trinkets.
If you stay in Douala, you should certainly take a trip to Mount Cameroon. You reach the top of the mountain along a footpath that is about 25 km long, through tropical jungle. It is a challenge, but your effort will be rewarded with a magnificent view.
SLEEP Combining colonial tradition with all mod cons, including swimming pool, fitness spa, formal and informal restaurants, cafe and bars, Hotel Akwa Palace (920 Boulevard De La Liberté, hotel-akwa-palace) is conveniently located for the business district.
EAT Bombay Masala (Rue Njo-Njo 1163, Bonapriso) is the kind of place in which the staff make you feel at home right away. They’ll welcome you into the first-floor restaurant in traditional Indian dress and serve up delicious, authentic, fragrantly flavoured food. Meanwhile, for a taste of the States, try American Graffiti (Rue Sylvanie, www.graffitidouala.com): think big, sloppy burgers and salty fries.
- A centre of contemporary art, Espace Doual’art (Place du Gouvernement, www.doualart.org) showcases artists’ exhibitions and installations from all over Africa, alongside holding regular creative workshops and seminars. Have a tea in the small cafe or library and get a real sense of Cameroon’s art scene.
- Just over a 45-minute drive west of Douala lies The Great Botanical Gardens. These are the second-oldest botanical gardens in Africa, packed with trees and shrubs with curative and medicinal properties. Not far from here lies Mount Cameroon, an active volcanic mountain, as well as fishermen’s villages and black sandy beaches.
- Both a restaurant and a live-music venue, La Cigale (Rue Kitchener, BP 3601) is nightly hotspot from 10pm onwards. Join in the lively, friendly, atmosphere and enjoy local bands and cabaret performances. Their seafood dishes are excellent, too.
Douala International Airport is 10km from the city centre. Yellow taxis can be found outside the airport exit. The fare should be 3,000CFA/€5 during the day and 5,000CFA/€8 at night. Or ask your hotel about their shuttle service. The airport charges a departure tax of 10,000CFA/€15.