The capital of Cameroon in West Africa, you will find Yaoundé an exception. A pleasant garden city with a temperate climate, the city is relatively clean and pleasant to look at with its well-maintained streets. You could say that Yaoundé is a breath of fresh air in the West African side with its pleasing capital, a feat unmatched by other capitals in the region. Here, you will also be amused with its animated 1970s government buildings that take up a multitude of styles. Suit yourself and stay for a while in Yaoundé while perhaps waiting for your visa to be released before heading off to other parts in Cameroon. Though predominantly visited mostly by Europeans, the city may not really be for tourists who might expect lots of things to see and do. But you can consider getting the visa approved from local government as the tour itself, just so to while away time.
Most of the government offices are located in the city center. The city center is also home to a few hotels, as well as the Mokolo Market. Interestingly, the Bastos neighborhood is home to foreign embassies and a number of expatriate European communities, mainly drawn from the diplomatic corps. You will find the presidential palace and compound in the Etoudi neighborhood.
Despite the capital boosting of fine architectural buildings, it also has a local zoo. You can opt to visit the Mvog-Betsi Zoo, one of the well-maintained zoos in West Africa. The zoo is home to a sizeable chunk of native primates, consisting largely of great apes, tarsiers, gibbons, lemurs, and lorises, rescued from poachers and bush meat trade. Mvog-Betsi Zoo is also co-run by the Cameroon Wildlife Aid Fund, which helps protects majority of the rescued animals which are considered as endangered species.
Apart from the buildings, you can also visit the Musée d'Art Camerounais, or the Cameroon Art Museum. It is located in a Benedictine monastery on Mt. Fébé, just north of the city center. It has an impressive collection of masks, bronze- and woodwork plus other examples of Cameroonian art. The chapel in the museum is also noteworthy of visit. Apart from the Cameroon Art Museum, you can also check the Cathédrale Notre Dame des Victoires, which is the seat of the Archdiocese of Yaoundé, and the Basilique Marie-Reine-des-Apôtres, which was built on the site of the first missionary church in Cameroon.
How to get around within Yaoundé
To reach most destinations in Yaoundé, you can opt to ride the city buses. For a more convenient travel option, you can just hail a shared taxi which is also abundant in the city. Shared taxis also charge a fixed price, unless you are really going to a far destination.
How to get there
To get into Yaoundé, you will have to land in Yaoundé Airport, also known as Yaoundé Ville Airport, and should be treated as a distinct airport from the Yaoundé Nsimalen International Airport. Though both airports share the first name, Yaoundé Ville Airport lies in Yaoundé capital itself, while the Yaoundé Nsimalen International Airport, the second busiest and largest public airport in Cameroon, is located approximately 27km from the capital. Yaoundé Ville Airport serves the airline Air Cote D’Ivoire, which flies to and from Douala, its neighboring city. In addition, daily flights from most of European destinations such as Paris, London, Belgium, and Amsterdam make their stop in the airport.
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