Stay Safe & Healthy
Violence is rare, but just be smart about wearing any jewellery or anything else that would make you stand apart from the rest. Take a taxi after dark if you're unsure of the area.
Be aware that Boko Haram, a Nigerian jihadist group, operates with other Islamists and Salafists in the north of Cameroon and they have kidnapped Europeans, Canadians, Americans and other westerners there. Boko Haram is a jihadist group and may implement very harsh forms of sharia law including amputation for theft. Church-goers should not proselytize to Muslims, form in groups which are too large due to suicide bombings, and alcohol consumption should not be done in public. They usually travel on motorbikes and pick-up trucks and more recently have linked up with the Islamic State in an effort to cement a worldwide caliphate. An offshoot linked to takfirism, the Ansar Muslimeen fi Biladi Sudan which translates as "Protection of Muslims in Black Lands", also carries out attacks and harsh punishments.
Highwaymen and other bandits also operate in some parts, particularly the north.
Many laws in Cameroon are not the same as in 'Western' countries. Homosexuality is illegal, and can result in prison sentences.
Legally, you must carry identification on you at all times. Normally this will be your passport. Other options include:
- getting a copy of your passport (front pages and visa pages) legalised at a police station (XAF1,000); or if you are staying for a longer amount of time
- a resident card (go to the local frontier police station), this should be less than XAF5,000 for everything (2013, according to a sign that could be old, in a police station). Don't pay a 'fixer' or anyone else to help you. Simply go when there isn't a long queue and talk to the person about getting a card. You'll need your passport and copies and other documentation.
Photographing sensitive areas is forbidden. This includes military places, and apparently embassies and diplomatic residences. If in doubt, it might be best to not take that picture, rather than risk having a soldier or policeman delete all your pictures, or confiscate your camera.
Yellow Fever certificates are required for travel to Cameroon.
Malaria is common, especially in the central and southern parts of the country. The risk is much lower in the mountains of the Northwest Province and the arid areas on the Extreme North. Prophylactics are recommended because of the severity of some strains of malaria in the country.
Other tropical diseases are also common, including dysentery, bilharzia, hepatitis, and giardia occur. There are occasional outbreaks of cholera in Yaounde and Douala, but rarely affect travellers.
There are several good quality hospitals in the country. Most are located in Douala or Yaounde, but Kumbo has two very good private hospitals as well.