Douala is the largest city and the commercial centre of Cameroon. Douala is really quite a hot and sticky place, and the grimy state of the infrastructure in parts leaves a lot to be desired. With more and more people coming here to seek a better life, it is struggling to keep up with issues like pollution and overcrowding. Sadly, it doesn't have a whole lot in the way of tourist attractions either, and prices tend to be elevated because of all the commerce and industry.
With a metro population over 2.8 million in 2015, Douala is the biggest city in Cameroon and sits on the Wouri River Delta where it hosts a port and some 95% of industrial activity for the country. While originally inhabited by peoples from the Congo River, the rest of its history follows much of the same track as the rest of Cameroon: Portuguese colonists supplanted by Germans supplanted by French and English after WWI, and then lastly independence. From 1940 to 1946, it was the capital of the country, before Buea and then Yaounde finally took that designation. But it has always featured as the center of commerce.
- 1 Douala International Airport (DLA IATA). Serves as the main entrance point in the country. Camair-Co (national carrier) is the main service provider to the city of Douala. Other airlines also fly from Europe - Air France (Paris), Royal Air Maroc (Morocco), Brussels Airlines (Brussels) and Turkish Airlines (Istanbul). Several airlines provide links from African destinations. Flights to Douala with major airlines are not available daily, hence a flexible schedule and a timely reservation is required. On flights out of Douala a cash-only airport tax of FCFA 10 000 is payable after you have checked in but before passport control.
Passenger services are operated by Camrail. There are several daily services from the capital Yaoundé, brand new Intercity trains takes 3 hr 45 min to complete the journey. There's also a slower service from Kumba twice a week. The central station in Douala, 2 Bessengue station (Gare de Bessengue) is located just off Blvd. de la Réunification.
- 1 Douala Maritime Museum, Rue de l’Hopital, ☏ . Museum showcasing the rich maritime history of Douala. Entrance 5000 CFA.
- Douala Memorials, Douala water park, Douala shops
- 2 Place du Gouvernement. old colonial type building, next to Doual'art and Parc Bonanjo across the street, which has a monument to an unknown soldier.
- 3 Cathedral of St Peter and Paul Bonadibong, Rue Joss, ☏ .
- 4 Doual'art, ☏ . Housed in La Pagode, a structure that resembles a pagoda, showcases local artists' work and facilitates arts and culture in the community.
- 5 La Nouvelle Liberté (in Rond-Point Deido (Deido roundabout)). Renowned statue made of recycled metal by Cameroonian artist Joseph-Francis Sumégnél in the 1990s that is supposed to express freedom. Watch out for heavy traffic, including motorcycles coming up onto the sidewalk to maneuver, as well as people who may be up to no good.
- 1 CanalOlympia Bessengué, ☏ . Movie theater and event venue for performing arts.
- Ecobank. 10 Mastercard/Visa card ATMs all over Douala.
Mediterranee (Greek and Pizza),
La Sorento (Italian pizzas),
Le dernier Comptoir Colonial (Fish, Prawn)
Ibis Hotel, Vallée des Princes Hotel, The Douala Gingerbrook Hotel, Halmari Hotel, Karkson Hotel, Borduav Hotel, Veavousa Hotel
- 1 Planet Hotel, Akwa, west of the city, ☏ . Modern and marginally maintained hotel which is convenient for airport. Wireless internet works well, air conditioners do not. Rooms are generally clean and have TV with a few English channels. If you need entertainment, there is a nightclub across the street. 55000 CFA.
- 2 Peninsula Plaza Hotel, Voie Makepe Est (North side of the city), ☏ . A modern hotel which is on the northern side of the city. Rooms are quite good, with air conditioning. Internet might not work and hot water from in room boiler may not work. 25000 CFA.
- 3 Loumia Residency, ☏ . Kind of geared for more long-term stays, with accommodations in the form of apartments. No pool or restaurant, but it does have a gym plus private balconies and wifi and is close to restaurants in the Bonapriso neighborhood. FCFA 37471.
- 4 Hôtel Akwa Palace, 920 Boulevard de la Liberté.
- 5 Hotel Sawa, 488 Rue de Verdun.
- 6 Pullman Douala Rabingha, 35 Avenue Des Cocotiers.
- 7 Hôtel La Falaise Bonapriso, Rue Njo-Njo, ☏ . A new luxury highrise for those who want to spend big money in Douala. Looks like a big concrete monolith rising up from the flats. Has a gym and outdoor pool and restaurant/bar/Sunday brunch, plus a/c, wifi, and airport shuttle. It's close to some other restaurants in the happening Bonapriso neighborhood. Tres cher. FCFA 666676.
English and French language broadcasts can be heard on BBC World Service on 101.3MHz.