CAMEROON - Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Cameroon. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to an increase in violent crime in some regions and the rising tensions in the Sahel region.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada advises against non-essential travel to the following regions:
a) the Far North region, due to carjacking, banditry and kidnappings;
b) the areas within 40 km of the borders with Nigeria, Chad and the Central African Republic, due to carjacking, assaults, kidnappings and other forms of armed banditry; and
c) the Bakassi Peninsula, due to various forms of banditry.Consult the Security tab for more information.
Regional Advisory for the Gulf of GuineaForeign Affairs and International Trade Canada advises against all maritime travel to the Gulf of Guinea, due to piracy and kidnappings by rebel groups. These attacks have become increasingly frequent, even targeting larger vessels and petroleum platforms.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice. In the event of a crisis situation that requires evacuation, the Government of Canada’s policy is to provide safe transportation to the closest safe location. The Government of Canada will assist you in leaving a country or a region as a last resort, when all means of commercial or personal transportation have been exhausted. This service is provided on a cost-recovery basis. Onward travel is at your personal expense. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints on government resources that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide assistance, particularly in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability is high.
The Far North region (see Advisory)
Carjacking, banditry and kidnappings occur in this region, and an increase in the presence of Nigerian extremist groups has been reported. A family of seven French citizens was kidnapped on February 19, 2013. Travel in a convoy of at least two vehicles and inform local authorities of your presence.
The areas bordering Nigeria, Chad and the Central African Republic (see Advisory)
Carjacking, assaults, kidnappings and other forms of armed banditry occur in these areas. Security risks have increased along the border with Nigeria as a result of the situation in Mali, which has prompted terrorist groups in the region to declare their intention to increase attacks and kidnappings targeting Westerners.
The Bakassi Peninsula (see Advisory)
Various forms of banditry have been reported in this area due to its isolated location. The risk of social tensions may increase as the end of the Green Tree Agreement approaches (August 2013).
Violent assault and robbery are on the rise in the Melong area, especially against foreign tourists. Hiking around the region is strongly discouraged. Avoid staying at the hotels in the Mount Manengouba and Twin Lakes areas.
Violent crime is on the rise, particularly in Yaoundé and Douala. Armed burglaries and attacks are common in urban centres, in tourist areas in the north, and on rural highways. Do not resist robberies as perpetrators may use violence. Violent assaults on taxi passengers can occur.
Petty theft is prevalent and occurs on trains, buses and taxis. The Hilton and Mont Fébé hotels offer a shuttle service from Nsimalen Airport to downtown Yaoundé. You should use this service or arrange to be met, especially after dark. Avoid isolated and poorer areas of Yaoundé, in particular la Briquetterie, Mokolo, and Mvog-Ada. Avoid travelling alone or after dark. Do not show signs of affluence.
Cases of attempted fraud are frequently reported in Cameroon. See our Overseas Fraud page for more information on scams abroad.
You should avoid large crowds and political demonstrations, and exercise caution at all times. Contact the High Commission of Canada in Yaoundé for the latest security information.
Pirate attacks occur in coastal waters and, in some cases, farther out at sea. Mariners should take appropriate precautions. For additional information, consult the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.
Major roads are in good condition but others are damaged and unsafe. Reckless driving, use of poorly maintained vehicles and lack of respect for traffic laws are common. Keep windows closed and doors locked at all times. Avoid driving after dark in rural areas and on the main road between Yaoundé and Douala. The presence of livestock and pedestrians on the roadway, and the lack of road and traffic signs pose hazards. Local police roadblocks are erected throughout the country, and you may be expected to make payments. Ask the officer to provide a ticket with a description of the violation(s). This ticket can be paid at a local court or at a police station.
Particular attention should be paid when travelling on roads in the Far North region near the Nigerian border. These regions, especially between Garoua and Kousseri in the Northern regions, are notorious for armed highway bandits, or "coupeurs de routes". Four-wheel-drive vehicles are targeted.
In the event of an accident, you should, if possible, go to the next police station or to the High Commission of Canada in Yaoundé or to the Consulate of Canada in Douala to get assistance.
If travelling overland, carry sufficient supplies of water, food and fuel, as well as a reliable means of communication, such as a satellite or cellular telephone.
It is difficult to depart Cameroon via the land borders with Gabon and the Central African Republic due to poor road conditions, particularly during the rainy season. The border with Equatorial Guinea is frequently closed. You are advised to contact local authorities for the most current information.
You should always carry your driving permit and your vehicle's registration documents.
Buses link Yaoundé to Douala, Bafoussam, Bamenda, Foumban and Dschang. Trains run daily between Yaoundé and the cities of N'Gaoundéré and Douala. Regular flights connect Yaoundé, Douala, Maroua, Garoua, N'Gaoundéré and several other cities.
Consult our Transportation FAQ in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
General safety information
Carefully evaluate the security risks before deciding to travel to any location in Cameroon. Monitor news reports, and follow the advice of local authorities.
Stay informed of the security situation in the region in which you are travelling, and ensure that your hotel is safe.
You should carry certified copies of identification and travel documents at all times and keep originals in a safe place, such as a hotel safe. Tourist facilities are limited. Avoid shopping on the street. If possible, have a guide or buy from established shops.
Energy supply is poorly managed and power outages occur all over the country. Inadvertent power cuts are a daily occurrence and may last over eight hours. You are advised to turn off your electrical appliances before leaving your place of residence. Domestic gas may also be in short supply, especially during holiday periods such as December and January.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry requirements.The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the Cameroonian authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is your responsibility to check with High Commission of the Republic of Cameroon and its consulate for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Cameroon, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from the country.
Canadians must also be in possession of a visa. An onward or return ticket is also required.
Tourist visa: Required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
Canadians who are going to Cameroon to work require a Resident Card shortly after arrival.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized, which may limit the ability of Canadian officials to provide consular services. You should travel using your Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times. Consult our publication entitled Dual Citizenship: What You Need to Know for more information.
Although same-sex marriages are legal in Canada, many countries or regions do not recognize them. Attempting to enter as a same-sex married couple may result in refusal by local officials. For more information, contact the foreign government office accredited to Canada.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. Please consult our Children page for more information.
Some countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination before allowing entry. Consult the World Health Organization’s country list to obtain information on this country’s requirements.
The Agency strongly recommends that you consult with a travel medicine clinic or health care provider preferably six weeks before departure.
The Agency publishes travel health advice for Cameroon.
Even in large cities, medical facilities and supplies can be limited, and proper medical attention may not be provided by medical professionals. You can contact the consular section of the High Commission of Canada for a list of doctors and medical institutions. Medical evacuation to Europe may be necessary for cases of serious illness.
Laws & Culture
You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention FAQ for more information.
Penalties for use and possession of drugs are strict.
Homosexual activity is illegal. Suspects may be subject to a fine and a prison term.
Avoid taking photographs of airports, military sites, government buildings, and service people in uniform. Always ask permission before photographing individuals. An International Driving Permit is required for visits of up to one year in Cameroon. A Canadian licence alone is not acceptable. If you intend to drive in Cameroon for more than one year, you will require a Cameroonian driver's licence. To obtain a Cameroonian driver's licence from local authorities, you are required to present your Canadian driver's licence to the Delegation of Public Transport in your town of residence. The process usually takes only 24 hours.
The currency is the African Financial Community CFA franc (or XAF bank code), which is also used in Chad, the Central African Republic, Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. The West African CFA franc is not valid in Cameroon, and cannot be used or exchanged. The economy is cash-based.
Euros and U.S. dollars are accepted in major stores and hotels. Credit cards are rarely accepted outside major international hotels. VISA cash advance, money wire-transfer and automated banking machine (ABM) cash services are available at major banks. There are no American Express offices.
Money transfer out of Cameroon is regulated, and you must obtain authorization from the Ministry of Finance for any such transaction. Transferring funds through a bank is time-consuming, and charges are levied. Traveller's cheques can only be cashed at two major hotels in Yaoundé (the Hilton and Mont Fébé) and in banks. Due to forgeries and recent robberies, banks and hotels will cash traveller's cheques only if they are accompanied by the original purchase receipt. Whereas Canadian dollars are accepted in some financial institutions and exchange bureaus, Canadian-currency travellers’ cheques are generally not accepted.
High-quality counterfeit new 10,000 CFA franc banknotes have been discovered in circulation in CFA franc zone countries. You should avoid offers of large amounts of banknotes in exchange for foreign currency from anyone other than a reputable exchange bureau.
Business travellers who wish to establish a presence in Cameroon should first employ the services of a local agent. Caution should be exercised when pursuing venture capital and licensing arrangements. Business people interested in opportunities in Cameroon are encouraged to contact the commercial section at the High Commission of Canada in Yaoundé for information.
Disasters & Climate
The rainy season occurs from June to September in the north and from July to November in the south. Travel to certain rural areas may be difficult during these periods, as heavy rains and flash floods could make unpaved roads impassable. You should keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
Cameroon has experienced volcanic activity over the past years. Mountaineers should consult with local authorities prior to ascending. You should be cautious around the Nyos and Monoum volcanic lakes because of periodical toxic fumes.
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