Mastering the best cities in Cameroon in terms of popularity is quite important. Tourist literature describes Cameroon as Africa in miniature meaning it offers all the diversity of Africa – in climate, culture, and geography.
Cameroon is popular in the world because of football and music (makossa). You must have heard about Milla Roger, Samuel Etoo, Manu Dibango, Richard Bona and what comes to your mind is Cameroon.
In this blog post, I am going to zoom you into Cameroon and tell you which towns or cities will come to your mind once you land in the central African country. This classification is based on city popularity
In Cameroon, while some towns/ cities are very dormant – that is to say they produce little or nothing worth talking about or worth knowing of, others are so vibrant and animating the country in specific sectors in the economy.
While in Cameroon you may decide to zap through TVs or tune to local radios, you may decide to go shopping or better still hang out with friends.
While doing these, you will be compelled to know/hear of these towns. Note that popularity here is determined by the popular happenings or activities from these cities. Hold your popcorn!
Best cities in Cameroon by popularity and major activity in the city
Douala – Business and entertainment
Douala is the economic capital of Cameroon. With a city population of 3,536,000 million people as of 2018. The city houses the largest and busiest markets in CEMAC (marché central and marché Mboppi respectively).
The city’s popularity stems from business and entertainment. It has most of the renowned media houses (Canal 2, STV, Equinox, sweet FM, and Radio Balafon), the biggest supermarkets (Cassino, Mahima, Super U, Eco marche, Carrefour) and the lone Hypermarket in CEMAC (Kadji Square) as well as the biggest bars and clubs (Sanza, Njieforbi VIP, Black and white, Bonanjo, Black Lotus, Le Discophage, l’olympia, etc)
As you move across the city, bars of makossa and new school Afrobeat keep you wanting to stay. Every “Tom and Jerry” in Cameroon knows of Douala as where “money originates”. The mboko name for Douala is “Sawa town”
Yaounde – Politics
As the political capital, its popularity stems from government affairs. In Cameroon, every citizen from kid to adult can tell you a story about Yaoundé. All praises and complaints about administration go to Yaounde.
It houses all state institutions and with a population of 3,822,000 inhabitants (Ministry of Tourism 2019) business also finds a good ground. The city produces one of the popular music genres in the country – Bikutsi with household names like Lady Ponce, Coco Achante and Mani Bella.
Hanging out in Bamenda will call you to visit places like Platinum NightClub, Bambou Lounge, OG CLUB, black and white, Koko Lounge, Bonanjo, SINAHA “Snack-Bar Lounge Café VIP, Twist NightClub, etc.
One of the richest presidents in Africa (Paul Biya) lives in this city. The mboko name for Yaounde is “Ngola”
Bamenda – politics, culture, and education
Bamenda with the mboko name “Abakwa town” is the capital city of the North West region.
It is the boiling point of Cameroon’s democracy and the seat of the main opposition party in Cameroon (SDF). In 1985 CPDM which is the ruling party in Cameroon was given birth in this same city.
In fact, analysts say Cameroon has two political capitals Yaoundé and Bamenda. The town is the most searched political location on Google in Cameroon.
It has the best and most renowned secondary schools (Sacred Heart College Mankon, Our Lady of Lourdes secondary school, PSS Mankon, St Bede’s College) where top government officials and businessmen send their children.
As the third most populated city in the country – 514,000 inhabitants the University of Bamenda is located out of the city.
Culturally, the famous Toghu regalia comes from here and it’s the hometown of the celebrated US-based fashion designer Kibonen Nfi. The city is most referenced by musicians in their songs (I don’t know why) the likes of Awilo Longomba, Petit Pays, Longue Longue, Koto Bass, Magasco, Jovi, etc. can’t keep Bamedna out of their lyrics.
The term Bamenda has been unconsciously coined by the French-speaking Cameroonians to mean an “Anglophone ethnic group” so if you are black and you speak English in Cameroon then you are a “Bamenda”.
This signifies a unique people with different behavioral patterns from the majority French speaking Cameroonians. Hardcore politics in the city have subdued entertainment and has forced entertainers to relocate to Buea, Limbe and Douala.
Hanging out in Bamenda will call you to visit places like Bonanjo VIP Snack Bar,Dreamland Nkwen, Njeiforbi snack bar, Candy Shop, Blue Pearl etc.
Buea – Entertainment and Technology
Buea is the capital city of the south west region and also the seat of the highest mountain in west and central Africa – Mt Cameroon. Its popularity increased recently through the new wave in entertainment and technology.
Buea is considered as the tech hub in Cameroon. Visit Silicon Mountain with innovative startups like Njorku, Webshinobis, Makonjo, Jungo Hub, etc and all your digital problems will be solved.
Considered as the entertainment center after Douala, it houses the biggest music labels and movie houses in Cameroon (Alpha Beta Records, Stephens Music) When you hear of Afrobeats in Cameroon Buea comes to your mind. The famous University of Buea is situated here and if you are a fan of pretty ladies then visit this city.
Hanging out in Buea will call you to places like Ebony Snack Bar, The Figaro Bristrot, IYA Buea, Prime 22 Bar & lounge, Las Vegas, Jupiter Night club, etc.
Limbe – Tourism and Leisure
Limbe formerly known as Victoria is known as the town of Friendship. It co-hosts administrative institutions of the South west region with Buea. Its popularity stems from tourism and leisure.
It harbors the historic Limbe Botanic Garden as well as alluring Beaches with unique black volcanic sand that upon first sight beckons for a fresh moment at the foot of Mount Cameroon.
The ministry of tourism recorded XAF 946.1 billion (6.2% of GDP) of revenue in 2013 and Limbe is one of the revenue resort cities. The always clean and attractive city is very popular as almost all flashy music videos and movies in the country are being shot here.
Its popularity nonetheless is not always welcomed by “young and broke” lovers who can’t afford to sponsor a leisure trip with their loved ones in this recreational city. “Will you take me to Limbe for leisure during the weekend?” is a question young broke lovers would not like to hear
Kribi – Leisure and Business
Kribi is known as the city of “Grand Ambition”. It is the hope city for the emergence of Cameroon by 2035. Its popularity stems from leisure and business.
Most top government projects feature the city making it the most talked about city on national televisions. It is rumoured that negotiations to build one of the biggest private continental Universities in Africa of MIT standard is going on here.
People visit Kribi on weekends to enjoy its fine beaches with white sand, cold beer and fresh fish from the Atlantic. One of Africa’s deep seaports is under construction here and the government plans to make Kribi a port and industrial city by 2035.
Having fun in Kribi is so special and you can find interesting bars and clubs like: Jems snack prestige, Casablanca Cabaret, Kribi Golf & Country Club, Pieds dans l’Eau, Restaurant Ebene Plus, Le Plaisir du Goût
Though being just the headquarter of the ocean division in the south Region, Kribi’s popularity overshadows that of Ebolowa which is the regional capital due to its potential and the activities going on there. Land in Kribi is said to be the most expensive in the country as investors scramble to grab and build for the future.
Bafoussam – culture, and business
Bafoussam is the regional capital of the West Region. It is the city of one of the most industrious and adventurous ethnic groups in Africa – the Bamilikes.
The city per say is not quite popular but its denizens make it one of the most talked about cities in the country.
The city is the center for agribusiness in Cameroon and while in the market, be ready to buy something from Bafoussam. It lies in a densely populated region where coffee, kola nuts, tobacco, tea, and cinchona (from which quinine is made) are grown and pigs and poultry are raised.
The town has a trade school, coffee-processing plants, wood and construction industries, and an airfield. Bafoussam just like Bamenda is noted for cultural richness and if you are a lover of raw African culture you won’t hesitate to know of the Nyang Nyang and Tougang festivals.
Bertua, Ngoundere, Maroua, Garoua and Ebolowa are regional capitals but are not quite popular in the national scene. Hope you enjoyed my Comparative analysis.