37 days in Cameroon / Episode 7: Foumban-Jakiri trail – Bamessing – Bafut chefferie – Dschang – Ekom Nkam falls

End of the final travel in Cameroon. After three days in Foumban, we are on our way: crossing the Foumban-Jakiri trail, spending a night in Bamessing (a craft industry village). We will then go to the Bafut Chefferie, still really anchored in its traditions, Dschang, the most important city of storekeepers in the West, with an amazing African market, and finally the Ekom Nkam falls, a splendid place for our last discovery.

A long episode, but sadly, it will be the last one of this journal.


Foumban. Map of Cameroon.

Day 1, May 4, 2011,
The Foumban-Jakiri trail.

This morning, I’m driving! 70 miles of dust trail. Sometimes this trail looks like road, sometimes we have to cross bridges made of poor wood planks … Good memories, here are some pictures taken on the road.

There are really weird things on the trail. Sometimes I think that we were on another continent …

There are really weird things on the trail. Sometimes I think that we were on another continent …

The way to Jakiri is really busy too. Vans, taxis, motorbikes, trucks carrying beer …

The way to Jakiri is really busy too. Vans, taxis, motorbikes, trucks carrying beer …

The good thing of being the driver: you can stop whenever and wherever you want to take some pictures.

The good thing of being the driver: you can stop whenever and wherever you want to take some pictures.

The landscapes are really different. Sugar cane fields, paddy fields … and we end sometimes in front of amazingly … ordinary fields.

The landscapes are really different. Sugar cane fields, paddy fields … and we end sometimes in front of amazingly … ordinary fields.

From a road to a dust trail. Without any warning …

From a road to a dust trail. Without any warning …

Bamessing

We arrive in Bamessing at the beginning of the afternoon. Beautiful place, nice home where we’ll spend the night, in the middle of a green little valley.

Little tea outside … to rest after the stress of driving the trail …

Little tea outside … to rest after the stress of driving the trail …

We stay near the PresPot handy-craft factory, specialized in pottery. The place is beautiful, seems to come from another time, from another culture …

We stay near the PresPot handy-craft factory, specialized in pottery. The place is beautiful, seems to come from another time, from another culture …

While I’m taking pictures, my parents are laughing and doing their shopping …

While I’m taking pictures, my parents are laughing and doing their shopping …

… before the rain comes. The rainy season approaches, and I’m happy I can now feel the little changes in the climate.

… before the rain comes. The rainy season approaches, and I’m happy I can now feel the little changes in the climate.

The house has no electricity. A little family-moment around the oil lamps …

The house has no electricity. A little family-moment around the oil lamps …

… and with the locals …

… and with the locals …

Reading at night is special. The light is warm, nice, odorous …

Reading at night is special. The light is warm, nice, odorous …

May 5, 2011,
The Bafut Chefferie

We leave Bamessing in the morning.

Verdant sceneries, again and again.

Verdant sceneries, again and again.

The Bafut are an ethnic group in Cameroon, descendants of the Tikar, and so are the Bamoun. They have a well-defined culture, some disturbing rituals, a magnificent temple in the city, a secret society … a lot of things to see and to discover.

Standing up from the ground of the celebration plaza, these sculpted wooden sticks used to receive the heads of sacrificed children (15 year old boy and girl). Since the colonial times, they don’t sacrifice kids anymore … but they still sacrifice goats …

Standing up from the ground of the celebration plaza, these sculpted wooden sticks used to receive the heads of sacrificed children (15 year old boy and girl). Since the colonial times, they don’t sacrifice kids anymore … but they still sacrifice goats …

… in front of the tribune …

… in front of the tribune …

The Bafut royal village. On the left, the district of the princesses. On the right, the rooftop of the temple.

The Bafut royal village. On the left, the district of the princesses. On the right, the rooftop of the temple.

The Bafut temple. Impressive. Very tall, with a base made of stone, walls made of bamboo and a roof of palm tree leaves.

The Bafut temple. Impressive. Very tall, with a base made of stone, walls made of bamboo and a roof of palm tree leaves.

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A really nice place. Up there, the Bafut museum.

A really nice place. Up there, the Bafut museum.


After a flat tire and an express repair in Bafut, for 1 000 FCFA (1,5 €, twice the price you pay in Douala, but you know, “white folks in the country” :) ), we leave to Bamenda.

There are places like that on the road where, without a warning, the way is cut for working, and the cars are directed to a trail that is somehow … random.

There are places like that on the road where, without a warning, the way is cut for working, and the cars are directed to a trail that is somehow … random.

Not far from Dschang. Straight line in the red landscape.

Not far from Dschang. Straight line in the red landscape.

May 6, 2011,
The Ekom Nkam falls

Not far from Nkongsamba, the Ekom Nkam falls, one of the most beautiful place in Cameroon.

There is no ordinary forest here, but a primary one. Virgin, meaning original, that has never been touched by Humans.

The falls are beautiful, 262 feet high. The Nkam take its pace at the bottom and disappear in a verdant valley.

The falls are beautiful, 262 feet high. The Nkam take its pace at the bottom and disappear in a verdant valley.

You can see the falls from the opposite hill, or you can walk down. You have to go down through a part of the forest, huge forest.

You can see the falls from the opposite hill, or you can walk down. You have to go down through a part of the forest, huge forest.

Once you’re at the bottom of the fall, you feel even smaller …

Once you’re at the bottom of the fall, you feel even smaller …

… and you get wet by a permanent rain coming from the waterfalls.

… and you get wet by a permanent rain coming from the waterfalls.

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Bird’s eye view from the top …

Bird’s eye view from the top …

Luxuriant vegetation, gigantic … palm trees, hundred-year-old trees …

Luxuriant vegetation, gigantic … palm trees, hundred-year-old trees …

… and coffee trees (some species in this area are still not well-known).

… and coffee trees (some species in this area are still not well-known).


On the road …

“Flat tire” …

“Flat tire” …

… and last backlight pictures.

… and last backlight pictures.

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