Episode 2: Mount Manengouba. Villa Luciole – Bororo camp – Twin Lakes

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A second week-end in Cameroon, and a second big breath of fresh air. After the Ocean (read the episode 1 about Kribi), we go inside the country, towards Mount Manengouba. A two-days hiking which starts from the Villa Luciole, near Melong and Nkongsamba. Climbing the massif, meeting the Bororos (ethnic group related to the Peuls) and spending a night in their village, going to the twin lakes of Manengouba…


Day 1
To the Bororo Camp

Our boukarou at the Villa Luciole, a bamboo hut with a roof made of palm tree leaves.

Meeting a new friend, Barnabé, a tamed (or almost) resident of the Villa Luciole.

The Villa Luciole has its own amazing and tall bamboo grove. I love it!

After two hours hiking, we meet the first locals at a Bororo village, where the eldest man and woman of this group live.

This first village is composed of a dozen of huts with several small agricultural fields. A few steps later, a school with a playground with almost 50 sheep.

The houses are simple (no water, no electricity), but always well built, well-kept and with a style and colors that I like.

After the first day of hiking, the sun is setting on our camp. The Bororos live with their environment and the pace given by the Nature. No watch, no alarm-clock…

… the camp falls asleep at nightfall (6:30 p.m. local time) to wake up at dawn (6 a.m.).

As good city dwellers, we are among the last people to be up. We sit around a campfire…

… which feels almost necessary. The temperature during the night in Douala is at least 84°F. Not here, not at 6,500+ feet alt :) .

Clear sky, full moon. Hard to go to bed with that…

In the background, the profile of Mount Manengouba.

Day 2
Mount Manengouba, and the Twin Lakes

06:37 a.m. Waking up. How to resist? The valley is still asleep under a first layer of clouds, while above us, this huge and wet mass is laying, shortening the view but setting the light ablaze.

07:20 a.m. The hike starts again, towards the West, crossing amazing landscapes and with an astonishingly good mood (so early!).

We arrive at the edge of the crater, in front of an immense green plateau.

Once down on the plateau (use the zebus and the perspective to get an idea of the depth of the photo and the height of the ramparts), the sun is still low enough in the sky to give this horizontal beam of light. First feeling: being brought back thousands of years in the past. No trace of Humans is visible here, in this place out of time…

The landscapes are all amazing and feed your eyes with “wow” pictures. Down there, one of the two “Twin Lakes”, the “Female Lake”. Big, with a deep blue water.

The “Male Lake”. Smaller, surrounded by volcano rock, inaccessible. There is a fine strip of land, maybe ten meters large, between the two lakes.

Several miles later. In the distance, the first cities appear again. Back to civilization.

What a beauty than a banana tree leaf (especially when you’re in love with green like I am :p ).

A shower, a quick break, a small lunch with bread and honey, all produced at the Villa Luciole (vegetables, fruits, bread, honey, cheese… everything is produced right there), and it’s time to go back to Douala.