The North Region of Cameroon is bounded to the north by the Far North Region, to the east by the Republic of Chad and the Central African Republic, to the south by the Adamawa Region and to the west by the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
It is a melting pot populations consisting of several ethno-cultural communities, which practice agriculture and animal husbandry in their overwhelming majority (more than 90%). Thanks to its international airport, the regional capital, Garoua is connected with Douala and Yaounde, one of the main front doors into Cameroon.
The North Region covers a surface area of 66 090 km2 and has a population of 2 050 229 inhabitants (2010 estimates).
It is made up of the following divisions;
MAYO – LOUTI (GUIDER)
MAYO – REY (TCHOLLIRÉ)
The North Region has a typically hot and semi – dry tropical climate. Temperatures are generally very variable in the dry season, ranging from a maximum of 48°C in March to a minimum of about 20°C in December.
The three national game reserves, namely Bénoué, Bouba Ndjidda and Faro, with a combined surface area of 730 000 hectares have made the North Region of Cameroon an archetypal zone where most representative species of the African fauna are concentrated; the big mammals, the primates, the reptiles and the birds.
The North Region is endowed with countless resources, allowing for almost all kinds of tourism activities.
PHOTO SAFARI – CYNEGETIC TOURISM
With more than 600 km of tracks opened every year, the area offers immense opportunities for photo safari and sport tourism (hunting, fishing) in 28 zones specially fitted out and distributed around the national parks.
THE BOUBA NDJIDDA NATIONAL PARK (220 000 HECTARES)
Located some 150 km southeast of Garoua, this game reserve is home to almost all species of animals often found in the Central African Region and offers the best conditions for watching the Giant Eland, the biggest, most majestic but also the wildest of the African antelope species. Other animals found in the game reserve include elephants, giraffes, lions, panthers, buffaloes, hyenas, duikers, warthogs, aardvark, bush bugs, cobs, etc.
THE BENOUE NATIONAL PARK (180 000 HECTARES)
Accessible on road via Mayo Alim, Buffle Noire and Bel Eland, this reserve is located some 175 km to the south of Garoua and about 150 km to the north of Ngaoundere. Almost the same animal species are found here as in the Bouba Ndjidda National Park (lions, giant elands, cobs, defassa waterbucks and elephants). Four camps have been erected in the park to host visitors: Buffle Noir, Bel Eland, Grand Capitaine and Kobas.
THE FARO NATIONAL PARK (330 000 HECTARES)
In addition to most of the animal species found in the Bouba Ndjidda and Benoue national parks, the Faro National Park is also home to a diversified fauna including turtledoves, the grey hornbill, the blackbirds, the roller of Abyssinia, the common guinea fowls, the big hornbills of Abyssinia, the rocks hens, sand grouses, etc. The hippopotamus’s camp is fitted within the park for the convenience of tourists. The vegetation alternates between the savannas and the densely wooded areas, and some of the vegetal species include combretum spp, isoberlinia doka, burkea Africana, anogeissus leicarpus, afzelia Africana, cassia ssp, etc.
CULTURAL TOURISM IN THE NORTH REGION OF CAMEROON
The cultural diversity of the populations of the North Region of Cameroon is observed through the Fantasia; the cuisine, a varied and very authentic habitat, a unique clothing style represented by the Djellabah worn by men and the women adorning basin and colourful cotton loincloths. The North Region is home to a multitude of traditional chiefdoms (lamidat), with the most prestigious being the lamidat of Rey Bouba, built at the beginning of the 19th century under the reign of Bouba Ndjidda, who came from Mali with his Fulani warriors and settled near Mayo Rey. The legend had it that the Lamido Bouba Ndjidda laid there a white banner, a silver drum, a sword and a basket containing the royal secrets. This lamidat is a UNESCO world heritage site since April 18th 2006. Other important lamidats are those of Garoua and Demsa, renowned for their cultural wealth.
THE GOUMA DANCE
The Gouman dance or topless dance is an internationally renowned dance. It was originally performed to celebrate the birth of twins (an exceptional event) in the Guidar tradition. The Gidar people are reputed for their dexterity, cunningness and very appreciated for their traditional dances in October, after the harvest. Guider, the hometown of the Gidar people is a small industrial town with wide shaded avenues. It is located some 100 km from Garoua, in the Mayo Louti division. Its weekly market held every Friday, attracts many Guidar pottery amateurs.
TREKKING AND OTHER TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
Cultural tourism is supplemented by trekking in the Atlantika Mountains, where tourists can discover the Koma people. These are people dressed scantily, often using tree leaves to cover their private parts. They live in a traditional way by hunting and practice agriculture for survival.
The Lagdo dam and the marvellous Damans Island are also reputed tourist attractions of the North Region.
The canyon within a rock some 5 km from Guider, forming a trench sometimes 20 metres deep and over 1 km long;
The Kala Kafinarou Lake, some 120 km from Garoua is a depression formed by the rivers Mayo Louti and Mayo Kebbi;
Toro town, some 4 km from Garoua in the lamidat of Demsa is a picturesque Falis Goutchoumi village where the population has remained refractory to any form of modernisation;
The Mount Tinguelin, a very picturesque mountain dominating the city of Garoua, some 10 km on the National Highway N1 on the way to Maroua;
The Pitoa market, picturesque and colourful;
The Garoua Handicraft center, shopping centre for art works, souvenirs and cultural items;
The dinosaur tracks in Manaya town in the Lamidat of Rey Bouba. Here, are found about fifty imprints left by the dinosaurs more than 120 million years ago. These imprints have very high touristic and scientific value.