GEOGRAPHY

Cameroon is a country of the Gulf of Guinea on the west coast of Africa,it has 590 km of jagged coastline along the Atlantic Ocean. Cameroon has a very high extension on latitude 1,200 km from North to South and is schematically shaped as a triangle with its base along the second degree of the north latitude while the north border with Lake Chad reaches the 13th parallel. The country is surrounded by the following countries and extensive water bodies:

  • Nigeria and Atlantic ocean on the west side

  • Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Democratic Republic of Congo on the south

  • Central African Republic and Chad on the east

  • Lake Chad on the North

Cameroon in Africa
Cameroon in Africa

Cameroon has an area of 475,442 km² and population of about 20 million people, Cameroon is a medium sized country in Africa. The country lies between the meridian edge of the Sahara and the northern edge of the rain forest in the Congo Basin of the south. The west of the country is dominated by the Highlands and includes the tallest mountain of entire West Africa: Mount Cameroon which rises at 4,100m and is the ninth highest peak in Africa. The East of the country is covered in the vast majority of well-preserved rain forest. Along its 590 km of coastline, there are a few seaside resorts: Kribi and Limbe near mount Cameroon.

Land Borders

  • 1,690 km with Nigeria

  • 1,094 km with Chad

  • 797 km with Central African Republic

  • 523 km with Democratic Republic of Congo

  • 298 km with Gabon

  • 189 km with Equatorial Guinea

Cameroon Land Borders
Cameroon Land Borders

Major Rivers

  • Wouri

The Wouri (also Vouri or Vuri) is a river in Cameroon. The river is formed at the confluence of the rivers Nkam and Makombé, 32 km (20 miles) northeast of the city of Yabassi. The Wouri then flows about 160 km (99 miles) southeast to the Wouri estuary at Douala, the chief port and industrial city in the southwestern part of Cameroon on the Gulf of Guinea. The river is navigable about 64 km (40 miles) upriver from Douala.

The Portuguese navigator and explorer Fernão do Pó or Fernando Poo, is believed to be the first European to explore the estuary of the Wouri, around the year 1472. The explorers noted an abundance of the mud lobster Lepidophthalmus turneranus in the Wouri River and named it Rio dos Camarões, Portuguese for River of Prawns, and the phrase from which Cameroon is derived.

In the 1950s, during the colonial period, the French built a bridge across the river, which connects Douala with the city of Bonabéri across the river. The bridge is now of great economic importance to western Cameroon, carrying auto, truck, and train traffic. Since 2004 the bridge has been undergoing a major rehabilitation.

  • Sanaga

The Sanaga River is a river of the South Province, Cameroon, Centre Province, Cameroon, and West Province, Cameroon. Its length is 890 kilometers.

The Sanaga River forms a boundary between two tropical moist forest ecoregions. The Cross-Sanaga-Bioko coastal forests lie to the north between the Sanaga River and the Cross River of Nigeria, and the Atlantic Equatorial coastal forests extend south of the river through southwestern Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Cabinda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Sanaga River's main tributary is the Mbam River.

The Camrail Railway bridges the Sanaga River at Edea.

  • Bénoué

The Benué River (French: la Bénoué), previously known as the Chad River or Tchadda, is the major tributary of the Niger River. The river is approximately 1,400 kilometres (870 miles) long and is almost entirely navigable during the summer months. As a result, it is an important transportation route in the regions through which it flows.

It rises in the Adamawa Plateau of northern Cameroon, from where it flows west, and through the town of Garoua and Lagdo Reservoir, into Nigeria south of the Mandara mountains, and through Jimeta, Ibi and Makurdi before meeting the Niger at Lokoja.

Large tributaries are the Gongola River and the Mayo Kébbi, which connects it with the Logone River (part of the Lake Chad system) during floods. Other tributaries are Taraba River and River Katsina Ala.

At the point of confluence, the Benué exceeds the Niger by volumes (mean discharge before 1960: 3400 m³/s vs. 2500 m³/s). During the following decades, the runoff of both rivers decreased markedly due to irrigation.

  • Logone

The Logon or Logone River is a major tributary of the Chari River. The Logone's sources are located in the western Central African Republic, northern Cameroon, and southern Chad. It has two major tributaries. The Pendé River (Eastern Logone) in the prefecture Ouham-Pendé in the Central African Republic and the Mbéré River (Western Logone) at the east of Cameroon. Many swamps and wetlands surround the river.

Settlements on the river include Moundou, Chad's second-largest city, and Kousseri, Cameroon's northernmost city. Chad's capital city, N'Djaména, is at the spot where the Logone empties into the Chari river.

The Logone forms part of the international border between Chad and Cameroon.

The flow of the river observed over 38 years (1951–84) in Bongor, a town in Chad short after the union with the Pendé about 450 km above the mouth into the Chari. Due to the strong evaporation the amount of water to the estuary decreases. The river at Bongor observes average annual flow during this period which is 492 m³ / s fed by an area of about 73.700 km ² approximately 94,5% of the total catchment area of the River. In the last part, in N'Djamena, it only remains 400 m³ / s.

In Chad, the administrative regions of Logone Oriental and Logone Occidental named after the river Ober-Logone was an administrative district of the German colony of Cameroon.

  • Chari

The Chari or Shari River is a stream, 949 kilometres (590 miles) long, of central Africa. It flows from the Central African Republic through Chad into Lake Chad, following the Cameroon border from N'Djamena, where it joins the Logone River waters.

Much of Chad's population, including Sarh and the capital N'Djamena, is concentrated around it. It provides 90 percent of the water flowing into Lake Chad. The watershed of the river covers 548,747 square kilometres (211,872 sq. miles).

The principal tributary is the Logone River, while minor tributaries are the Bahr Salamat, the Bahr Sarh (Ouham River), the Bahr Aouk and the Bahr Kéita.

The river supports an important local fishing industry. One of the most highly priced local fishes is the Nile Perch.

  • Dibamba

The Dibamba River is in the Littoral Region of southern Cameroon, emptying into the Cameroon estuary near the city of Doula.

The Dibamba River has a length of 150 kilometres (93 miles) and a catchment area of 2,400 square kilometres (930 sq. miles). Average discharge at the river mouth is 480 cubic meters per second. At its mouth, the river is tidal, and flows into the estuary through mangrove forests that extend south from Douala to Point Souelaba. Near Douala, the river is crossed by a 370 metres (1,210 ft.) T-section girder Road Bridge built of precast, pre-stressed concrete in 1983 - 1984

The Duala people, who today inhabit the region in and around the city of Douala, moved to their present-day location from Piti on the Dibamba River, displacing Bassa-Bakoko cultivators. Duala traditions say they are descendants of Mbedi, son of Mbongo, who lived in Piti. Monneba was a Duala leader on the Cameroon coast in the 1630s, engaged in trading in ivory and slaves with the Europeans. Dutch maps from the 1650s place Monneba's name on the Dibamba River, which is called Monneba's Creek or Channel (Monnebasa Gat).

The Dibamba was the scene of naval hostilities during World War I, when Commander Ralph Stuart Sneyd engaged and sank a large German launch on 10 September, 1914, and drove the enemy out of their post at Piti.

Douala's Bassa industrial zone ends in the estuarine creek formation of the Dibamba River, discharging pollutants. The wetlands are quickly being colonized by invasive species, and a great number of phytoplankton have been identified, some of which are caused by the pollution. Further inland, there are still some patches of permanent swamp forest on the river, but many others have been cleared and drained for oil palm plantation. The fauna of the river are not well protected. The African Manatee (Trichechus senegalensis) is endangered.

  • Nyong

The Nyong is a river in Cameroon. The river flows approximately 640 km to empty into the Gulf of Guinea.

The Nyong originates 40 kilometers east of Abong Mbang, where the northern rain forest feeds it. The river's length is almost parallel to the lower reaches of the Sanaga River. Its mouth is in Petit Batanga, 40 miles south-southwest of Edéa. In two places, Mbalmayo and Déhané, the river has huge rapids. The first 200 miles of the river, between Abong Mbang and Mbalmayo, are navigable for small boats from April to November.

  • Lobé (Lobé Falls)

The Waterfalls of Lobé are located at around 300km south-west of Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroun. The specificities of the falls are due to the groupings of streams that run along a series cascades over a distance of 1 kilometre and which form a majestic cloud around the falls. The highest falls measure 20 metres in height before tumbling into the Atlantic Ocean. The waterfalls of Lobé represent a strong basis of the symbolic beliefs of the Batanga, Maabi and Pygmee peoples that live in the environs and associate the falls with various cultural rites. The significance of the site that this cultural landscape has in the lives of these people implies the necessity for their involvement in the process of management and the preparation of the nomination proposal for its inscription.

  • Moungo (Mungo)

The Mungo River is a large river in Cameroon that drains the mountains in the southern portion of the Cameroon line of active and extinct volcanoes.

The Mungo river has a catchment area of 4,200 square kilometres (1,600 sq. mi).The river is 150 kilometres (93 mi) long, rising in the Rumpi Hills and swelled by tributaries from Mount Kupe and the Bakossi mountains. The river is navigable south of Mundame for about 100 kilometres (62 mi) as it flows through the coastal plain before entering mangrove swamps, where it splits into numerous small channels that empty into the Cameroon estuary complex. The estuary, which is also fed by rivers such as the Wouri and Dibamba, in turn discharges into the Gulf of Guinea at Douala Point. The tidal wave in the bay travels as far as 40 kilometres (25 mi) up the river. In this section of the river, large flats and sand banks are exposed at low tide.

A European visitor said of the lower reaches of the river in 1896: "The banks of the Mungo are magnificently covered with forests ... and everything here teems with life. One can see sea eagles, herons, snakes and monkeys, as well as multicolored parrots on the trees, while on the surface of the water there dance butterflies and dragonflies the size of sparrows. Now and then one hears the trumpeting of elephants, the cry of predators, and the melancholy and monotonous honking of the iguana." He noted that about 35 kilometres (22 mi) from the mouth of the river the forest began to be cleared for cultivation of plantains, cocoyam, corn and sugar cane.

A Swede named Knut Knutson lived for some years in the upper Mungo valley at a time when the Germans were asserting their claim over the area as a colony. He provides an interesting if somewhat fanciful account of traditions that a "Biaffra" tribe, based on the upper Mungo, once ruled an extensive kingdom stretching as far north as Lake Chad and south to the Congo River. Another early European exploration of the river was undertaken by the Polish explorer Stefan Szolc-Rogozinski in 1883. He was hoping to establish a free colony for Polish emigrants.

Towards the end of 1884, after the Germans had established a post at Douala, they ran into trouble with the local Duala chiefs who were encouraged by the British to resist German attempts to open direct trade with the interior. The leader on the Mungo River was King Bell, who maintained a blockade for some months but eventually was forced to yield due to disunity among his people and the power of an armed steamboat. Later, the Bells regained control for a while when the Germans turned their attention to the Sanaga River.

When the German colony of Kamerun was partitioned after World War I, the Mungo River formed part of the boundary between the French and British colonies that assumed control. The border also divided the different peoples of the river valley, including the Bakossi people, although they continued to maintain close relations across the river. Downstream, near the coast, the Duala and Mungo people were similarly divided.

Today, the river forms the boundary between the Littoral and the Southwest regions of Cameroon. A bridge over the river collapsed in 2004. As of December 2006, work on construction of a replacement bridge was still in progress, and road traffic was meanwhile depending on a floating bridge, or barge. The ecology of the estuary is under threat from growing pollution from industry, farming and households, threatening both fish yields and human health

  • Noun

The Noun River is a river of the West Province of Cameroon. It arises at Lake Oku (6°11?34?N 10°27?14?E) and flows south, it is joined by the Monoun River and flows south in the valley between the mountains Ngotsetzezan and Mount Yahou. It turns east at about 5° N latitude. Its mouth is at the Mbam River (4°54?42?N 11°06?02?E), which itself is a tributary of the Sanaga River.

It forms the boundary between the Bamiléké area and the Bamun area, and played a key role in the history of the Bamileke people.

The Noun River was dammed at Bamendjing in 1975 (5°41?55?N 10°30?03?E) creating a reservoir with the same name. At its maximum the reservoir is 32 km long and 276 km wide. Its surface area varies between 150 km² and 300 km². The Noun River hosts hippopotamuses that can be seen all year long in the wild parts of the river along with many birds, such as the Palm nut Vulture, the bee-eater, the hammerkop, and the kingfisher.

  • Nkam

The Nkam River rises in the Western High Plateau in the West Region of Cameroon, and joins the Makombé River to become the Wouri River. It is known to tourists for the spectacular Chutes d'Ekom, an 80 metres (260 ft.) high waterfall about 30 kilometres (19 mi) from Bafang. To the south of the town of Dschang, the Santchou Faunal Reserve lies to the east of the river

Annual flooding in the river valley provides millions of catfish juveniles. These are caught for immediate consumption, or to restock ponds used for aquaculture. The fish ponds are prepared at the end of the dry season, with bottom mud removed and the fish shelters repaired. The ponds are invaded by weedy grasses and shrubs during the early part of the rainy season, from April until July. Normally, the Nkam River floods from July to October, when fish migrate to the ponds. Between January and March the water retreats, the ponds are drained and the fish harvested

  • Dja (Ngoko River)

The Dja River (also known as the Ngoko River) is a stream in west-central Africa. It forms part of Cameroon–Republic of Congo border and has a course of roughly 450 miles (720 km).

Rising southeast of the southeastern Cameroon town of Abong-Mbang, the Dja Faunal Reserve, which was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, lies along the banks of its upper course. It protects one of the largest tracts of tropical rainforest in Africa. Forming its natural boundary, and almost completely encircling the reserve (except to the south-west), cliffs run along the course of the river in the south part of the reserve for 60 km and are associated with a section of the river which is broken by rapids and waterfalls. Following its course in the reserve, the Dja flows approximately southeast past Moloundou, below which small boats can navigate. At Ouesso, in the Republic of Congo, it empties into the Sangha River.

Every year, poachers travel up the Dja for central Nki National Park, where elephant ivory is abundant. Strong currents on the river are a deterrent for half the year, but after that, according to freelance journalist Jemini Pandya, the fauna is easy to prey upon.

Relief

  • The Lowlands: He Mamfe bowl (south west), the basin of the Benoué and the north plain.

  • The Plains : Southern Cameroon with an average altitude of 650 m, and Adamawa, the water tower of Cameroon with an average altitude of 1,000 m but rises to 2,650 m.

  • The Western Highlands: A block raised from base and covered with basaltic flows, arranged in an arc of circles called the Cameroonian dorsal. The peaks are from 1,500 to 4,000 m. The most massive known are the Mandara Mountains (far north), Atlantika (north),and active volcanoes in Oku (north-west) and Mount Cameroon (south west) 4,100 m altitude which is the highest of western Africa.

Relief