The land: All Africa in one country
Cameroon is situated in Central Africa, at juncture of the Gulf of Guinea. It is bounded on the North by Chad, on the East by the Central Africa Republic, on the South by Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea and on the West by Nigeria.
Cameroon has a vast geographical diversity characterized by forest, savanna and mountains, alongside a population of over 240 ethnic groups. Its diversity in terrain and culture has led to Cameroon being referred to as "Africa in miniature" or "All Africa in one country".
The physical geography is varied, with forests, mountains, large waterfalls and deserts, falling into four regions. At the border of the northern Sahel region lies Lake Chad and the Chad basin; further south the land forms a sloping plain, rising to the Mandara Mountains. The central region extends from the Benue (Bénoué) river to the Sanaga river, with a plateau in the north. This region includes the Adamaoua plateau which separates the agricultural south from the p astoral north. In the west, the land is mountainous, with a double chain of volcanic peaks, rising to a height of 4,095m at Mt Cameroon. This is the highest and wettest peak in western Africa. The fourth region, to the south, extends from the Sanaga river to the southern border, comprising a coastal plain and forested plateau. There is a complicated system of drainage. Several rivers flow westwards: the Benue river which rises in the Mandara Mountains and later joins the river Niger, and the Sanaga and Nyong rivers which flow into the Gulf of Guinea. The Dja and Sangha drain into the Congo Basin. The Logone and Chari rivers flow north into Lake Chad.
Varies with terrain, from tropical along coast to semiarid and hot in north. In the northern Sahel region, there is a long dry season from October to April, with temperatures varying from cool to very hot. Further south, on the Adamaoua plateau, there are sharp drops in temperature at night. In the south the climate is hot and humid, with two rainy seasons, in September/October and from March to June.
The most significant issues are overgrazing, desertification, deforestation, poaching, and overfishing.
There is tropical rainforest (including ebony and mahogany) in the hot humid south, with mangroves along the coast and river mouths. The southern coastal plain and south-east plateau also contain the cocoa and banana farms and the rubber and oil palm plantations. The central region has mixed deciduous and evergreen forest. Above the forest zone are drier woodlands, with taller grasses and mountain bamboos. High in the interior and on Mt Cameroon the grasses are shorter. Further north there is savannah bushland, with trees becoming sparse towards the Chad basin. Forest covers 46% of the land area, having declined at 0.9% p.a. 1990-2005. Arable land comprises 13% and permanent cropland 2.6% of the total land area.
The Waza National Park in the north, originally created for the protection of giraffe and antelope, also abounds in monkeys- screaming red and green monkeys and mandrills- and lions and leopards. There are gorillas in the great tracts of hardwood rainforest in the south and east.
80,930km of roads, 7% paved. The rail network runs 974km north-south from Ngaoundéré to Yaoundé, with connections between Douala and Yaoundé, and from Douala to Nkongsamba and Kumba. Douala is the principal port, Kribi handles mainly wood exports, Garoua on the Benue river is navigable only during the wet season and Limbo-Tiko is a minor port, severely silted up. International airports are at Douala (10km south-east of the city), Yaoundé (25km from city) and Garoua.
Cameroon is a country with several major towns, amongst which are YAOUNDE, the political capital of the country with about one million inhabitants. DOUALA, which is the major economic city, has more than two million inhabitants. The other main towns are GAROUA, BAFOUSSAM, MAROUA, BAMENDA etc.The country is divided into 10 regions:
- Adamawa region
- Centre region
- East region
- Far North region
- Littoral region
- North region
- North West region
- West region
- South region
- South West region
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