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Cameroon

A map of Cameroon, showing highland and lowland areas and vegetationSometimes referred to as a “miniature Africa”, Cameroon’s diverse landscape of savanna, deserts, mountains and rainforests represents all the main African ecosystems. Stretching across central Cameroon is a high, grassy plateau. North of these uplands are dry, rocky volcanic plains, while in the south the land slopes to tropical rainforests, some of the wettest places on Earth. These forests are important for Cameroon: its people have lived among them for thousands of years, and today the trees provide timber, a major export. Near the coast is Mount Cameroon, known locally as Mongo ma Ndemi ("Mountain of Greatness"), an active volcano. The higher of its two peaks, Fako, is Cameroon's highest point. Cameroon has a varied tropical climate: in the north, temperatures are hot with a short rainy season, while southern regions are wetter.


A map of Cameroon
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Bamum (Bamoun) women from Cameroon

People

Cameroon is home to around 250 ethnic groups. In the north, the largest is the Fulani, a Muslim people who were historically nomads and cattle-herders. In southern Cameroon live Bantu peoples, including the Bassa and Douala. Some of the first people to settle in Cameroon were the Baka, who lived off rainforest plants as well as hunting wild pigs and antelopes. Around 30,000 Baka people, who stand no taller than 1.52 metres (5 feet), still live in the country’s southern rainforests.
The interior of the Gare de Bessengue, the main railway station in Douala

When Portuguese explorers first arrived on the coast of Cameroon, they named the estuary of what is now the River Wouri Rio dos Camarões, which means “River of Shrimps”. The name became Cameroon in English.

WHY IS THE SEA SALTY?


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