Last night in Libreville, our power had went out in our Airbnb in the middle of the night so with the AC not working I woke up at 3:15am to humidity and sweat. How I was able to still fall back asleep remains a mystery to me.
After 2 days in Gabon, the 3 of us set out at 7am and took our same driver back to LBV airport for a 9:50am Air Senegal HC342 flight to Douala, the economic capital of Cameroon.
After paying an offering staff member 10,000 CFAs to skip the ridiculously long line outside the airport just to check in, we’d find that our flight would be delayed anyway, so we made the most of the Priority Pass Samba lounge at LBV.
We landed at 11am local time.
For the past 8 months since last April, Cameroon has been piloting an e-visa program for international visitors. So new that 3 months ago I got my visa within a week but for the wrong dates, whereas Sandy in Singapore got hers for the correct ones. Luckily Ruthy Amenge monitors the Every Passport Stamp boards and reached out about this, identifying herself as someone who works within the Cameroonian embassy on the e-visa program and got me expedited for the proper dates when I reapplied.
If you have an e-visa approval QR code from its website and once you arrive at the airport, head to the e-visa room prior to passports control to get your real visa. If there’s any issues with your QR code as Sandy did, there’s also E-Visa kiosks just outside the room (around the Health Inspection Kiosk) to redo it.
Then get stamped in at regular passports:
Showing our visas upon our arrival and avoiding shouting customs officers, we were picked up by our van sent from our swanky hotel accommodations at K Hotel Douala.
Douala, being more of a business destination, leaves much to be desired for the typical tourist, so we made the best of it.
A little too early to check in, we stored our bags at the hotel and walked over to the colonial-era Place du Gouvernement:
It faces a park housing a World War I memorial to the Unknown Soldier:
Doual’art, a small museum showcasing street art and artwork by locals for the community is housed across the street in La Pagode, also a sight to see and an abandoned structure and restaurant that was once the Palace of the Kings Bell.
It was at Doual’art when I ran into Mike Z, who had been in contact with me ever since I had posted about my visit to Mecca 2 years ago on the Every Passport Stamp forums. Reorganizing our itinerary around at his recommendation, we went back to K Hotel where one of its drivers took us up north and around Douala for 2 hours.
Because it was little farther out, we hailed a cab for a round trip beginning around La Nouvelle Liberté, located at a roundabout which is home to a recycled metal structure designed by Cameroonian artist Joseph-Francis Sumégnél in the 1990s. It’s supposed to be a symbol expressing freedom.
Heading back downtown elements of Sawa architecture and culture can be found at Palais Dika Akwa, which was the former estate of a noted anthropologist named Dika Akwa.
We then dined at the highly recommend La Fourchette for lunch:
Finally on our round trip back to K Hotel where Mike had to return to his room to make a work meeting, we quickly stopped in the Cathedral of St Peter and Paul Bonadibong:
After checking into our rooms, Letti, Sandy and I headed back out for another walk around town and stopped fist at the Ancienne Residence du Chef de Circonscription, or the former residence of the French District Chief in the Cameroon:
It’s right next to Monument Nachtigal, dedicated to a German military surgeon who explored much of Central and West Africa.
Then we paid a visit to the Maritime Museum at the end of our walk south.
It’s a quick visit, with 2 floors on Cameroon’s colonial past when the Germans were here and its navy capabilities.
The rooftop from the Maritime Museum overlooks the port:
Running out of things to do, we bought some ginger tea from a local tea stand and admired some of the decaying buildings and neighborhoods by the port.
The port itself:
We then slowly meandered back to the city at sunset.
- At time of posting in Douala, it was 30 °C - Humidity: 75% | Wind Speed: 11km/hr | Cloud Cover: clear and humid