Douala is the biggest city and business centre of Cameroon.
Douala is a large, sprawling city with several districts. Akwa is the most important central district, where all the business, commercial, and diplomatic life concentrates. Boulevard de la Liberté is the throbbing heart of the city with many shops and restaurants.
The Douala International Airport (IATA: DLA) serves as the main entrance point in the country. Camair-Co (national carrier) is the main service provider to the city of Douala. Two other airlines also fly to Europe – Air France (Paris) and Brussels Airlines (Brussels). Turkish Airlines also has direct flights to Douala from Istanbul. Several airlines provide links to African destinations.
Flights to Douala with major airlines are not available daily, hence a flexible schedule and a timely reservation is required.
Arrive at the airport about 3 hours before departure, as it often tends to be crowded, and long queues might prevent you from comfortably reaching your flights. Prepare for thorough checks at the custums and by the airport police authorities. Avoid confrontation with the authorities, but be firm and request to talk to their superiors if they ask you to pay a bribe.
If you are worried about your safety or worried about missing the plane, you can get a ride to or from airport with Africa Airport Transfers
Getting around in Douala is easiest by shared taxis. Shared Toyota taxi-cabs (yellow) are available throughout the city in daytime, while getting one late at night might be more difficult. You will only be given a ride if your fellow-passengers are also traveling in the same direction as you. Taxis carrying no passengers will stop and even turn back for you, and you may also request them not to take other passengers while you are in the taxi. In this case, you will be charged more the ride. Sharing a taxi is cheap (around 500-700 CFA for even longer rides), while taking one alone might cost up to 2000-2500 CFA for longer rides. Sedan taxis will readily take 5-6 passengers at a time, so beware of pickpockets. Considering the general condition and the average age of the taxis, make sure you securely close the door as they tend to open easily during the vehicle is in motion.
Hiring a chauffeur to take you out of town is possible and is the safest way. Make sure you hire your chauffeur if he is recommended to you by a friend or a business partner whom you know well. Check-points from Douala to Buea and other cities are common. European travelers would be pulled over frequently and asked to pay a bribe (1000-2000 CFA). Always have your passport on you when you travel (the original document). Always be polite and very patient with the police. Some knowledge of French in Douala is useful for such cases. English is spoken only in two provinces in the Southwest Region.
Douala is a major city whose tentacles are spread across several districts. AKWA is the most important neighbourhood where all businesses, diplomatic and commercial life are concentrated. The ‘Boulevard de la Liberté’ is the throbbing heart of the city with several stores and restaurants.
Getting to Douala
The Douala International Airport is the main entry point into the country. Camer-Co is the national air transport company. Two other airline companies also connect Douala to Europe: Air France (Paris) and Brussels Airlines (Brussels). For some years now, Turkish Airlines also has been having direct flights from Douala to Istanbul. Several other airline companies offer connections towards African destinations.
Flights towards Douala using the major airline companies are not available on a daily basis. Consequently, a flexible schedule and timely flight reservations are necessary.
Moving within Douala is easier through township taxis. Township taxis (of yellow colour) are available all day long within the entire city, but rather scarcer at night. Taxis with no passengers could stop and even reverse to come and ask you where you are heading to, and you should also ask them not to take other passengers when you are already onboard. In such a case, the fare will be stepped up. A township taxi will cost you about (500 to 700 CFA Francs, even for long trips), taking a taxi alone could cost you up to 2000 to 2500 CFA Francs for long trips. It is possible to hire a taxi driver to take you out of town and this is the safest means of transport. Make sure that your driver is recommended by a friend, a business partner or a local company specialized in car rental. English and French are the commonly spoken languages in Cameroon.
When in Douala, the closest beach to go to is Limbe. Limbe (formerly Victoria, after Queen Victoria of England) is a seaside city in the Southwest Region of Cameroon. Limbe has some nice streches of beach for sunbathing. Facilities are basic, water currents might be very strong. Be cautious, and ask the locals whether the ocean is safe for swimming or not. Excellent fish restaurants are widely available in Limbe.
Handicrafts, painted masks, beads, headscarfs, local chocolate, coffee. Look for them in Limbe, where these things tend to be much cheaper. Ask your local friend to buy it for you to get real value for money.
Mediterranee (Greek and Pizza),
Saga Africa (an excellent, yet a bit pricey choice),
La Sorento (Italian pizzas),
Le dernier Comptoir Colonial (Fish, Prawn)
Several excellent restaurants can be found along Boulvard de la Liberté, Douala’s main avenue. Local eateries are cheap (1000-2000 CFA / dish). Try the local beers (33 Export. Mützig, Castel, etc.). Soft drinks come in 0.7 deciliter bottles and are very refreshing.