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Yaoundé: The Capital City

Yaoundé cathedral
Image via Wikipedia

Yaoundé is unique among West African capitals for its green and hilly setting. Set at an altitude of 750m, this gives the city a slightly more pleasant air than sweaty Douala. If its rival to the west is livelier, Yaoundé  is better placed for travelers – anyone heading from north to south will pass through, and it’s a good place to pick up onward visas, rest from the road and charge your batteries.

Yaoundé, also spelled Yaunde, city and capital of Cameroon. It is situated on a hilly, forested plateau between the Nyong and Sanaga rivers in the south-central part of the country.

Founded in 1888 during the period of the German protectorate, Yaoundé was occupied by French troops in 1915 and was declared the capital of French Cameroun in 1922. From 1940 to 1946 it was replaced as the capital by Douala, but after independence it became the seat of the government of Cameroun in 1960, of the federal government in 1961, and of the united republic in 1972.

The city has grown as an administrative, service, and commercial centre and a communications hub for road, rail, and air transport. Yaoundé has several small manufacturing and processing industries and is also

the market for one of the richest agricultural areas in the country.

The University of Yaoundé was founded in 1962; the city also has schools of education, agriculture, health, engineering, journalism, administration, and international relations. The Pasteur Centre of Cameroon, which conducts biomedical research, is among Yaoundé’s many research institutes, and the national library and archives are located in the city. Natural features in the vicinity include Nachtigal Falls and a chain of grottoes known as Akok-Bekoe (Grottoes of the Pygmies).

The city centre

The city centre houses the Government’s offices, some hotels, and the central market. The Bastos neighbourhood, with most homes owned by Cameroonians, is home to foreign embassies and the expatriate

Yaoundé city center

European community (drawn mainly from the diplomatic corps). The presidential palace and compound is in the Etoudi neighborhood.

Climate

Yaoundé features a tropical wet and dry climate with constant temperatures throughout the year. However, primarily due to the altitude, temperatures are not as hot as one would expect for a city located near the equator. Yaoundé features a lengthy wet season, covering a ten month span between February and November. However, there is a noticeable dcrease in precipitation within the wet season, seen during the months of July and August, almost giving the city the appearance of having two separate rainy seasons. It’s primarily due to the relative lull in precipitation during these two months that Yaoundé features a tropical wet and dry climate, as opposed to a tropical monsoon climate.

How to get here

Yaoundé Nsimalen International Airport is a major civilian hub, while nearby Yaoundé Airport is used by the military. Railway lines run west to the port city of Douala and north to N’Gaoundéré. Many bus companies run from the city; particularly in the Nsam and Mvan neighborhoods. Frequent bus runs occur along the road between Yaoundé and Douala, which has seen several fatal accidents. Travel time by road between Douala and Yaoundé is about 3 hours. Traffic in the city can be heavy during weekdays, but is very light during the weekends. Yaoundé has made a great progress in infrastructure especially road construction.

Yaoundé has made a great progress in infrastructure especially road construction

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2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

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