Crater Lake Oku
Max People : 8
All Year Round
Min Age : 16+
Lake Oku is a beautiful crater lake surrounded by lush forests. You can choose to either hike there and back or take a motorbike taxi there and hike the return part of the trip. Oku Forest is a nature reserved, set up by BirdLife International and there are many species to be found there, including the rare Bannerman’s turaco and a rare breed of frog which is endemic to the area. There are much other rare flora and fauna within the forest. Of course, there will also be the opportunity to swim in the lake.
The Oku area is home to settled Fulani people and you will pass through their lands on your walk. As well as the magnificent scenery and views, you will also have the opportunity to see a variety of crops which people are farming, including corn, cocoyams, and coffee.
Accessibility & Transport: Depending on how active you feel, you can either hike up to the lake and back or take a motorbike taxi there and walk back. The trek there is largely uphill from Belo and takes around 5 hours, by bike taxi the journey time is 1 – 1.5 hrs. Returning from the lake, the walk takes approximately 4 hours and takes you through the village of Anyajua.
Arrival at the Douala International Airport, reception by Camtourventures, transferred to the hotel. A brief tour of the City of Douala which is the Capital of the Littoral Province and it is big and busy, with about 2 million inhabitants. It is also where the major port of Cameroon is and all this together makes it the economic center of Cameroon. Leisure activities, dinner, and night in the hotel.
Breakfast, drive to Bamenda and it is a full day of travel. The roads up to Bamenda, the capital of the Northwest Region, are tarred and sometimes of very high standards. They will take you to the beautiful highlands. Arrival in Bamenda, check-in to the hotel, leisure activities dinner, and night.
Breakfast, full day in Bamenda, The tour guide will accompany you and give you ideas of what to do and discover like the Bafut chief Palace, the Markets, the Botanical Garden. In the afternoon have a taste of traditional food for lunch. The town is situated in a ‘pot’ at an altitude of about 1000m. The scenery surrounding Bamenda is beautiful, with steep mountainsides and waterfalls. About 300’000 inhabitants share the streets and buildings and they contribute giving the town a pulse. There are a lot of entrepreneurs and the market outside the hotel can offer everything during weekdays. Bamenda is also the heart of the English-speaking political opposition and if you visit a small restaurant or a bar you are guaranteed discussions if wanted. Return to hotel, dinner, and night.
Breakfast. It is time to explore the highlands with their rolling hills, waterfalls, and holy crater lakes. The trip will follow the ‘ring road’ which circles the heart of the highland area. The first stop will be the town of Wum, but before reaching this community, you will visit Menchum Falls and also lake Ilum, and Lake Wum. Menchum Falls is a dramatic waterfall digging out the rock about an hour’s drive from Bamenda. This will be the first stop and it lies just next to the road. According to the Bradt guide book one should be aware of the safety railings, they could be dangerous. Dinner and night in Wum. From Wum you will go to Nkambe and along the road, you will visit the infamous Lake Nyos. This lake makes all traditional beliefs about the crater lakes real and understandable. What are the beliefs? There are many stories and legends and the best way of finding out is to ask people you meet and the Tour guide will assist you. In short, one can say the lakes are holy, magical, or possessed by witchcraft and not to be disturbed. People say that “if you throw a stone into the lake, it will come right back up”. Locals don’t swim or fish in the lakes. They do not fetch water to drink. To do any of this is dangerous, if not deadly. They prefer to stay at a distance. Why is Lake Nyos infamous? In August 1986 the lake lose a big cloud of gas. This eruption was very powerful and the trees lining the shores were leveled. The cloud got caught in the wind and passed the village of Su-bum where the suffocating carbon dioxide killed some 1’800 people and countless animals. Scientists believe a bubble of gas was created at the bottom of the lake. Since the Crater Lake is very deep, the pressure helped to create the size of the cloud and after a while, the water could no longer contain the amount of gas. This is one explanation. Nkambe is like most small communities in the area quite unused to visits. Except for the transport, nothing along the road is planned for. The area will of course be beautiful. Maybe today is a good day to make plenty of spontaneous stops along the road? The locals will definitely think you are the happening of the month (maybe of the year). Dinner and overnight in Nkambe.
Breakfast, return back to Bamenda via the holy heart of Northwest Region, Mt Oku, and Lake Oku. Mount Oku is the second-highest mountain in Cameroon reaching 3’011m. This region is part of Oku Fondom, a place with rich history and great knowledge of traditional medicine and witchcraft. Mt Oku is climbable, but it will take about seven hours to go up and down and it is good to start early in the morning. Maybe this is a good exercise before the ascent of Mt Cameroon? If everyone in the group wants to do this, it will be on the group’s own accord and expenses and you must follow the local rules. First, you must visit the Fon’s palace and ask for permission, together with a gift (The tour guide will know the most appropriate). Second, you will be offered a guide and it is good to accept this. The guide should get paid and the fee is between 5’000 and 10’000 CFA. Third, be respectful of the mountain. This does not just mean to heed local customs, but also to remember the physical aspects. It will most likely be hot. Don’t forget water and some kind of food. Dinner and night in Bamenda town.
Breakfast, It is time to care for Mt Cameroon. From Bamenda you will go to Buea (870 m) on the slopes of Mt Cameroon. This is from where almost all expeditions start and upon arrival, check into the hotel. Your guide will instruct you on what to bring and what to take into consideration. Eat well, rest well, and dream of trekking the mountain
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