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Basic information

  • Area: 210 km2 (80 sq mi)
  • Calling Code: +237
  • Currency: Central African CFA franc (XAF)
  • Population (EST): 2,446,945
  • Official language: French, English
  • Time Zone: WAT (UTC+1)

10 Reasons to Visit Douala

1. Cathedral Saint-Pierre-Et-Saint-Paul

This stunning Cathedral tells a story of the history of Catholicism in Cameroon. Many years ago, there once stood a German catholic building in this very spot, but there is no trace of it today. The Cathedral stands in its stead, and was built by French missionaries in 1936. It's a fantastic structure, and visitors are able to walk inside and see all the rich glasswork and paintings. The architecture is beautiful and vast, and regular church services are held here, and open to the public.

2. Collège Libermann

The College Libermann is the oldest school in Douala, and perhaps also the oldest in Cameroon. It is a Jesuit college built in the 19th century, and the architecture is of particular interest. It's the most reputable institution in town, and shows the importance of higher learning to the people of Cameroon. Priest teachers from all over Africa give instruction here. It's fun to watch the bustling student population coming in and out of college, and the vibrant energy of youth and learning.

3. Doual’Art

Doual'Art is a fascinating facility dedicated to contemporary art and is an experimental laboratory for new practices. Here they foster new talent, and enrich their students with the history of African art, thereby inspiring them to move confidently into the future. The vibe of this building is exciting, and of course, artsy. It's a great place to get a taste of the future of Doualan creativity.

4. Douala National Maritime Museum

The museum explores the rich history of sea travel and shipping in the city. For many years, the sea has played a vastly important role in the emergence and cultural life of Doula, and the Museum highlights this growth while showing how Douala plans to utilize its partnership with the sea in the days to come. The National Shipper Council of Cameroon is responsible for getting this Museum on its feet, and they've done a fantastic job imagining, and then bringing the building to life.

5. Former Kings Palace

Just near the Palace of Government you can find the odd wooden palace that once housed the Bell Kings who ruled the Littoral Province. The building is incredibly interesting due to its pagoda-like shape. It's a great little landmark in the city, and there are also plenty of things to do around it. A trip to the palace puts you in good proximity to other government buildings and offices. There are some nice restaurants in this area that cater to travelers and businessmen who are working nearby. Pop into Cafe Palaver for a delicious cappuccino.

6. Woodcarvings

Near the Nelson Mandela junction you can find several souvenir shoppes with some local, high quality wood carvings. There are also native masks, statues, and jewelry for sale. This is a great place to pick up gifts to take home, or keep for yourself as treasures from your journey to Africa. The craftsmanship of these pieces is unbelievable, being that they're all perfectly hand-carved. You'll find gifts in a variety of colours and styles, and the prices seem to be really reasonable.

7. Local MarketsLocal markets are scattered everywhere in Douala. These markets are rich with gifts, fresh produce, trinkets, home goods, and so much more. One favourite for tourists is the Bacongo, or Powerman, which is said to bring good energy and luck to whoever owns it. There are often fresh fruits and juices available should you need a delicious snack. Be sure to haggle with the vendours, because you can almost always work the price down from wherever they set it.

8. Scenic Drives

Just outside of Douala there are a number of lovely sites to see, like the mountainside town of Buea. This is the highest village of Mt. Cameroon, and has a lot of impressive German architecture. The town is quite old, charming, and rich with history. From its height, you can see a great scenic view of Cameroon. It's also possible to rest in a local cafe, or shop for interesting craft pieces. The drive itself is worth the effort. To rent a car and see the outskirts of Douala, and the vast expanses of Cameroon, is an experience you'll always treasure.

9. Enjoy a Glass

Hotel lounges and bars are perhaps the best places to have a drink, do some business, or just relax. That is not to say that the local watering holes in Douala are not safe, but the best place to have a nice glass of African beer or wine, and where you'll find the best selection, is at a fine hotel. Hotel bars and lobbies are very popular amongst tourists and businessmen, and provide a break from the heat, as well as the hustle and bustle of Douala.

10. La Nouvelle Liberte

La Nouvelle Liberte is a statue that is made entirely of recycled industrial parts and pieces. These parts were welded together into human form, and though the piece is not to everyone's liking, it is an amazing artistic achievement. You can find it in the main roundabout, just east of the Boniberi bridge. The bridge, in and of itself, is a nice site.

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