Douala, Cameroon
Date: Lodging: Distance: Total:
04/05/2000 Le Meridien Douala 184 KM 72663 KM

This is a banana plantation in western Cameroon owned by the government but 'soon to be privatized' we were told. The fruit is covered in blue sacks for protection.

Look for the thin, white line on the tree - this is pure latex that flows into the cup. Every morning this rubber tree farmer pulls latex from each cup and cuts a fresh incision into the tree ensuring more latex for tomorrow.

Many say the best mango comes from Cameroon; certainly the plentiful mango trees offer massive supply.

A rubber tree plantation in western Cameroon

Cameroon's forests are enchanting but not when they literally stop traffic.

Mount Cameroon, a still active volcano that erupted in 1999, is 4000 meters above sea level and the highest mountain in West Africa. Situated in lush rain forest, it is perhaps one of the most beautiful as well.

4 May 2000 - Overnight the rain poured. I woke three or four times from the sound of the pounding rain hitting the roof. Thank goodness we weren't a day later since the road we traveled through the mountains yesterday must have been impossible today.

We left Kumba and drove to Douala with many stops for photographs. We saw Mount Cameroon, a still active volcano that erupted just last year. Today the 4000 meter-high mountain sat in a haze created by the cooler temperature from the rain and from the constant high humidity.

I loved the drive through the rain forest. We saw mango and plum trees and stopped at a rubber tree plantation. We watched a farmer peel latex from a cup attached to every tree and then make a new incision stimulating liquid latex pouring from the tree, which would be collected tomorrow. Down the road 10 kilometers farther, we stopped again to photograph another plantation filled with huge palm trees and dangling green banana fruit wrapped in a protective blue sack. The government owns the rubber and banana plantations but we were told they will be privatized 'soon'. Across the road from one banana plantation was another one with a 'Delmonte' sign. They are obviously getting ready for the privatization.

I look forward to much more luscious rain forest in Africa.


  Kumba to Douala drive (Paige)
  Cameroon - former English and French colony (Jim)
  Drive from border to Kumba and on to Douala (Jim)