Civil Unrest/Political Tension
We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution due to political uncertainty. You should avoid demonstrations and large public gatherings throughout Cameroon as they may become violent.
Bakassi Peninsula: We strongly advise you not to travel to the border area between Cameroon and Nigeria in the region of the Bakassi Peninsula. Sovereignty of the area had been disputed for many years and was handed from Nigeria to Cameroon on 14 August 2008. Tension in the area remains high and resettlement of the residents of the region is being negotiated. Tensions also remain high between the police and security personnel of both countries and you risk being caught up in localised fighting that may erupt without warning.
We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Cameroon because of high levels of serious crime. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
Criminal activity is a serious problem throughout Cameroon. Violent crime is common in residential centres and on rural highways. Armed highwaymen operate throughout the country. Armed banditry is common in the border areas with the Central African Republic. Carjackings, muggings, robberies and petty theft occur in the capital city, Yaounde, and in the regional cities of Douala, Kribi and Maroua. In Yaounde, the suburbs of la Briquetterie, Mokolo and Mvog-Ada are particularly dangerous. There have been several incidents of robbery and rape committed against foreigners in Douala. Avoid travel after dark.
There have been a number of attacks by gangs of armed gunmen on restaurants and hotels known to be used by foreigners.
Due to the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, victims of violent crime, especially rape, are strongly encouraged to seek immediate medical assistance.
Eastern Provinces, Border with Central African Republic and Lake Chad region: We strongly advise you not to travel to the Eastern Provinces, the border area with the Central African Republic and the Lake Chad region. Armed banditry, kidnapping and carjackings are prevalent and cross-border skirmishes are common in these regions. For more information about kidnapping, see our Kidnap Threat in Africa travel bulletin.
Police checkpoints are common in Cameroon and the police may request payments from drivers and other occupants of the vehicle. If you can't produce identification (residence permit or certified copy of your passport) you may be detained by the police.
Most roads are in poor condition, vehicles are poorly maintained and badly driven, and road lighting is inadequate. Poor road conditions make it difficult to depart Cameroon via the land border with Gabon. For further advice on road safety, see our bulletin on Overseas Road Safety.
The border with the Republic of Congo is closed.
Visitors to the Lake Chad area should report to local authorities on arrival. The local authorities advise visitors to engage a reliable guide due to the dangerous security situation.
Please refer to our travel bulletin for information about Aviation Safety and Security.
Natural Disasters, Severe Weather and Climate
The rainy season is June to September when flooding may occur and some roads become impassable.
Explosions and lava flows have occurred at Mont Cameroon. You should seek advice from local authorities before climbing.
Information on natural disasters can be obtained from the Humanitarian Early Warning Service. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.
Australians are advised to respect wildlife laws and to maintain a safe and legal distance when observing wildlife, including marine animals and birds. You should only use reputable and professional guides or tour operators and closely follow park regulations and wardens' advice.
Money and Valuables
Before you go, organise a variety of ways to access your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques, cash, debit cards or cash cards. ATMs that accept international cards are limited in Cameroon and you should check the location of any such ATMs with your bank before you travel. Travellers' cheques and credit cards are accepted at major hotels in Yaounde. Travellers' cheques will only be cashed if accompanied by the original purchase receipt.
Make two photocopies of valuables such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.
While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.
As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.
You are required to pay an additional fee to have a lost or stolen passport replaced. In some cases, the Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.
For general information and tips on travelling with children see our Travelling Parents brochure.
If you are planning on placing your children in schools or childcare facilities overseas we encourage you to research the standards of security, care and staff training within those establishments. You should exercise the same precautions you would take before placing children into schools or childcare facilities in Australia.
Ideas on how to select childcare providers are available from the smartraveller Children's Issues page, Child Wise and the National Childcare Accreditation Council.
When you are in Cameroon, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs may include heavy fines and lengthy imprisonment.
Penalties for serious crimes, such as homicide, include the death penalty.
Homosexual acts are illegal and penalties include prison sentences.
Photography of and around military zones, military assets and/or military personnel, government buildings, airports and ports is illegal.
Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.
Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 17 years imprisonment for Australians who engage in sexual activity with children under 16 while outside of Australia.
Cameroon is a very conservative society and you should dress and behave so as not to offend.
Information for Dual Nationals
Cameroon does not recognise dual nationality. This may limit our ability to provide consular assistance to Australian/Cameroonian dual nationals who are arrested or detained. We recommend you travel on your Australian passport at all times.
Our Travel Information for Dual Nationals brochure provides further information for dual nationals.
Entry and Exit Requirements
Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Cameroon for the most up to date information.
A valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate is required for entry into Cameroon.
Cameroon is listed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as endemic for yellow fever. Some airlines may require passengers to present a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate before being allowed to board flights out of the country. If in doubt, check with your airline.
If you have visited Cameroon in the last six days prior to your date of return to Australia, Australian Customs officials will ask you to present a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate on entry into Australia.
Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.
Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 has spread throughout the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides useful information for individuals and travellers on its website. For further information and advice to Australians, including on possible quarantine measures overseas, see our travel bulletin on Pandemic (H1N1) 2009.
We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.
Your doctor or travel clinic is the best source of information about preventive measures, immunisations (including booster doses of childhood vaccinations) and disease outbreaks overseas. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our 'Travelling Well' brochure also provides useful tips for travelling with medicines and staying healthy while overseas.
Medical facilities in urban centres in Cameroon are limited and are extremely limited in rural areas. Pharmaceuticals are in short supply and poor quality substitutes are often used. Up-front payment for medical services is usually required and the inability to pay will often delay treatment. In the event of a serious accident or illness, medical evacuation to London, Paris or Johannesburg would be recommended. Costs for a medical evacuation can range from $A25,000 to $A200,000 depending on the circumstances.
Malaria occurs widely and throughout the year in Cameroon. Other insect-borne diseases (including yellow fever, filariasis and African sleeping sickness) also occur. We encourage you to take prophylaxis against malaria and take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent at all times.
Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including HIV/AIDS, cholera, meningitis, hepatitis, tuberculosis, polio, loiasis and river blindness) are prevalent with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. We advise you to boil all drinking water or drink bottled water, and avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food. Do not swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to certain water-borne diseases such as bilharzia (schistosomiasis). Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.
The rate of HIV/AIDS infection in Cameroon is high. You should exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has confirmed cases of avian influenza in birds in a number of countries throughout the world. For a list of these countries, visit the OIE website. For information on our advice to Australians on how to reduce the risk of infection and on Australian Government precautions see our travel bulletin on avian influenza.