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Cameroon offers many outdoor challenges for anyone with a bold, rugged spirit ready for adventure. There are several outlets for hiking and exploring to satisfy the true adventurer. In addition, there are plenty of beaches, as well as roads and paths ideal for biking.

The British and French Cameroons merged in 1961 to become one independent country. Although President Paul Biya, one of Africa's longest serving leaders, and his government legalized multiparty politics in the 1990s, international observers say the country's elections have failed to meet world standards for fairness.

Cameroon has a population of 18 million people who communicate in French, English and African languages. There are more than 130 ethnic groups. The predominant religion is Christianity but Islam and indigenous beliefs are also practiced. Cameroonian music, generally referred to as makossa, is among the most popular types of African music today. Sam Fan Thomas, dubbed the king of makossa, is known worldwide.

The easiest way to reach Cameroon is through Europe, Nigeria or Senegal. The roughneck adventure begins upon arrival at the airport when hailing a taxi or minibus. Taxis are cheap and are the most effective means for getting around the country. To travel long distances, inexpensive and relatively comfortable trains are available. Crime can be a problem so it is best to check with local knowledgeable sources before heading out, especially at night.

From the inland capital, Yaounde, it is possible to travel to the highest mountain in West and Central Africa, Mt. Cameroon, known locally as Mt. Faka. It is 4,000 metres high. Each year there is a race up the mountain, which is one of Cameroon's largest tourist destinations. The mountain, a volcano, erupted six times last century. Nearby is the town of Foumban where there is a royal palace filled with the personal belongings of 18 royal dynasties.

Although the port city of Douala does not have much to offer in terms of sights, it is a good place to start from for daytrips into the countryside. There is the mountain resort of Mt. Abu and the beach resort of Limbe. Even more beaches can be found three hours outside of Douala in Kribi. Hiking through tea plantations can be done outside of the northwestern, English-speaking city of Bamenda. Also near Bamenda are the Korup National Park, the Kumbo highlands and Menchum River waterfalls.

With so much to do outdoors, there are a number of resorts available to recharge the explorer's batteries. The five-star Hilton Yaoundé Hotel Cameroon, located in the capital, Yaoundé, has a nightclub, restaurants and bars, a large swimming pool, a gymnasium, two full-sized tennis courts, and is also conveniently located near the shopping districts. Le Meridien Douala has a buffet-style restaurant, an outdoor swimming pool, a full-size tennis court and many other in-room services.

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