Cameroon lies at the junction of west and central Africa. It is the most urban and ethnically diverse nation in western Africa. Let’s learn more about Cameroon’s history, economy, culture, people, religion and government. 

39 Interesting facts about Cameroon

1. Cameroon is a central African country.

2. On January 1, 1960, Cameroon became an independent republic.

3. Cameroon attained UN membership on September 20, 1960.

4. There are more than 1700 different linguistic groups in the country. And 230 other languages are spoken in the region apart from its official languages – French and English.

5. The country receives plenty of rainfall every year, making it one of the wettest places on Earth.

6. Because of the geographical and cultural diversity of the country, it is often referred to as “Africa in miniature” and as “the hinge of Africa”.

7. Thermal springs can be found throughout the country.

8. As per the CIA Fact Book, HIV/AIDS caused an estimated 34,200 deaths in Cameroon in 2014.

9. In 2014, the unemployment rate in Cameroon was estimated to be at 4%.

10. Oil exports contribute 40% towards the total export earnings of the country.

N'Gaoundere Market
Interesting facts about Cameroon: N’Gaoundere Marke. Image credit – Elin B

11. Mount Cameroon is the highest point in the country at 13,500 ft.

12. The country also has a large amount of natural gas reserves.

13. You may be surprised to learn that it is also the only active volcano in the country. It last erupted in 2012.

14. And there are about 500,000 people living near the volcano in three main towns of Limbe, Buea and Muyuka.

15. Sanaga River is the longest river in Cameroon. However, it is not navigable. Other important rivers are the Benue and Nyong.

16. There are two hydroelectric power stations on the banks of the River Sanaga.

17. Before World War I, the vast majority of the country was a German colony. At that time it was known as Kamerun.

Gosling's Bunting, Poli, Cameroon
Interesting facts about Cameroon. Gosling’s Bunting, Poli. Image credit – Nigel Voaden

18. The area was named “Rio dos Camarões” by Portuguese explorers after their arrival on the coast in the 15th century.

19. The country was officially named the United Republic of Cameroon in 1972, and the Republic of Cameroon in 1984.

20. Did you know that every variety of flora and fauna that is available in tropical Africa can be found in Cameroon as well? It is home to at least 409 species of mammals and 165 species of birds.

21. The Waza National Park in Cameroon is one of the most visited places in the country.

22. The Dja Faunal Reserve, founded in 1950, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 90% of the area of the reserve is left undisturbed. The area is named after The Dja River, which almost completely surrounds it.

23. Subsistence farming plays a vital role in the life of poor Cameroonians.

24. Paul Biya has been the president of Cameroon since November 6, 1982.

25. Construction of a $3.7 billion pipeline connecting the oil fields in neighboring Chad with the Cameroon coast is under way. The World Bank is also sponsoring this project.

26. The current President of the country is said to have won by unfair means in the most recent elections in 2011, which he won by taking 78% of the vote.

27. The country celebrates its national day on May 20th. On this day in 1972, Cameroonians voted for a unitary state as opposed to the existing federal state.

28. If you look attentively at a map of the country, it looks like an elongated triangle.

Cameroon on map with neighboring countries
Interesting facts about Cameroon: On map with neighboring countries.

29. In 1990, Cameroon became the first African country to enter the quarter-final of the FIFA World Cup.

30. Cameroon is known for its coffee, cotton, bananas, oilseeds and cocoa.

31. As per the Council on Foreign Relations of the US State Department, Cameroon has been ranked as the second most dangerous country in the world, mainly because of attacks and kidnappings orchestrated by the terrorist sect Boko Haram. The group’s name translates to “Western education is sinful.”

32. To stop the cross border incursion from Boko Haram, about 1,000 troops were stationed by the country’s government on its border with Nigeria in 2014. However, the deployment further emboldened the fundamentalist sect, and they escalated their attacks.

Cameroon facts for kids

33. In area, Cameroon is twice the size of Oregon.

34. It has a total land boundary of 5,018 km and a coastline of 402 km.

35. The country is blessed with some of the most fertile land in the world.

36. Foot ball (soccer) is the most popular sport in the country.

37. The country’s legal age for boys to marry is 18, while that for girls is 15 years.

38. Did you know that Lake Nyos emitted poisonous gases, which became the reason for the death of 1,746 villagers in Cameroon in 1986?

39. Sadly, Cameroonian footballer Patrick Ekeng died on the football field when he suffered a heart attack on May 6th, 2016 (aged 26).

Facts about Cameroon

Capital CityYaoundé
3°52′N 11°31′E
Largest CityYaoundé
3°52′N 11°31′E
Total area475,440 sq km
Population23,739,218 (2015 est)
Official LanguageFrench and English
BordersNigeria, Chad, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, the Republic of the Congo.
CurrencyCentral African CFA franc (XAF)
ReligionChristianity and Islam
Life expectancy57.93 Years (2012)
Life expectancy at birth indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of its birth were to stay the same throughout its life.
Climatevaries with terrain, from tropical along coast to semiarid and hot in north
Terraindiverse, with coastal plain in southwest, dissected plateau in center, mountains in west, plains in north
Natural resourcespetroleum, bauxite, iron ore, timber, hydropower
Agricultural land20.6%
Birth rate`36.17 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Death rate10.11 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Sex ratio1.01 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
Independence1 January 1960 (from French-administered UN trusteeship)
National symbolslion; national colors: green, red, yellow
National anthem"O Cameroun, Berceau de nos Ancetres" (O Cameroon, Cradle of Our Forefathers)
Industriespetroleum production and refining, aluminum production, food processing, light consumer goods, textiles, lumber, ship repair
Exports$5.283 billion (2015 est.)
crude oil and petroleum products, lumber, cocoa beans, aluminum, coffee, cotton
Imports$6.159 billion (2015 est.)
machinery, electrical equipment, transport equipment, fuel, food
GDP - per capita (PPP)$3,100 (2015 est.)
Time ZoneWAT (UTC+1)
Internet country
Internet users4.909 million
percent of population: 20.7% (July 2015 est.)
Calling Code+237
Drives on theRight