Cameroon Volcano is an active stratovolcano located in western Africa, in the state of Cameroon. It is the highest mountain in the country, with a peak height of 4,095 meters.
Like many other volcanoes, Cameroon is cyclical in its activity. In the past, the volcano has manifested itself in violent eruptions that have killed several thousand people. The last major eruption was recorded in 2000, when an evacuation alert was issued for the nearby population.
A huge cone stretching 4 km high and surrounded by fertile land could not help but attract attention. Therefore, the foothills of Cameroon were inhabited long ago. Over the centuries, many peoples – Pygmies, Sao, Kanembu, Masa, Fulbe – have succeeded each other, and in recent centuries, the Baqueri have settled here. Being close to the coast, the mountain was visible not only to the inhabitants of the continent, but also to seafarers. The first known eruption was recorded by Gannon, a Carthaginian navigator of the 5th century BC who explored the west coast of Africa to establish colonies.
In 1472 the first Europeans to see the mountain were Portuguese sailors who were searching for the way to India under the command of the explorer Fernando Poe. One of the first climbers in Africa, the Englishman Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890), reached the summit of Fako (the highest of the two peaks of Cameroon) in 1861 in 1895 to Cameroon and courageous Mary Kingsley (1862-1900), on the way to the top she overcame not only the obvious physical obstacles, but also the Victorian prejudices that would not allow a woman to travel alone.
In the early twentieth century, the Germans, who took over and actively developed Cameroon, founded the town of Buea at the foot of the mountain and even moved the capital of the colony here. But the active volcano only in the XX century, six times demonstrated its violent nature. In 1909 the eruption forced the Germans to return the capital from Buea to Douala. The next eruption occurred in 1922, and was so violent that the lava then reached the ocean. Equally impressive were the eruptions in 1954, 1959, 1999, and 2000. They changed the shape of the mountain, forced people to find new places of residence and occupation, and made new roads at the foot of Cameroon.
The exact height of Cameroon’s first peak, Fako, is a variable value. Measurements since 2000 from space and using GPS have recorded sizes ranging from 4,024 m to 4,040 m. The second peak, “Etinda” or “Little Mountain Cameroon,” is only 1,713 m.
The steep slopes of Cameroon consist mainly of basalt and trachybasalt rocks, underlain by Precambrian rocks (over 500 million years old) and covered by sediments from the Cretaceous (65 million years old) and Quaternary (2.5 million years old) periods.
The western foothills of Cameroon volcano is the place with the heaviest rainfall in Africa, it rains about 250 days a year. The village of Debunja, on the southwestern slope of the mountain, ranks first on the continent in rainfall (10,299 mm per year). The recorded maximum was 14,690 mm (1919). The village owes its records to the Cameroon volcano: the clouds coming from the ocean are trapped by the slopes of the mountain.
The great mountain has long been an object of worship and a hero of legends, which is revered by all locals, regardless of religion. It is believed that the good god of Mount Cameroon is composed of two halves – man and stone. But it is better not to make him angry, tourists are allowed to collect what they can use for themselves on the mountain, but something to take away from it is strictly prohibited. And it’s better not to anger the god, everyone is well aware of its tough nature.
On the slopes of the mountain in small villages live mostly members of the Bakveri people (“people on the mountain”). In addition to the villages, the Bakweri inhabit the city of Buea, the capital of the southwestern region of Cameroon. Tea cultivation is an important source of livelihood for the people of Buea and the surrounding villages. Cameroonian tea has become a global brand, and one of its brands is a success even with the Queen of England.
There is even a university in Buea founded in 1985, it is the only Anglophone institution of higher learning in Cameroon.
Southwest of Buea is the town of Limbe. It was founded by the British in 1858 and was called Victoria. In 1982 it was renamed Limbe. Today it is a port of international importance and a popular resort.
At present, Cameroon Volcano is under constant supervision of geologists and volcanologists. They use various monitoring methods, such as seismic activity, measurement of gas emissions and changes in the shape of the volcano’s surface, to predict possible dangers to surrounding areas and to take appropriate precautionary measures.
- Stratovolcano in Africa.
- Location: Republic of Cameroon, Southwest Region, department of Fako.
- First ascent: 1861.
- Languages: French, English.
- Peaks: Fako (4040 m), Etinda (1713 m).
- The largest city: Buea (59 657 people, 2010).
- Large settlements: Limbe, Bota, Tiko, Muyuka, Idenau, Mapanya etc.
- The area: about 900 km2.
- Height: 4040 m.
- Agriculture: coffee, cocoa, bananas, rubber, tea.
- Services: tourism, trade.
Climate and weather
- Equatorial climate with an alternating rainy season (about nine months) and drought season (about three months).
- Average temperature in January: +23.5 ºC
- Average temperature in July: +27.5 °C
- Average annual rainfall: 2000 to 9000 mm
- Buea: German Church Engelskirche; University; Tea Street; Governor’s Palace; German Cemetery; Bismarck Fountain; Mount Cameroon Crossing “Run of Hope”; Governor Jesko von Puttkammer’s residence and other colonial buildings.
- Limbe: Botanical and Zoological Garden (1892); European Colonial War Cemeteries; Ambas, Botha, Mondoli Islands, “Pirate” Island; Nachtigal Lighthouse; Debuncha Village; Bomana Falls.
- Forest reserve Bambucco.
- Mountain National Park in Cameroon.
- Since 1995, a charity “Run of Hope” has been held on the mountain. Among women it was won seven times by Sara Entonge. For her outstanding success she was nicknamed the “queen of the mountain” and even had a monument erected But was prohibited from participating in further competitions in order to maintain the intrigue.
- The most popular sport among the Bakweri people is Uesua wrestling. In it, before the fight, rivals call each other pretty long, as crudely as possible, and then a few minutes to decide which one of them is actually the strongest.
- Richard Burton didn’t just get into Cameroon. He is known for his knowledge and adventure: he has mastered some 30 languages; he was one of the first Europeans to make a pilgrimage to Mecca dressed as a Muslim; he translated The Thousand and One Nights and The Kamasutra into English.