Useful country information

Train operator in Cameroon:

Camrail, www.camrail.net

   

Time zone:

GMT+1.  No daylight saving time.

Dialling code:

 

+237

Currency:

£1 = approx 756 Francs.    $1 = approx 487 Francs    Currency converter

Visas:

You'll need a visa to visit Cameroon.  In the UK, see www.cameroonhighcommission.co.uk.

Tourist information:

?   Health & vaccinations

Hotels:

Hotels in Cameroon

Page last updated:

16 May 2014


Taking the train in Cameroon...

Taking the train is a good way to get around the country, especially given the state of the roads.  Cameroon has a metre-gauge network.

Douala - Mbanga - Kumba

Douala to Yaoundé

Yaoundé to Ngaoundere

For other routes and a network map, see www.camrail.net.  Further feedback to help improve this page is always welcome!

In Doula, trains leave from the Gare de Bessengué, see map of Douala showing station.

Doula - Yaoundé

Comfortable daily trains link these cities.

Update May 2014:  An improved service with two new non-stop inter-city trains started on 5 May 2014, and train 181/184 was discontinued.  The new timetable is shown below.  www.railwaygazette.com/news/passenger/single-view/view/camrail-launches-yaounde-douala-intercity-express.html.  At the time of writing, the Camrail website still shows the old timetable without the new trains.

 Douala ► Yaoundé

 

 Yaoundé ► Douala

 

IC

IC21

IC

 

IC22

IC

IC

 

Daily

Daily

Daily

 

Daily

Daily

Daily

 Douala depart:

06:00

08:00

14:45

 Yaoundé depart:

08:00

10:25

19:20

 Edea arrive / depart:

|

??:??

|

 Edea arrive:

??:??

|

|

 Yaoundé arrive:

09:40

??:??

18:25

 Douala arrive:

??:??

14:05

23:00

IC = InterCity train introduced May 2014, runs daily, non-stop, 1st class (air-conditioned) & premium class (non-air-con).

IC21/IC21 = older InterCity train, runs daily, 1st & 2nd class, calls at all stations since introduction of new InterCity trains.

You can check departure times and fares at www.camrail.net.   Douala to Yaoundé is 263km (163 miles).

Buy tickets at the station, it's easy to buy tickets on the day.

 Fare

 In CFA Francs

1st class

Premium class

2nd class

 Doula-Yaoundé by non-stop IC

9,000 (£12 or $18)

6,000 (£8 or $12)

-

 Doula-Yaoundé by older IC21/22

6,000 (£8 or $12)

-

3,000 (£4 or $6)

Children under 5 travel free.  Children under 10 go at half fare.

1st class on train from Douala to Yaoundé   Camrail train ticket

First class seats on IC21/22 from Douala to Yaoundé.  Photo courtesy of Iain Bisset.

 

1st class ticket from Douala to Yaoundé.  Photo courtesy of Iain Bisset.

Travellers' reports...

Traveller Iain Bisset reports:  "I travelled on the “Inter-City” [IC22] between Yaounde and Douala in first class. Arriving at the station at around 07:15 it was possible to buy a first class ticket for 6000 CFA from the ticket office (upstairs for this line, downstairs for Ngaoundere).  A guy outside pointed me in the direction of a line of buses which were off to Douala on a fill up and go basis. They would be much quicker, I was told. But that’s not the point of taking trains in Africa, right?  The train left on time at 07:40 and first class was comfortably empty.  Two commuters off to Eseka were they only other people in first class except for the guard, whose job it seemed only consisted of kicking out people with second class tickets who got on through the wrong door, and a guy selling cold drinks and sandwiches, the latter for about 40p.  A Whitney Houston music video was put, quietly, on the television and within fifteen minutes of leaving Yaounde there was no phone signal and we were in the jungle. 

The train had a couple of long delays due to other trains on the line breaking down. This was communicated to us clearly by the staff and in the end we arrived into Douala at 14:00. Or rather we got to an out-of-town station and everyone piled out, I joined them and hopped on a motorbike taxi to continue into the city centre. The train can take much longer than the bus so I think I may have been the only passenger in both classes to be travelling the full length, but as neither city has any “must see” sights, this makes a good journey choice. I was in the pool with a beer before 15:00 and the ticket is the same price as a VIP bus ticket, a journey which has never taken less than 4h15 minutes for me, so a train with no delays isn’t much longer. Definitely worth it, in my opinion."

 

 

Yaoundé - Ngaoundéré

A daily overnight train links these cities.

 Yaoundé ► Ngaoundéré

 

 Ngaoundéré ► Yaoundé

 

101

 

102

 

Daily

 

Daily

 Yaoundé depart:

18:10

 Ngaoundéré depart:

18:20

 Nanga Eboko arr/dep:

22:00

 Mbitom arr/dep:

23:30

 Belabo arr/dep:

01:30

 Belabo arr/dep:

01:30

 Mbitom arr/dep:

03:30

 Nanga Eboko arr/dep:

05:00

 Ngaoundéré arrive:

09:00

 Yaoundé arrive:

09:00

Train 101/102 = Couchette, runs daily, 1st class 2-berth & 4-berth couchettes, 1st & 2nd class seats.

You can check departure times and fares at www.camrail.net.  The distance is 667km (417 miles).

Buy tickets at the station, it's recommended that couchettes are booked at least the day before, preferably several days.

 Fare

 In CFA Francs

Bed in 2-berth

Bed in 4-berth

1st class seat

2nd class seat

 Yaoundé - Ngaoundéré

28,000 (£37 or $57)

25,000 (£33 or $51) 

 17,000 (£23 or $35)

10,000 (£13 or $21)

Children under 5 travel free.  Children under 10 go at half fare.

Train from Ngaoundere, arrived at Yaoundé   1st class couchette on Yaoundé to Ngaoundere train

The train from Ngaoundere, arrived at Yaoundé station.  Photo courtesy of Iain Bisset.

 

1st class 4-berth couchette on the night train from Yaoundé to Ngaoundere.  Photo courtesy of Iain Bisset.

Traveller's reports...

Traveller Andrew Polhill reports:  "It's an epic journey.  You leave the arid sahel region in the evening and wake up in the steamy tropics.  At the time I went it was also the safest way to travel north/south.  Definitely recommend it!"

Traveller Iain Bisset reports:  "I bought my ticket in N’Gaoundere in a much less effective system than there is in Yaounde.  A couple of benches sit outside the First Class ticket office and the guard will ask if you are reserving or paying. He will then forget and you will lose your place in the mass. It is best to keep pushing and stand up every time someone leaves to signal your intention to go in! After about ninety minutes I got to the reservation desk and asked for two beds in a two bed compartment. The lady made out the first reservation and then realised that was the last page in the book, she ordered a new book, we waited, it arrived, wrong book, girl went back. Eventually I got the reservations! You put a down payment of 5000 CFA on each ticket. I returned the next morning and the queue is much shorter for paying. There was some problem with the tickets, they had overbooked, they had nothing. After some arguing, all in French as no one speaks English up there, they gave us two beds in a four bed compartment. It only took ten minutes, including waiting. Off to photograph the interesting architecture of the station, which is flanked by more traditional colonial buildings and the palace. Hotel check-out is invariably 12:00 and even if you aim to board the train at 17:00 that is a lot of time to kill in N’Gaoundere.

The train left on time at 18:20 and the beds were comfortable with clean sheets and plenty of space for luggage.  We were given upper bunks which was apparent with a scrawled Haut on our tickets.  My colleague, local, happily left his belongings on the bunk when we went to the dining car, I had my valuables with me at all times but it didn’t feel like a problem to leave my sack of dirty clothes and books in the huge baggage space by the bunks.  We were found spaces in the restaurant car by a waitress who also offered to bring food to the compartment, although where you would eat it in the top bunk is beyond me. We had two meals and three drinks for 5000 CFA (around £6) which my colleague treated me to for having spent that time in the queue!  They served no alcohol when we were travelling and a lot of passengers complained which made me think it was not a regular occurrence.  I have spent over 60 nights in sleeper trains, on beds, and this was the most uncomfortable! The bed was comfortable but the train jerked in a staccato manner all night.  It had a long delay somewhere around Belabo, noticeable as we all fell into a deep sleep!

When we woke up in the morning we were nowhere near Yaounde, not a problem as breakfast was served for either 1500 or 2500 CFA depending on if you wanted fruit and fruit juice with your coffee and omelette. Jungle scenery passes by and stations come into view with villagers balancing buckets of all sorts on their heads which passengers lean from windows to purchase from. We arrived into Yaounde at 11:00 exactly, I have no idea when we were supposed to get there. Taxis wait to take people around town, but if you know your way it isn’t too far to several decent hotels.

Compared to the bus the train is a lot more comfortable, compared to flying the train is a lot cheaper and compared to both it is just the right way to go. The two bed compartments looked very nice and were a bit closer to the restaurant car, I am not sure how having a seat would be for this journey but it is worth noting that second class tickets do not admit access to the restaurant car, for that reason alone I would go for the first class and as it can take 16 hours, the bed seems the best way to go.

Doula - Mbanga - Kumba

Local trains, 2nd class only, run from Mbanga to Kumba daily at 08:50, 12:10, 15:10.  Journey 1 hour, fare 500 Francs.

Local trains, 2nd class only, run from Kumba to Mbanga daily at 10:30, 13:40, 16:40.  Journey 1 hour, fare 500 Francs.

Mbanga is 66km from Doula.

A train links Doula with Mbanga & Kumba twice a week, 2nd class only, fare 1000 Francs, see www.camrail.net.

Train from Mbanga to Kumba, Cameroon   Train to Kumba boarding at Mbanga

2nd class seats on the Mbanga to Kumba train.  Photo courtesy of Iain Bisset.

 

The local train to Kumba, boarding at Mbanga.  Photo courtesy of Iain Bisset.

 


Find hotels in Cameroon...

 

◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison.

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It was named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site at the World Travel Awards 2013 and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling your hotel for less!

www.booking.com is my favourite booking site.  It's really clear and you can usually book with free cancellation and so confirm your accommodation at no risk months before train booking opens.

Other hotel sites worth trying...

Backpacker hostels...


Travel insurance & health card...

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Get travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel overseas without travel insurance from a reliable insurer, with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover cancellation and loss of cash (up to a limit) and belongings.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheaper than several single-trip policies even for just 2 or 3 trips a year (I have an annual policy myself).  Here are some suggested insurers.  Seat61 gets a small commission if you buy through these links.

In the UK, try Columbus Direct or use Confused.com to compare prices & policies from many different insurers.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65 (no age limit), see www.JustTravelCover.com.

        If you're resident in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you're resident in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get a spare credit card, designed for foreign travel with no currency exchange loading & low or no ATM fees...

It costs nothing to take out an extra credit card.  If you keep it in a different part of your luggage so you're not left stranded if your wallet gets stolen, this is a form of extra travel insurance in itself.  In addition, some credit cards are significantly better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.  Taking this advice can save you quite a lot on each trip compared to using your normal high-street bank credit card!

You can avoid ATM charges and expensive exchange rates with a Caxton FX euro currency Visa Card, or their multi-currency 'Global Traveller' Visa Card, see www.caxtonfx.com for info.

Get an international SIM card to save on calls & mobile data...

Mobile phones can cost a fortune to use abroad, so consider getting a global pre-paid SIM card for your mobile phone which can cut call & data costs by up to 90%.  At the time of writing, www.roamsure.com claims a definite 25% saving within the EU and up to 90% saving in the rest of the world.  Incoming calls are free in 73 countries, including the USA, Australia, South Africa and EU.  There's no contract or commitment, and at time I write this Roamsure is offering a global SIM card for free when you buy £20 of call credit.  Seat61 gets some commission to support the site if you buy airtime from Roamsure.

 


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