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A continent in miniature

Cameroon is located strategically at the crossroads between West and Central Africa. Triangular in shape, it shares its borders with six countries and its coastline lies on the Atlantic Ocean. The capital is Yaoundé and its currency is the Central African CFA Franc.

Mountains, deserts, rainforest, savannah grasslands — Cameroon has all the major geographic features of Africa. A tropical country, the climate is hot throughout the year. It also has one of the wettest places and some of the most fertile land in the world.

Landform

Geographically, Cameroon can be divided into four regions – northern, central, southern, and western. The northern region is mostly a savannah plain. The central region consists of land that rises to the north, including the Adamawa Plateau. The southern region has coastal plains and a forested plateau. The western region is mostly mountainous. The country’s highest peak is Mount Cameroon, one of Africa’s largest and most active volcanoes.

A continent in miniature

People

With around 250 different ethnic groups speaking around 270 languages and dialects, Cameroon is incredibly diverse. The people of the country are called Cameroonians. The official languages are English and French. The literacy rate is among the highest in the continent. The country’s football team, dubbed the ‘Indomitable Lions’, is among the most successful in Africa. Musical genres from the country that are popular in the international scene include Bikutsi and Makossa.

History

The first Europeans to arrive here were the Portuguese, in 1472. Later on, Cameroon was controlled by European powers for 77 years before becoming an independent country. The Germans dominated the region from 1884 until their defeat in World War I, after which it was separated into French Cameroon and British Cameroon. French Cameroon gained independence and became the Republic of Cameroon in 1960. Today, the country is a unitary presidential republic.

Cuisine

With several tasty and versatile dishes, Cameroonian cuisine is a rich blend of tradition and foreign influences. Some specialities are Ndolé (a flavourful stew said to be one of the national dishes of the country), Achu soup (a traditional, yellow soup), Kondre (a hearty stew with plantains, spices, and meat), Sangah (a mixture of maize, cassava leaves and palm oil), Mbongo tchobi (a spicy black stew), and Kwacoco (grated cocoyam wrapped in banana leaves).

A continent in miniature

Wildlife

The country is a hotspot for biodiversity with more than 300 species of mammals, 900 species of birds, 8000 species of plants and more. Many of these are endangered or threatened. The elusive Cross River gorilla, for instance, is Africa’s most endangered great ape. It can be found only in the mountainous regions in the Cameroon-Nigeria border. Another fascinating creature is the Goliath frog, the largest frog in the world. It can be found only in Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. Other animals that live here include red and green monkeys, chimpanzees, mandrills, elephants, baboons, antelope, lions and leopards


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Printable version | Jul 26, 2021 8:44:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/a-continent-in-miniature/article34847167.ece

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