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Review: Limbe Zoo, Cameroon

cameroonMFThrough a set of random and completely and utterly uninteresting events I ended up in Douala, the largest city in Cameroon with a spare day before my flight home in the evening. So rather than waste the opportunity by spending a day on the internet in the hotel (or indeed a day in the hotel bar), I decided to venture out and see the best Cameroon had to offer.

I have to admit my entire knowledge of the great nation of Cameroon was limited to facts about three football players – Roger Milla, Samuel Eto and Rigobert Song. This has seen me through the previous day, and in fact I impressed a number of the locals with my knowledge of world [footballing] affairs.

We hired one of the drivers waiting outside our hotel, a calm confident looking chap who spoke to our local contact about travel suggestions. (The entire exchange was completed in French and my knowledge of the French language is very, very limited). We climbed into his car – a twenty year old Renault 19 which had no air con. In fact come to think of it, there is no way in hell the car would have passed it’s MOT, but it chugged along through the entire day.

View from the harbour

View from the harbour

After a two hour drive we arrived in a ‘city’ called Limbe. This place was actually part of the British colony, West Cameroon, as the wonders of Wikipedia told me after I’d got back home. We were taken to lunch by the beach in a small bay. This would have been picturesque, however:

  1. All the sand was blackened by volcanic activity nearby

  2. It was a bit of a cloudy day

  3. There was a great big fuck off oil rig being constructed 500m off the coast

Lunch

Lunch

The food was lovely, despite the lack of utensils to eat it with.

On from lunch, and with slightly sticky fingers we were taken to Limbe Zoo. The first thing that struck me about the place was the entry fee. No student or OAP discounts, no reduced rate because we were visiting on a Tuesday and the place was empty, but the fact that the price for foreigners was 1000% more than for citizens. Undeterred by the extortionate entry fee of £11, we entered into the zoo filled with that childish sense of excitement at the thought of seeing animals in cages.

Zoo entry sign

Zoo entry sign

We began by walking past the gorilla enclosure. I paused to take a photo, the zoo keeper stopped me by saying something in French. I wasn’t sure if he intended to charge for photos and was a little miffed. In addition to this he seemed particularly interested in the bushes around the pathway. As we got around to the other side of the enclose it became clear what he was up to. He began throwing in food (leaves from the bushes) and then gave the gorillas a gentle prod with the branch when they came for the food to send them in our direction. I’m not sure if the geezers at the RSPCA would approve, but we certainly got some good photos.

Sadly the zoo contained only apes and a few snakes, no elephants, lions, tigers etc. The best bit came at the end where there was a massive crocodile/alligator (I never worked out the difference!) in what was to be a very small enclosure, barely large enough for the poor thing to turn around. The zookeeper was insistent that I shouldn’t take photos through the cage, but that I should climb up and lean over the edge. With a limited knowledge of these animals, largely based on television programmes featuring Steve Irwin I was somewhat assured that they wouldn’t attack. I mean Steve Irwin (god rest his soul) was one of the most annoying people on the face of the earth and they didn’t hurt him, then a man taking a photo with his mobile should be safe. I was very proud of the shot.

crocodile or aligator

Crocodile or alligator? Send your answer with a stamped addressed envelope to the GonzoTourism offices.

All in all Limbe zoo was a fun experience, and I would recommend it to anyone who’s also in the area…

P.S. We also saw Mount Cameroon, a 4040m (13,255 ft) active volcano rising almost straight out the coast. It turned out that was the real reason for travelling to Limbe, but that was a footnote in our day and as such it’s a footnote in the report. You can probably read about it on Wikipedia or something…

Gorilla


2 comments to Review: Limbe Zoo, Cameroon

  • It’s a croc, dear boy. Nice gorilla picture!

  • I had an opportunity to visit the Limbe zoo last month (Oct2010). Was very impressed to watch some chimpanzees, mandrills, gorillas and crocodiles. However, the zoo lacked many exciting mammals like lions, chitas, rhinos and so forth. The entry fess are extremely high as well. That would somewhat make sense had there been more varieties.

    All in all, it’s a noble attempt. Thoughts should be given for the concerns raised above.

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