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It is not without regret that we left, the villa Boutanga and the view that the villa offered us from the room’s terrace for the Mount Manengouba. Nevertheless, now that we know the address, we can visit the foundation more often and discover its activities.
Like the other days, we left early since we had planned a nice little hike at Mount Manengouba for the last full day of our journey in west Cameroon. Tomorrow, we will be back in Douala. So we hit the road again in thick fog and, we, still slightly foggy from the too-short sleep.
The road being good and the conditions of luminosity and visibility having improved, we were able to drive at a good pace and without forcing. After an hour and a half, we reached the crossroads where we had taken on the left to Dschang a few days earlier. The circle was complete; we now truly felt that we were on our way back.
Our base where we will spend the night happens to be the Villa Luciole, an hotel outside the village of Mbouroukou, located on the slopes of Mount Manengouba, where you sleep in traditional huts. The hotel has long remained pseudo abandoned, and it is only for a few months that people are in the process of renovating it.
The Villa Luciole
I know this hotel and its traditional huts well. When I come hiking in these mountains, I am used to stay there. I greatly appreciate the calm of the place and the peace that reigns at the foot of the mountain. It is a perfect place for those who wish to reload their energy. The good thing is that it is not that far from Douala. And you can quickly go there for the weekend.
When we arrived, there were a lot of people leaving the place to spend the night in tents on the edge of the twin lakes of the crater of Manengouba.
We had breakfast while waiting for our rooms to be released.
Once the rooms were free, my father, Serge from Tourismo Cameroun, and I changed into our sports clothes and faced the heat and the slope of our volcano of the day.
The Ascent of Mount Manengouba
We left around 10:30 a.m. for the summit. It was already late, and the weather was already too hot.
The first two and a half kilometers of the climb are known to be the most difficult: 395m vertical ascent on 2500m, 15.7% grade.
I particularly appreciate the ascent of Mt Manengouba because of the many landscapes we meet on our way: We depart from the small village of Mbouroukou to follow a track in the banana plantations and along cassava fields.
Then we reach the first forest, where the climb truly begins, before arriving at the Mbororos village (Peul people living from livestock and agriculture). And then the parade of landscapes continues until reaching the ridge revealing the twin lakes in the crater.
You can also read the article I wrote a few months ago on the topic for more details.
Arrived on top
We spent a bit more than two hours reaching the lakes from Mbouroukou. We had an excellent pace considering the heat and the tiredness we had accumulated from the previous days. It allowed us to rest well and take our time at the lakes to enjoy the view. I had plenty of time in front of me to fly the drone and take pictures.
Goodbye western Cameroon
We took our time at the top; I drained three drone batteries and headed back. Also we did not force on the way back. In fact, we were not at all in a hurry.
We left by the ridge, then descended quietly to enjoy the landscape and the light air full of good smells and oxygen.
Serge had stayed at the top to care for his clients, who had remained at the lakes for the night, sleeping in tents.
We knew that this descent was more than just a descent. This meant a return to Douala, a return to work for me, and a return to France for my parents.
After four full days in the western part of the country enjoying the landscapes, traditions, and improbable encounters, it was time to return, and we weren’t delighted.
Tomorrow we will leave for Douala in the early morning. We will take the opportunity to buy good local fruits on the road. This road so dangerous, pretty often rutted, but without it, the populations could not trade or have access to care or education.
My parents are already planning to come back to see us in Cameroon. We have already agreed that next time we will visit the north!