Restoring nature's wonders in Kupe-Bakossi- Muanenguba mountain forests (Cameroon)
On the ground experiences by Peter Ngea, Regional Communication Manager for WWF CARPO
Douala with its about 2.5 million inhabitants is the main gateway by air or by sea into Cameroon and most other Central African states. But driving West takes you across the great river Wouri River of prawns from which Cameroon gets its name given by a Portuguese explorer in the 1400s) with the great Mount Cameroon towering ahead of you like a barricade.
It will take us about 2 hours to arrive at Nkongsamba where the WWF Coastal Project Base is located, Paul Ngankam, one of the programme's drivers informs me as we turn north away from the barricade Mountain. It is all excitement as we cruise through roadside settlements and soon see on the horizon, rolling mountains that seem to fold endlessly as we progressed.
Plantations all around
Judging from the wide variety and quantity of foodstuff displayed on the way, it is evident that the volcanic soil that begins around the town of Mbanga, 40 KMs away from Douala, is still very rich and productive. Huge heaps of plantations, palm nuts, banana, pawpaw, mangoes, avocado, sugar cane, oranges and other tropical fruits line up most of the road waiting to be transported to Douala and Libreville in Gabon.
The Kupe-Muanenguba chain of mountains
The rolling mountains on the far background seem never to surrender despite the agricultural activities down the slopes. Often, most of the forested mountaintop is wrapped up by dense clouds as if to deny the longing visitor a full view. As we pass through the small towns of Penja, Loum and Manjo to wrap up the 128 KM that separates Douala from Nkongsamba, the one thing that sticks in mind is the forested rolling mountains. This is the Kupe-Muanenguba chain of mountains!
Sandwiched between two giant mountains and rolling hills
The city of Nkongsamba is virtually sandwiched between two giant mountains and rolling hills. Seeing my awe at the surrounding beauty as the sun reluctantly set behind the mountains, Dr Atanga Ekobo, Manager of the WWF programme that works to protect most of the mountainous region right down to the Atlantic coast, offered to give me some elementary information about the surrounding physical landscape.