- We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Cameroon overall because of the risk of terrorist attack, political uncertainty and high levels of serious crime.
- Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
- You should avoid demonstrations and large public gatherings throughout Cameroon as they may become violent.
- There is a risk of retaliatory attacks against Western interests in Cameroon following the French intervention in the conflict in Mali in January 2013.
- We strongly advise you not to travel to the Far North Region and borders with Central African Republic and Chad because of the risk of terrorist attack, kidnapping, armed banditry and cross-border skirmishes. On 19 February 2013, seven French nationals were kidnapped by militants from the Waza National Park in Far North region. Further such kidnappings could occur.
- We also strongly advise you not to travel to the border area with Nigeria in the region of the Bakassi Peninsula because of the risk of localised fighting erupting without warning.
- Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Cameroon. The Canadian High Commission in the capital, Yaounde, provides consular assistance to Australians in Cameroon (except the issue of passports). You should register your presence online with the Canadian High Commission as well as with the Australian High Commission in Nigeria which can also assist Australians in Cameroon.
- Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
- organise comprehensive travel insurance and check what circumstances and activities are not covered by your policy
- register your travel and contact details, so we can contact you in an emergency
- subscribe to this travel advice to receive free email updates each time it's reissued.
Entry and exit
Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Cameroon for the most up to date information.
A valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate is required for entry into Cameroon.
Cameroon is listed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as endemic for yellow fever. Some airlines may require passengers to present a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate before being allowed to board flights out of the country. If in doubt, check with your airline.
If you have visited Cameroon in the last six days prior to your date of return to Australia, Australian Customs officials will ask you to present a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate on entry into Australia.
Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.
Safety and security
The ongoing instability in northern Nigeria has increased the potential for attacks against by militants on Western interests in Cameroon. There is also a risk of retaliatory attacks against Western interests in Cameroon following the French intervention in the conflict in Mali in January 2013. Attacks could take place at any time at locations frequented by Westerners, including tourist, commercial and transport facilities.
Far North Region: We strongly advise Australians not to travel to the Far North Region of Cameroon, including Lake Chad, due to the risk of terrorist attack, kidnapping and armed banditry. On 19 February 2013, seven French nationals were kidnapped by militants from the Waza National Park in Far North Region. Further such kidnappings could occur.
The Australian Government's longstanding policy is that it does not make payments or concessions to kidnappers. The Australian Government considers that paying a ransom increases the risk of further kidnappings, including of other Australians. If you do decide to travel to an area where there is a particular threat of kidnapping, you should ensure you have personal security measures in place, seek professional security advice and take out kidnapping insurance. For more information about kidnapping, see our Kidnapping Threat travel bulletin.
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General Advice to Australian Travellers.
Civil unrest/political tension
We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution due to political uncertainty. You should avoid demonstrations and large public gatherings throughout Cameroon as they may become violent.
Eastern border areas with Central African Republic and Chad: We strongly advise you not to travel to the border area with the Central African Republic and Chad in eastern Cameroon. Armed banditry, kidnapping and carjacking are prevalent in these regions. Cross-border skirmishes have also occurred.
Bakassi Peninsula: We strongly advise you not to travel to the border area between Cameroon and Nigeria in the region of the Bakassi Peninsula. Sovereignty of the area had been disputed for many years and was handed from Nigeria to Cameroon on 14 August 2008. Tension in the area remains high and resettlement of the residents of the region is being negotiated. Tensions also remain high between the police and security personnel of both countries and you risk being caught up in localised fighting that may erupt without warning.
We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Cameroon because of high levels of serious crime. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
Criminal activity is a serious problem throughout Cameroon. Violent crime is common in residential centres and on rural highways. Armed highwaymen operate throughout the country. Armed banditry is common in the border areas with the Central African Republic. Carjackings, muggings, robberies and petty theft occur in the capital city, Yaounde, and in the regional cities of Douala, Kribi and Maroua. In Yaounde, the suburbs of la Briquetterie, Mokolo and Mvog-Ada are particularly dangerous. There have been several incidents of robbery and rape committed against foreigners in Douala. Avoid travel after dark.
The US Embassy in Yaounde prohibits its personnel from using taxis in Cameroon due to the high levels of crime associated with public transport.
There have been a number of attacks by gangs of armed gunmen on restaurants and hotels known to be used by foreigners.
Petty theft is a common occurrence on trains, coaches and bush taxis.
Due to the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, victims of violent crime, especially rape, are strongly encouraged to seek immediate medical assistance.
Incidents of piracy have occurred in the coastal areas of Cameroon. In February 2011, two people died in a pirate attack. For more information about piracy, see our Piracy Bulletin. The International Maritime Bureau issues piracy reports on its website.
Commercial and internet fraud is prevalent and often originates in West African countries. Victims have been defrauded and those who travel to the originating country have had their lives endangered. Some victims have been killed. Criminals have been known to seek details of 'safe' bank accounts overseas in which to transfer large sums of money (as a donation or for a percentage of the amount involved). They may also provide fake cashier cheques for 'urgent' shipments of large quantities of goods, request sizeable fees for a fake government contract or extort money from individuals they have convinced to travel to Africa for a business opportunity. If you are a victim of a financial scam, we advise you to obtain legal advice and not to travel to Africa to seek restitution as there is a risk of serious physical assault from the perpetrators. Our international scams page provides more detail on these types of scams.
Money and valuables
Before you go, organise a variety of ways to access your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques, cash, debit cards or cash cards. ATMs that accept international cards are limited in Cameroon and you should check the location of any such ATMs with your bank before you travel. Travellers' cheques and credit cards are accepted at major hotels in Yaounde. Travellers' cheques will only be cashed if accompanied by the original purchase receipt.
Counterfeit currency has been discovered in circulation.
Make two photocopies of valuables such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.
While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.
As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.
You are required to pay an additional fee to have a lost or stolen passport replaced. In some cases, the Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.
Police checkpoints are common in Cameroon and the police may request payments from drivers and other occupants of the vehicle. If you can't produce identification (residence permit or certified copy of your passport) you may be detained by the police.
Driving in Cameroon can be hazardous due to poor road conditions, poorly maintained vehicles, local driving practices and inadequate lighting.. Poor road conditions make it difficult to depart Cameroon via the land border with Gabon. For further advice on road safety, see our road travel page.
Visitors to the Lake Chad area should report to local authorities on arrival. The local authorities advise visitors to engage a reliable guide due to the dangerous security situation.
Please refer to our air travel page for information about aviation safety and security.
When you are in Cameroon, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs may include heavy fines and lengthy imprisonment.
Travellers should carry identification (residence permit or certified copy of your passport) at all times. Failure to produce identification when requested may result in being detained by the police.
Penalties for serious crimes, such as homicide, include the death penalty.
Homosexual acts are illegal and penalties include prison sentences.
Photography of and around military zones, military assets and/or military personnel, government buildings, airports and ports is illegal.
Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australian overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.
Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.
There are conservative standards of dress and behaviour in Cameroon and you should take care not to offend.
Information for dual nationals
Cameroon does not recognise dual nationality. This may limit our ability to provide consular assistance to Australian/Cameroonian dual nationals who are arrested or detained. We recommend you travel on your Australian passport at all times.
Our Dual Nationals brochure provides further information for dual nationals.
We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.
Your doctor or travel clinic is the best source of information about preventive measures, immunisations (including booster doses of childhood vaccinations) and disease outbreaks overseas. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our 'Travelling Well' brochure also provides useful tips for travelling with medicines and staying healthy while overseas.
Medical facilities in urban centres in Cameroon are limited and are extremely limited in rural areas. Pharmaceuticals are in short supply and poor quality substitutes are often used. Up-front payment for medical services is usually required and the inability to pay will often delay treatment. In the event of a serious accident or illness, medical evacuation to London, Paris or Johannesburg would be recommended. Costs for a medical evacuation can range from $A25,000 to $A200,000 depending on the circumstances.
Malaria occurs widely and throughout the year in Cameroon. Other insect-borne diseases (including yellow fever, filariasis and African sleeping sickness) also occur. We encourage you to consider taking prophylaxis against malaria and to take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent at all times wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof.
Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including HIV/AIDS, cholera, meningitis, hepatitis, tuberculosis, polio, loiasis and river blindness) are prevalent with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. We advise you to boil all drinking water or drink bottled water, and avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food. Do not swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to certain water-borne diseases such as bilharzia (schistosomiasis). Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.
The rate of HIV/AIDS infection in Cameroon is high. You should exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has confirmed cases of avian influenza in birds in a number of countries throughout the world. For a list of these countries, visit the OIE website. For information on our advice to Australians on how to reduce the risk of infection and on Australian Government precautions see our travel bulletin on avian influenza.
Where to get help
Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Cameroon. By agreement between the Canadian and Australian governments, the Canadian High Commission in Yaounde provides consular assistance to Australians in Cameroon. You should register your presence with the Canadian Government. The Canadian High Commission is unable to issue Australian passports. The address is:
Canadian High Commission
Place de l'Hotel de Ville
Telephone: (237) 2223 2311
Facsimile: (237) 2222 1090
You can also obtain consular assistance from the nearest Australian High Commission which is in Nigeria:
If you are travelling to Cameroon, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we also encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.
In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the the Canadian High Commission in Yaounde or the Australian High Commission in Abuja you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia. In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.
Natural disasters, severe weather and climate
The rainy season is June to September when flooding may occur and some roads become impassable.
Explosions and lava flows have occurred at Mont Cameroon. You should seek advice from local authorities before climbing.
Information on natural disasters can be obtained from the Humanitarian Early Warning Service. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.
Australians are advised to respect wildlife laws and to maintain a safe and legal distance when observing wildlife, including marine animals and birds. You should only use reputable and professional guides or tour operators and closely follow park regulations and wardens' advice.
For general information and tips on travelling with children see our Travelling with Children page.