While the game parks in Cameroon don't really compare with the best that eastern and southern Africa have to offer, they're well managed and quite good for western Africa. We recommend that travelers stay in Maroua and take day trips to the various reserves. This whole region abounds in traditional villages. Among parks in the northern part of the country are the following:
Benoue National Park—Near the town of Garoua, Benoue is open December-July. Crocodiles and hippos live in the Benoue River, while land animals graze on the banks. 425 mi/685 km northeast of Yaounde.
Bouba Ndjida National Park—The prime draws of this park (open December-May) are its many rhinos and Derby elk. Because Bouba Ndjida is just east of Benoue National Park, consider combining the two on one visit. 450 mi/725 km northeast of Yaounde.
Faro National Park—This large park on the Nigerian border is open only November-May, but it has an interesting and diverse wildlife population. 420 mi/675 km northeast of Yaounde.
Korup National Park—The country's newest park includes one of the oldest and most biologically diverse rain forests in all of Africa—it has an amazing variety of birds, butterflies and monkeys. (Take high-speed film because the forest is very dark.) 120 mi/195 km northwest of Douala.
Waza National Park—Although it's on the rustic side, this beautiful park is our favorite reserve in the country. Founded in 1934, Waza is made up of a forest area (open November-June) and a wet grassland, called Yaeres (open March-June). The highlights of Waza are its elephants—expect to see hundreds of them during your visit. Hippos, jackals, birds, lions, ostriches and other large and small game are also present. We think the best time to see the park is at the height of the dry season (December-March), when animals congregate around water holes. The next best time is March-June, when animals come out during the hot afternoons (unlike their East African counterparts).
Accommodations are available at Le Campement de Waza, near the town of Waza. If you're driving on a Sunday from Maroua to Waza, detour through Mora to see its Sunday market. If time permits, also stop in Oudjila, where the local priest told us he had 44 wives and 99 children (probably more, by now). Visit the wives' quarters and cooking areas and just snoop around. Don't spend too much time there, though—you won't want to cut into your time at Waza. 535 mi/860 km northeast of Yaounde.
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