IntroductionThis fascinating region of highlands and hills is best appreciated if it's explored slowly. A good base in the highlands is the city of Maroua, which has interesting weaving and leather tanning centers and a nice market (we found some good buys on leather goods). If you have a car at your disposal, you can visit several villages in the Mandara Mountains. Head first for the remote village of Mabas, whose huts cling to steep hillsides. The nearby town of Djingliya has an interesting Artisan Center where local handicrafts are sold. In the afternoon, continue via the Kapsiki Plain (noted for its "candles"—dramatic volcanic plugs rising skyward like giant fingers) to the interesting village of Rhumsiki, home of the Kurdi people. If you arrive early enough, hike to the base of Mt. Rhumsiki to see a dazzling sunset. (But be forewarned—it's a substantial hike.) If you prefer an easier climb, it's only about a 20-minute walk up Garcon, a small peak near the town (hire a local guide, usually a boy, to show you the path). Overnight in Rhumsiki, and spend the following day shopping for handicrafts or watching the women curl cotton fibers. The nearby town of Pousse has an interesting palace and a cultural center dedicated to preserving the art of dome-building. 540 mi/870 km northeast of Yaounde.
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