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North Province

John Tustin 1998-2000


People and Structure

Landscape and Climate

Places to See

Things to Do

Interesting Tips

About John


John Tustin's Journal
Read about John's life in Mamfe and Garoua, including a crazy encounter with a rodent.

Benoue National Park
The story of John's trip to this park in the northern province.

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INTRODUCTION Garoua is the cosmopolitan capital of the francophone North Province and is a major government, business, and cultural center. Garoua is the third or fourth largest city in Cameroon, after Douala, Yaoundé, and possibly Bafoussam; it is estimated that about 200,000 people live in the city.

PEOPLE AND STRUCTURE The original inhabitants of Garoua were Fulfulde-speaking peoples, and they still comprise the majority. Most people are Muslim. Because of its status as a provincial capital, people from all over Cameroon live in Garoua. The United Nations World Food Program and many religious missions maintain offices in Garoua; consequently, many expatriates are found in the city. Garoua is the home of former President Ahidjo and was thus blessed with an excellent infrastructure and an international airport with weekly flights to Paris.

LANDSCAPE AND CLIMATE The Bénoué River flows along the southern boundary of the city, and the area around Garoua is dry and hilly. Garoua can be extremely hot in the dry season; afternoon temperatures frequently reach 52 °C (125 °F).

PLACES TO SEE The modern conveniences of Garoua make the city a nice (and expensive!) place to live. Garoua's huge central market is always interesting as is the traditional medicine market near the mayor's office. There are a number of great restaurants in town; my favorites were the Boulangerie du Marché, the Baobab, Circle Sportif, Chez Luci, and Les Fins Gourmets. There is also an Alliance Français (French Cultural Center) near the St. Hubert Hotel. The huge yellow mosque on the road to Maroua and near the Peace Corps Office was built by Saudi Arabia and is worth a visit, although you cannot go inside.

THINGS TO DO If you are lucky, you might see Africa and America, the her-and-his hippo couple in the Bénoué River by the bridge and the Brasseries. You can also arrange for a car to take you on safari to the Bénoué National Park, which is a 2.5 hour drive south of Garoua on the road to N'Gaoundéré. While there are many things to do in and around Garoua, the city does not have a developed tourist industry like Maroua, the capital of the Extreme North.

ABOUT JOHN John is currently living in Washington, DC. There he works on Capitol Hill in the office of Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX - 30).

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