Perhaps the most important thing I can say about Buea is that its pronounced “Boy-a”. I get a shared taxi from the ferry drop-off point of Limbe to Buea. Within an hour a trip up Mount Cameroon is organised and I’m on my way. The startpoint is 1000m above sea level and is fairly easy. It gets tougher at the treeline at 1800m, becoming steep and sometimes difficult to find obvious footholds.
I’m woken gently for day 2 by Samuel my guide telling me its 5.23am. By 6 we have started out, and by 9.30 we have reached the summit at 4090m. This makes Mount Cameroon West and Central Africa’s highest peak. We don’t hang around for long on the summit – its exceedingly cold with a strong gusty wind which threatens to take be back out into the Atlantic.
To get down we first have some fun skidding down a scree made of small stones and volcanic ash from Cameroon’s last eruptions. The next couple of hours are taken up clambering over a large rockery of volcanic rocks. By now its more or less flat going for the rest of the day. The path leads through clumps of tussock grass. Now feeling tired, its difficult to walk and not trip on the clumps. By the very end I’m just willing basecamp to come into view. I really can’t walk much further. I arrive at camp at 2.30; I’ve been walking for 8.5 hours.
Up again at 6 the next morning. Samuel is already sitting by the fire. There is a lot more up then I was expecting given I was going down the mountain. We were walking back around to the side of the mountain that housed Buea, through forest. It got monotonous, I have to say, and began to feel like the ‘never ending woodland’. But by 12 we had reached the end of the road (that’s where the tarmac from town ran out), and by 12.30 I’m back in the centre of Buea, feeling a little confused by the sudden rush of town life.