Cameroon: Esu, The Kingdom At The End Of The Road

GLankester-2012-03-18-0038

 

The end of the road

Next trip: Nov/Dec 2017. Please email guy@fromhere2timbuktu.com for details

An off-the-beaten-track west African cultural and wildlife trip. From the lush rain forests and mountains of Cameroon's stunning coastline you will travel to the majestic Bamenda Highlands and the remote kingdom of Esu for an authentic journey to the heart of African identity - the ancestral village community.

Added options of hiking up Mount Cameroon, west Africa's highest mountain, or taking a forest and river wildlife safari to Korup National Park to see some of Cameroon's unique and endemic mammals and birds.

Book Online

 

GLankester-2009-11-08-09740022

GLankester-2009-05-06-00015

Limbe

Your trip begins in the picturesque fishing town of Limbewith Mount Cameroon towering behind and Malabo island out at sea, its forest lined beaches, its clean streets and friendly vibe, Limbe is my favourite small town in Africa.

Limbe is home to the Limbe Wildlife Centre, a rehabilitation sanctuary for primates caught up in the bush meat trade. They have populations of gorilla, chimpanzees, drill monkeys, baboons and all the varied primates indigenous to the region. You will be given an introduction to the conservation issues of the region.

From Limbe there is much to do:

- visit the botanic gardens and the Limbe Wildlfe centre.

- relax on the beautiful equatorial forest beaches

- a day's forest climb up "mini-mount Cameroon", Etinde.

- a 3 days' climb up Mount Cameroon (see below)

- visit the crater lake and the last volcanic flow in the 90s from Mount Cameroon.

- BBQ fish on Down Beach

- visit the daily and weekly markets.

From Limbe it is a day and a half's journey up to the Bamenda highlands. You will stay the night in Bamenda before making your way along the ring road of outstanding natural beauty to Esu.

 

GLankester-2012-05-10-46

 

GLankester-2011-03-26-3-2

Figures at Bafut palace, Cameroon

GLankester-2012-05-10-46

Esu History

You do not pass through Esu. There is no road onwards down from the highlands and across the lowland plain to the Nigerian border, nor can you turn left or right - just rolling hills, mountains and valleys with ancient pathways worn away by human feet and humanity's long years.

If you come to Esu you have to stay for you can only return the way you came.

Esu's origin story has it that the people came from the north after a great sorrow urged them to find new lands. The chief threw his magic spear to show them the way. It landed beneath a Baobab tree in a green and temperate river valley. So pleasant and fertile a place the people had never seen. Here they would make their home.

How original do you want?

Esu may be a long way away down the end of a forgotten rough road but it may well be very central to our species. For linguistics has marked the region as the origin of the Bantu family of African languages and a study of local origin myths has led some to believe the region to be perhaps the origin of all our stories: the Garden of Eden.

Malcolm Light has studied the notion that Lake Chad to the north of Cameroon could be the site of the great flood and the Noah's Ark story:

"From what I have worked out Man evolved in Central Africa and along the Rift Valley from about 5 million years ago, but between 700,000 and 120,000 years ago he migrated NW following the Zambezi and Kasai rivers through the Congo Jungle up to Lake Chad and then on to the Jos Highlands in Nigeria as an archaic version of  Hausa - Fulani. From here man went south to evolve into the Igbo and then into the Ekoi and Idoma (Adam) people. The Idoma and Ekoi retreated into the north west Cameroon forests during a period of extreme aridity and a daughter of Ekot Ngba an Ekoi chief became the ancestor of the Tiv (Eve) tribe there. The Tiv made their way to Esu and the Fungom Forest where they met the Idoma and the rest is history.

I think that many of the African stories have a basis in fact except that the times the events occurred are very much more ancient than they think. The Fulani griots (a caste of storytellers who hold tribal and clan history in their songs, our equivalent of genealogists) appear to have remembered the story of the origin of man from Adam and Eve for more than 12 thousand years."

GLankester-2011-03-26-2-63

GLankester-2007-05-17-00062

GLankester-2012-03-18-0729

Esu Today

Esu today is a community of about 20,000 people who live in a collection of villages along a river valley. Esu is one of the many Fongoms - or kingdoms - in the region and has its own language. The agricultural Esuans share the land with their Hausa and Fulani cattle herder neighbours: Christians and muslims, agriculturalists and pastoralists. There is no electricity and the only signs of which century you might be in come from the few motor bikes and even fewer cars that arrive as taxis from Wum, 20kms away.

Over the years Esu has become my home from home. The late chief - The Fon, Joseph Buh Meh 2 was my great friend. He has passed on now, and the new Fon, Albert, has added youthful flair to the chief’s palace.

In Esu you will stay in a guest house. Adela’s family, who live nearby, will look after and cater for you.

There are many things to do here. We must of course go and greet the Fon who will for sure insist on throwing us a party and show off some of the dancing groups.

We can walk out to visit the neighboring Fulani camps, their cattle markets, hike up into the hills, go horse riding through the valleys, trek to the satellite villages, visit the schools and the church, the mosque and the palace, the markets, the juju men and the bars.

You are free to do as you please.

 

GLankester-2007-04-16-586

Possible Addon
Mount Cameroon

This is quite a tough climb requiring good fitness. Mount Cameroon is 4000 meters above sea level, the highest mountain in West Africa. It is an active volcano.

It is a three day trek. The climb up is on the steeper southern side of the mountain. At the end of the first day you camp about 3 hours from the summit in a basic hut. The climb gets quite steep at points but there is no rock climbing with ropes. All food and sleeping equipment is carried up by porters.

Only in the last hour or so of the climb do you begin to feel the altitude. Your muscles will feel slow and weighty but altitude sickness is rare. You will then descend down the gentler northern face taking a day and a half. On this face you will experience more of the unique ecosystem of Mount Cameroon, and there is a chance you might see the mountain elephants.

Possible Addon
Korup National

Korup National Park  is one of Cameroon's forgotten jewels and one of Africa’s most diverse rainforests. Korup offers you a unique wildlife and river camping trip.

The Park covers an area of 1,260 square km original rain forest in the South West Province of Cameroon. With 600 species of trees and shrubs, 400 species of birds and rare and endangered primates, Korup boasts one of Africa's richest lowland forest and wildlife experiences.

Korup is one of the only places you have a chance of seeing drill monkeys, and other rare and endangered species such as chimpanzee, red colobus monkey, red-capped mangabey and red eared monkey in the wild.

Accommodation
and Food

Limbe and Bamenda: 3 stars standard hotels.

Esu: the only guest house in town - clean, simple and comfortable, with ensuite shower, toilet and wonky taps assured!

Korup and Mount Cameroon: camping.

Price

Price from 2250 Euros, for 10 days.

Special offer of 10% off for the first two places booked.

Best Time to Visit

September to June

More Information

 

Origins of From Here 2 Timbuktu

See the Cameroon Photo Gallery
Download Trip Notes

Download General Health and Safety Information
Download General Things To Bring Information

Book Online

 

GLankester-2012-03-11-0974

 

Mali

Senegal

Tanzania

Southern
Africa

Trinidad & Tobago

Morocco

Serengeti
Wildlife

Mali Festivals

Trinidad
Carnival

Dzanga
Sangha
Gorillas