A Small Travel Guide to Kribi / Cameroon
Since the weather in Buea, the city in which I am currently volunteering in, is usually very rainy and we barely see sun (especially during the rainy season), we decided to go on a weekend trip to the beach in Kribi. Kribi is a small city in the South of Cameroon with a beautiful beach that invites for long strolls through the sand.
We started out trip with a car from Buea at 6am in the morning to avoid the huge traffic jams in Douala that usually start around 9am and which make moving in the city almost impossible. The price for one seat is usually 2000 FCFA (~3€) and the ride can be anything between 1,5–4h depending on the traffic. As a group of 4 we took a car on our own and paid the 2 additional seats that were not taken yet (it is very usual to have 4 people sitting in the back of a normal car and two on the front seat). Douala (~3 Mio inhabitants) is a chaotic coast town in the French part of the country and the biggest city in Cameroon. It is a travel hotspot to anywhere in the country that connects different regions through a more or less well-organized network of buses, trains and private cars. We took a bus from La Kribienne Voyages for the 4h journey to Kribi that was extended by an hour in which we waited for the bus to fill up (public transport does not have a set schedule, it starts as soon as the vehicle is full, this can take more or less time and needs quite a high level of flexible travel plans and patience). The bus to Kribi was around 3500 FCFA roundtrip (~5€).
Staying in Kribi
When entering Kribi, the bus takes you already on a beautiful trip along the long coast of Kribi, passing deserted ships and lonesome beaches. From the central bus station we took a moto taxi to La Grace Hôtel which is at the Northern end of the city of Kribi. The hotel offered very clean and comfortable rooms for only 30.000 FCFA (~45€) for three nights. Breakfast and other meals could be ordered in the small restaurants that was part of the hotel with a bread-intense yet solid omelette breakfast and tasty fish dishes at reasonable prices. The hotel is located a little bit outside the city, but is easily reached by moto taxi and is only a 5 min walk from the beach.
What to discover
Apart from the beautiful lonesome beaches (there are almost no tourists during the rainy season, high season is from December — April) Kribi and its surroundings has a lot to offer. We visited the Lobé waterfall and made a trip to a Pygmie settlement along the Mangrove forests of the Lobé river. Admittedly, this was a rather strange experience. The pygmies of that region are already detached from their traditional lives and are visited daily by several different tourist groups. We did not feel too comfortable with this visit, since it felt more like being observers of others normal lives plus adding some show elements for touristic entertainment.
After that we went on a long walk at the beach on a hunt for fresh fish. The whole beach front was rather deserted and most of the restaurants closed. Luckily, we discovered the beautiful open air restaurant Chez Roger (you have to call the number in the picture so that Roger, BBQ hero with the hat, comes and prepares food).
We set up our own table right at the beach and enjoyed the sun set with a cold beer while waiting for our food. The waiting time for our food was quite long since all the ingredients needed to be purchased at the market first. However, with the help of some flashlights and candle light later (it gets dark around 6:45pm), we were treated with a delicious freshly grilled fish and fried potatoes & plantains and had a lovely chat with Roger that joined us for a beer and accompanied us through the darkness to the next moto taxi. This was definitely one of the highlights of our Kribi trip and absolutely recommendable.
What Else You Should Not Miss
Kribi is a lively beach town that leaves enough space for relaxation and well-ness. It also offers some culinary highlights. Here is a list of the things you should check out if you ever visit Kribi:
- Have a beer in the city centre during the night at one of the Snack bars. Be prepared for a big crowd, loud music and flashy light installations.
- Visit La Plaisir au Gout for tasty cocktails, a beautiful beach view on the big terrace and delicious food from traditional Cameroonian treats to freshly-baked pizza. You should definitely try Crevettes a la kribienne, a shrimp speciality of that region if you are there.
- Eat a Galette at Pieds dans l’eau. This small hidden crêpe and galette restaurant is directly at the beach and serves savory and sweet crêpe and galette specialities.
- Check out the fish market at the port of Kribi and see where your fresh fish for lunch or dinner comes from. The fishermen arrive between 8–10 am in the morning.
- Take a walk along the coast and marvel at the old lighthouse that was built by the Germans under their protectorate in 1906.
Have you every visited Kribi and have anything to add? Feel free to share your recommendations in the comments. You can also follow me on instagram (@helenasternkopf) for more impressions of my time in Cameroon.