The North West Region of Cameroon is generally one of the most visited regions of the country because of the warm and friendly nature of the people. Also its rich culture, rolling hills and valleys, waterfalls and lakes attractvisitors all year round. Over the last 3 years, Bamenda has enjoyed steady growth in visitor numbers, expenditure and people staying in overnight accommodation. This steady influx of people has seen the growth of hotels, recreational facilities and conference centres leading to job creation.
The foundation of Bamenda’s success is built to a large extent on major cultural events, its natural attractions and the fact that it is the hub of the Region. All major towns of the Region are linked by road from Bamenda,bringing hundreds of travellers daily. During the last two years nearly ten thousand people have visited Bamenda.
There has been a remarkable increase in visitor beds in the last 2 years. There are now over 15hotels available within a 20 mile radius of the City Centre. These range from 2 to 4 stars. Top on the list include Ayaba, Azam and Mawa Hotels. These have conference rooms, bars and restaurants.
In December, visitors come from far and near to participate in the Lelia Festival of Bali, The Fon of Mankon’s Annual Dance, The Fon of Bafut’s Annual Dance, The Nso Cultural Festival (Ngonnso).
Just 30munites drive out of city centre leads to attractions such as the Bafut Palace constructed with the support of the Germans between 1907 and 1910 after the Bafut Wars.
The MankonMuseum runs a permanent exhibition, entitled “Arts, Heritage and Culture from the Mankon Kingdom”, with some 179 objects grouped together in six thematic sections. The Bafutpalace and its museum are a major tourist attraction all year round. The museumwas listed in the World Monuments Watch list of the 100 most endangered sites of 2006. Other museums close by are the International Museum & Library Akum and the BabungoMuseums.
Located about 30km North of Bafut is the Menchum Falls, reputed to be one of the most powerful waterfalls in West Africa and offers a huge potential for the generation of hydro-electric power.
- Lakes: The North West Region is noted for its crater lakes (Awing, Oku, Wum, Nyos.
- Other natural attractions include the Kilum-Ijim Mountain forest home to the distinctive red-crested Bannerman's Turacowhich is endemic to the area. For bird watchers, there are lots of other rare species of birds such as the Banded Wattle-eye found only in the Bamenda Highlands.