In the morning Amy and I walked along the road to the Limbe Wildlife Park. It used to be the Limbe Zoo and was apparently very run down and unpleasant. These days it’s a collaboration between Pandrillus (who we visited in Calabar) and the Cameroonian government. It has several large enclosures in a beautiful setting on the edge of town. I really enjoyed wandering around and looking at the gorillas, chimpanzees (complete with signs warning about them throwing rocks), drills, mangabeys and various other animals.
The next activity for the day was heading west with Charles to check out the beaches in preparation for Christmas day. First stop was Mile 6 beach, no charge for visiting it but also no bar and a fine view of the neighbouring oil refinery. Next we stopped at Mile 8, which is managed by a local hotel and they charge XAF 1000 to use the beach, which you can see Charles walking along in the leftmost picture below. In the end we decided on Mile 11 beach, by the New Seme Beach Hotel, it has a beautiful long beach with little table, a bar and your XAF 1000 fee is deducted from your bar bill.
Just before the hotel at mile 11 the road is diverted sharply to the left, around the end of a lava flow from the 1999 eruption of Mount Cameroon. The local authorities obviously decided it was easier to build a diversion than to dig through the flow. In fact they’re now turning it into a tourist attraction.
Back in Limbe I walked to the commercial centre of the town: Half-Mile Junction. I had a look around and bought myself an Orange Cameroon, so that I could call home at Christmas and text people in Nigeria and Cameroon. I chose Orange because the only other network in that part of Cameroon is the dismal MTN, I’m fed up giving them money for an exceptionally bad service.
After that I went for a stroll around the Limbe Botanic Garden. Originally set up by the Germans as a centre for introducing plantation crops it suffered from years of neglect but has now been restored and is a very peaceful place to spend a few hours. The garden also contains a small Commonwealth War Graves Commission memorial to some of the soldiers who fought with the West African Frontier Force in the two World Wars (some more information here and here).