Mount Cameroon attracts up to 1,000 mountaineers per year, from all over the world. A few years ago, German NGOs supported an integrated project for biodiversity conservation and ecotourism. A lot of challenges remain, as Jean Claude Tsafack reports. The local population lives in poverty, increasing the pressure on natural resources. The number of visitors has not been sufficient to effectively contribute to the protection of the national park.
More than 200 young people have been trained as guides and porters. But there is not much work for them, and the working conditions and wages are poor. At the same time, the first negative impacts of tourism have become visible. Non-degradable waste is scattered around picnic areas. The author argues that Cameroon's Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife needs to take these challenges seriously. It could make Cameroon one of the most attractive ecotourism destinations worldwide.
Jean Claude Tsafack is coordinator of Pro Climate International Cameroon in Buea, Cameroon.