If you are a tourist attracted to danger, mythology, fun, and nature, you will find the climb up Mount Cameroon extremely exciting. Even more, listening to the stories that surround that mountain, and activities Cameroonians and foreigners gather around it to do. Don’t underestimate the 4,040 meter climb.
INTRODUCING THE MOUNTAIN
MOUNT Cameroon, also called Mount Fako, also called Buea Mountain but most fondly called “The chariot of the gods” is the only mountain in Cameroon which has also been recorded as a volcanic mountain, with a horrifying eruption record Cameroonians have been trying to erase from memory for over 10 years. Mount Fako is believed to be guarded from erupting again by a man-eater god named Epasa Moto. Efasa-Moto is the folkloric god of the Fako Mountain. It is believed that he controls the entire “hill” from the West Coast to the border with Balondo land to the north east coast, and towards Meme Division. Physically, Efasa-Moto’s is described as being divided vertically from top to bottom in a strange mixture of half human and half stone and yet shaped in the form of a man giving a complete picture of a goat standing on its hind legs. This personality is both legend and myth, only seen by special people in the region. His house is a dark cave located on a sacred area of the mountain. People who have ventured to the cave are said to never have come back.
Notwithstanding, there are a handful things you can do to garnish your adventure up and around the mountain.
Mountain Cameroon Race
Every year, people travel from all round the world to participate in the mount Cameroon race, either as spectators or runners. The race is hosted by the government and sponsored by Guinness Cameroon, attracting over 2000 participants from around the world. The 2011 race is scheduled for February 26, so now is the time to decide if you want to be part of this fun adventure.
Usually, the runners assemble at the Grand Stand at 5a.m and the race begins 30 minutes later. The first person is seen around 2p.m, estimating a non-stop 9 hours up climb and return time. Tourists however do not really race up. Competition spoils the fun and so much to be seen and felt on the mountain gets missed out.
Going Up The Mountain
Mount Cameroon is one of those mountains whose path is straight up and not winding around to the summit. The path is made of dug out steps and stones, and also trees you can lean against or rest under. However, at certain levels of the mountain, you will find tiny houses named Hut I, II, III and IV. Here, you can rest and make a fire for food or warmth. Only during the race will you find supporters waiting around with water. After hut IV you have a choice of either returning or taking your climb to the very end.
Epasa Moto is said to farm a sugarcane plantation higher up the mountain and this sugarcane is incredibly sweet. Visitors are allowed to eat it, but never take any bit away with them, as it may invoke his wrath on them.
There is said to be a mischievous black tree that seems to advance as one approach it until it completely tires the traveller. This has been confirmed by many racers and adventurers.
No one ever gets to the summit. There is a limit which has a sign post saying DANGER. DO NOT EXCEED THIS LIMIT. This is because after the last eruption, the ground after that limit became soft as sand and so it is not strong enough uphold anyone who steps on it.
Going up the mountain is one marvellous spiritual and cultural experience anyone will enjoy in Cameroon and in Africa. Many stories remain untold as many climbers became transformed after the experience by encounters known only to them. Scientists have found medicinal plants growing on the mountain such as the ginseng, and you may be the next to have a transforming discovery, after you must have visited the chariot of the gods.