I had no idea what Mefou was all about before arriving. All I knew is that there were apes, and it was a potential place to crash on my way out of Yaounde and in the direction of Gabon. Just a couple kilometers off the highway, Mefou turns out to be an incredible project run by Camroonians and the help of some great volunteers. And though it’s not meant to be built for people to spend the night, we were welcomed with open arms. If you’re in Yaounde, this should be a daytrip you to take. If you’re on your way to somewhere like Ebolowa it’s a nice stop for an hour or so.
What to do at Mefou
This is an ape rehabilitation and sanctuary run by an organization called Ape Action Africa. Obviously then, the thing to do here is to visit the apes, which include some mandrills, as well as lowland gorillas, chimpanzees, and some smaller species of monkeys too. The staff can organize tours of the facilities, and if you have the chance you should try to time your visit around the various feedings when the primates are closer to the fences and much more active.
Where to Eat at Mefou
They have a little bar at Mefou, but it’s not really for tourists to have dinner. They have water and other drinks, but no food. If you come here, be sure to bring enough food to get you through the day.
Where to Stay at Mefou
There are no hotel facilities at Mefou nor is there an organized camping area. However, when we arrived, they welcomed us with open arms and allowed us to set up camp on one of the roads under the chatter of the primates. They didn’t charge us for staying. They only asked us to dump a donation of our choosing into the fund. There are toilet facilities on the grounds which are quite good, so that’s not an issue at all.
If you have camping equipment, or an overland truck, I can’t imagine them ever saying no to letting you stay overnight. Otherwise, you’ll need to find a hotel in a nearby town or come via Yaounde on a day trip.
It’s not too difficult to get here if you have your own wheels. A couple kilometers past the turn off to the airport you’ll see a large animal statue on a tiny roundabout on the left-hand side of the road. Turn down there and follow the road and signs all the way to the park facilities. If you’re coming via public transport, you’ll probably have to catch a southbound vehicle leaving Yaounde and ask to be dropped at that road and statue. There are always people hanging around that statue and you should be able to get a moto-taxi the rest of the way to the park really easily.
Also, it should be noted that there’s a village called Mfou which is on the other side of the airport from the highway. This isn’t where the park is, so don’t try to get there. I found myself confused at that, I’m ashamed to admit.
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