Work and Travel in Cameroon
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN CAMEROON FOR TRAVELLERS
Cameroon is situated in the heart of West Africa and for years backpackers have come here to experience something different. But don’t just travel in Cameroon. Do something different. Work and travel in Cameroon can change your view of the world and give you vital skills that will look good on any future CV.
Most travel guides to Cameroon (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/cameroon) don’t tell you about the possibilities here. We’re going to show you the big volunteer opportunities in Cameroon and when you should go.
1. Gorilla Conservation in Cameroon
Cameroon is most famous for its gorillas. The majority of people who come here are here to go on a trekking expedition to see these unique creatures. And they pay thousands of dollars to do it every single year. It’s a huge part of the economy.
But you can get even closer to them through gorilla conservation. You will be in the Lebialem-Mone forest, where you will be trekking, recording observations, and living in the wild. There’s no experience like it and you’ll be making a big difference to these endangered animals in the process.
2. Work in Construction in Cameroon
You’ll notice that Cameroon is more urbanised than you might initially think. Unfortunately, the quick changes that have overtaken this country have left many people behind.
Organisations are operating in the country to help those who haven’t been catered to. Many construction projects are available right now for volunteers who want to work in Cameroon.
These could involve building schools, rebuilding decrepit houses, or constructing wells in the urban areas of the country.
3. Raise Awareness of AIDS in Cameroon
Like many nations in West Africa, the AIDS virus kills thousands every year. Yet most of the population don’t have the education needed to prevent the spread of AIDS or the management of it if they already have it. You can help raise awareness of this disease.
All you have to do is to be charismatic and be willing to work with the locals. Charities will give you all the tools needed to successfully work in Cameroon as someone who goes into schools and rural areas to raise awareness.
It will give you authentic local interactions and you’ll be making a difference at the same time.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR CAMEROON
Cameroon is not an open country to travellers or volunteers. Even holders of diplomatic passports don’t have the benefit of free entry.
There are only six countries in the world that have the privilege of visa-free access. These are all African countries and include places like Chad and Nigeria. Anyone else must have a visa in advance (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Cameroon.html).
Unfortunately, there’s no option for visa-on-arrival and no way of using an e-visa system to make getting your visa easier. You have to go to the embassy in advance (http://www.cameroonembassyusa.org/).
Thankfully, if you work and travel in Cameroon together with a recognised charity they will make the application on your behalf or provide you with full visa support as you apply for your visa.
Despite how intimidating the visa application process (https://www.cameroonhighcommission.co.uk/visa/) for Cameroon looks, it’s easier than you think.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN CAMEROON
Cameroon has multiple climate zones, so the weather in one part of the country is not going to be the same as another part at any given time of year. For example, the plateau regions see light rains beginning as early as March, whereas elsewhere it won’t start until around May.
This is not an ideal time to be in the rural areas. We recommend that you stick to the urbanised areas and spend your time focusing on AIDS awareness projects.
You may also be able to find work in Cameroon improving the general population’s computer literacy skills. There are an increasing number of projects in this area. Any Westerner who knows how to use a computer is already qualified for volunteer opportunities in Cameroon like this.
The summer takes up one of the primary dry seasons, between July and August. Get out of the capital of Yaounde and make your way into the rural areas.
Since this is one of the main tourist seasons, you’ll find lots of opportunities in conservation and construction. We recommend moving to the villages during the summer.
Take advantage of the shorter of the dry seasons and pick up one of the short-term construction projects. These projects typically last between one and two months. They may even be combined with a home stay so you can learn about the local culture and customs.
Autumn sees the return of the rainy season. This tends to be the intense rainy season, so we don’t recommend going into the rural areas.
Remote areas can easily be cut off by flooding and heavy rains, especially if the roads are mere dirt tracks and haven’t been paved. Getting around can be almost impossible throughout autumn.
From September until November is the worst time to visit and we can only recommend educational projects in the capital. You’ll find plenty of work teaching English and computer literacy projects.
The winter season is the main tourist season. Gorilla conservation projects are always in high demand at this time of year. Try to apply a few months in advance to guarantee yourself a better chance of securing one of these roles. You don’t necessarily need qualifications to take advantage of these jobs.
We would also recommend construction projects, but any type of project is available throughout the winter months.
Refer back to the previous sections for further information on the types of available work in Cameroon during winter.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN CAMEROON
As a result of the strict visa requirements, tourists aren’t as common as you might think. Expect a lot of attention in all areas of the country. Most Cameroonians only see foreigners when they’re working with major international organisations.
Backpackers who work and travel in Cameroon are rare, which is why this is such a stunning experience for travellers who want to get off the beaten track.
Are you ready to take on Cameroon?
- Edited on Oct 9 2018 by Marichka