Where: Seme, near Limbe, southwest Cameroon, central-west Africa
When: Nov – Feb when it is dry and cool in Cameroon
Happenings: Chilling out, surfing, beach sports, or take an excursion to nearby nature spots
Remember to bring: A range of suitable gear for jungle trekking through to beach bathing
Where It’s At
Cameroon’s coastline, situated at the foot of Mount Cameroon, is a succession of idyllic deserted beaches occasionally interrupted by small fishing villages and ancient lava flow formations in the sea. Far from ordinary tropical beaches, these are covered with chocolate-colored sand. It’s the result of the sea grinding down volcanic rock over a period of thousands of years. This is where the jungle meets the Atlantic Ocean and the landscape is so striking that the beach scenes in the film Chocolat with Johnny Depp were shot here. It’s an ideal place for a spot of sunbathing, relaxing and exploring.
Getting to Seme Beach
town. To get there you drive through a narrow stretch of well-maintained road that passes through several coastal villages and traverses the southern slope of the volcano. Before reaching the beach, the straight road suddenly deviates sharply to the left. Directly ahead you will see what looks like a huge pile of earth. It is in fact the 1999 lava flow that engineered to slice the road in two. Once you have passed this amazing hurdle, turn left to get to Seme Beach, which is accessible through the Seme New Beach Hotel.
Seme New Beach Hotel
The hotel is a great base to explore the beach and surrounding areas. This stretch of beach is long and at a slight incline towards the sea. Although the beach benefits from a couple of lifeguards, swimmers are advised to be cautious as the undertow is particularly strong in this area. But don’t be put off from having a go at surfing or windsurfing as boards can be rented.
Even more refreshing to swim in than the ocean is the hotel’s wonderfully cool freshwater pool. The water flows down from an underground spring from the slopes of Mount Cameroon above, and it’s so good to taste that the hotel bottles it at source to drink.
Other Things to See and Do
Other activities on offer at Seme Beach include beach volleyball, basketball, table tennis, and a tennis court is soon to be built. You can also spend a day in Limbe visiting the Botanical Gardens and the Limbe Wildlife Centre. Alternatively you might want to trek up Mount Cameroon for a couple of days and then come back to Seme Beach to recuperate. You could also drive to the crater lake of Cape Debundscha, the wettest place in Africa, where you can visit the old German lighthouse and hike to the Bomana Falls.
SEME NEW BEACH HOTEL
Province du Sud Ouest
BP 130, Limbe, Cameroon
Telephone: 00 237 333 27 69
Fax: 00 237 799 12 30
By Mari-Laure Vigneron