The Margouilla's Advice on Nightstopping in Douala



What airfield can I expect?

Douala is a large international airport, open H24. Jet A-1 is available at all times from fuel hydrants located around the terminal parking. Avgas is normally available as well, but be sure to check in advance.

Airport security is pretty good as long as you are parked near the terminal. Other parking spaces along the old runway are a bit far and easily accessible by anybody (there is no fence).

Paying your taxes here (and in Yaoundé, for that matter) is an absolute hassle. First of all, you have to bring your flight plan to the CCAA (Cameroon CAA) desk in the main terminal: they will charge you passenger taxes (25,000 XAF per international pax) and stamp your flight plan. Next you have to walk to the control tower, where the ASECNA "bureau de piste" is located. They will file your flight plan, and you will have to pay them landing and overflight fees. Finally, you have to walk to the eastern aisle of the passenger terminal, to the ADC (Aéroports du Cameroun) desk where you will pay another bit of landing tax and the airport lighting fee. Phew... Handling is not mandatory, but if you let ADC personnel load/unload some luggage, expect some guy to bring you a sharp handling bill, in excess of 100,000 XAF...

The airport is built right next to the town, yet there is an "airport rate" for taxis, at around 3,000 XAF. Getting rides around town later on is much cheaper, between 500 and 1,000 XAF depending on what you negotiate.


Where am I?

Douala was founded by British evangelists in the 1840s, yet its population today is mostly French-speaking. It is the economic heart of Cameroon and the largest city in the country, with a population of about 4 millions. As usual is Africa, not much has been organised to accommodate all these people, so most of them live in the huge slums you will see on approach. You are likely to stay only within the residential and business suburbs of Bonapriso, Bonanjo and Akwa during your sleepover.

Crime is a big issue in Douala, and corruption is a way of life for the Cameroonese. Yet Douala is a real party town, with lots of restaurants, bars and clubs, so don't stay cloistered in your hotel.

The climate here is equatorial, hot and humid. The norm is 300 days of warm rain showers each year, which has earned Douala the nickname "Africa's unrinal"...


Where do I sleep?

Le Méridien Douala (10mn from the airport)

PO Box 3232 - Douala, 35 avenue des Cocotiers, Bonanjo
Tel: +(237) 33 43 50 00
Fax: +(237) 33 42 35 07

The best chain hotel in town, with all the usual amenities. Wifi is charged at 8000 XAF a day. Rooms are definitely on the expensive side, starting at 130,000 XAF a night.

Akwa Palace (15mn from the airport)

PO Box 4007 - Douala, 920 boulevard de la Liberté, Akwa
Tel: +(237) 33 42 26 01
Fax: +(237) 33 42 74 16

The "art deco" Akwa has been at the heart of Douala's city centre for more than half a century. There is something from the old colonial lifestyle to it, and even though it's not as plush as the Méridien, it is clearly a more local experience to stay here. Swimming pool, sat-TV, etc... Rooms from 116,000 XAF.

Hotel Sawa (10mn from the airport)

PO Box 2345 - Douala, 488 rue de Verdun, Bonanjo
Tel: +(237) 33 50 14 00

This former Novotel is still in good shape and offers the right comfort for 56,000 XAF per night. Swimming pool and wifi.

Hotel Ibis Douala (10mn from the airport)

PO Box 12086 - Douala, rue Pierre Loti, Bonanjo
Tel: +(237) 33 42 57 60
Fax: +(237) 33 42 36 05

The Douala Ibis offer the usual cheap yet clean rooms which made the brand famous. Swimming pool and wifi. Price 57,000 XAF per night.


Where do I eat?

Le Boj (10mn from the airport)

Douala, avenue de Gaulle, Bonanjo
Tel : +(237) 99 33 23 24

Classy gastronomic restaurant designed like a wine-bar. The best food in town to our knowledge.

Le Sorrento (10mn from the airport)

Douala, carrefour de l'Air, Bonapriso
Tel : +(237) 99 91 01 66

Good pizzeria and italian restaurant.

La Méditerranée (15mn from the airport)

Douala, avenue de la Liberté, Akwa
Tel : +(237) 33 42 30 69

Located across the street from the Akwa Palace, this restaurant is famous for its shaded street terrace. The food is mostly Greek and Lebanese. This place is great to have a drink, and becomes an excellent pickup place in the early evening.


What can I visit?


Where can I go out?

L'Orange Métallique

Douala, Bonanjo

Probably the best club in town, clean and classy, with good music, yet full of stunning Cameroonese women.

Le Saint Père

Douala, Akwa

The most aggressive night fighters club in town, conveniently located just behind the Akwa Palace.

Le Sénat

Douala, Akwa

The Sénat is a restaurant, but the most interesting about it is its bar / lounge. Great live music from a sharp house band. Good choice of whiskies.

Le Broadway

Douala, rue Toyota, Bonapriso
Tel: +(237) 99 86 46 47

Friendly cabaret-style bar with live music. Pool tables.

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