NewsWest AfricaTravel Cameroon: Limbe’s festival flavour

Wed,26Sep2018

Posted on Wednesday, 29 August 2018 16:57

Travel Cameroon: Limbe’s festival flavour

By Howard Meh-Buh in Limbe
 

Michel WeylandLimbe, in the South West Region, hosts its Festival  of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) each April, bringing music, sports and carousing to the popular seaside getaway

 
A crowd of travellers make their way from Mile 1 to the community field in Limbe. Drumbeats blend with trumpet horns as groups in their colourful regalia march and dance. Culture spews onto the streets, fluttering in the air like a perfume potpourri. This jollification goes on all week, with groups from across the country and even neighbouring Nigeria, Benin and Togo taking part in this carnival.
 
The community field, normally a ground for footballers, has become a culture hub harbouring hundreds of people who have congregated to share and celebrate. The field is hedged by what looks like a long, stretching hut slashed into labelled compartments where the different ethnic groups showcase their culture: song, dance, artefacts, paintings, traditional dresses. The stage has been set for concerts and performances that take place over the course of the week. Snack vendors stride about looking for potential buyers, while ice-cream machines attract little children like giant magnets.  
 
There are plenty of other eating opportunities for hungry festivaliers nearby. On Sappa Road, leading towards Down Beach, is a new pizza restaurant, Big Bite, while Neptune serves chicken, beef or goat meat, and local vegetables like okonghobong and ndolé.
 
Limbe by night is a cocktail of music
 
It is the last day of FESTAC and the closing festivities include sports events. We head to Down Beach to watch the canoe race, which, for the first time, includes women competitors. The winner is Mondoli. Earlier in the day, there was a coastal marathon from Idenau to here. Someone is talking about famed crooner Mr. Leo’s performance last night and the comedy show a few days before. Later we gather on the streets near the beach to watch the wrestling match that ends the festivities of the week.
 
People also go to Down Beach to eat roasted fish and other seafood with side dishes of bobolo, miondo or plantain. Just by Down Beach is a seaside restaurant called Mars that delivers suya, little sticks of paradise. The Bota Road leads to the Botanic Garden, a green village for various plants tagged with little badges carrying their scientific names and dates of origin. The Park Hotel Miramar is situated in the garden and beside it is the Wildlife Centre, housing pythons and primates with names like Jacob and Susan. Further down Bota Road is a string of black sand beaches where locals and tourists go for rest and relaxation, with hotels like Savoy Palmz, Fini Hotel and The Seme New Beach Hotel. 
 
Bars in Limbe are scattered everywhere. Bars that run from morning until night, bars that run night until morning. Small roadside bars, big bougie bars, snack bars. Limbe by night is a cocktail of music spilling off bars into the streets. Groggy men and women, boys and girls clink glasses and dance on and offbeat. Tonight, we are drinking. Tonight, we are dancing. 
 
This article first appeared in the June 2018 print edition of The Africa Report magazine
 
 


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