Douala is the largest city in Cameroon and its economic capital. It is the capital of Cameroon's Littoral Region. Home to Central Africa's largest port and its major international airport, Douala International Airport, it is the commercial and economic capital of Cameroon and the entire CEMAC region comprising Gabon, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic and Cameroon, it handles most of the country's major exports, such as oil and coffee, timber and fruits. As from 2018, the city and its surrounding area had an estimated population of 2,768,400; the city sits on the estuary of Wouri River and its climate is tropical. Settlements had existed in present-day Douala prior to the arrival of the Portuguese and Germans. During World War I a bitter battle was fought for control of Douala; the city surrendered to British and French forces on September 27, 1914. A joint Anglo-French condominium governed the city until a comprehensive agreement ceded it to the French. After the independence of Cameroon in 1960, Douala grew rapidly.
Local industries and other opportunities have attracted an unprecedented influx of migrants from the western region of Cameroon. People from other countries in the region have permanently settled in the city. In recent times city authorities have been overwhelmed by increasing population; the first Europeans to visit the area were the Portuguese in about 1472. At the time, the estuary of Wouri River was known as the Rio dos Camarões. By 1650, it had become the site of a town formed by immigrants, said to have arrived from Congo, who spoke the Duala language. During the 18th century it was the center of the transatlantic slave trade. In 1826 Douala appeared to be made of four different villages located in four specific locations: the village of Deido, of Akwa, of Njo and Hickory-town. Between 1884 and 1895 the city was a German protectorate; the colonial politics focused on some exploration of the unoccupied territories. In 1885, Alfred Saker organized the first mission of the British Baptist Church.
In the same year the city known as Kamerun was renamed Douala and became the capital of the territory until 1902, when the capital was moved to Buéa. In 1907 the Ministry of Colonies was established and Douala had 23,000 citizens. After World War I in 1919, the German colonial territories became British protectorates. France received a mandate to administer Douala. A treaty was signed with the local chiefs. From 1940 to 1946, it was the capital of Cameroon. In 1955 the city had over 100,000 inhabitants. In 1960 Cameroon became independent and it became a federal republic, with its capital in Yaoundé. Douala became the major economic city. In 1972 the federal republic became a unified state. Douala had a population of around 500,000. In the 1980s, in Cameroon the struggle for liberalization and multi-partitism grew. Between May and December 1991, Douala was at the center of the civil disobedience campaign called the ghost town operation during which economic activities shut down to make the country ungovernable and to force the government to allow multi-partitism and freedom of expression.
With the arrival of the Portuguese in the 15th century, the area was known as Rio dos Camarões. Before coming under German rule in 1884, the town was known as Cameroons Town, it was renamed Douala in 1907 after the name of the natives known as Dua ala Ijaws, became part of the French Cameroons in 1919. Many of the Ijaw natives migrated to the Niger Delta in Nigeria during the Portuguese era; the city is located on the banks of the two sides linked by Bonaberi Bridge. Douala features a tropical monsoon climate, with consistent temperatures throughout the course of the year, though the city experiences somewhat cooler temperatures in July and August. Douala features warm and humid conditions with an average annual temperature of 27.0 °C and an average humidity of 83%. Douala sees plentiful rainfall during the course of the year, experiencing on average 3,600 millimetres of precipitation per year, its driest month is December, when on average 28 millimetres of precipitation falls, while its wettest month is August, when on average nearly 700 millimetres of rain falls.
Evolution of population in Douala With 1,9 million inhabitants in 2005, Douala is the most populated city of Cameroon. Cameroon is home to nearly 250 dialects. French and English are official languages, but Douala is francophone. In 2014, 63.7 % of Douala inhabitants of over 15 years knew how to read and write French, while 76.4% knew how to speak and understand French. The city of Douala is divided into seven districts and it has more than 120 neighborhoods; some of the neighborhoods of Douala include Akwa. Akwa is Bonanjo its administrative district. Plateau Joss is the name used for the current district of Akwa; the name of the districts refer to the Douala lineage, as well as the neighborhoods. For example, Akwa was divided between Bell and Deido into Bonadibong, Boneleke, Bonal
Paul Biya is a Cameroonian politician serving as the President of Cameroon since 6 November 1982. A native of Cameroon's south, Biya rose as a bureaucrat under President Ahmadou Ahidjo in the 1960s, serving as Secretary-General of the Presidency from 1968 to 1975 and as Prime Minister of Cameroon from 1975 to 1982, he succeeded Ahidjo as president upon the latter's surprise resignation in 1982 and consolidated power in a 1983–1984 staged attempted coup in which he eliminated all his rivals. Biya introduced political reforms within the context of a one-party system in the 1980s. Under serious pressure, he accepted the introduction of multiparty politics in the early 1990s, he won the 1992 presidential election with 40% of the plural, single-ballot vote and was re-elected by large margins in 1997, 2004, 2011 and 2018. Opposition politicians and Western governments have alleged voting irregularities and fraud on each of these occasions. Many independent sources have proved that he did not win the elections in 1992, the subsequent elections were a rampant fraud.
Biya is the longest-ruling non-royal leader in the world and the oldest ruler in Sub-Saharan Africa after Robert Mugabe stepped down during the 2017 Zimbabwean coup d'état. Biya has maintained Cameroon's close relationship with France, one of Cameroon's former colonial ruler besides the United Kingdom. Paul Biya was born in the village of Mvomeka'a in the South Region of Cameroon, he studied at the Lycée General Leclerc, Yaoundé and the Lycée Louis-le-Grand and went on to the Institut des hautes études d'Outre-Mer where he graduated in 1961 with a Higher Education Diploma in Public Law. He married Jeanne-Irène Biya, who did not have any children, though she adopted Franck Biya, born from a relationship of Paul Biya with another woman. After Jeanne-Irène Biya died on 29 July 1992, Paul Biya married Chantal Biya on 23 April 1994, had two more children with her. Biya is a good friend of the former Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos; as an official in post-independence 1960s Cameroon, Biya rose to prominence under President Ahmadou Ahidjo.
After becoming Director of the Cabinet of the Minister of National Education in January 1964 and Secretary-General of the Ministry of National Education in July 1965, he was named Director of the Civil Cabinet of the President in December 1967 and Secretary-General of the Presidency in January 1968. He gained the rank of Minister in August 1968 and the rank of Minister of State in June 1970, while remaining Secretary-General of the Presidency. Following the creation of a unitary state in 1972, he became Prime Minister of Cameroon on 30 June 1975. In June 1979, a law designated the Prime Minister as the President's constitutional successor. Ahidjo unexpectedly announced his resignation on 4 November 1982, Biya accordingly succeeded him as President of Cameroon on 6 November; because Biya is a Christian from the South Region of Cameroon, it was considered surprising that he was chosen by Ahidjo, a Muslim from the north, as his successor. His father, a catechist wanted him to be in the clergy but at the age of 16 while in Catholic school, he raped a 6 years old girl and was banned from Catholic school.
After Biya became President, Ahidjo remained head of the ruling Cameroon National Union. Biya was brought into the CNU Central Committee and Political Bureau and was elected as the Vice-President of the CNU. On 11 December 1982, he was placed in charge of managing party affairs in Ahidjo's absence. During the first months after Biya's succession, he continued to show loyalty to Ahidjo, Ahidjo continued to show support for Biya, but in 1983 a deep rift developed between the two. Ahidjo went into exile in France, from there he publicly accused Biya of abuse of power and paranoia about plots against him; the two could not be reconciled despite efforts by several foreign leaders. After Ahidjo resigned as CNU leader, Biya took the helm of the party at an "extraordinary session" of the CNU party held on 14 September 1983. In November 1983, Biya announced that the next presidential election would be held on 14 January 1984, he won 99.98 % of the vote. In February 1984, Ahidjo was put on trial in absentia for alleged involvement in a 1983 coup plot, along with two others.
Biya survived a military coup attempt on 6 April 1984, following his decision on the previous day to disband the Republican Guard and disperse its members across the military. Estimates of the death toll ranged from 71 to about 1,000. Northern Muslims were the primary participants in this coup attempt, seen by many as an attempt to restore that group's supremacy. Ahidjo was believed to have orchestrated the coup attempt, Biya is thought to have learned of the plot in advance and to have disbanded the Republican Guard as a reaction, forcing the coup plotters to act earlier than they had planned, which may have been a crucial factor in the coup's failure. In 1985, the CNU was transformed into the Cameroon People's Democratic Movement, in Bamenda the capital city of the Southern Cameroon and Biya was unlawfully elected as its president, he was re-elected as President of Cameroon on 24 April 1988. Biya took some steps to open up the regime, culminating in the decision to legalize opposition parties in 1990.
According to official results, Biya won the
South Region (Cameroon)
The South Region is located in the southwestern and south-central portion of the Republic of Cameroon. It is bordered to the east by the East Region, to the north by the Centre Region, to the northwest by the Littoral Region, to the west by the Gulf of Guinea, to the south by the countries of Equatorial Guinea and Congo; the South occupies 47,720 km2 of territory. The major ethnic groups are the various Beti-Pahuin peoples, such as the Ewondo and Bulu; the South Region has a fair amount of industry, its main commerce consisting of logging, timber and offshore oil drilling. Commercial agriculture is important in the South, the major cash crops being cocoa and rubber. Cattle rearing and fishing are significant economic components, as well. Much of the population is made up of subsistence farmers. In 2008, the President of the Republic of Cameroon, President Paul Biya signed decrees abolishing "Provinces" and replacing them with "Regions". Hence, all of the country's ten provinces are now known as Regions.
This was to be the end of South. The soil of the South is made up of metamorphic rock gneiss. However, the land is riddled with faults around the border with the Centre Province that arc toward the border with Congo; the soil is ferrallitic except for southwestern portions near the border with Equatorial Guinea and moving north to Ebolowa, where it is mixed. Due to high amounts of leaching, the South's red earth is only marginally productive. Several river systems drain the South Region; the northernmost of these is the Nyong. The coastal Ocean division is drained by two rivers, the Lokounje to the north and the Lobé to the south; the Ntem, or Campo, rises in the east of the region and flows along or just north of the southern border to the town of Campo. All of these rivers empty into the Atlantic Ocean; the Dja and Lobo Rivers flow through the easternmost division of the region, splitting south of Bengbis and encompassing the Dja Reserve. These two rivers form part of the Congo River basin; the South Region begins at sea level on the coast.
The land climbs throughout the Kribi-Douala basin, which averages 300–600 metres in altitude, until it reaches the South Cameroon Plateau with elevations of 500 to 1000 metres above sea level. Rocky promontories on the coast and rolling, tree-covered hills inland characterize the land; the Ntem Massif near Ebolowa is the province's highest point at 1400 metres. The climate of the South Region is Guinea-type climate. Humidity is high, precipitation averages 1500–2000 mm per year in the interior and 2000–3000 mm per year in the coastal region; the coast from the north of Kribi south to Ebodjé gets as much as 4000 mm of rain per year. Temperatures are high as well, averaging 24˚ C and 26˚ C from Kribi north along the coast. In lieu of traditional seasons, the Guinea-type climate affords alternating wet periods; the year begins in a long dry season. This is followed by a light wet season from a short dry season from July to October. A heavy wet season lasts through November; the South is entirely covered in rain forest, the exception being a small tract of mangrove on the coast south of Campo.
Much of this land has been intensely exploited for logging, allowing sunlight to penetrate to the forest floor and for thick undergrowth to flourish. Today, the only untouched forest is located in a handful of nature reserves; the Dja Reserve covers 5,260 km² in the northeastern portion of the province and the south-central portion of the neighbouring East. The Campo Reserve covers 2,640 km² in the southwest on the border with Equatorial Guinea; the Mangame Gorilla Sanctuary covers 1,224 km² on the Gabon border. In these more virgin areas, the forest is composed of multiple levels. Tall trees about 40 metres high make up the highest stratum. Below these lie thinner trees with leaves clustered at their tops; the forest bed has little vegetation as little sunlight penetrates to it. The southern rain forest supports abundant wildlife, including some of Cameroon's last populations of chimpanzees and elephants. All of these are becoming rare due to poaching and deforestation. More numerous are the various monkey and bird species.
Other common animals include pangolins and other rodents, genets. Over 324,000 Cameroonians live in the South Province, the overall population density is about seven inhabitants per square km; the most populous area is the central region south of Cameroon's capital, Yaoundé, in the neighbouring Centre Province and extending south to Ebolowa, west to Kribi, east to Sangmélima. The rest of the population lives in the villages and towns built around the roads that criss-cross the terrain. In contrast, the vast tracts of jungle that have little or no road access are scarcely populated; the forest area is plagued by disease-carrying mosquitoes and blackflies that keep settlers away. Tradition settlements in the Centre are placed along roads, resulting in large numbers of houses near the road with forest beginning directly behind them; the traditional house is a rectangular structure made of mud bricks and thin, wooden or bamboo posts. Roofs were thatched raffia palm in the past, but they are more made of corrugated aluminium, iron, or tin today.
The majority of the inhabitants of the South are members of various Bantu tribes that are collectively known as the Beti-Pahuin (Béti-Pa
Cameroon the Republic of Cameroon, is a country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the north. Cameroon's coastline lies on the Bight of part of the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean. Although Cameroon is not an ECOWAS member state, it is geographically and in West Africa with the Southern Cameroons which now form her Northwest and Southwest Regions having a strong West African history; the country is sometimes identified as West African and other times as Central African due to its strategic position at the crossroads between West and Central Africa. French and English are the official languages of Cameroon; the country is referred to as "Africa in miniature" for its geological and cultural diversity. Natural features include beaches, mountains and savannas; the highest point at 4,100 metres is Mount Cameroon in the Southwest Region of the country, the largest cities in population-terms are Douala on the Wouri river, its economic capital and main seaport, Yaoundé, its political capital, Garoua.
The country is well known for its native styles of music makossa and bikutsi, for its successful national football team. Early inhabitants of the territory included the Sao civilisation around Lake Chad and the Baka hunter-gatherers in the southeastern rainforest. Portuguese explorers reached the coast in the 15th century and named the area Rio dos Camarões, which became Cameroon in English. Fulani soldiers founded the Adamawa Emirate in the north in the 19th century, various ethnic groups of the west and northwest established powerful chiefdoms and fondoms. Cameroon became a German colony in 1884 known as Kamerun. After World War I, the territory was divided between France and the United Kingdom as League of Nations mandates; the Union des Populations du Cameroun political party advocated independence, but was outlawed by France in the 1950s, leading to the Bamileke War fought between French and UPC militant forces until early 1971. In 1960, the French-administered part of Cameroon became independent as the Republic of Cameroun under President Ahmadou Ahidjo.
The southern part of British Cameroons federated with it in 1961 to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon. The federation was abandoned in 1972; the country was renamed the United Republic of Cameroon in 1972 and the Republic of Cameroon in 1984. Large numbers of Cameroonians live as subsistence farmers. Since 1982 Paul Biya has been President, governing with his Cameroon People's Democratic Movement party; the country has experienced tensions coming from the English-speaking territories. Politicians in the English-speaking regions have advocated for greater decentralisation and complete separation or independence from Cameroon. In 2017, tensions in the English-speaking territories escalated into open warfare; the territory of present-day Cameroon was first settled during the Neolithic Era. The longest continuous inhabitants are groups such as the Baka. From here, Bantu migrations into eastern and central Africa are believed to have originated about 2,000 years ago; the Sao culture arose around Lake Chad, c. 500 AD, gave way to the Kanem and its successor state, the Bornu Empire.
Kingdoms and chiefdoms arose in the west. Portuguese sailors reached the coast in 1472, they noted an abundance of the ghost shrimp Lepidophthalmus turneranus in the Wouri River and named it Rio dos Camarões, which became Cameroon in English. Over the following few centuries, European interests regularised trade with the coastal peoples, Christian missionaries pushed inland. In the early 19th century, Modibo Adama led Fulani soldiers on a jihad in the north against non-Muslim and Muslim peoples and established the Adamawa Emirate. Settled peoples who fled the Fulani caused a major redistribution of population; the Bamum tribe have a writing system, known as Shu Mom. The script was given to them by Sultan Ibrahim Njoya in 1896, is taught in Cameroon by the Bamum Scripts and Archives Project. Germany began to establish roots in Cameroon in 1868 when the Woermann Company of Hamburg built a warehouse, it was built on the estuary of the Wouri River. Gustav Nachtigal made a treaty with one of the local kings to annex the region for the German emperor.
The German Empire claimed the territory as the colony of Kamerun in 1884 and began a steady push inland. The Germans ran into resistance with the native people who did not want the Germans to establish themselves on this land. Under the influence of Germany, commercial companies were left to regulate local administrations; these concessions used forced labour of the Africans to make a profit. The labour was used on banana, palm oil, cocoa plantations, they initiated projects to improve the colony's infrastructure, relying on a harsh system of forced labour, much criticised by the other colonial powers. With the defeat of Germany in World War I, Kamerun became a League of Nations mandate territory and was split into French Cameroons and British Cameroons in 1919. France integrated the economy of Cameroon with that of France and improved the infrastructure with capital investments and skilled workers, modifying the system of forced labour; the British administered their territory from neighbouring Nigeria.
Natives complained that this made them a neglected "colony of a colony". Nigerian migrant workers flocked to Southern Cameroons, ending forced labour altogether but angering the local natives, who felt swamped. T
North Region (Cameroon)
The North Region makes up 66,090 km² of the northern half of The Republic of Cameroon. Neighbouring territories include the Far North Region to the north, the Adamawa Region to the south, Nigeria to the west, Chad to the east, Central African Republic to the southeast; the city of Garoua is both the industrial capital. Garoua is Cameroon's third largest port, despite the fact that the Bénoué River upon which it relies is only navigable for short periods of the year. Major ethnic groups include the Fula or Fulani, who are Islamic pastoralists, numerous Muslim and animist speakers of Adamawa and Nilo-Saharan languages. French is the language of formal education, Fulfulde, the language of the Fulbe, is widespread as a lingua franca. In 2008, the President of the Republic of Cameroon, President Paul Biya signed decrees abolishing "Provinces" and replacing them with "Regions". Hence, all of the country's ten provinces are now known as Regions. Bands of alternating metamorphic and sedimentary rock interspersed with granite characterise the north's geology.
Granite covered in volcanic basalt makes up the southernmost reaches, which form part of the Adamawa Plateau. A series of faults lies north of this and separate the plateau from the band of metamorphic stone to its north. Random granite deposits characterise this area; the Mayo Rey and Vina River cut north of this portion, leaving deposits of sedimentary stone except in the granite east. North of this lies a band of sedimentary alluvium, clay and sandstone. Faults tentatively follow the Bénoué River north of this and form a barrier to split the remainder of the province, with metamorphic rocks such as gneiss and schists dominating to the south and sedimentary stone making up the north. Another large band of metamorphic rock makes up the territory northwest of the Bénoué basin; the Mandara Mountains, which run north–south at the province's Nigerian border, are irregular in that they are volcanic, composed of crystalline and metamorphic rock and granite. The Adamawa Plateau divides the province into two main soil types.
Those to the north are shallow and ferruginous, brown or brownish red in colour. On the plateau itself, they are ferralitic or lateritic; the region's annual rainy/dry cycle erodes the landscape and aids in the formation of iron deposits called duricrust or hardpans near the surface. In addition, the area between the Vina and Mbere Rivers and the Mayo Deo valley is hydromorphic, while the volcanic Mandara and Atlantika Mountains, other high points in the province, the Mayo Oulo valley are composed of young soils high in raw mineral content; the bottom of the Bénoué basin is alluvial soil. All rivers in the province experience a tropical regime, with a period of high water during the rainy season during which flooding may occur; the Bénoué, Mayo Oulo, Mayo Kébi, Mayo Godi are susceptible to this. In contrast, the rivers dry up during the dry season, many disappearing into the sand. Animals and humans must dig during this period to retrieve water; this means that the port of Garoua on the Bénoué is only functional during a small portion of the year.
The Bénoué River serves as the North's primary waterway. It flows down from the Adamawa Plateau and is enlarged by the Mayo Rey, the Mayo Kebi, the Mayo Louti and other rivers, its valley forms the main part of the Bénoué Depression. Several smaller tributaries flow into the Bénoué. All of these waterways form part of the Niger basin; the Lagdo Reservoir is formed by a dam at Lagdo that traps waters from the Benoue and its smaller tributaries the Mayo Godi, Mayo Rey, Mayo Sina, Mayo Oldiri, others, many of which rise on the Adamawa Plateau. The reservoir provides an important source of hydroelectric power for Cameroon's three northern provinces. Local villagers use it as a source of fish, both the lake and the river are used for irrigation. Another significant river is the Vina, which rises in the Adamawa Province, flows through the North, empties into the Logone River in Chad, it is swelled by the Mbéré River east of Touboro. Before this, the Mbéré forms the province's southeastern border with Chad for several kilometers.
These are the only major rivers in the province. The Bénoué Depression constitutes the North Province's primary land feature; this basin runs along the Mayo Kébi and Bénoué River and has an elevation of between zero and 200 metres. The valleys surrounding the various rivers that feed the Kébi and Bénoué reach elevations only higher than this, averaging 200–500 metres in the north and 500–1000 metres in the south. Garoua lies at about 235 metres. Farther north is the Kaélé Elevation. A major fault runs north of the Bénoué parallel to it. South of the Bénoué Depression lies the Adamawa Plateau; this descends to the Depression in escarpments and peaks of between 1000–2000 metres that follow a major fault. Past this frontier region, the plateau slopes south and southeast into the Adamawa Province and Chad; the North's third significant land feature is the Mandara Mountains and their southern extension, the Atlantika Mountains, the results of tectonic activity. These chains form most of the western edge of the province, with peaks as high as 1000 metres.
The mountains continue north into the Far North Province and Nigeria, though their elevations drop to as low as 500 metres. The surrounding terrain is hilly; the North's highest elevation is Hosséré Vokré, an is
Southwest Region (Cameroon)
The Southwest Region or South-West Region is a region in Cameroon. Its capital is Buea; as of 1987, its population was 838,042. Along with the Northwest Region, it is one of the two anglophone regions of Cameroon, The region is divided into six divisions or departments: Fako, Koupé-Manengouba, Manyu and Ndian; these are in turn broken down into subdivisions. Presidentially appointed senior divisional officers and subdivisional officers govern each respectively; the region was notable for having the first English-speaking university in Cameroon. Towns include the capital Buea, Tiko and Mamfe. Limbe in particular is a popular tourist resort notable for its fine beaches. Korup National Park is a major attraction. Buea itself, sits at the foot of Mount Cameroon, possesses an temperate climate markedly different from the rest of the province
East Region (Cameroon)
The East Region occupies the southeastern portion of the Republic of Cameroon. It is bordered to the east by the Central African Republic, to the south by Congo, to the north by the Adamawa Region, to the west by the Centre and South Regions. With 109,002 km² of territory, it is the largest region in the nation as well as the most sparsely populated; the peoples of the East have been settled in Cameroonian territory for longer than any other of the country's many ethnic groups, the first inhabitants being the Baka pygmies. The East Region has little industry, its main commerce consisting of logging and mining. Instead, the bulk of its inhabitants are subsistence farmers; the region is thus of little political import and is ignored by Cameroonian politicians. This coupled with the low level of development in the province have led to its being dubbed "the forgotten province". In 2008, the President of the Republic of Cameroon, President Paul Biya signed decrees abolishing "Provinces" and replacing them with "Regions".
Hence, all of the country's ten provinces are now known as Regions. The soil of the East is rich with iron and red in colour; the southern three quarters of the region consists of metamorphic rock such as gneiss, schist and migmatite. Starting at about the level of Bertoua and going north, granite becomes the dominate soil component. While the region supports an abundance of plant life, it is not fertile due to leaching caused by the humid environment. Eastern dirt hardens in the sun, it is used as a building material by poorer inhabitants; the region contains several river systems: the Nyong, which drains the central-western area, the Dja in the southwest, the Lom in the northeast, the Kadéï, which drains the northwest, the Boumba in the centre and southeast, the Sangha and Ngoko, which drain portions of the southeast and form the border with the Central African Republic and Congo respectively. Many of these rivers have carved out valleys; the rivers of the territory have only slight gradients, floods can occur along them during the rainy season.
The Lom and Nyong rivers empty into the Atlantic Ocean. All other rivers in the East form part of the Congo River basin; the entire territory of the East Region lies on the South Cameroon Plateau that forms the southeastern half of the country. The elevation thus varies between 500 and 1000 metres above sea level except for lower-lying plains of 200 to 500 metres in the extreme southeast centered on the Dja, Boumba and Ngoko Rivers; the land consists of monotonous undulating hills known as "half-oranges" due to their resemblance to that fruit. The East has a Type A wet equatorial climate, meaning that it experiences high temperatures and a lack of traditional seasons. Instead, there is a long dry season from December to May, a light wet season from May to June, a short dry season from July to October, a heavy wet season from October to November. Humidity and cloud cover are high, precipitation averages 1500–2000 mm per year except in the extreme eastern and northern portions, where it is less.
The lower two thirds of the region is covered in rain forest, which grows progressively thicker as one travels south. The forests are composed of hardwood evergreens of species such as dibetu, iroko, mahogany and sapelli, some of which grow to heights of 70 metres or more. There are numerous ferns and orchids; this forest is stratified into several levels. The first is composed of thick-rooted trees averaging about 40-metres tall. After this grow shorter, thinner trees with placed clusters of leaves. Sparse grasses and other plants make up the ground layer. In areas closer to settlements and roads, human groups have harvested the larger trees, thus exposing the forest floor to more direct sunlight and allowing thick vegetation to thrive; the upper third of the province is dominated by wooded savanna. Trees here still may grow to be as tall as 20 metres; the government of Cameroon has established four forest and game reserves in the East: the Dja Reserve in the southwest of the province and extending into the South Province, Lobéké Park, the Boumba-Bek Reserve and the Nki Reserve in the southeast.
The Pangar Djérem Reserve protects one of the more wooded parts of the Guinean savanna in the region's northwest and extends into the Adamawa Region. Animal life is diverse; the forests are inhabited by numerous species of monkey, as well as some of the last populations of gorillas and chimpanzees in Cameroon. Bats and birds of various species are common, as are various rodents. A few forest elephants still live in the region, as well. Many of these animals are under threat of extinction due to deforestation and the bushmeat trade; the East had 517,198 inhabitants in 1987, it remains the most sparsely populated of Cameroon's ten regions. The bulk of the territory has a population density of less than five persons/km²; this is a result of the area's thick forests, which inhibit settlement and support disease-carrying insects such as mosquitoes and blackflies. These factors make the East an unattractive target for development by both non-governmental organisations and the Cameroonian government, a fact that has only further prevented larger numbers of people from settling in the region.
The majority of the population is thus situated in vil