If you’ve never been to a market in Africa, Yaounde is a good place to give you an idea of what types of goods can be found there…really, it’s EVERYTHING! From the umbrellas from which bras are draped for display purposes (which I have renamed Victoria’s Not-So-Secret, since they are sitting curb-side), to football (aka soccer) jerseys, to scrumptious looking pineapples, to piles of raw meat – just laid out on cardboard with flies circling (no thanks, I’ll pass on that one!), to smoked fish, to knock-off purses or sneakers – I think that if it can be found in this country, it can be found at the market!
While you went in Yaounde, you got a chance to visit (or at least drive through) 3 different markets. The general market which is called the Mfoundi market is massive, and you can drive through in a taxi while on a tour of the city. The market is a chaotic scene, and although traffic seems worse for vehicles than for pedestrians, traffic is heavy. There are people in taxi or motorbike coming and going, and this is not better for pedestrians either! Looking in the rows of stands looks like a giant maze, and when you turn the corner, you are impressed by the size of the market. you will find plenty of people who negotiate, bargain and try to get the best deals. you will love the activity and the energy that all this releases!
As visitors to this new place, another step for you is to visit the Artisan Market. It’s a nice way to tell the group of stands with souvenirs that tourists love. It is better to visit this country with a local guide who will negotiate the price of the masks for you because you are far from knowing what it is that a reasonable price! You will find there among other chains of pearls in glass herringbone, which are traditionally worn by “notables” in some communities of the northern region of the country. Masks representing all the tribes of the country with each one of them a particular meaning. You will find your account whatever your nationality because this market is made to combine discovery and appreciation.
Another market that we are planning to visit is the fabric market. If you are a lover of African wax fabrics, you can get all kinds in Cameroon in general and again in Yaoundé in particular. Some of these fabrics are very reminiscent of Indonesian Batic fabrics, but with much brighter print and color combinations. The varieties of patterns, colors and fabric quality are overwhelming. You will leave this place with lots of good memories and a smile on the lip because it is a place of cheerfulness, the salesmen are jovial and welcoming to foreigners. If you are in love with African wax and African traditions this place is for you and you will have a good time !!