Taking the train in Cameroon

Taking the train is a good way to get around the country, especially given the state of the roads.  Cameroon has a metre-gauge rail network.

small bullet point  Douala to Yaoundé

small bullet point  Yaoundé to Ngaoundere

small bullet point  Douala - Mbanga - Kumba

For other routes and a network map, see www.camrail.net.  Further feedback to help improve this page is always welcome!

In Doula, trains leave from the Gare de Bessengué, see map of Douala showing station.

Useful country information

Train operator:

Camrail, www.camrail.net


Time zone:

GMT+1.  No daylight saving time.

Dialling code:




£1 = approx 730 Francs.    $1 = approx 600 Francs    Currency converter


You'll need a visa to visit Cameroon.  In the UK, see www.cameroonhighcommission.co.uk.

Tourist information:

?   Health & vaccinations


Hotels in Cameroon

Page last updated:

8 January 2024

Doula - Yaoundé

An improved service with two new non-stop inter-city trains started in May 2014.  These were suspended after an accident in 2016, but restored in July 2021.  The current service has an express, an ordinary train and an all stations 'omnibus' although none are now branded Intercity.

 Douala ► Yaoundé


 Yaoundé ► Douala

Train number:


Ordinary 181

Omnibus 103

Train number: 




Trains type:




Train type:





1st & premium






1st & premium




Mon, Wed, Fri



Tue, Thur, Sat


 Douala depart:




 Yaoundé depart:




 Edea arr/dep:




 Edea arr/dep




 Yaoundé arrive:




 Douala arrive:




* Guesstimated time, not confirmed.

Express = fast train, 3 x air-conditioned 1st class cars, 5 x air-conditioned premium class cars & bar-restaurant car.

Ordinary = older train, 2nd class only, non-air-con.

Omnibus = slow train, all stations, non-air-con.

You can check departure times & fares at www.camrail.net or www.mycamrail.cm.   Douala to Yaoundé is 263 km (163 miles).

 How much does it cost?

 In CFA Francs

1st class

Premium class

2nd class

 Doula-Yaoundé by express

10,000 one-way

17,000 return

6,000 one-way

11,000 return


 Doula-Yaoundé by ordinary train




 Doula-Yaoundé by omnibus train




Children under 5 travel free.  Children under 10 go at half fare. £1 = 730 CFA, $1 = 600 CFA.

How to buy tickets

Yaounde station with trains to Douala

At Yaoundé station, the express is about to leave, with the local train on the left.

1st class on train from Douala to Yaoundé   2nd class seats

1st class air-con seats from Douala to Yaoundé.  Photo courtesy of Hubert Horan.

2nd class seats seats on the Douala to Yaoundé train.  Courtesy of Hubert Horan.

Travellers' reports

Traveller Iain Bisset reports:  "I travelled on the “Inter-City” [IC22] between Yaounde and Douala in first class. Arriving at the station at around 07:15 it was possible to buy a first class ticket for 6000 CFA from the ticket office (upstairs for this line, downstairs for Ngaoundere).  A guy outside pointed me in the direction of a line of buses which were off to Douala on a fill up and go basis. They would be much quicker, I was told. But that’s not the point of taking trains in Africa, right?  The train left on time at 07:40 and first class was comfortably empty.  Two commuters off to Eseka were they only other people in first class except for the guard, whose job it seemed only consisted of kicking out people with second class tickets who got on through the wrong door, and a guy selling cold drinks and sandwiches, the latter for about 40p.  A Whitney Houston music video was put, quietly, on the television and within fifteen minutes of leaving Yaounde there was no phone signal and we were in the jungle. 

The train had a couple of long delays due to other trains on the line breaking down. This was communicated to us clearly by the staff and in the end we arrived into Douala at 14:00. Or rather we got to an out-of-town station and everyone piled out, I joined them and hopped on a motorbike taxi to continue into the city centre. The train can take much longer than the bus so I think I may have been the only passenger in both classes to be travelling the full length, but as neither city has any “must see” sights, this makes a good journey choice. I was in the pool with a beer before 15:00 and the ticket is the same price as a VIP bus ticket, a journey which has never taken less than 4h15 minutes for me, so a train with no delays isn’t much longer. Definitely worth it, in my opinion."


Yaoundé - Ngaoundéré

A daily overnight train links these cities, with sleeping-berths and seats.

 Yaoundé ► Ngaoundéré   


 Ngaoundéré ► Yaoundé 









 Yaoundé depart:


 Ngaoundéré depart:


 Nanga Eboko arr/dep:


 Mbitom arr/dep:


 Belabo arr/dep:


 Belabo arr/dep:


 Mbitom arr/dep:


 Nanga Eboko arr/dep:


 Ngaoundéré arrive:


 Yaoundé arrive:


Train 191/192 = Couchette car with 2-berth & 4-berth compartments, 1st & 2nd class seats, runs daily.

You can check departure times & fares at www.camrail.net or www.mycamrail.cm.  The distance is 667 km (417 miles).

 How much does it cost?

 In CFA Francs

Bed in 2-berth

Bed in 4-berth

1st class seat

2nd class seat

 Yaoundé - Ngaoundéré





Children under 5 travel free.  Children under 10 go at half fare.   £1 = 730 CFA, $1 = 600 CFA.

How to buy tickets

Train Ngaoundere to Yaoundé train   1st class 2-bed sleeper on Yaoundé to Ngaoundere train

The train from Ngaoundere to Yaoundé station (above left) and 1st class 2-berth sleeper.  Larger photoPhotos courtesy of Julien Barranco.

1st class couchette on Yaoundé to Ngaoundere train   Train from Ngaoundere, arrived at Yaoundé

1st class 4-berth couchette on the Yaoundé to Ngaoundere night train.  Courtesy of Iain Bisset.


The train from Ngaoundere, arrived at Yaoundé station.  Photo courtesy of Iain Bisset.

Traveller's reports

Traveller Julien Barranco reports (2024):  "I bought my tickets online on the mycamrail site. Very easy to use, but you can only pay using a telephone account (orange pay or MTN momo), you can't use credit cards.  However, you need to book a little in advance (2-3 days) as tickets go very quickly! I arrived at the station at 16:00.  Their job is simple: to take your bag/case and place it in your compartment or seat for the sum of 500 francs.  You can trust them!  At 18:00 we can board the train, but stay near the entrance because as soon as boarding starts it's a mad rush.  I'm really surprised by the comfortable berth, with clean sheets and a rather comfortable cushion for a train in Africa! 19:15 on the dot, the train leaves and I feel like I'm in Japan.  I go straight to the restaurant car where I'm offered either chicken or fish with rice and slices of watermelon with a large bottle of water 4000 francs.  I return to my compartment and go to bed.  The train shakes a lot, not the most restful night, but that's the experience. It's also pretty damn cold. There's no air-conditioning, but the windows are open. Remember to take pants for the night.  Arrival in Yaoundé at 09:00."

Traveller Andrew Polhill reports:  "It's an epic journey.  You leave the arid sahel region in the evening and wake up in the steamy tropics.  At the time I went it was also the safest way to travel north/south.  Definitely recommend it!"

Traveller Iain Bisset reports:  "I bought my ticket in N’Gaoundere in a much less effective system than there is in Yaounde.  A couple of benches sit outside the First Class ticket office and the guard will ask if you are reserving or paying. He will then forget and you will lose your place in the mass. It is best to keep pushing and stand up every time someone leaves to signal your intention to go in! After about ninety minutes I got to the reservation desk and asked for two beds in a two bed compartment. The lady made out the first reservation and then realised that was the last page in the book, she ordered a new book, we waited, it arrived, wrong book, girl went back. Eventually I got the reservations! You put a down payment of 5000 CFA on each ticket. I returned the next morning and the queue is much shorter for paying. There was some problem with the tickets, they had overbooked, they had nothing. After some arguing, all in French as no one speaks English up there, they gave us two beds in a four bed compartment. It only took ten minutes, including waiting. Off to photograph the interesting architecture of the station, which is flanked by more traditional colonial buildings and the palace. Hotel check-out is invariably 12:00 and even if you aim to board the train at 17:00 that is a lot of time to kill in N’Gaoundere.

The train left on time at 18:20 and the beds were comfortable with clean sheets and plenty of space for luggage.  We were given upper bunks which was apparent with a scrawled Haut on our tickets.  My colleague, local, happily left his belongings on the bunk when we went to the dining car, I had my valuables with me at all times but it didn’t feel like a problem to leave my sack of dirty clothes and books in the huge baggage space by the bunks.  We were found spaces in the restaurant car by a waitress who also offered to bring food to the compartment, although where you would eat it in the top bunk is beyond me. We had two meals and three drinks for 5000 CFA (around £6) which my colleague treated me to for having spent that time in the queue!  They served no alcohol when we were travelling and a lot of passengers complained which made me think it was not a regular occurrence.  I have spent over 60 nights in sleeper trains, on beds, and this was the most uncomfortable! The bed was comfortable but the train jerked in a staccato manner all night.  It had a long delay somewhere around Belabo, noticeable as we all fell into a deep sleep!

When we woke up in the morning we were nowhere near Yaounde, not a problem as breakfast was served for either 1500 or 2500 CFA depending on if you wanted fruit and fruit juice with your coffee and omelette. Jungle scenery passes by and stations come into view with villagers balancing buckets of all sorts on their heads which passengers lean from windows to purchase from. We arrived into Yaounde at 11:00 exactly, I have no idea when we were supposed to get there. Taxis wait to take people around town, but if you know your way it isn’t too far to several decent hotels.

Compared to the bus the train is a lot more comfortable, compared to flying the train is a lot cheaper and compared to both it is just the right way to go. The two bed compartments looked very nice and were a bit closer to the restaurant car, I am not sure how having a seat would be for this journey but it is worth noting that second class tickets do not admit access to the restaurant car, for that reason alone I would go for the first class and as it can take 16 hours, the bed seems the best way to go.

Doula - Mbanga - Kumba

A train links Doula with Mbanga & Kumba twice a week, 2nd class only, fare 1000 Francs, see www.camrail.net.  The train is mentioned in the French version, but not on the same page when switched to English - and even the French version doesn't give the days of running!

Local trains, 2nd class only, run from Mbanga to Kumba daily at 09:20, 13:00, 17:30.  Journey 1 hour, fare 500 Francs.

Local trains, 2nd class only, run from Kumba to Mbanga daily at 07:50, 11:30, 15:30.  Journey 1 hour, fare 500 Francs.

Mbanga is 66 km from Doula.

Train from Mbanga to Kumba, Cameroon   Train to Kumba boarding at Mbanga

2nd class seats on the Mbanga to Kumba train.  Photo courtesy of Iain Bisset.


The local train to Kumba, boarding at Mbanga.  Photo courtesy of Iain Bisset.


Hotels in Cameroon

Find hotels at Booking.comMy favourite hotel search: www.booking.com

Booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally use it to book all my hotels in one place.  I've come to trust booking.com's review scores, you won't be disappointed with any hotel that scores 8.0 or more.  Crucially, booking.com usually lets you book with free cancellation, which means you can confirm accommodation risk-free before train booking opens and/or you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when planning a trip.  I never book hotels non-refundably!

Backpacker hostels

www.hostelworld.com:  If you're on a tight budget, don't forget about backpacker hostels.  Hostelworld offers online booking of cheap private rooms or dorm beds in backpacker hostels in most cities at rock-bottom prices.

Travel insurance & other tips


Staysure travel insurance


Columbus Direct logo

Always take out travel insurance

Never travel overseas without travel insurance from a reliable insurer, with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover cancellation and loss of cash and belongings, up to a sensible limit.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheaper than several single-trip policies even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I have an annual policy with Staysure.co.uk myself.  Here are some suggested insurers.  Seat61 gets a small commission if you buy through these links.

UK flag  www.staysure.co.uk offers enhanced Covid-19 protection & gets 4.7 out of 5 on Trustpilot.

UK flag  www.columbusdirect.com is also a well-know brand.

US flag  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.


Maya.net logo

Get an eSIM with mobile data package

Don't rely on WiFi, download an eSIM with a mobile data package for the country you're visiting and stay connected.  Most newer mobile phones can download a virtual SIM card so you don't need to buy a physical SIM, including iPhone 11 & later, see device compatibility listMaya.net is a reliable eSIM data retailer with a 4.5 out of 5 Trustpilot rating and a range of packages including unlimited data.


Curve card

Curve card

Get a Curve card for foreign travel

Most banks give you a poor exchange rate, then add a foreign transaction fee on top.  A Curve MasterCard means no foreign transaction fees and gives you the mid-market exchange rate, at least up to a certain limit, £500 per month at time of writing.  The money you spend on your Curve card goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards.

How it works:  1. Download the Curve app for iPhone or Android.  2. Enter your details & they'll send you a Curve MasterCard - they send to the UK and most European addresses.  3. Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app, you can link up to two cards with the free version of Curve, I link my normal debit card and my normal credit card.  4. Now use the Curve MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, exactly like a normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance in your own currency onto whichever debit or credit card is currently selected in the Curve app.  You can even change your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction.

I have a Curve Blue card myself, it means I can buy a coffee on a foreign station on a card without being stung by fees and lousy exchange rates, just by tapping the Curve card on their card reader.  The money goes through Curve to my normal debit card and is taken directly from my account (in fact I have the Curve card set up as payment card on Apple Pay on my iPhone, so can double-click my phone, let it do Face ID then tap the reader with the phone - even easier than digging a card out).  I get a little commission if you sign up to Curve, but I recommend it here because I think it's great.  See details, download the app and get a Curve card, they'll give you £5 cashback through that link.


Express VPN

Get a VPN for safe browsing.  Why you need a VPN

When you're travelling you often use free WiFi in public places which may not be secure.  A VPN encrypts your connection so it's always secure, even on unsecured WiFi.  It also means you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geoblocking which a surprising number of websites apply.  See VPNs & why you need one explainedExpressVPN is a best buy with a 4.7 out of 5 Trustpilot ranking which I use myself - I've signed up as an ExpressVPN affiliate, and if you go with expressvpn.com using the links on this page, you should see a special deal, 3 months free with an annual subscription.  I get a small commission to help support this site.


Anker Powerrbank

Carry an Anker powerbank

Tickets, reservations, vaccination records and Interrail or Eurail passes are often held digitally on your mobile phone, so it's vital to keep it charged.  I always carry an Anker powerbank which can recharge my phone several times over if I can't get to a power outlet.  Buy from Amazon.co.uk or from Buy from Amazon.com.


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