A canoe ride on the Nyong River was the high point of Taleb Rifaï’s visit to some tourist sites in the Centre Region.
It was a delighted Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Taleb Rifaï, who alighted from one of the 20 canoes that had taken his delegation, administrative and traditional authorities on a one-hour ride on the Nyong River to discover the marvels of nature. This was on the occasion of the visit of the UNWTO scribe to Ebogo, some 70 km from Yaounde on November 23, 2016. It was part of his visit to Cameroon at the invitation of government. It was the sound of drums, chants and dance styles that welcomed and bid farewell to the visiting delegation.
Taleb Rifaï was impressed, discovering the water, mangroves and the Mbalmayo forest that make up the site. It is situated some 10 km from Mbalmayo in the Nyong and So’o Division of the Centre Region. The Ebogo Tourist Site is one of four in Cameroon identified by the UNWTO as part of the Sustainable Tourism for Eliminating Poverty (STEP), project, operational since 10 years now. The delegation was told that local communities have changed since the gospel of sustainable tourism was introduced. Visitors have kept increasing in numbers, though management is yet to produce figures.
The delegation continued to the Mefou Primate Sanctuary where chimpanzees, gorillas and monkeys were on hand to welcome them. They crisscrossed the site where over 300 primates are spread out in a protected area of over 1,050 hectares. Taleb Rifaï, in the company of the Minister of State, Minister of Tourism and Leisure, Maïgari Bello Bouba, signed the Golden Book. The Mefou Primate Sanctuary is located 30 km from Yaounde. The visit of the UNWTO scribe to the Ebogo Tourist Site and the Mefou Primate Sanctuary was a culmination of four days of stay in Cameroon at the invitation of the Cameroon government.