Map from Google - Cameroon

In Cameroon, the climate is tropical, semi-arid in the north, and humid and rainy in the rest of the country. There is almost everywhere a dry season in winter and a rainy season in summer, due to the African monsoon, which is shorter in the north and longer in the south, while along the coast even in winter there can be some showers. The northernmost part of the country, on the shores of Lake Chad, is the driest area, where less than 600 millimetres (23.5 inches) of rain per year fall, while the wettest is the coast, where rainfall exceeds 3,000 mm (120 in) per year (see the map).

Precipitation in Cameroon, inches and millimetres

In inland southern region lies a plateau, located between 500 and 1,200 metres (1,600 and 3,900 feet) above sea level, where the altitude moderates the climate, making the heat more bearable.

In the north the climate is hot and semi-arid, with a rainy season from mid-May to September, while the rest of the year is characterized by a hot and often torrid weather, and dryness. In the winter months, a hot wind from the desert blows, the Harmattan, which raises dust, creating a typical mist; sometimes this wind can also reach the centre and the south. Nights can be cool, sometimes even cold: lows can drop to around freezing (0 °C or 32 °F) in the far north. The northernmost area belongs to the climate zone called Sahel, while more to the south lies the savannah zone.

North Cameroon

In Maroua, precipitation amounts to 760 millimetres (30 inches) per year, most of which fall from May to September, with a maximum of 235 mm (9.2 in) in August. Here is the average precipitation.
Average precipitation - Maroua
Prec. (mm)00120601001952351302500760

August is also the coolest month, the only one in which the average maximum temperature reaches as low as 30 °C (86 °F), but at this time the air is moist. In the winter months, it gets hot during the day, while nights can be cool; the hottest period runs from March to May, when the temperature often reaches 40 °C (104 °F); the highest recorded temperatures in this region are about 47/48 °C (117/118 °F). After the rains, in October and November, the torrid heat comes back, albeit less intense, around 35 °C (95 °F), with peaks of 40 °C (104 °F). Here are the average temperatures.
Average temperatures - Maroua
Min (°C)171923252523222121211917
Max (°C)323538403835323032353533
Min (°F)636673777773727070706663
Max (°F)909510010410095908690959591

In the north the sun shines regularly in the long dry season, while in the rainy season the hours of sunshine decrease a little; the least sunny months are July and August.
Sunshine - Maroua
Sun (hours)99988866781010

Proceeding south, in the south-central plateau, the climate becomes different: the rainy season it's longer, so much so that in Ngaoundéré it runs from April to October, and precipitation amounts to 1,500 mm (60 in) per year, of which 285 mm (11 in) in August. Here is the average precipitation.
Average precipitation - Ngaoundéré
Prec. (mm)35451351852252702852501301001540

In comparison with the north, in this area the heat is less intense, both because of the cloud cover and the early rains that prevent the warming in spring, and because of altitude: Ngaoundéré is located at 1,100 metres (3,600 feet) above sea level, so it can get hot during the day but generally without excesses, while nights can be cool.
Average temperatures - Ngaoundéré
Min (°C)121416171717171716161312
Max (°C)303131302827272526272930
Min (°F)545761636363636361615554
Max (°F)868888868281817779818486

In the northern part of the plateau the sun shines regularly in the dry season, while in the rainy season the sky becomes often cloudy.
Sunshine - Ngaoundéré
Sun (hours)998766445699

Further to the south, in the rest of the plateau of central and southern Cameroon, the total annual rainfall is still around 1,500 mm (60 in), but the rainy season is even longer, so as to make possible the growth of the forest. In the capital, Yaoundé, at 750 metres (2,450 ft) above sea level, 1,500 mm (60 in) of rain per year fall, but the rains occur from March to November, with two peaks in May and October, interrupted by a relative pause in July and August, when they do not exceed 120 mm (4.7 in) per month: in these months, however, the sky is still often cloudy. Here is the average precipitation.
Average precipitation - Yaoundé
Prec. (mm)20451251702001557511523029595201540

The altitude makes the heat bearable here as well, given that average highs go from 30 °C (86 °F) in the dry months, to 27/28 °C (81/82 °F) in the rainy months. Here are the average temperatures.
Average temperatures - Yaoundé
Min (°C)202020202020201919192020
Max (°C)303130302928272728282829
Min (°F)686868686868686666666868
Max (°F)868886868482818182828284

In Yaoundé the sun does not shine very often: in the rainy season the sky is often cloudy, but even in the driest period, from December to February, the sun doesn't shine so frequently, not going above 6 hours a day.
Sunshine - Yaoundé
Sun (hours)665554333466


Along the coast, a hot and humid weather reigns throughout the year: this is actually the wettest area of Cameroon, where rainfall exceeds 2,000 mm (80 in) per year: in addition to the proximity of the Equator, which results in a strong solar radiation, we must add warm and humid air masses coming from the sea in the period of the African monsoon, so heavy rains occur from May to October, albeit with a decrease in rainfall from mid-June to mid-August in the southern part.
In Kribi 2,800 mm (110 in) of rain per year fall, of which 320 mm (12.5 in) in May and even 500 mm (20 in) in September and October, but "only" 125 mm (4.9 in) in July, however, even in December and January, the driest months, about 80 mm (3.2 in) of rain fall. So here the climate is almost equatorial, without a real dry season.
The rainiest city of Cameroon is Douala, north of Kribi but still on the coast, where 3,600 mm (140 in) of rain per year fall, of which more than 500 mm (20 in) per month from July to September: so here there is no decrease in the mid-summer months; even here in winter there may be some showers, but a little less frequently than in Kribi. Here is the average precipitation.
Average precipitation - Douala
Prec. (mm)3555155240275355680690560405125303605

On the coast, the temperatures are high throughout the year, however, they decrease during the rainy season, when the air is humid, but a lively breeze blows from the ocean. Here are the average temperatures.
Average temperatures - Douala
Min (°C)232424242323232323232323
Max (°C)323333323130282829303132
Min (°F)737575757373737373737373
Max (°F)909191908886828284868890

The coast, like the southern part of the plateau, is never very sunny, even in the driest months.
Sunshine - Douala
Sun (hours)666664223456

The sea temperature in Cameroon is high throughout the year, as can be seen from the following table.
Sea temperature - Douala
Sea (°C)282929292928272627272828
Sea (°F)828484848482817981818282

At a short distance from the coast, we find the highest peak of the country: Mount Cameroon, a volcano of 4,040 metres (13,255 feet); the slopes up to about 2,500 metres (8,200 ft) are very rainy and are covered by forests, while above 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) it's cold all year round.

When to go

The best time to visit Cameroon is winter, from December to February, being the driest and sunniest. In the centre-south it's hot during the day, although it may be a bit cool at night on the plateau. In the arid north it's very hot during the day, while at night it can get a bit cold; as early as in February the heat can be scorching, so you may prefer to visit the north in December and January.
On the coast, in winter the weather is hot and muggy, though with a breeze from the sea; the sky is often overcast especially in the morning, and there can be some showers, especially in the southern part (see Kribi).

What to pack

In winter: for the north, but also Yaoundé and the south-central plateau, light clothes for the day, loose fitting and of natural fabric (cotton or linen), desert turban for the wind-borne sand and dust, a jacket and a sweater for the evening, comfortable boots or sandals. For the coast, light clothing, a light sweatshirt for the evening. For the top of Mount Cameroon: down jacket, gloves, scarf, hat, raincoat.

In summer: for the north, light clothes, light raincoat or umbrella for the rain showers, light sweatshirt. For Yaoundé and the south-central plateau, light clothes, but also a sweater, and a raincoat. For the coast, light clothing, light sweatshirt, light raincoat or umbrella. For the top of Mount Cameroon: warm jacket, gloves, scarf, hat, raincoat.