Flying to Douala and looking to buy a sim card for Cameroon? Here is everything you need to know! A complete guide about buying a sim card at Douala Airport on arrival. Where to buy a sim card, the best 4G/5G network in Cameroon, up to date prices as per August 2023, my recommendation, a vlog about my experiences and even information about international and e-sim cards for Cameroon.
As a full time world traveler I get to see a lot of different countries. Visiting Cameroon for me was entering country no. 122 on my journey to travel to every country in the world. Everywhere I go I write local sim card guides to help travelers not to waste money on expensive roaming costs. On my blog you can find many sim card guides from around the world: Kenya, Egypt, South Africa, Sao Tome & Principe, Gabon, Paris, Dubai, Brussels, USA, Europe, Istanbul, etc.
You can of course also find a complete guide for buying a sim card in Cameroon in 2023 in case you missed the opportunity at Douala Airport.
Traveltomtom recommends an Orange sim card for traveling in Cameroon. It has the best network and surprisingly also the cheapest prices for prepaid sim cards and data packages.
Buying a sim card at Douala Airport is especially recommended to those not speaking French. At the airport the staff speaks reasonable English and it will be much easier for you to get the right Cameroon sim card deal.
Another great way of staying connected on a trip to Cameroon is a travel sim card with data and global coverage. These so called international sim cards are slightly more expensive but come with a lot of advatages. You can order one online and get the sim card shipped to your home address before your trip. Check out my comparison of the best global sim cards with data for traveling in 2023 and pick the one that suits your trip the most.
Best e-sim card for Cameroon
However, the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Douala in 2023 is an e-sim card. No more swapping physical sim cards and visiting a store. Just order an e-sim card online. You instantly receive a QR code, scan the code, follow the instructions and you are connected in no-time.
Check out this e-sim card plan for Cameroon:
- $9.5 USD = 1 GB data for 7 days
Click here to directly order an e-sim card for Cameroon or find more information. With an e-sim card you keep your own phone number from home.
Why buying a sim card for Cameroon
Having a data connection on your phone makes life so much easier, right? No need to tell you that anymore! But as soon as you travel abroad your data connections stop working or switches to roaming, and roaming costs are outrageous. Imagine not being able to look up information or navigating through Google Maps, finding nearby hotels, restaurants or simply staying in touch with family. Not even talking about emergencies like money issues, language barriers, etc.
If you think the hotel WiFi is fine for you when traveling to Cameroon then think again. Cameroon is not as developed as back home and even if the hotel offers WiFi, it is often not even properly working. Also a reminder that surfing the web on public WiFi is through an UNSECURED network.
When traveling to Cameroon Traveltomtom recommend you to buy a local prepaid sim card. It is easy, takes just a couple minutes, saves you massively in roaming costs, you are instantly connected and data packages in Cameroon are cheap.
Douala International Airport
Although Douala Airport is the main hub for traveling to and from Cameroon, it is a very outdated and chaotic airport. Luckily there is only one arrival hall and luggage reclaim area so that makes it kind of easy.
Where to buy a sim card at Douala Airport
It is impossible to miss the opportunity for getting a Cameroon sim card on arrival at Douala Airport. There are 3 mobile internet operators in Cameroon and all of them have a kiosk at Douala International Airport right next to the luggage belts.
So after you grabbed your luggage from the belt, don’t walk out of the building yet but turn around and you will see the mobile internet providers shops of MTN, Orange and Nexttel.
All mobile internet provider shops are open from 08.00 am till midnight and BE AWARE that you can only pay cash, unfortunately they don’t accept credit cards.
Prices Cameroon sim cards at Douala Airport
All the below info and prices are updates in August 2023 and prices are in Central African Franc: $1 USD = 595 CFA and 1,000 CFA = $1.68 USD.
This is the smallest internet provider in Cameroon with a much smaller network coverage. The sim card costs 100 XAF = $0.17 USD and you can choose from one of the above data packages.
Nexttel only offers monthly packages, valid for 30 days!
The most common Nexttel sim card deal for Cameroon is the 1.05 GB per day for 30 days, which means 30 * 1.05 GB = 31.5 GB. Every day at midnight you get another GB. Total price is 9,000 XAF = $16 USD. For more prepaid sim card deals from Nexttel have a look at the photo above.
An MTN prepaid sim card for tourists is called an MTN tourist plan. The sim card is free when activating one of the above 3 packages shown in the picture.
- 5,000 XAF = 250 MB / day + 2,500 XAF calling credit to all networks for 7 days - $9
- 10,000 XAF = 1 GB / day + 5,000 XAF calling credit to all networks for 7 days - $17
- 20,000 XAF = 1 GB / day + 10,000 XAF calling credit to all networks for 30 days - $35
Also included is credit for calling MTN numbers + sms.
As you can see MTN is much more expensive than Nexttel, saying they offer basically the same prepaid sim card deal for 7 days and Nexttel offers this for 30 days.
At Orange they are very flexible when it comes to the duration. They offer data packages per 3 days, 7 days, 15 days and 30 days! Sounds like a winner as not everyone is traveling to Cameroon for 30 days.
- 2,650 XAF = 1 GB per day for 7 days - $5
- 5,250 XAF = 1 GB per day for 15 days - $9
- 10,000 XAF = 1 GB per day for 30 days - $17
See the photo above for much more Orange Cameroon sim card deals.
Not hard to determine which mobile internet provider in Cameroon offers the best prepaid sim card deals! Right?
4G/5G network in Cameroon
Let’s also talk mobile internet coverage and who has the best 4G/5G network in Cameroon. Unfortunately there is still no 5G in Cameroon in 2023. However, there is a pretty good 4G network and all of the best places to visit in Cameroon are covered with a 4G signal. But not by every mobile provider, so choose your sim card for Cameroon wisely.
When determining the best prepaid sim card in Cameroon I can already tell you that Nexttel is NOT recommend for traveling in Cameroon. Their network coverage is simply too small.
MTN has a fairly good network, but Orange has the best 3G/4G network in Cameroon!
For more detailed information about the best mobile internet network in Cameroon check my article about buying a sim card in Cameroon in 2023.
Best Cameroon sim card at Douala Airport
It leaves no doubt that Orange is the best prepaid sim card for tourists in Cameroon. It has the best network coverage and prices for data bundles are significantly cheaper than its main competitor MTN.
For less than $5 USD you already get 1 GB data per day for 1 week and for less than $10 USD you get 1 GB data per day for 15 days. Therefore Traveltomtom recommends buying an Orange sim card at Douala Airport.
Buying a sim card for Cameroon online
You can skip all this hassle by getting a Cameroon sim card online and get it shipped to your home address before your trip. Check out the following international sim card deal for Cameroon, a pretty good deal:
- Orange Holiday World with 10 GB data for 14 days = $49.90 USD
Click here to order the above Cameroon sim card directly online. These sim cards work based on plug and play, meaning they are automatically activated from its first use.
Also another last reminder that you can arrange everything online within just a couple minutes by ordering an e-sim card for Cameroon.
My experiences buying a sim card at Douala Airport
Unfortunately I was not aware that you have to have cash to buy a sim card at Douala Airport. At almost every airport around the world they accept international credit cards. Well, not in Cameroon!
The police had no problem with me walking out to get money from the ATM and coming back into the luggage belt area to buy a sim card for my trip to Cameroon. But guess what: ATM not working! Still I went back inside and explained the very helpful and English speaking staff at the Orange shop that I could not buy a sim card as I didn’t have cash.
Because an Orange sim card for Cameroon is free of charge, the staff offered to already register my sim card with my passport. So that I could top up credit anywhere and activate a package myself. As I am very well experienced when it comes to sim cards I opted for that option and had no problems getting the right data package.
I would only recommend this to those who know how thing work with smart dial and activation codes, etc. If you speak French it might be easy for you. If you don’t then this way is NOT recommended to get connected in Cameroon. If you are not able to buy a sim card at Douala Airport for the same reason I recommend you to go to the nearby Douala Mall (taxi should cost maximum 1,000 XAF). There is an Orange Store and they can set you up. Also see my video above or check my article about best prepaid sim card for Cameroon in 2023.
I hope all the above tips for buying a sim card at Douala Airport were helpful. May you have any more questions please let me know in the comments below.
Interested in seeing some off the beaten path places then check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow my journey to travel to every country in the world. As of August 2023 I have traveled to more than 155 countries.
Enjoy your trip to Cameroon!