Looking for cool places to see in Cameroon? I totally recommend you visiting the Ekom Nkam Waterfalls near Nkongsamba. For me it was one of the highlights of my trip to Cameroon.
This is my complete Ekom Nkam Waterfall travel guide with everything you need to know when visiting. How to get there, entrance fee, restrictions, accommodation near the waterfall, info about Nkongsamba, my experience and more.
Also obsessed by chasing waterfalls? Let me tell you this one is not going to disappoint you! Les Chutes d’Ekom as they are called in Cameroon are an absolutely impressive place to visit.
Chutes is plural in French for waterfalls, meaning there is more than one waterfall. The beautiful Ekom waterfalls are actually a twin waterfall split by a rock formation on the top of the waterfall, depending on the season.
1. Location Ekom Nkam Waterfalls
The Google Maps location for Ekom Nkam Waterfalls is actually correct. The falls are located in the middle of a thick and lush green jungle about 20 kilometer Northeast of Nkongsamba, a laid-back mountain village. Nkongsamba itself is 150 kilometer North of Douala.
2. How to get to Chutes d’Ekom
The easiest way to get to Ekom Nkam Waterfall is by taxi from Nkongsamba. We arranged a taxi driver who would drop us at the entrance, wait for us and drive us back to Nkongsamba. We agreed on hiring him for about 2-3 hours and he asked 10,000 XAF ($17).
You can also get there by motorbike from Nkongsamba. The moto guys are much cheaper and ask only around 5,0000 XAF ($9).
From Nkongsamba you will drive North on the N5 until you hit the little town of Melong II. Here you will see a huge sign on the side of the main road saying Ekom Waterfalls. At this point you turn right into an unpaved road.
Although it is in a pretty bad condition, it is a beautiful scenic road down into the forest. On your way you will see some very friendly local people. The roads are doable with a normal car, no need for a 4x4 if you are self driving. But it is best to just hire a taxi in Nkongsamba to not damage your rental car.
How to get to Nkongsamba
If you are self driving from Douala then it is fairly easy. Just follow the N3 towards Limbe and turn right on the N5 North towards Nkongsamba. Google Maps will show you the way. The roads are pretty good.
If you are looking to get from Douala to Nkongsamba by public transport Traveltomtom recommends you to get a shared taxi. Just a couple hundred meter from the famous Rond-point in Deido there is Nkongsamba Express. This bus service travels between Douala and Nkongsamba and costs 2,500 XAF ($4) for a normal bus ticket. For 4,000 XAF ($7) you get a seat in a shared taxi with 5 other people.
Traveltomtom’s trip for traveling in Africa is to buy all seats in the shared taxi and then you basically have your private taxi. In total we paid 6 x 4,000 = 24,000 XAF ($42). We were with 3 people though so we split the costs.
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3. Entrance fee Chutes d’Ekom Nkam
The normal entrance fee for visiting Ekom Waterfalls is 3,000 XAF ($5) per person. If you have a camera you will pay an extra fee of 500 XAF ($1), basically meaning to say if you want to take photos, because this 500 XAF fee also counts for mobile phones.
In case you have a DSLR camera or anything similar you will have to pay an extra 10,000 XAF ($17). And are you ready for the price of a drone? A crazy fee of 25,000 XAF ($43).
Imagine you are visiting with a drone, a phone and a DSLR and staying longer than 1 hour (more about this later) you will pay a total of $83 just for visiting Ekom Waterfalls.
This is no joke, see the pictures! Anyway, this is Cameroon. Get ready for people hustling everywhere. Visiting Cameroon is amazing and I really had a great trip. But with time in Cameroon, you learn to deal with this! Tourists are squeezed out to the max.
4. Visiting restriction of 1 hour
Yep you read that right! It is unbelievable but when you are traveling in Cameroon I am sure you already got used to it. They try to hustle hard in this country! Even when visiting such a beautiful natural wonder they try to make some extra bucks. So when you are staying for longer than 1 hour tourists will have to pay an extra charge of 10,000 XAF, a lousy $17! Of course, absolutely ridiculous. But what can you do!? It are these things that always leave a bad taste in your mouth when traveling in Cameroon. Sadly, because it is so not necessary!
I sincerely hope it will change in the future. Just ask a couple dollar more entrance fee and problem solved. Don’t turn happiness into sadness. Because this is the first thing people will tell you when talking about visiting Ekom Nkam Waterfall.
5. Day trip from Douala
Yes, it is possible to visit Ekom Nkam Waterfalls from Douala on a day trip. If you leave early morning from Douala you can easily get back again before the evening falls.
Best would be to arrange with your driver to bring you directly to Ekom Nkam Waterfalls rather than Nkongsamba. Your driver will wait for you when you are visiting the falls and drives you back directly after visiting. A return trip would take you about 8 hours and the price for a private car should not cost more than $80 to $100 USD.
If you are solo traveling to Cameroon and want to visit Ekom Nkam waterfalls on a day trip from Douala then your best option is to tag along with a group trip. These group trips however, are very difficult to find as there simply aren’t many people traveling in Cameroon and tours are limited, but you can tag along for as much as $35 if you are lucky to find a group.
6. Best time to visit Ekom Nkam
The picture above shows the waterfalls in the rainy season. A complete different site compared to when Traveltomtom was there.
During the rainy season the waterfall is far more powerful then in the dry season. Also the road to get there in the rainy season is even more challenging. However, according to our guide the waterfall is open all year round and even in the rainy season many people come to visit.
The rainy season in Cameroon is from May to November, so the best time to visit Ekom Nkam Waterfalls is between December and April. Traveltomtom visited in January.
7. Hiking trails
There is a walking path with steep stairs leading down to a viewing platform in front of the waterfall, about 100 meters away. It is an absolutely beautiful place to admire the main waterfall in its full glory.
It took us about 30-40 minutes to reach the viewing platform from the main entrance, including many pictures along the way. The way back is a little harder as you will have to go up the steep stairs you just came down. But it is all doable within the 1 hour time restriction if you don’t want to pay the ($17) overstay penalty.
It is also possible to hike to the top of the waterfall and the local guy told me that it was fairly easy and not dangerous. You just follow the path.
Unfortunately because of the 1 hour time restriction we decided not to go there. It would have cost us an extra fee of 3 * 10,000 = 30,000 XAF ($52) which is of course ridiculous!
8. Can you swim at Ekom Waterfalls
Yes it is possible to swim under the waterfall and it is also allowed. From the viewing platform you traverse down to the waterfall on a slippery path and you can enter the natural swimming pool here.
In the rainy season it is too dangerous to swim in the waterfall and that time of the year it is of course not allowed.
9. Accommodation at Ekom Waterfalls
Traveltomtom’s insider travel tip for visiting Ekom Waterfalls is to stay overnight next to the waterfalls. At the main entrance there are a couple little houses built underneath the palm trees with a green lawn in front of it. It is all pretty basic, but I think it is an amazing place to spend the night.
The rooms are ensuite, there is electricity and a mosquito net and they charge 10,000 XAF ($17) only per room for the night. Imagine the star at night here!
In all honesty if we had known before, we would have totally spend the night here. So for everyone visiting the Ekom Waterfalls, just go there and book a room there.
You can also bring your tent and pitch it here. Camping at Ekom Waterfalls is possible but you will also pay 10,000 XAF.
10. My experience visiting Ekom Waterfalls
Looking up cool places to visit in Cameroon we already quickly found out that Ekom Waterfalls is one of the most beautiful places in the country. It got us even more excited to found out it was not too far from Douala either.
In some Cameroon travel guides it is mentioned as a day trip from Douala and therefore we also contacted some tour agencies. What we got back was so shocking that we decided to take things in our own hands and figure out everything we needed to know about visiting Ekom Waterfalls.
Not even really sure why we even contacted a tour agency in the first place, I guess curiosity and because after all this is traveling in Central Africa, it is not Southeast Asia. Traveling around with all your stuff simply isn't common in this part of the world. Backpacking is pretty rare, especially those who decide to take thing into their own hands. Most people visiting Cameroon opt for set tours with extremely overpriced agencies.
Not that we expected to get the best bargain for visiting Ekom waterfalls from Douala but we were shocked when we read the offer from one of the travel companies and they were charging us $250 USD PER PERSON!
That would include a trip to Ekom Waterfalls, staying overnight in the area, visiting Twin Lakes the next day and then return to Douala. So basically a 24h tour with 3 people for $750 USD!
This was definitely the sign that we were NOT taking a tour to visit Ekom waterfalls!
Now looking back at my trip to Cameroon, I would advice everyone to just travel in Cameroon by yourself. It may seem a little intimidating at first, but after all it was just like any other country really. People in Cameroon were very friendly and helpful. They hustle hard, but that is part of their culture.
Anyway, the next day we packed up and started organizing transportation from Douala to Nkongsamba, a mountain town located about 30 minutes from Ekom Waterfalls.
Our Airbnb host in Douala told us to go to Nkongsamba express near Rond-Point Deido. From here we would easily find a shuttle or shared taxi to Nkongsamba and so we did. It didn’t take long before we got our private taxi with AC directly to Nkongsamba. In total we paid 24,000 XAF ($41).
Within 3 hours we made it to Nkongsamba, a lovely laid-back mountain village where we spent the night in a simple hotel in town for 20,000 XAF ($34) per room. There aren’t really that many hotel around.
We stayed in Hotel Nlonako, a short 3 minutes motorbike ride north from the city center.
The next morning we found a taxi on the streets from Nkongsamba to Ekom Waterfalls for 10,000 XAF ($17).
We paid the 3,000 XAF entrance fee + the mobile phone fee for 500 XAF as shown on the pictures above. However, no one said anything about the 1 hour maximum visit and there was no sign either when we arrived.
The guy started explaining us this bullshit rule after about 40 minutes and then of course a whole discussion started. Long story short, we made sure we were back in time, exactly 60 minutes later.
Coming back to the main entrance there was suddenly an extra sign. The guy tried (basically lied) to explain that this sign was there already when we arrived. Really annoying as it of course was NOT there when we got to the entrance and it was super simple to proof. We took pictures and videos on arrival and showed the guy.
Of course he was embarrassed, but he was explaining the rules. Well, good for you buddy, but we are NOT paying an overstay penalty!
Visiting Ekom Nkam Waterfalls was amazing and I truly think it is one of the best places to visit in Cameroon. However, all this bullshit left a bad taste in our mouths. I sincerely hope they just raise the entrance fee a little and let everyone enjoy the waterfalls as much as they want.
I hope all these tips for visiting Chutes d’Ekom Nkam were helpful. May you have any more questions please leave me a comment below.
If you are interested what it looks like traveling to every country in the world then check out my Instagram profile @traveltomtom for some serious wanderlust. As of March 2022 I have visited more than 125 countries around the world.
Enjoy your trip to Cameroon!