Thursday, August 11, 2011

Places to go around Bastos and the UCLA IRTC Apartments, Yaoundé

Bastos, located north of city center, is the ex-pat and diplomatic hub of Yaoundé, Cameroon. Most ex-pats will stay around this area. If you are staying at the UCLA IRTC Apartments (for researchers of any speciality, 11,000 CFA/night if space is available – highly recommended!), the following can be a good resource.


To get home, instruct a taxi to go to “L’ambassade de Chine” – it will either take the route from Rue Bastos, or a valley coming from a Carrefour on the route to Mont Febe.


Dovy Supermarche. A 10 minute walk from the apartment on Rue Bastos towards the city center. Has most of everything necessary, although most products are at European prices plus some (check for the non-imported goods). Decent fruit and vegetable selection, though more expensive (and of worse quality) than other places. Like any store in Yaoundé, bring empty beer or soda glass bottles to avoid paying a deposit (of 125CFA). Taxi: Dovy (Bastos), 100CFA.

Mahima Supermarche. Really convenient if you are by Centre Pasteur or going towards Centre-Ville – slightly cheaper than Dovy/Casino, and has a large selection of Indian spices and goods.

Casino Supermarche. In centre-ville, convenient to the Central Market and the Hilton-area. Nicest supermarket of the three with an expansive selection, but also the most expensive. Taxi: Casino, 200-300CFA.


Note: many ATMs do not take Visa cards, and almost none take Mastercard. Withdrawal limit is 200,000CFA/transaction.

ATMs by “L’hotel des Villes.” This is the closest reliable bank cluster with Visa ATMs (le guichet automatique). Taxi: “L’hotel des Villes” or “British Council,” 200CFA.

ATM across from the Hilton, SGBC. This ATM is to my knowledge the only Mastercard-accepting ATM machine in Yaounde.

ATM within the Hilton. Taxi: Hilton, 200-300CFA.

BICAC ATM by Casino and Centre Culturel Francais. Taxi: ”Centre Culturel Francais,” 200-300CFA.


Most will be street food or equivalent.

Corner Shack. As described above, 1 minute from the IRTC. 2-egg omelet with sausage and vegetables on a sandwich bun for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! 500CFA.

Outside Corner Shack. There are ladies that stand outside with food during lunch hours, though selection seems to vary and the quality when I tried it was sub-par. 500CFA.

Grilled Fish Lady. Coming outside the gate, turn right and an immediate right up the dirt hill, 30s from the IRTC. During lunch, a lady sells grilled fish for variable prices, but a regular-sized full fish should cost 1000CFA (+ additions 100CFA). Takes 20 minutes to cook, but bring your own plate if you wish. 600-1200CFA.

Baguette sandwich variations on the route to Rue Bastos. On the way to Rue Bastos from L’ambassade de Chine, there are many ladies selling spaghetti, avocado, or meatball sandwiches for lunch only; just tell them the amount of bread, meatballs and/or spaghetti you’d like. 100-500CFA.

Dovy Supermarche Patisserie. They sell deli “hamburgers” that can be a quick lunch when paired with their chocolate croissants. 500-1000CFA.

Spaghetti Omelets. Located all around town, but in Bastos you can find them right past Dovy on the way to city center for breakfast or lunch. 10 minutes from IRTC. It’s exactly what it sounds! 500CFA.

Grilled Pork Schwarma or Sandwiches. Located at Carrefour Bastos across from Expresso House, operating only at night, and extremely popular with locals. The front schwarma grill goes for 500CFA; the back for 900CFA for 4 brochettes. 15 min from the IRTC. 500-900CFA.

JC Chicken. Located across from Dovy (taxi drivers will know this place’s name), has a ¼ roast chicken and fries, excellently done, for 1200CFA any time of day. If you prefer it drier, go across the street next to Dovy, 1100CFA. 10 min from IRTC.

Uncle Donald’s. When you almost hit Carrerfour Nongkak from Bastos, look left right before entering the Carrefour. Sells actual schwarmas for lunch/dinner 1200CFA, + fries for 500CFA. Delicious, but be sure to take it to go (drinks are outrageously expensive and service horrible) – and go across the street, a (unlicensed bar) which has beers for 500-600CFA – you’ll recognize it by the arcade machines inside. You’re more than likely to see Peace Corps at night, or drum up conversation with the locals!

Carrerfour Nongkak. There is a variety of street and budget stall food options for lunch or dinner surrounding this Carrefour, which is one of the hotspots of Yaounde in general. 30 min from the IRTC, or take a 200CFA taxi.

Centre Pasteur de Cameroun. Outside Centre Pasteur, there is a wonderful row of stalls that sell breakfast and lunch, either grilled fish or local Cameroonian fare (1 stall does chicken, fish, or steak with tomato sauce and rice/plantains/foufou for 1200CFA, which is highly recommended). It is also accessible from Mahima supermarket but harder to find. Taxi 300CFA.


Restaurant “La Barack” – The closest nice restaurant from IRTC, but nice is an understatement – the food deserves to be in the “top-range” category, especially French dishes using crème-fraishe (Cameroonian dishes not reviewed). The ambiance is great, with cheap beer and a projector showing music videos to boot! Find it on Rue Bastos, immediately after passing the Nigerian Embassy but before Dovy – it’ll be down a small dirt path on your left (opposite the road to go to La Salsa). Entrees 2000-4000CFA, Large Beer 800CFA.

Chez Patrick – Another wonderful choice, past Carrefour Bastos and next to JC Chicken Prestige (after passing it going towards city center, look to the right down the street for a shack on your left) – great ambiance and delicious local Cameroonian fare for great prices. Entrees 1500-2500CFA, Large beer 1000CFA.

JC Chicken Prestige – The exact same as JC Chicken, except more expensive x4 (you’re buying the “Prestige”. Skip this.

Bunker Nightclub – Located on Carrefour Nongkak, a hotspot for upper-class Cameroonians going out for grilled fish (or roast chicken). You *must* choose and bargain your fish – by doing so, you can get 3 large fish for under 10,000CFA; by not, a small and not-very-fresh (at all) fish for 4500CFA.

Pizza Roma – Pizza on Carrefour Bastos. Unknown entrée.

Expresso House – on Carrefour Bastos. Unknown entrée.

Options around Carrefour L’Interdance. This Carrefour is located close to Casino supermarket, though it is hard to find (it is named after a pharmacy) – but taxis will know the location (200-300CFA from IRTC). Round the Carrefour are a spattering of Cameroonian-owned French restaurants, of which one we tried (the street directly left of the Pharmacy, on the left side of the street on the Carrefour) was excellent for lunch. Entrees 3000CFA+.

Food-high end

L’Orient Rouge. Can’t miss this option right outside of the branchoff from the L’ambassade de Chine road and Rue Bastos. It has a nice ambiance but (very) bad Chinese food. 4000CFA+.

Chinese Restaurant across from Gothe Institute. 8 minutes from IRTC, once exiting onto Rue Bastos turn right instead of left – 200m down the street on the right is the Gothe Institute, and across the street is this 4-character Chinese restaurant. It has fairly good food (get Cantonese specialties, the owner is Cantonese), but is expensive. You get a 500-1000CFA/entrée discount off the menu if you’re Chinese. 4000CFA+.

La Salsa. Going towards city center on Rue Bastos, past the Nigerian Embassy but before Dovy turn right at the sign and walk a couple of minutes. Colleague reviews say it has wonderful salads and fresh options. 5000CFA+.

La Taniere. Very hard to spot, but it’s down a small road on the way to Carrefour Nongkak, past Chez Wou and around a nice wine store on the right – it may be better to get a taxi straight to the destination. 20+ min from IRTC. It’s open for dinner, and has *wonderful* live music playing in a night-club-like decorated area, with fairly good Cameroon food to boot. Entrees 4000-5000CFA, Large Beer 1500CFA.

Chez Wou. On the route to Carrefour Nongkak on Rue Bastos. Unknown entrée and quality.

Café de Yaoundé. Located further away from Bastos, closer to city center – taxi drivers will know where to go, however. This is the expat go-to place for Italian, and from an Italian friend it is also as authentic as you’ll get on the continent – wonderful food and wonderful ambiance. Though, the day we went all 10 tables were filled with expats. 200-300CFA taxi from IRTC, 5000CFA+.

"Grilled Fish Lady"

“La Barack”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this is very impressive zach, am a nigerian also with the nigerian embassy and you just described yaounde all in one piece, all this places you mentioned, but you didnt have the opportunity to go to other places even within bastos, new but unknown to the visitor except your taken there, its called yao bar, just when ur getting down to carrefour nlongkak by the united nation world health something, its really nice but overpriced, good food and excellent customer service, likewise heading towards safari nite club on the same street a good place to listen to life music at meuva, good food, except coocktails and service, always look out for the micheal jackson show, thats hilarious.
cheers and very good blog, wish you all the best on your future conquest.