Connecting cultures in the North-West region of Cameroon. Through the eyes of a 21st Century Horticulturalist.

Lucy Wenger travelled to Cameroon to assist in the growth of the new Kimbi-Fungom National Park which lies above the oldest and most biologically diverse lowland rainforest in Africa - funded by the Royal Horticultural Society, RBG, Kew and Eden Project.

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  1. The educational aims of this funded trip to Cameroon included communicating to local communities: What the Kimbi-Fungom Park represents, the benefits of the biodiversity, sustainability and importance of the Park, including local, national and international impacts, alongside an introduction of The Eden Project, RBG Kew and the RHS. With the collective ambition to protect, understand and identify the importance of this unique environment.

  2. One of the most important aspects of this trip was to curate relationships, educate the local population about the Park - raising awareness, informing residents, build a supportive network, addressing concerns and questions while highlighting benefits on an international stage. Primarily this is about giving ownership to the local communities and the opportunity to become a part of the sustainable development of the Kimbi-Fungom National Park.
  3. My journey started in a "bush taxi" - four in the front, and four in the back - economical, as the engine does not start until the car is full. Three days of travel from Yaounde, the capital - to Kimbi.
  4. This house (my accommodation during my stay) belongs to Chris Fominyam - the Conservator for the Kimbi-Fungom National Park. Chris runs the newly established park, polices it, employs staff, work out strategic direction and strives to change the world by creating this haven of lush lowland tropical rainforest right up to sub-alpine rainforest and high savanna vegetation.
  5. This is the HQ of the Kimbi-Fungom National Park. The hub and the beating heart at the centre of the start of this world-class Park, including training centre and nursery - welcoming Cameroon nationals to start before expanding to include horticulturalists from across the globe. Challenges include the remote location, no running water, (the nearest electricity and internet is 18km away). The HQ itself is a fifteen minute walk into the bush from the local river and clean water source. Opportunities include a supportive local community, local regeneration opportunities following the natural disaster at Lake Nyos in 1986 and future global ecological and horticultural exploration.
  6. This is the fresh water river where clean drinking water is collected to serve the whole of Kimbi.
  7. This is the opening of the Kimbi-Fungom National Park - showing the habitat of grassland. The lush forest you can see is gallery forest which lines the river Kimbi - and is the last stronghold of these areas. A safe haven for local wildlife. The fires in the image are a mix of natural and nomadic activity with the latter using land for cattle grazing and burning land for crops.
  8. This area had just been cleared for growing crops - cutting trees for firewood with crops planted under the trees that have been left (for reasons including adding nutrients to the soil or food for local tribes.)
  9. Scadoxus multiflorus, also known as Fireball Lily - a plant grown in the UK as a house plant! Unusual bulb which produces huge flower heads - up to 15cm across which comes from Cameroon, linking Britain and other European countries with Africa.
  10. The National Park has approx. 250 communities that live on the boundary of the area, they can be as small as the huts in the image below, or as large as 3000 people living alongside each other in a village - but all need to understand the importance and the opportunity which is being created from the heart of the Kimbi-Fungom National Park.
  11. A canopy of trees, scrub and thick ground cover create the ultimate in biological diversity - showing the vast wealth of knowledge yet to be gained from the work of the Kumbi-Fungom National Park.
  12. Abdul travels from 5am with his cows for six hours before reaching the Kimbi Cattle Market - and is a prime candidate for the education of the park. Abdul learned during our stay that grazing within the park was prohibited to allow the regeneration of the rainforest.
  13. An Entada species. - also known as Monkey Ladder Vine - producing some of the largest seed pods in the world - with seeds as big as the palm of your hand! Currently unidentified to a species - demonstrates the sheer diversity of unexplored environment.
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