The Bakossi people occupy an area of more than 3,000 square kilometers on the slopes of the Bakossi Mountains, Mt. Kupe, Mt Mwanenguba and Mt Nlonako in the Republic of Cameroon. Traditionally farmers, hunters and fishermen, and with a population of 100,000 (2001 SIL), the Bakossi people grow coffee and cocoa as their main cash crops. Administratively, the people fall under the Kupe-Manenguba Division with headquarters in Bangem, and the Mungo Division in the Littoral Province. Kupe-Manenguba Division is the second largest producer of cocoa in the South West Province of the Republic, and is composed of three subdivisions: Bangem, Tombel and Nguti.
The climate of the Bakossi region is equatorial, with heavy rainfall fairly well distributed throughout the year and giving rise to forest vegetation and fertile soils. The dry season runs from the month of November to March. During this period, the weather is bright with little rainfall, cold nights and hot days. This is also the period when the untarred roads are dusty and when coffee, maize, peanuts and beans are harvested in some areas, and fishing is done in other areas. The rainy season, on the other hand, starts gradually from April and heaviest from August till late October. The roads, this time, are wet and very muddy, making it difficult for travel to and from some areas. This is the harvest season for cocoa, kola nuts and plums and many other food crops. The Bakossi Mountains cover an area of about 230,000 square kilometers and contain what is possibly the largest area of cloud or submontane forest in West-Central Africa. Mt. Kupe lies about 100 kilometers from Douala, which is Cameroons second largest city. The mountain straddles the Southwest and Littoral provinces of Cameroon and rises to a height of about 2,064 m above sea level. It is undoubtedly one of Africa’s most famous bird sites such as the Mount Kupe Bush-shrike, Malaconotus kupeensis and wildlife experiences.
The Bakossi forest has a wide range of endemic, unique and endangered flora and fauna and also has a share in the contribution of the forestry sector to Cameroon’s economy: providing wood to the numerous carpentry and furniture workshops nationwide. The unique plant species, Coffea montekupeensis, known in Bakossi as “deh a mbine,” is a wild coffee plant believed to be more valuable than the Robusta and Arabica coffees common in Cameroon.
The Mwanenguba Mountain (2,411m) is situated to the north-west of the town of Nkongsamba. The crater of this volcanic mountain, at 1,950 m, is a large grassy plain with a few low hills, a marshy area to the south and two small, deep volcanic lakes. The larger female lake is the only accessible of the two. The smaller male lake is inaccessible due to its obscene character and the traditional belief that it is inhabited by supernatural beings that can inflict punishment upon anyone who dares to go close. This male lake is surrounded by trees, but not even a leaf falls into it. A stone thrown into it with any amount of force will always land on the banks! The Muanenguba Mountains and the mysterious twin lakes make for a great touristic site.