Lake nyos is a few square kilometres in area, and is around 200 m deep. It is situated in the crater formed from the collapse of the pipe feeding a now extinct volcano. The lake is compositionally stratified, with fresh water in the upper 50 m and heavier sodium and carbon dioxide rich water below that. The water below 180 m is particularly rich in sodium and carbon dioxide. Most of the sodium and carbon dioxide come from numerous sodium-bicarbonate bearing springs - derived from an underlying magma chamber - feeding into the bottom of the lake. In August of 1986 some event – perhaps a mudslide, heavy rain or wind blowing across the lake – caused the water column to be disturbed. Some of the deep carbon dioxide rich water moved towards surface where it was subjected to lower pressure. The dissolved carbon dioxide quickly converted to carbon dioxide gas and rushed to the surface starting a chain reaction of degassing the deeper water. A huge cloud of carbon dioxide spilled over the lake’s outlet and down into the surrounding valleys.
A chain of volcanoes extends in a straight northeasterly line from Annobon Island in the Atlantic Ocean into the western part of Cameroon. It is thought that this feature is related to a rift which was first activated during the initial formation of the Atlantic Ocean (although the existence of a mantle plume has not been ruled out). The volcano at Lake Nyos is now extinct, although the Mt. Cameroon volcano, near to the coast, 400 km to the southwest, is still active
Disater of 1986
In the middle of an August night in 1986 in the west-African country of Cameroon a misty cloud of carbon dioxide bubbled out of a lake and swept silently down the surrounding valleys - thousands of animals and 1700 people died, many in their sleep. there was poisionous gas that leaked from under this lake at one point and killed villagers for miles around. Since the accident, German engineers have arranged for pressure to be released gradually so that the lake should not ever explode again.
Arrival reception and over night at the hotel.
Visit some important palaces such as Baham and Bafoussam and continue to Bamenda for overnight in Mondial Hotel.
Visit a combined waterfall and cave at Guzang, some 45km from Bamenda. Contact producers of local beverage called palm wine and also visit people extracting oil palm using local methods.Return to Bamenda and continue to Awing village and overnight in the home of a local.
Early in the morning do a visit walk, during which you discover the local market, women carrying loads on their heads, blacksmith at work, people at their homes preparing to attend the ritual at the palace or at the lake.
This lake is believed to be the home of the ancestors of the Awing people and so is highly respected.That is why the ritual sacrifice is performed each year.During the sacrifice two outstanding items, namely an old bell and whistle found in an old bag are used. These are said to have been handed over to one old man by the ancestors who met him on the way when they were migrating to the current site, which is the lake.They gave him these items and asked him to take them to the palace and inform the traditional ruler of that time about their whereabout and that this person should always be the leader of the chief priests on the day of the sacrifice each year, and should always ring the bell and blow the whistle when they approach the lake.
It is believed that failure to perform this sacrifice leads to a number of calamities in the village such as infertility of most women,poor harvest, absence of peace within the village and between the village and neighbouring villages.
There is much music and dance after the sacrifice and barren women are anointed with camwood mixed with palm oil so that their fertility is restored .
Return to Bamenda and continue to Fundong, which is the start of the journey through part of the famous Bamenda Ring Road, and overnight in a hotel.
Visit the palace of the traditional ruler of Kom, whose Kingdom is one of the largest in Cameroon.
In this palace undergo an initiation ritual which permits you to formally greet the ruler, and to penetrate the inner part of the palace, at one part of which is found a statue called AFO-AKOM. This is believed to possess a lot of mystical powers and on which the Kingdom relies for its protection against external enemies. It was stolen to a museum in one western country and brought back because it was believed to usually knock down other crafts in the same museum, because it was not feeling
comfortable in this foreign land.Its being brought back attracted a lot of diplomatic attention.
Procede to Subum and overnight in tents after visiting some survivor families of the Lake Nyos Gas disaster of 1986.It should be noted that the lake exploded in August 1986 and killed about 1700 persons and many animals.This was attributed to a very toxic gas that accumulated on the floor of the lake. The survivors were forced by this
incident to migrate to other areas. They have returned .
Continue interacting with these survivors in the early part of the day. If there are any gifts such as medicines, clothing, money, you can offer them.
Later in the day visit the dreadful Lake Nyos and see the equipment installed in the lake to eliminate the gas.
Go to Wum for overnight in a modest motel.
Experience the local culture, including the Queen Mothers Dance, performed by the elderly wives of the chief. It is quite colourful and full of melodious music.
Have a taste of the local food and drink made out of maize.
Return to Bamenda, while halting on the way to see the Menchum Fall, into which flows the meandering River Menchum.Also see sprawling rice farms and other land use patterns. Overnight in Mondial Hotel.
Attend the Bafut Cultural Festival. It takes place in the plaza of the Bafut palace. This palace is famous for being the first residence and administrative base of the first colonial masters(Germans) when they arrived the Grassfields of Cameroon.
This festival is one of the most famous and most highly attended in Cameroon.It is marked by the presence of a multitude of traditional dances.
Some visitors are given honorary titles by the traditional ruler.
Return to Bamenda and have a feel of the town by going to craft making centres and shops for souvenirs and by Visiting the town in the night.
Bamenda to Douala and departure in the night.