Bois Sainte Anastasie, the Most Secluded Nook in Yaoundé

The park's replica of the Thinker

photography by: Kondah/ Wikimedia commons

With an incessant hubbub of car horns and hagglers, Yaoundé is undoubtedly a hectic place to explore. After a day or two, the city's relentless pace might be too much for some people. Luckily though, the Cameroonian capital is also home to a couple of hidden gems, where the otherwise chaotic vibe is substituted with peace and tranquility. One such nook is Bois Sainte Anastasie, a luxuriant garden with a sculpture park, a river, a series of pedestrian bridges as well as a local restaurant.

Like so many of its counterparts across Africa, Cameroon’s capital is first and foremost a hodgepodge of informal housing, bustling markets and streets chockfull of people all day long. However, alongside the city’s frenetic scenery are apparently dozens of places that offer a much-needed respite from Yaoundé’s hustle and bustle.

 

Tucked away in the busy intersection of Warda, Bois Sainte Anastasie is a verdant enclave where the city’s endless din is kept off. Inaugurated in 2007 as part of a municipal plan to sprinkle the gritty capital with recreational spaces, this speck of greenery was named after the mother of Cameroon’s incumbent president (as of 2022), Paul Biya. Curiously, Biya who has been serving as the president for the last forty years is not only Africa’s oldest leader, but also the world’s lengthiest-ruling head of the state who is not a member of a royal family.

 

Living up to its purpose as an urban park, Bois Sainte Anastasie is bestowed with tall trees, lawns and wild shrubs, and traversed by a set of walkways, many of which are sandwiched by a pair of manicured hedges. As the park is bisected by the Ekozoa River, there are a couple of pedestrian bridges astride the creek. During the rainy season, this somewhat unassuming stream is transformed in a blink of an eye into a violent gush of murky water.

 

Perhaps the place’s true centerpiece are the multiple sculptures strewn throughout the park, depicting some of the country’s endemic animals as well as traditional looking figures, including a local version of “The Thinker”. Since the park is sometimes used as a venue for weddings, it also has its own restaurant which offers a buffet of local eats, available to non-guests whenever an event doesn’t take place. Take note that visiting the garden entails an admission fee of 100 XAF, equivalent to 15 US cents.

 

Less than 100 meters southwards, lies yet another restaurant with some rather unusual setting. As its name suggests, Les Cascades Du Mfoundi is an eatery located in front of a charming waterfall, plunging into a nearby pond. While the fall itself is a far cry from its countryside’s siblings, given its intense urban whereabouts, this hidden cascade is nonetheless a truly surreal sight to behold.

The entrance sign, located in front of the main parking lot

photography by: Fawaz.tairou/ Wikimedia commons


One of Bois Sainte Anastasie's paved pathways, followed by two manicured hedges

photography by: Fawaz.tairou/ Wikimedia commons


The park is bisected by a series of waterways

photography by: Fawaz.tairou/ Wikimedia commons


Most notably the Ekozoa River which turns muddy during the rainy season

photography by: Bdx/ Wikimedia commons


A pair of sculpted monkeys, part of the park's sculpture park

photography by: Fawaz.tairou/ Wikimedia commons


A lion statue

photography by: Kondah/ Wikimedia commons


Les Cascades Du Mfoundi

photography by: Frederic PAPY and Kondah/ Wikimedia commons