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Ndian Division. A Neglected Treasure ( By Andrew Edimo )

A common saying goes that the deeper a treasure is buried, the more anxious the pirate is to get to it.But that is not the case with Ndian Division, which is a treasure neglected.

Part of the beauty of the Korup National Park here, the deplorable nature of roads is a nightmare to tourists and a black screen to the attractive touristic sites in the Division. And none of the tourists, who, are, by some divine luck, not pirates venture to this Division. To ply the Kumba- Ekondo-Titi- Mundemba road is just like boarding a ghost train. The few persons who can brave the dry season dust and the rainy season mud might find Ndian Division attractive and natural. But that is hardly ever the case.

The Korup National Park, in Mundemba has a surface area of 1,259km2 and is considered to be one of the oldest and most beautiful tropical rain forests in the world. Its rich flora and fauna result from a unique fact: the site of the Korup Park, in fact survived the ice age! Today, Korup can be likened to a museum which is more than 60 million years old. Studies carried out there have led to the discovery of more than 400 tree species, many of which are medicinal. The park’s present popularity stems from the fact that a creeper has been discovered there. This plant (aucistraladus Koruppensis) is believed to have constituents useful in the cure of some forms of cancer and HIV, Aids.

The Korup National Park in Mundemba, is one of the most attractive sites that could draw tourists and researchers like a magnet from all over the world to take quiet moments in the diverse natural biodiversity. But alas! The park’s about 620 tree species, 174 reptile and amphibians,140 fish species living in several streams which flow across the park and over 1000 different butterfly species and many animals like the chimpanzee and other pretty animals and birds have no one to give them an eye. Not even for a fee. The Korup National Park is developed as a natural fauna reserve where one can still find elephants, buffalos, antelopes, leopards, chimpanzes, drills and a variety of other small animals.

Then there is the Mana Hanging bridge, which is at the entrance to the forest. The hanging bridge is about 120meters long and 10 meters high, taking those who venture to cross it to the 126,900-hectare Korup Park. But who ever walks this hammock?

When The Post met researcher Dr. George Chuyong of the Plant and Animal Department, University of Buea, in the Park, he said he finds it very interesting since he did his PhD field study there. Said he: “I find Korup a very interesting place, the waterfalls, the different species of plants and animals in the forest go a long way to assist in my continuous research which motivates me to come here at least once a month. It is a place for relaxation and research purposes”. The Korup National Park has sleeping camps for tourists and researchers, clean natural water from streams in the forest and a good trail network to ensure free movement in the park. Alas, this area has been left to die a natural death because it is not accessible to Ndian Division.

Visitors’ Plight.

Visitors to Ndian Division have to carry their luggage on their heads at certain points of the road {border} where vehicles cannot go any further. Then they have to board another vehicle at the end of the road. All this stress, discourages many people from taking a trip to the Division.

Abandoned Beach.

Besides the park, Ndian Division also has beaches like the Bulu Beach, which before the construction of the Trunk B road network from Meme to Ndian, used to be the main outlet from the Division to the rest of the country. Oil from the Pamol plants was transported through this beach to Nigeria, Douala and Limbe, while traders from Nigeria brought their merchandise to the Bulu Beach for exchange. Today, this beach is abandoned.

In an interview with The Post besides the beach, the Divisional Delegate for Planning, Programming and Regional Development for Ndian, Chief Dominic Yenai Asaah Fotsop said despite the fact that the beach is not taken care of by the government, the inhabitants who know its usefulness take it upon themselves to make the beach more attractive again. “Seeing drums of palm oil and some fishermen around this beach, I can say the beach is not dead; it merely needs some little maintenance and renovation which we are going to look into. “ said Fotsop. Despite all these touristic attractions, people do not have the desire to make leisure trips to this area due to the terrible state of the roads which has also caused the prices of basic commodities like gas, rice, etc, to skyrocket.

Ndian Division has diverse tourism potentials, which if the government was interested and willing to tap and develop, could go a long way in uplifting the Cameroon tourism sector. Also, the usual singsong that Ndian Division provides about half of the petroleum produced in Cameroon yet the area is neglected, is a call for concern to any right thinking Cameroonian leader.

( By Andrew Edimo )