Photo: Fisherman on Cameroon beach

A fisherman tends to his gear on a Cameroon beach.

Photograph by Dag Sundberg/Getty Images

An active volcano rises from the sea like something out of DreamWorks. • Endlessly unfolding grass fields give way to some of the continent’s oldest rain forests. • Elephant herds mingle at ancient water holes, and palm-fringed beaches and seductive seafood beckon year-round. • One finds tribes of pygmies in the forests, and ruins, many intact, of ancient tribal kingdoms. • This oft-overlooked West African gem shares borders with tough neighbors like Nigeria and Republic of the Congo but pays big dividends to patient visitors.

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