Limbe is a charming place, blessed with a fabulous natural position between the rainforest-swathed foothills of Mt Cameroon and the dramatic Atlantic coastline. Popular with both foreign and Cameroonian tourists, this is a great spot to chill out on the beach for a few days before heading on elsewhere.
Sticky, icky and frenetic, Douala isn't as bad as some say, but not likely to be your first choice for a honeymoon, either. By any measurement but political power this is Cameroon's main city: its primary air hub, biggest port and leading business centre, and the result is a chaotic hodgepodge. There are few charms, but you can set your finger here to gauge Cameroon's pulse.
There's initially little to love about Bafoussam. The Bamiléké stronghold seems haphazardly built on agriculture money and a refined sense of chaos. But despite its heavy traffic and uninspiring appearance, the town is super friendly and has one of the best traditional palaces in the country. Make sure you check out the huge chefferie, about 15km south at Bandjoun.
The capital of Northwest Province is a dusty sprawl that tumbles down a hill at an altitude of more than 1000m; you'll see some impressive views of the town as you descend the hill coming from Douala. With a decent range of hotels and restaurants, it's a good jumping-off point for exploring the Ring Road circuit. It's also a centre of political opposition to President Biya.
Basically built into the side of Mt Cameroon, Buea (pronounced boy-ah) has a hill station's coolness, especially compared to sticky Limbe. If you're going up the mountain, you're inevitably coming here. Conveniently, Express Exchange will exchange euros, US dollars and travellers cheques.