Palais du Lamido

Palace in N'Gaoundéré

To enter the Palais du Lamido, the palace of the local Muslim ruler, you pass between three pillars stuffed with the remains of individuals who were buried alive to consecrate the site of the royal residence. One of Cameroon’s more macabre foyers, yes, which leads into a complex of low-slung, heavily thatched roundhouses whose aesthetic feels more West African than Islamic. Some rooms are underwhelming, but if you come on a Friday or (especially) Sunday, when nobles pay their respects and thin, gorgeous desert music settles over the nearby square dominated by the Grande Mosquée, there’s a palpable sense of being…well, somewhere else. Beware of black painted areas within the compound – these sections are reserved for the lamido.