The Royal Palace Museum of the Fon dynasty kings of the Dahomey Empire. The Museum is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Abomey, Benin. West Africa. (Photo by: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)

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Fon's Palace


Just north of Bamenda is the large Tikar community of Bafut, traditionally the most powerful of the Grassfields kingdoms. The fon's (local chief's) palace here is home to the representative of a 700-year-old dynasty and is a fascinating insight into Cameroon's traditional culture.

The palace compound consists of numerous buildings, including the houses of the fon's 150-or-so wives (not all of whom are presently in residence), and the sacred Achum building, a shrine which is off-limits to everyone except the fon and his close advisors. In front of the palace compound are several stones marking the burial sites of nobles who died while serving the fon, and the Takombang House which holds the fon's ceremonial drum.

The imposing colonial building above the palace is now a museum. It holds many interesting (and slightly scary) carvings, traditional costumes and weapons.

In late December, Bafut holds a huge four-day celebration to mark the end of the year's ancestor worship with masked dancing and drumming. Bafut also holds a large market every eight days (every 'country Sunday').