Cost of Living in Douala for an expatriate

[justify]Cost of Living in Douala for an expatriate

Hi all, here is my contribution to help all new expatriates who want to live in Douala.

Douala is the economic capital of Cameroon and a very expensive city compared to African standards and the income of its citizens. You should understand that the high cost of living is due to scarcity (of good houses for example) and not quality.

For an expatriate who arrives in Douala, the largest expense that he/she will have to deal with will generally be linked to housing.


Decent housing in Douala is expensive. Here safety, comfort, and convenience has a price. The French expatriates love Bonapriso and Bonanjo due to the presence of the French school Dominic Savio, high quality super markets like Casino ... very good restaurants and clubs. And they live in these neighborhoods a little bit among themselves so to speak. It's easier to make friends when the children attend the same school, when we are members in the same sport clubs,when we go dance in the same clubs ..... and when we go spend
the weekend in the same hotel on the beach in Kribi or Limbe.

In Bonapriso/Bonanjo, it takes between 300,000 CFA (400 euros) and 600,000 CFA francs (1,000 euros) for a beautiful luxury apartment with 2 bedrooms in a beautiful building and very secure, and if you're lucky, with a swimming pool. For a person living alone, predict 200,000 FCFA (300 euros) for a nice studio with the same standing. The owners of houses usually require six months to 12 months rent in advance for the first year. After you can pay month by month. If you are in Douala for only 3 months for example, there are landlords who rent their 1 bedroom apartment at 20.000fcfa the day (30 euros). These studios are usually furnished. But this formula is generally very expensive at the end of the month. Many cameroonian websites offer this type of service. Rents are much cheaper in other parts of Douala such as Denver, Bonamoussadi, Kotto. In Denver for example, a 3 bedroom apartment that will cost 1000 euros in Bonapriso will cost you 500 euros with the same or better comfort. In Denver, with 1000 euros per month, you can rent a large 4 bedroom villa with swimming pool and large garden, very family-friendly for those who need lots of space and have more than 3 children.In other areas it is much cheaper, with 300 euros, you have a nice 2 bedroom apartment with nice balcony. The downside is that if you live in these neighborhoods, you will definitely suffer traffic jams in the morning when you go to work and when you return at night at 6pm.


In Cameroon water costs nothing, budget between 20 and 50 euros per month. This depends of course if you live alone, with your partner, with children. If you need to fill your pool every month then you are in the 100 to 300 euros just for the water if your home does not have a borehole. Electricity is more expensive here because of the intensive use of air conditioning. You know Douala is very hot and humid, it is impossible to live without air conditioning for someone who comes from the cold. For an apartment with 1-3 air conditioners and other appliances, you must budget between 100 euros and 200 euros per month. Like I said, comfort has a price.


To move in Douala, it is best to have your own car, it gives you some freedom of movement. You can get a good used vehicle starting with 10,000 euros, and a new vehicle from 15,000 euros. Don't forget that in Cameroon, we don't manufacture cars, so everything is imported from Europe. It usually takes 40% for doing customs and insurance. You can do good business with expatriates returning home in Europe. They generally are ready to get rid of their vehicule at any price. These vehicles are generally well maintained.If you do not have a ride, count 2000fcfa (3 euros) for a drop with a taxi (you are the only passenger) to 3000 CFA (4 euros) at night while returning from the nightclub.Taxis are very uncomfortable in Douala when you get in with other passengers because drivers spend their time overloading. The taxi costs an average of 200 FCFA to 400 FCFA depending on your destination.The fuel is 569 FCFA per liter and that risk increases in 2012. So starting with 1 euro per liter of super (gasoline).


Leisure in Douala comes down to going to the restaurant, night club, a few concerts at the French Cultural Centre or other venues, no cinema because Cameroon has no movie theater for 2 years. ... it's weird because even in Somalia there is a cinema, on the beach in Kribi or Limbe, horse riding at club St George if you want to meet one third of the french expatriates in Douala, and finally the birthday of friends. For a good lunch / dinner in a restaurant in Bonanjo or Bonapriso, count an average of 20 euros to 50 euros depending on your tastes. The clubs are more expensive here. Count 5 euros for a beer, 10 euros for a cocktail, 50 euros for a bottle of whiskey and 100 euros for a bottle of champagne. Partygoers must budget at least 200 euros to 400 euros per month for fun.

5-Salaries in Cameroon

In Cameroon, as elsewhere in Africa, the wages are very low compared to the cost of living. Cameroonian civil servants earn on average 200 euros per month, which is why they are generally very favorable to corruption. An engineer / accountant / bank employee earns an average of 700 to 1000 euros per month. But expatriates have a special status.For an expatriate who lives alone here, A pay below 2000 euros after tax per month is not interesting. Companies know this and hire an expatriate only if they know they can guarantee him a salary of at least 3000 euros after taxes per month.But if you come with his wife and children, and want the same comfort as in France, then 4000 euros after taxes per month would be a good starting point.

6 - dating

Tips for Men.

The dream of most girls in Cameroon is dating a white european because of fantasy and to turn them into walking checkbooks. It is very easy to pick up a girl in Cameroon when you have very little melanin in the skin. Just say for example: Hi, I like you, can I have your number? and everything is ok. The same evening, the girl can be in your bed. For these girls, dating a white man stands for financial security. Especially be careful when you flirt in nightclubs. Many prostitutes pose as potential girlfriends and girls to marry. I suggest you take your shot with condoms and continue your journey. it will only cost you 30 to 50 euros on average.

Tips for Women

Cameroonian men are usually very intimidated by white women. They think they are very expensive to maintain. You know men are still macho here, and a man takes care of his woman (rent, food, entertainment, hairdresser, family etc.). Men think you need to be a millionaire to date a white woman. On the contrary they do not know that white women are generally very financially independent and do not generally count on their men to take care of them.So ladies do not hesitate to take the first step if you like a guy. And especially beware of scammers also called Feymen here. These are men who are after your money. They will usually offer you a good business opportunity only to disappear with your money. If you just want a sex affair with a man, you can find young men willing to do it for free.

7-Sports Clubs

These clubs are very important to keep in shape and Meet the potential friends. In Bonapriso there is Energy Club. you can become a member. It will cost you an average of 50 to 100 euros per month for membership. There are also other sports clubs and interesting clubs in Bonapriso/Bonanjo.

8 - Domestic Workers

It is very easy to find a 'good' cook or gardener if you need it. But if you want a loyal and dedicated person, pay above the average. On average a maid is paid 100 euros per month, but offer 150 euros and you will have a devoted person.

9 - Hospitals and diseases

Malaria is one of the most common diseases here. But don't worry, clinics are used to treat it with treatment that lasts up to 1 week usually. If the company you work for offers health insurance, good for you. Just make sure that you have the necessary vaccines for you and the kids.Get in touch with a good doctor who can serve as a family physician in case You will have an illness. For a consultation in a good clinic here predict 20 to 50 euros.


Do make many friends and travel a lot. Good stay in Cameroon.

Erick Nkili


I would like to add a few precisions eriknkili's post, which is, by the way, very helpful. 

Most companies will furnish a house for their employees in selected areas such as Bonapriso and Bonanjo.  Although housing is way more expensive in those areas, companies have the obligation to provide a secure environment to their employees.  Security must be able to reach the employee's house within a few minutes.

I recently went house hunting as we wanted to move out.  After a yar of vain attempts, we decided to stay where were.  I only looked for houses, no flats.  Below 1.5 millions FCFA, there isn't much on the market in Bonanjo and Bonapriso. If there is, be prepared to renovate your house.  Most houses have a roof leaking problem and of course, mildew.  Cheap repairs is the standard here (I know it, for the past 4 years I have experienced weekly problems with my house due to cheap repairs approved by the company).  Therefore, one must be supervising all the works.


We have a two-storey house with 7 air-con units (including 2-3 units working on a full time basis - the others on a need basis) and the cost of electricity is about 450 000 fcfa per month, so about 1000$ per month.  Very expensive indeed.

House Staff

It is easy to find staff to work for you. But as eriknkili pointed out, honesty can be an issue.  If you pay your staff the local salary (40 000 fcfa), you can count on them to steal from you. If you pay them the double, they may still rob you off.  Many people noted that anglophones are usually more loyal to their employers, but there are always exceptions from both sides. One has to be very clear from the beginning about what is expected from the employee and what he/she is entitled to take.  For example, I once told my maid that she could take a bit of the left overs after a party.  Because I was not specific, she took a week-worth of food and left with it. Essntially, she emptied the fridge and left us with nothing. Whence the necessity of being specific about what they can do and what they cannot do / take.
For many Westerners, it is very embarassing to tell an employee to shower and to wear dedorant.  Of course it is.  However, from my experience, if you provide the soap and the dedorant, along with a place to shower, your employee will be more than happy to do so, even twice per day. Back home, they do not all enjoy the luxury of taking a private shower with hot water. It has to be part of your rules that you set from the beginning with your employee.

i dont know if u can help me nyway but my g/f lives quite near
douala & i would like to live with her there but i dont have the money to show goverment officials that are being shown online & my private pension is about $88o per month , im living in thailand right now been here for jsu over 2 years 7 have to pay
way over the top as a agin i have to go thro an agency (immagration lady) really my visa should be 1,900 baht but now
my latest lady is charging me 18,000 baht as they do my visa for me, i know 4 sure cameroom same as thailand plenty of corruoption
going on & i expect to pay extra fee for getting me over the problem about not have enough in my bank account, my girl is going thro hell there as her boss keeps wantuing sex with her but
she wont give into him she very strong minded lady, but obviousy
she says its difficult to geta job there but if i was there then she should be ok & safe, i will be honest with u im totally in love with her shes my dream girl come true, plz understand me i dont mind paying over the top but not silly money , i would do
anything for her she is great lady & i hope u know someone that can help me get a visa 4 live there ??/ bye & thanks Graham

nice sharing, ia m expecting to travel there soon

I was wondering if anyone who lives there can help me out im
thinking about moving there so i can live with my g/f but you
have to show a lot of money in your bank account which i dont have is there any way around this ???

Having lived in several countries in my professional life, I fully understand how important it is to have reliable information about your host country.

I shall be happy to give an objective view of my country to any expat living therein or thinking about moving there-

Yes any info you could supply to me would be great my email is
[email protected] ....... many thanks/ Graham

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