What is the difference between an International Driving Permit (IDP) and an International Driver’s License (IDL)?
An International Driving Permit is a small grey booklet marginally larger than a passport containing a translation of your original driving license in 10 languages, including English, French, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish. It is recognized by 141 countries worldwide and is valid for one year.
In comparison, an International Driving License is not a legal document and cannot be used to drive in foreign countries or instead of an IDP.
How do International Driving Permits work in Cameroon?
An International Driver’s License is not accepted as a valid driver’s license in Cameroon. If you wish to drive vehicles while visiting Cameroon, you must obtain an IDP. Not having an IDP in Cameroon can get you into serious trouble with local authorities or will result in you being unable to rent a car.
Having an IDP and a national driver’s license will allow you to drive legally in Cameroon as a tourist.
Applying for an IDP
The application process for an International Driving Permit is fast and convenient. It can be done online through our website – “insert website link” and should only take a few minutes to complete.
You will be required to fill out an application form and send copies of the documents necessary for obtaining an IDP. The following documents will be requested anytime you need an IDP, so to make the process as easy and fast as possible, have the required documents ready before starting the application:
- Valid national driving license
- Completed application form
- Debit or credit card for the application fee
United Nations agreement on road traffic
The United Nations Road Traffic agreement is an agreement that was signed by UN countries during a UN convention to implement the use of IDPs in 150 countries. There have been 3 UN automotive conventions where IDPs have been discussed. The first UN automotive convention was held in Geneva in 1926, followed by one in Paris in 1949 and the last in Vienna in 1968.
These conventions not only implemented the use of IDPs but also set out their legal standard of them. This ensures that any IDP being issued is authorized by the UN and will be accepted as an international driver’s license in foreign countries. The UN also agreed on allowing each country’s government to authorize other automotive associations to issue IDPs on the government’s behalf.
Benefits Of Carrying An IDP In Cameroon
The most important benefit of having an IDP while visiting Cameroon is its requirement to allow a foreigner to drive legally during their trip.
Functions as an international form of id
Another valuable part of carrying an IDP in Cameroon is its ability to act as a translated form of ID. This can be extremely useful if your id isn’t in a language spoken in Cameroon and can help authorities understand your information easier.
Car rental companies
The majority of car rental agencies around the world will require a driver wishing to rent a vehicle to have an IDP. There are other documents also required, so make sure to have everything in place if you intend on renting a car in Cameroon.
Driving Requirements For Noncitizens
Short-term visitors vs. long-term stay
An IDP has a validity period of 1 year in Cameroon, making it very convenient for a short-term visitor. If you intend to stay longer than one year, a driver must get a local license to continue driving.
When Do I Need To Get A Driver’s License in Cameroon
Once the validity period of your IDP is up (1 year), any driver wishing to continue driving in Cameroon will need to start obtaining a local license.
Swapping your domestic driver’s license for a Cameroon driving license is straightforward. The applicant will need to fill out a registration form from the licensing office, gather all required documents, present all documents to the Driving License Department of the Ministry of Transport, and pay the fee.
The following documents are needed:
- Stamped application form
- Foreign license to be exchanged
- Certificate of authenticity of driver’s license by the original issuing body
- Certified photocopy of residence card
- Medical certificate
- 4 X 4 photos
Renewing your IDP or Driving license in Cameroon
If you need to renew your IDP while you are in Cameroon, you can contact your IDP issuer to have a renewal sent to you. It’s important to remember an IDP can only be used for one year in Cameroon.
If you need to renew your driving license, you must contact the National Driver’s Association, where your driver’s license was initially issued. They may request specific documentation you will need to send it and can then post your new license to you.
Vehicle Rental In Cameroon
As with many countries, driving is the best way to explore Cameroon. If you do not have access to a vehicle in Cameroon, renting a car is always a good option. Public transport options include trains and buses traveling inside and between the major cities. If you want to explore outside of this, renting a car is the best option!
Renting a car in Cameroon is easy and affordable for tourists. There are few rental agencies in Cameroon, and most operate inside the main cities. Well-known rental agencies such as Hertz and Avis are available in Cameroon and local companies.
Renting vehicles in Cameroon
One of the most important things to be aware of is that car rental companies will not lease a car to anyone under 21, primarily due to the increased insurance risk with younger, inexperienced drivers. Although, unlike most countries, there isn’t a young driver’s fee charged in Cameroon, which usually applies to drivers aged between 21-25.
Shopping online and reserving your car before your trip is an excellent idea. Car rental is limited in Cameroon, and it’s a high possibility of no vehicles being available on the day you arrive. Booking in advance will guarantee a car is available.
Ensure all the necessary documents are in place before heading on your trip. Failure to provide everything needed will result in not obtaining a rental vehicle.
- National driver’s license
- International Driving Permit
- Debit/credit card for payment
Vehicle rental costs
Car rental costs in Cameroon are meager compared to other countries, which means it is very affordable for a tourist to rent a car for the entire duration of their stay.
Costs will vary depending on the type and size of the car you want if you require any add-ons such as GPS, wifi, or car seats, and any insurance or added insurance costs. As with any purchase, it is best to shop around online to find the best-priced car that suits your needs.
In general, car rental in Cameroon can start from as little as $1 per day for a small car with minimum insurance to $144 per day for bigger cars or added insurance.
Having valid car insurance is mandatory in Cameroon for both private-owned cars and rental vehicles. It is relatively cheap compared to many other countries and varies in price depending on the type of insurance, the type of car, and the driver’s age.
The minimum driving insurance you can have is Third Party, fire, and theft, which will only cover the third party in the case of an accident. This type of insurance can cost a tourist more money if there is an accident, as they will be liable for damage to the car.
Fully covered insurance is not mandatory and, as such, is not as common. This can be particularly useful for tourists renting a car to ensure everything is insured and avoid paying hefty damage fees, and some rental companies may make this mandatory.
It is essential to check with the agency if insurance is already supplied with the rental vehicle. If it is not, the driver must get the vehicle adequately insured before driving.
Hire car driving tips
- Always make sure the chosen vehicle is in good working condition. Checking things like lights, seat belts, tires, and oil will ensure that the car is up to standard and avoid any unnecessary issues down the road.
- Inspect both the inside and outside of the vehicle for any previous damage. Take pictures and make sure to inform the company of prior damages. Doing this will help a driver avoid paying damage fees they didn’t incur.
- Take down a reliable phone number for the company in the case of any emergencies or issues with the vehicle. It’s also a good idea to find out the companies policies regarding things like breakdowns or accidents, and if you will be supplied with another rental car.
Driving And Safety In Cameroon
Driving in Cameroon is not the most accessible place to drive. Roads are often in poor condition with potholes and poorly lit signage, even inside cities. Pedestrians and stray animals are often wandering onto roads, causing hazards. Be aware and alert at all times while driving.
Driving is not recommended outside of the city at night, mainly due to the poor condition of the roads, and accidents occur often. Local police are constantly patrolling roads, so it is crucial to always stick to road rules and traffic laws.
Before traveling to Cameroon, check out your government’s travel advice. Often travel can be advised against due to security risks in this area of Africa. The security risk in Cameroon is primarily located around the borders, particularly on the edge of Nigeria and Chad. Terrorist groups are common here, as is kidnapping for ransom and armed banditry. Most governments advise against traveling near this border.
Another security risk to be aware of is the risk of armed robbery or petty theft, particularly among tourists. Always exercise caution in tourist spots and cities, avoid having large amounts of cash or jewelry, and keep your car doors locked.
Road rules in Cameroon
Brushing up on the road rules is wise before getting behind the wheel in a foreign country.
Some rules to remember are:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol is strictly prohibited
- You must not use your mobile phone while driving
- A maximum speed limit is 60 km/h in cities
- You must carry your license, passport, IDP, and insurance in the car with you at all times
Top 3 Places to Visit in Cameroon
Cameroon is a country in West Africa and is a beautiful mix of desert plains, mountains, and tropical rainforests. French and English are widely spoken in most of this country, but Cameroon is home to over 250 languages.
Cameroon has two different climates. A tropical climate in the North consists of hot temperatures year-round, with the average temperature being 31 degrees celsius. The rest of the country has an equatorial climate, composed of hot weather year-round with rainy monsoons common during two seasons of the year.
Yaounde is a breathtakingly beautiful city and is Cameroon’s capital. The city is spread over seven large hills, and the main buildings are separated by these mountains, making these walks or drives exceptionally beautiful.
The city is located on Mount Cameroon, the site of an active volcano. Limbe is a popular tourist spot, thanks to its exceptional beauty. There are plenty of national parks and waterfalls, and botanical gardens in the city are home to plenty of nature and plants.
Kribi is considered paradise in Cameroon. Stunning white beaches and sparkling clear waters make for the perfect beach vacation. Hotels and restaurants are abundant in Kribi and make for a great stay.
What should I do if I lose my IDP in Cameroon?
If you lose your IDP in Cameroon, you must contact your IDP issuer as soon as possible to have a replacement sent to you. You cannot drive without an IDP in Cameroon, so you must get a replacement sent before you continue driving.
Is it safe to drive during the rainy season in Cameroon?
Exercise extreme caution driving during monsoon as dirt roads can become hazardous, and mudslides are expected.