Rhumsiki

Rhumsiki

Rhumsiki, also spelt Rumsiki and Roumsiki, is a village in the Far North Province of Cameroon.

Rhumsiki is located in the Mandara Mountains 55 km (34 mi) from Mokolo, and is located 3 km (2 mi) from the border with Michika LGA, Adamawa State, Nigeria. The village is similar to many others in northern Cameroon. The inhabitants, members of the Kapsiki ethnic group, live in small houses built from local stone and topped with thatched roofs; these homes are scattered throughout the village and surrounding valley. Nevertheless, Rhumsiki is one of Cameroon's most popular tourist attractions and "the most touristic place in northern Cameroon".

The attraction is the surrounding scenery. Gwanfogbe, et al., describe it as "remarkable", Lonely Planet as "striking", Rough Guides as "breathtaking" and Bradt Guides as an "almost lunar landscape". Writer and explorer André Gide wrote that Rhumsiki's surroundings are "one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world." The spectacular effect is created by surrounding volcanic plugs (the remnants of long-dormant volcanoes), basalt outcroppings, and the Mandara Mountains. The largest (and most photographed) of these rocks is Kapsiki Peak, a plug standing 1,224 m (4,016 ft) tall.

Rhumsiki has adapted to the flow of tourists. Children in the village act as tour guides, showing visitors several pre-arranged attractions. Among these are craftspeople, such as blacksmiths, potters, spinners, and weavers; native dancers; and the féticheur, a fortune-teller who predicts the future based on a crab's manipulation of pieces of wood. Rhumsiki is now a standard item on most tourist itineraries, a fact of which the travel literature disapproves. Rough Guides describes Rhumsiki as "overrun" and "tainted by organized tourism", and Lonely Planet calls it "something of a tourist trap." The standard guided tour of the village leads The Rough Guide to doubt its authenticity: "The appeal of the visit is largely to get a taste of the 'real' Cameroon, and the built-in flaw is that the more people come, the more distorted and unreal life in the village becomes."

The Rhumsiki 'plug' is very obviously phallic and both traditionally (barren women making sacrifices at its foot) and in the modern world (selling the hotel as a honeymoon destination) this has been one of the main features of Rhumsiki.

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