Weather: Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Principe, Sao Tome

This small, spectacular country lies at the crossroads of several African weather regimes. Few places can out-drench Cameroon's coastal delta, where moist southwesterlies are forced upward by Cameroon Mountain and neighbouring peaks to produce one of the world's wettest climates. Debundscha's annual average is over 1000mm/390in, and the coast is soaked from March to November. Further east, the rains are slightly less heavy, and they taper off around July for a few weeks in between the ITCZ's two passages. Much of the rain arrives in brief, but intense, waves, followed by fresh easterly winds and sunny skies. The narrow strip of Cameroon's Nord laps into the Sahel. Here, more spotty rains are focused from June to September, after which the climate segues from sultry and wet to scorching and dry. Nights here do provide some relief in December and January, with average lows dropping below 16°C/60°F before the mercury soars back above 32°C/90°F by day. Freezing temperatures are routine above 3000m/10,000ft on Cameroon's peaks.

Although nearby Gabon straddles the equator (as does aptly named Equatorial Guinea), Gabon's climate reflects more of a Southern Hemisphere influence, as does that of the adjacent Congo. Temperatures peak between February and April, and the long October-to-May wet season is punctuated by a relative lull in February. July and August are the mildest and driest months, with the trend accentuated as you head south along the coast from Cape Lopez, a stretch where waters are chilled by the Benguela Current. Even during the dry season, low clouds often shroud the sky, with the sun shining only about a third of the time. Humidity is high year-round. The volcanic islands of Sao Tome and Principe pull off an unusual combination: perpetually sultry air (and torrential rains on the southwest slopes) above cool Benguela water.