Cameroons (UKTT) - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile


Cameroons (UKTT) was a territory mandated to the British by the League of Nations in 1922. The area was a German Protectorate in late nineteenth century with the British, French, and Belgian troops occupying the area during World War I. Part of the area was mandated to France as Cameroun and the British mandate included Northern Cameroons and Southern Cameroons divided at the present-day Cameroun-Nigeria border. Following a plebiscite, Northern Cameroons became part of the independent state of Nigeria in 1960 and the Southern Cameroons were termed U.K.T.T. (United Kingdom Trust Territory). UKTT became part of Cameroun on October 1, 1961.

Philatelic Profile:

Red “Cameroons U.K.T.T.overprints on a Nigerian set oftwelve stamps (Scott #80 to #91) of 1953 were used in the area during 1960 and 1961. The issues were withdrawn from Northern Cameroons on May 31, 1961 when that area became part of Nigeria and in Southern Cameroons on September 30, 1961 when that area joined the Cameoun Federal Republic. The parent set from Nigeria is sought after and catalogs for around $55 MNH and around $15 Used. The designs show Manilla Bracelet Currency, Bornu Horsemen, Peanuts of Kano City, Mning Tin, Jebba bridge over Niger River, Cocoa Industry, Olokun Head in Ife Bronze, Logging Industry, Victoria Harbor, Palm Oil Industry, Cattle Industry showing Goats and Fulani, and Lagos Waterfront from the 19th and 20th centuries. The British Crown Head design or the QE head portrait design is featured in Inset on all stamps of this set. The U.K.T.T. overprints (Scott #66 to #77) were issued on October 1, 1960 and catalogs from around $20 MNH and around double that for Used.

Collectible Memorabilia:

Early 20th century colonial maps and late 19th century German maps are a very collectible item from the area. First prints coveringnative art, flora, and fauna are also sought after. Original photographs from the period covering the early 1950s to independence era of the early 1960s showing political or other union activism is another sought after item from the area. Original art work including postcards covering native pygmy and other ethnic themes are also sought after.













Related Posts:

  1. Cameroon
  2. Nigeria

Last Updated: 12/2015. 



Tracking Robert Karr's Joho Capital Portfolio - Q3 2012 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights the changes to Robert Karr's Joho Capital US long stock portfolio as of Q3 2012:


Robert Karr is one of the tiger cubs (manager who learned the tricks of the trade from Julian Robertson, founder of now defunct Tiger Management Group) who has an annualized return of well over 20% since inception (1996). Baidu Inc. (BIDU) is the only new position this quarter at just over 6% of the portfolio. Other major changes include sizable stake increases in Facebook (FB), Mead Johnson (MJN), and Yum Brands (YUM).


Tracking Stanley Druckenmiller's Duquesne Family Office Portfolio - Q3 2012 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights the changes to Stanley Druckenmiller's Duquesne Family Office US long stock portfolio as of Q3 2012:


 Stanley Druckenmiller started the family office in Q4 2011 after closing his hedge fund Duquesne Capital in 2010. Prior to that, he managed George Soros's Quantum Fund between 1988 and 2000. He follows a trend following trading style that is similar to George Soros. For the family office, he started out with 23 positions in Q4 2011 and currently holds 45 positions as of Q3 2012. In the latest quarter, major changes include new positions in Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Chevron (CVX). Significant stake increases include DR Horton (DHI), Lennar (LEN), Eli Lilly (LLY), Merck (MRK), and Pfizer (PFE). The fund also eliminated a huge 38% position in SPDR Gold (GLD) and a ~6% position in Altria (MO) in the quarter.

Tracking Francis Chou's Chou Associates Portfolio - Q3 2012 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights the changes to Francis Chou's Chou Associates US long stock portfolio as of Q3 2012:



 Francis Chou's 13F portfolio had 35 positions in Q3 2012 including certain debt holdings and other very small positions. Overall, the quarter saw some trimming of positions (FSR, GPS, S, and WPI) and a 3.73% stake establishment in Dell Inc. (DELL).


Tracking Charles Akre's Akre Capital Management Portfolio - Q3 2012 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights the changes to Charles Akre's Akre Capital Management US long stock portfolio as of Q3 2012:


 Chuck Akre has a long-term, concentrated value investment philosophy. As such large-scale changes to the portfolio are a rarity at Akre Capital Management. For Q3 2012, there were minor adjustments to several positions. Also, no positions were eliminated and three new positions were established - Colfax (CFX), a 0.60% position, Monro Muffler Brake (MNRO) a 1.10% position, and Verisk Analytics (VRSK), a 2.52% position.

Tracking David Winters' Wintergreen Advisors Portfolio - Q3 2012 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights the changes to David Winters' Wintergreen Advisors US long stock portfolio as of Q3 2012:



David Winters is a deep value investor mentored by Michael Price of Mutual Series. Since inception in 2006, there have only been minor changes to his concentrated portfolio - average number of positions since inception is around 12. This quarter, several positions were adjusted incrementally. The one comparatively big change was the elimination of Coca Cola FEMSA (KOF).


Tracking Lou Simpson's SQ Advisors Portfolio - Q3 2012 Update

Below is a spreadsheet that highlights the changes to Lou Simpson's SQ Advisors US long stock portfolio as of Q3 2012:



Since inception in 2011, there have been very few changes. This quarter twelve of the fifteen positions in the portfolio were marginally increased, one was kept steady, and two were marginally decreased. The top three positions are Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A and BRK.B), Fiserv (FISV), and TE Connectivity (TEL).


Ooty Trip Report

Our plan called for a two-night stay in Ooty with half-a-day set aside for the Ooty Toy Train Trip and the rest for sightseeing within Ooty. This worked fairly well, although there is definitely things to do, if one has more time. Ooty lacks a resort hotel - options that come close include a good heritage place called Savoy by Taj, Gem Park Hotel which was formerly a Holiday Inn, and Sinclairs Retreat. In the 3-star and below categories, there are a large number of choices. Economical alternatives include the YWCA Guest House and the TTDC Youth Hostel both of which are blessed with great locations. In terms of restaurants, choices are aplenty although high-end options are generally lacking. At the low end, there is a Saravana Bhavan for South Indian food near Charing Cross which has a good rating. Nahar Hotel and a Gujarati restaurant (both on Main Bazar Road) are good economical choices as well. For pure vegetarian fare, the Nahar Niligiris Hotel at Charing Cross has several options: Chandan (North Indian food), Garden Restaurant (South Indian cuisine) and Side Walk Café (Italian). Also, Thendral Restaurant or Ooty Coffee House, both near bus-stand are good choices as well. Preethi Multi-cuisine restaurant next to Ooty Gate is a good eclectic choice. At the high-end, choices include the restaurants at the Gem Park hotel and Savoy. The Jade Garden restaurant at Gem Park is rated the best Chinese restaurant in Ooty. Shinkow's is a popular economical alternative and offers authentic Chinese fare - the best way to locate the place is to ask for St. Stephen’s Church and take the road on the opposite side (Commissioner’s Road) - a classic Higgin Bothams building and a large government building flag this street and further down at the first junction to the right is Shinkow's - it is very well-known and a unique thing about this place is the way they take your order: the waiter presents you with a pen and a slip of paper to write down the order.

The first item in our itinerary was Deer Park on the way to Honeymoon Boat House. The place has no entrance fee! There are a large number of Samba Deers and some caged barking Deers on offer here - the location next to the lake is pristine and offers great views of the main gate house area of the lake. The honeymoon boat house is far less crowded compared to the main gate house but services are minimal: one can rent a boat (Motor boats - Rs 385 to Rs 700 for 20min, Row boats - Rs 140 for a 5-seater for 30min, and Pedal boats - Rs 90 to Rs 140 for 30min), go for a short walk along the side of the lake, or shop at the TTDC (Tamilnadu Tourism Development Corporation) Nursery for flowering plants at the entrance. There is a park with slides for small children and a small but beautifully maintained garden here as well. The main gate house area of the lake is the center of most of the activity around the lake - entrance fee is Rs 5. It has a restaurant overlooking the lake, a large and popular lawn area, boating, children’s rides, horse riding, etc ticketing counters and several retail outlets - the items popular with tourists include chocolates, eucalyptus oil, hand-embroidered textiles, and tea.

Botanical Gardens (established 1848) is the most popular spot in Ooty after the lake. Hours are 8:30AM to 6:30PM with admission around Rs 30. Private parking is available next to the gardens for around Rs 50 - curio and other touristy shops flank either side of the road. The gardens are a great option to spend upwards of two hours. It is spread over more than 50 acres and is divided into five parts: lower garden, new garden, Italian Garden, Conservatory Fountain Terrace, and Nurseries. The gardens host around a thousand species of both indigenous and exotic plants, shrubs, ferns, trees, and bonsais. The bhaji in the caffe inside deserve special mention as it was exceptionally good. It rained while we were there resulting in a good taste of hail. Curio shops are at the entrance and inside as well. Governor’s House (Raj Bhavan) overlooks the garden but the entrance to that area is out-of-bounds to public. There are several elevated platforms that provide a great view of the garden area. Other highlights of the gardens include a fossil tree trunk exhibit (from 20 million year old rock per the Geological Survey of India), McIvor Fern House considered the crown jewel of Victorian Architecture in the area (in honor of W.G.McIvor from the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew who set up the place in the 1840s), Heritage Gate Building (built in 1859 and renovated in 1995 for the centenary flower festival), an elevated Italian Garden area, British era cannons, and statues and other tributes to Jayalalithaa, the Chief Minister. Several large lawn areas, ponds with lilies, and several carpet-bed designs with different themes (map of the Indian Union, Ashok Chakra, etc) dot the area. 

Other major attractions in and around Ooty include St. Stephens Church established in 1829 and designed by architect John James Underwood as one of the first buildings by the British, Rose Garden (seasonal), and Pykara Falls & Pykara Lake located around 20KM from Ooty. Attractions in the neighboring town of Coonoor include Sim’s Park, Dolphin’s Nose, Katery Falls, Lamb’s Rock, Law’s Falls, and Droog View Point.














Related Posts:

  1. Ooty Toy Train - Nilgiri Mountain Railway - Trip Report
  2. Coonoor Sunvalley Homestay Review
  3. Ooty Trip Report

Last Updated: 01/2013. 

Coonoor - Sunvalley Homestay Review

We left Kakkanad (Kerala, India) early morning (5:40AM) hoping to reach Coonoor around lunchtime. As it turned out, the stretch till Thrissur on the 4-lane highway went really quick but the following 20KM was a drag - single lane with bumpy roads. We reached Coimbatore town area around 9:30AM. It took a little while to find a decent restaurant for breakfast before ending up at Annapoorna on the Ooty route after Salem turning. We left Coimbatore around 10:45AM - the Coimbatore-Ooty route is 100KM and the road is OK but the 14 hair-pin bends slow you down. All told, we managed to reach Coonoor around 1PM.



Going by the glowing reviews on TripAdvisor, we reserved an overnight stay at Sunvalley Homestay in Coonoor well in advance - went by their quoted special rate of Rs 3200/- including breakfast for the four of us in a twin-queen-bedded room. They require a Rs 2000/- deposit to confirm reservation which we arranged using Net Banking. The check-in time was 2PM and so our timing worked perfectly. They had mentioned to call them up so as to arrange an escort to the home-stay from town center. We did not consider this a big deal as the directions at their site seemed straight-forward. A person at the resort called us up well before we reached Coonoor and said they will wait for us in the road in front of the railway station. Later, we realized the reason this is done is because it will be almost impossible to locate the place otherwise - it is around 3-4KM uphill from the first junction before railway station & the way is not paved in the final stretch. It is a secluded spot overlooking a tea estate. The view from the balcony is fantastic and every room has a view of the tea estate that surrounds the place. The highlight of the facility is the food on offer: we ordered special thali and some Chinese dishes for dinner and they were excellent. The Kesari dessert was however below par. For breakfast, they asked in advance what we wanted - we went with Dosa, Upma, Appam and Curries and they were again excellent. The staff is all from Palghat and they try to please as best as they can. Overall, we found the place a little underwhelming. Although the information in the Trip Advisor reviews were generally accurate, the place has a long way to go before it can be termed a “resort” by any stretch of imagination:


  • There is absolutely nothing to do there: “Tea Estate walk straight from resort” is listed as an activity but hiking in the area without a trail-guide is discouraged as venomous snakes are common. Despite the warnings, we still went for a long walk amidst the tea plantations and that was a very soothing experience. Also, keep in mind that you are essentially trespassing on private property as the tea-estate is not part of the “resort”.  
  • Carroms/chess/shuttle/sands are also listed as activities offered at the resort but none of this is really a viable option: the car parking area was shown as the place for shuttle and the dingy basement area for the other activities - equipment was also lacking.
  •  “Ayurvedic massage therapies for gents & ladies” is mentioned although none was on offer when we inquired.
  • We were the only guests for the night and the place is very small with only a handful of rooms. Overall, during our stay, the place appeared deserted.
  •  No proper restaurant - there is an eatery area in the basement were breakfast is served. Other meals are delivered to the room.
  • The rooms are new and tidy but none of the windows and doors can be kept open as flies get in as soon as you open.
  • No refrigerator, locker, etc. in the rooms.
  • The state of Tamilnadu is notorious for regular power cuts and there are no backup facilities. When we were there, power was scheduled to be out from 8-10AM and 2-4PM.
 
We checked out around 9AM in the morning - the staff had advised that we leave around that time as there is construction going on and the roads may get blocked. As luck might have it, we got stuck for over half an hour as a municipality trucker decided unwisely to pass by the narrow approach road despite the fact that there was no way for it to go through, as a a giant roller was parked on the way.

Overall, we recommend this place if your idea of taking a break is complete solitude with good food whenever you please! This is not your place, if you are on the lookout for a resort with facilities such as nice restaurant, games, hiking, natural therapeutic options, and swimming pool.

Ooty Toy Train - Nilgiri Mountain Railway - Trip Report

The Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR) line built in 1908 is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as of July 2005. It runs between Mettupalayam and Coonoor, a distance of 41.8KM. It takes almost five hours to cover the stretch when going uphill and around 3.5 hours when going downhill - Mettupalayam Station at 1,069 feet above sea-level is the starting terminal when going uphill and Udhagamandalam (Ooty) Station at 7,228 feet above sea-level is the terminus. Between Mettupalayam and Coonoor Stations, the line uses a rack and pinion system to climb the steep gradient. Even between Coonoor and Ooty, the locomotive is always located at the Coonoor end even-though the rack-and-pinion system is not used for that section - the gradient is still steep at 4% near Coonoor compared to a maximum gradient of over 8% in the Mettupalayam-Coonoor section. The line has the steepest track in Asia and features over 200 curves, 16 tunnels, and 250 bridges (some are midget sized!).

There is a general compartment in the trains on this line but your best bet is to go with a reservation. Normally, tickets are open for reserving three months in advance. Pricing is very cheap compared to international standards. There are four daily trains in the Coonoor-Ooty section compared to just one in the Mettupalayam-Ooty route. Special trains are sometimes added in the Mettupalayam-Ooty route seasonally. We decided to do just the Coonoor-Ooty round-trip this time and reserved as soon as tickets were open in the IRCTC web-site (IRCTC's tourism by Rail site is an alternative for booking) and as luck might have it, got the first four seats in the first class coach. The coaches are not that different, independent of class but the first class coach has the advantage that it will generally be less chaotic. Also, on the Ooty-Coonoor trip, you get to open the front windows for a wonderful view of the valley, if you are among the first six seats. Ticket pricing was around Rs 100 one-way compared to Rs 20 for a second-class ticket. We did not have plans to stick around in Coonoor and so reserved for the next available train back - the timings were 9:15AM from Ooty (UAM) to Coonoor (ONR) on Train #56139 (UAM-ONR) arriving at 10:25AM and 10:40AM departure from Coonoor (ONR) on Train #56136 (MTP-UAM) arriving at noon in Ooty. This worked very well as the return train from Coonoor waits for the arrival of the 9:15AM train from Ooty. There is a lot of chaos at Coonoor but the idea is to get over to the other platform to catch the return train.

On the day of the trip, we arrived at Ooty railway station around 8:30AM and already there was a good crowd. There is a terminal (kiosk) just outside the entrance to the platform where you can check the status of your reservation - this can be handy, if your original reservation was wait-listed (W/L). There is limited parking in front of the station for around Rs 20 per day. If you need to kill time, walking across the railway track to the area around the railway guest houses is a good option. For Train #56139 (UAM-ONR), the coach order was as follows - the locomotive followed by the only first class coach, followed by a second class coach, and several general coaches. The tickets for the general compartments can be purchased from the railway counter on the day of the journey, but one will have to deal with the big line (queue) - also there is no guaranty that tickets will be available by the time you reach the front of the line. 

The journey itself was fantastic. The train moves at snails pace and you get to relax while taking in the wonderful natural views along the way. Some stations have snack and tea service although you will need to hurry if you decide to go to the shack to get what you need as compared to waiting for a vendor to come by. Highlights include several tunnels and bridges, beautiful tea plantations along the valleys, and several churches dotting the area. To complete the UNESCO World Heritage experience, one option to consider is to purchase general compartment tickets at the counter, even if you do not plan to use it - they still issue the old Edmondson style tickets as opposed to the computerized print-outs that are used in the railway ticket counters in the rest of the country.
The Mountain railways of India are a prime tourist attraction in the country and consists of seven lines - four in the Himalayas in North India, two in the Western Ghats in South India, and one in Assam in the Barak river valley of Cachar Hills. Of these, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway line, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway line, and the Kalka-Shimla Railway line together are designated a UNSECO World Heritage Site.

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