flag Congo Congo: Travelling

In this page: Entry Requirements | Organising Your Trip | Visiting | Living Conditions | Eating | Paying | Speaking | Useful Resources

 

Organising Your Trip

Means of Transport Recommended in Town

Recommendation
In Brazzaville, there is no proper public transport network. Getting around the taxi is the easiest way: trips generally cost XAF 1000, but longer trips across town may cost double the price. Prices are often set in advance, and haggling is not required before getting in.
An extensive network of shared minibuses and taxis connects all districts and prices are cheap (ranging from XAF 100 to 150. These means of transport, however, are not particularly safe and comfortable and may take longer than normal taxis due to the many stops they do.
Maps of Urban Networks
Via Michelin (detailed map of Brazzaville)
Via Michelin (detailed map of Pointe-Noire)

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Transportation From Airport to City Centre:


Airport

Distance

Taxi

Bus

Train

Car Rental
Maya Maya International Airport (Brazzaville) 5.5 km/3.4 miles 10 min - around XAF 1,000 No No Yes
Agostinho-Neto International Airport (Pointe-Noire) 7 km/4.3 miles 20 min- around XAF 1,500 No No Yes

Means of Transport Recommended in the Rest of the Country

Recommendation
By plane is the easiest way to travel across the country. Trans Air Congo and Canadian Airways Congo are operating flights between Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire (a one-hour journey). Nevertheless, cancellations and delays are common, and most internal flights are not bookable online.
The most common public transport method in Congo is with bush taxis and buses. Bush taxis tend to be a little faster, but are less comfortable and more crowded.
Trains connect Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire three times a week in each direction (standing XAF 14,300, seat XAF 22,500, sleeper XAF 26,000). It is advisable to purchase tickets at least a day in advance. The ride takes a full day (sometimes more in case of delays) but offers the chance to see beautiful landscapes. Another train route connects Pointe Noire to Mbinda, on the border with Gabon.
Finally, it is also possible to travel in the country by boat (either on motorized or traditional boats). Passenger and VIP ferries operate daily between Brazzaville and Kinshasa every 2 hours between 8am and 3pm. The ride is generally very safe and offers spectacular sceneries.

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Airlines

Name Type Domestic Flights International Flights
Trans Air Congo Yes No
Canadian Airways Congo Yes No
Ethiopian Airlines No Yes

You Can Consult The EU Air Safety List. Look Also at the rating of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

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Travelling By Yourself

Recommendation
Driving in the Republic of the Congo is generally safe. The country has a paved road network of around 1,200 km. The road that connects Brazzaville and Pointe Noire is in very good conditions, same as the one between Pointe Noire and Cabinda. However, it is recommendable to drive around in a SUV, especially during the rainy season, when roads can be in worse conditions (and sometimes impassable due to heavy rains).
Several car rental agencies are available in Brazzaville and Pointe Noire, though renting a car can be really expensive (between USD 150 to 300 per day), same as for petrol. Driving is on the right side of the road, and an international driving license is required. Check points are frequent.
If hiring a driver, please note that most people only speak French. English, Chinese or German guides can be procured for USD 50 to 100/day, while French guides can be cheaper.
Road Maps
Detailed road map of Congo
Ezilon - Congo road network
Find an Itinerary
Via Michelin - Congo

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Visiting

Different Forms of Tourism

Historical
Tourists can visit the Congo Tank Graveyard, an hidden spot outside Brazzaville where hundreds of rusting old tanks from the great war of Africa over the Congo can be found.
The Brazza memorial, in memory of the Italian-French explorer Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, who founded the settlement that became Brazzaville, can be visited in the capiltal, next to the Corniche.
Cultural
The most important museum of the country is the National Museum of Congo, located in Brazzaville. Other museums include the Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza museum and the Musée du Cercle Africain (in Pointe-Noire).
Nature
The Republic of the Congo can offer stunning landscapes and a variety of flora and fauna. The Odzala National Park is populated by lowland gorillas, monkeys and even elephants, and tourists can enjoy long hikings among the nature. Other major parks include the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park (in the north of the country), the Conkouati-Douli National Park (in the far west, with the widest biodiversity), and the Louana National Park.
Religious
The Sainte-Anne-du-Congo cathedral in Brazzaville is among the main monuments of the country's capital, together with the Sacred Heart cathedral, which is the oldest existing cathedral in central Africa (dated 1892).
Thermal
In the capital Brazzaville tourists can enjoy several Spa resorts.
Beach
The southern area of Pointe-Noire is known as the wild coast ("côte sauvage"), and it is where the most popular beaches are located.
Winter Sports
The climate of the Republic of the Congo is not suitable for winter sports.
Outdoor Activities
Thirty minutes north of Pointe-Noire, close to the village of Diosso, visitors can find the Diosso Gorge. With its pink, yellow and orange colours, it offers a remarkable scenery and it is a good location for hiking.
In Brazzaville, visitors can enjoy the powerful rapids of the Congo River. In all of the national parks visitors can enjoy wonderful hikes (with several levels of difficulty).
Surf lovers can enjoy the waves of the coast next to Pointe-Noire (Pointe Kunda, Cote Sauvage, M’Vassa).
Shopping
Local jewelry, masks, paintings, and other artwork can be bought at the artisan mart near the BDEAC (Banque Developpement pour les Etats de l'Afrique Centrale). The Poto-Poto market is also famous, offering paintings and crafted wooden masks, while the villages of Makana and M'Pila are renowned for pottery.
Tourism Organisations
Ministry for Tourism and Environment

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Living Conditions

Health and Safety

Health Precautions
There are no specific vaccination requirements to enter the Republic of the Congo (except for vaccine against yellow fever which is required for travellers 9 months of age or older). Nevertheless, WHO and foreign ministries of various countries recommend the following vaccines before entering the country: Hepatitis A, Malaria, Typhoid, Hepatitis B and Rabies, and Measles.
For Further Information on Sanitary Conditions
CDC - Health Information for Travelers to Congo
For Further Information on Safety Conditions
U.S. Department of State - Congo Travel Information
Government of Canada - Congo Travel Advice
OSAC - Congo Crime and Safety Report
 

Emergency Numbers

Ambulance 118
Police 117
 

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Time Difference and Climate

Time and Time Difference
It is %T:%M %A In Brazzaville (GMT+1)
Summer Time Period
There are no daylight saving time clock changes in the Republic of the Congo
 

Map of the Time Zone

Time zone

Type of Climate
The Republic of the Congo is situated across the Equator. The northern part of the country has an equatorial climate, being hot and humid all year round, with some sporadic rainfalls and high temperatures throughout the year. The centre and south are tropical: while still hot and humid, there is a dry and cooler season in winter, generally between June and September (and from mid-May to mid-October on the coast).
Temperatures in the capital Brazzaville (located at 320 meters above sea level) reach a peak of 31/32 °C from February to April, and drop to around 27/28 °C from June to August.
For Further Information
National Agency for Civil Aviation
 

Average Annual Temperatures and Rainfall

Climate

 

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Eating

Food Specialties
The Congolese cuisine mixes the African traditions with French and Arabic influences. Cassava and maize are the staples.
Traditional dishes include:
fufu: a stiff porridge made with flour from cassava (or sometimes maize)
saka saka: a plate made of cassava leaves, palm oil and fish
goat stew: often served with manioc or fufu
manioc: cassava roots served with meat or fish
makobe: a seasoned freshwater fish cooked in marantaceae leaves
Finally, many dishes are accompanied by a spicy chilli sauce referred to as pili-pili.
Drinks
Palm wine is widely consumed across the country.
Beer is also a common drink, with several brands produced locally (like N’Gok) or imported (Primus, Turbo King, Heineken, etc.).
A local red wine imported from Gabon and known as sovinco is also common in Congo.
Dietary Restrictions
Food taboos depend according to the tribe and the village. If a family has a totem (an animal considered a spiritual protector), it cannot eat that animal.
The legal drinking age for alcohol is 18.

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Paying

Domestic Currency
CFA Franc BEAC
ISO Code
XAF
To Obtain Domestic Currency
The CFA franc is pegged to the euro at an unchanging rate of XAF 655.957 per 1 EUR. Although USD and GBP can be changed in Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire, exchanging EUR may prove to be much easier. Some private businesses may also offer exchange services, but with higher exchange rates. Crédit du Congo, Ecobank and BGFI Bank have ATMs in Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire to withdraw local currency (Visa, MasterCard and Plus cards are generally accepted).
Possible Means of Payment
Payments in the Republic of the Congo are generally cash. Some high-end hotels may accept credit cards (with Visa being the most commonly accepted card).

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Speaking

Official Language
French
Other Languages Spoken
Several languages from the Bantu family are spoken, especially Kituba and Lingala, Mboshi and Bateke, together with around 40 additional languages and dialects.
Business Language
French
Getting Some Knowledge
Please visit the website of Omniglot for an introduction to the Lingala and Kituba languages.
Free Translation Tools
Lingala to English dictionary :
Lingala phrasebook :

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Useful Resources

To Find an Apartment
LGC
NBY Immo
Gestrim Ocean

To Find a Job
Impact Pool
Indeed Congo
Jobnet Africa

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Latest Update: October 2022