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Central African Republic

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC TRAVEL GUIDE

The Central African Republic (CAR), as its name signifies, is in the heart of Africa. The cities and urban centres may remind you of the French connection but the countryside remains the true African experience. This country is home to more than 15,000 pygmies and other tribes who have stayed with the ways of their ancestors and forefathers. Although the country is rich in mineral deposits, self-styled emperors and dictators in the garb of Presidents have done very little to improve the lot of the common people. The citizens are friendly and generous despite their many trials and tribulations and stoically cling on to the hope of better times. Unfortunately, it is not considered a very safe country to travel to, so do check with your embassy before you set out.

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CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC QUICK FACTS

Capital: Bangui

Currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XAF)

Area: 622,984 km2

Population: 4,666 million (2018)

Language: French (official), Sangho (lingua franca and national language), tribal languages

Religion:Indigenous beliefs 35%, Protestant 25%, Roman Catholic 25%, Muslim 15% (animistic beliefs and practices strongly influence the Christian majority)

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CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

  • 29 March, Barthelemy Boganda Day
  • 1 May, Labor Day
  • 30 June, Prayer Day
  • 13 August, Independence Day
  • 15 August, Assumption
  • 1 November, All Saints Day
  • 1 December, Proclamation of the Republic (National Day)

Also, Easter Monday, Ascension, Whit Monday, and, in some regions, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

FESTIVALS IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

Central African Republic

BEST TIME TO VISIT CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

The best time to visit the Central African Republic is during the dry season, which runs from December to March. During this time, the weather is typically sunny with low humidity and temperatures averaging around 25°C (77°F). Wildlife viewing is also optimal during this time, as the dry conditions force animals to congregate around the remaining water sources.

 

However, it's worth noting that the Central African Republic is currently experiencing a volatile political situation and ongoing conflict, which may impact travel to the country. It's important to research the current situation and travel advisories before planning a trip to the Central African Republic.

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC WEATHER SYNOPSIS

The Central African Republic is characterised by a humid, tropical climate with a distinct rainy and dry season, moderated in part by the movement of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). Mean annual rainfall increases from north to south and ranges from 300 mm to 2,500 mm per year throughout the country. Average temperatures in CAR range between 20-35°C. CAR spans three distinctive climatic zones. In the southern part of CAR, the Guinea-Forest climate zone typically receives around 1,600-1,800 mm of rainfall per year, and the rainy season lasts longer than the dry season. The central part of the CAR is characterised as the Sudanese-Guinean zone, receiving between 1,000-1,600 mm of rainfall per year. The dry season and wet season are generally the same temporal range. The Sudanese-Sahelian zone occupies the northern region of the country with annual average rainfall less than 800 mm, and a longer dry season than wet season.

Central African Republic

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC TOURIST SEASONS

Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists. 

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Peak Season

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SPORT & ACTIVITIES

SNOW SPORT IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

HIKING & CYCLING IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

BEACH OPTIONS IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

SURFING IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

KITESURF IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

Kitesurfing spot details and weather

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TRAVEL SAFETY IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

Always consider the current safety risk of each destination and do not travel without travel / medical insurance

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HEALTH RISKS IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

Be aware of possible health risks in 

Central African Republic

Yellow fever - The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no medicine to treat or cure an infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.

Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.

Malaria - Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.

Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.

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CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC TRAVEL COSTS

Traveling to the Central African Republic can be expensive due to limited infrastructure and tourism facilities. The cost of travel will depend on various factors such as the duration of your stay, mode of transportation, accommodation, and activities.

Here are some approximate costs for travel expenses in the Central African Republic:

  • Flights: A round-trip flight from the United States or Europe to the Central African Republic can cost anywhere between $1,000 to $3,000 or more, depending on the airline and time of year.
  • Visa: A tourist visa to the Central African Republic costs around $100, depending on the country of origin.
  • Accommodation: Budget accommodation such as hostels or guesthouses can cost between $10 to $40 per night. Mid-range hotels can cost around $70 to $100 per night, while high-end hotels and resorts can cost upwards of $200 per night.
  • Food: Local food in markets and small restaurants is relatively inexpensive, with meals costing between $2 to $10. Western-style restaurants and hotels can be more expensive, with meals costing between $15 to $30.
  • Transportation: Taxis are the most common mode of transportation and are relatively inexpensive, with short trips costing around $2 to $5. Longer trips by car or bus can be more expensive, with prices varying depending on the distance and type of vehicle.

Overall, budgeting around $50 to $100 per day would be a reasonable estimate for a backpacker-style trip to the Central African Republic, while mid-range to luxury travelers should budget upwards of $150 to $300 per day. However, it's important to research the current situation and travel advisories before planning a trip to the Central African Republic.

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC TRAVEL TIPS

The Central African Republic (CAR) can be a challenging destination for travelers, and it's important to be well-prepared before visiting. Here are some travel tips to help you have a safe and enjoyable trip:

  • Research the current situation: The Central African Republic has experienced political instability and ongoing conflict in recent years. It's important to research the current situation and travel advisories before planning a trip. Check with your country's foreign office for any travel warnings or advisories.
  • Get the necessary vaccinations: Make sure you are up to date on all the required vaccinations for the Central African Republic. These may include yellow fever, hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and meningitis. Consult with a travel doctor before your trip.
  • Dress appropriately: The Central African Republic is a conservative country, and travelers should dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites. Women should cover their shoulders and knees. It's also a good idea to bring lightweight and breathable clothing, as the climate is hot and humid.
  • Be cautious when taking photos: Be respectful when taking photos of people and always ask for permission before taking pictures. Some locals may not want to be photographed, especially in rural areas.
  • Be prepared for limited infrastructure: The Central African Republic has limited infrastructure, and basic services such as electricity and running water may not be available in all areas. It's a good idea to bring a flashlight and extra batteries, as well as a water filtration system or purification tablets.
  • Learn some basic French: French is the official language of the Central African Republic, and it's helpful to know some basic phrases. English is not widely spoken outside of major cities.
  • Respect the wildlife: The Central African Republic is home to a variety of wildlife, including elephants, gorillas, and leopards. When viewing wildlife, always follow the guidance of your guide and respect the animals' space. Avoid buying wildlife products, as this contributes to the illegal wildlife trade.
  • Carry cash: Credit cards are not widely accepted in the Central African Republic, and it's a good idea to carry cash in small denominations for purchases and tips.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: Crime and robbery can be a problem in the Central African Republic, especially in urban areas. Always be aware of your surroundings, and avoid carrying valuable items or large amounts of cash.
  • Hire a reputable guide or tour company: It's advisable to hire a reputable guide or tour company to explore the Central African Republic. They can provide insight into the local culture and customs, as well as ensure your safety during your trip.

SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

The Central African Republic (CAR) is divided into 16 prefectures, which are further divided into sub-prefectures. Each region has its own unique culture, landscape, and attractions. Here are some highlights of the main regions in the country:

  • Bangui: The capital city of the Central African Republic is located in the southwestern part of the country. Highlights include the Boganda Museum, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the National Park of Bangui, and the Oubangui River.
  • Haut-Mbomou: Located in the southeastern part of the country, this region is known for its wildlife and national parks. Highlights include the Dzanga-Sangha National Park, which is home to elephants, gorillas, and chimpanzees, and the Bamingui-Bangoran National Park, which is home to a variety of wildlife such as antelopes, lions, and crocodiles.
  • Basse-Kotto: Located in the central part of the country, this region is known for its historic sites and cultural attractions. Highlights include the town of Mobaye, which has a rich history and is home to the Saint-Ange de Mobaye Cathedral, and the town of Alindao, which has a traditional artisan market and the Alindao Mosque.
  • Ouham: Located in the northwestern part of the country, this region is known for its natural beauty and wildlife. Highlights include the Manovo-Gounda St. Floris National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to elephants, buffalos, and giraffes, and the Ouham River, which offers opportunities for fishing and water activities.
  • Ombella-M'Poko: Located in the central part of the country, this region is known for its cultural attractions and historic sites. Highlights include the town of Boda, which has a traditional artisan market and the Boda Mosque, and the town of Boali, which is home to the Boali Waterfalls and the Boali Hydroelectric Dam.
  • Nana-Mambéré: Located in the western part of the country, this region is known for its natural beauty and wildlife. Highlights include the Nana-Mambéré River, which offers opportunities for fishing and water activities, and the Nana-Barya National Park, which is home to a variety of wildlife.
  • Sangha-Mbaéré: This region is known for its rainforests, and it has several national parks, such as the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park, which is home to several rare species of animals and birds.

These are just a few highlights of each region, and there are many more things to see and explore in the Central African Republic.

The Central African Republic (CAR) has a rich cultural heritage and diverse natural beauty, which makes it an interesting destination for travelers. Here are some of the best things to see and do when visiting CAR:

  • Visit the National Parks: The country has several national parks, such as Manovo-Gounda St. Floris National Park, Dzanga-Sangha National Park, and Bamingui-Bangoran National Park, which are home to a diverse range of wildlife including elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees, and leopards.
  • Explore the Cultural Sites: CAR has a rich cultural heritage, and there are several cultural sites to explore such as the Boganda National Museum, which houses artifacts related to the history and culture of the country, and the Bokassa Palace, which was the former residence of the emperor of CAR.
  • Take a City Tour: The capital city Bangui has several interesting places to visit such as the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, and the marketplaces where you can experience the local life and buy unique souvenirs.
  • River Cruises: The country has several rivers, such as the Ubangi and the Oubangui, and taking a river cruise is a great way to explore the country and its natural beauty.
  • Trekking and Hiking: The country has several mountains and hills such as the Bongo Massif, where you can take part in trekking and hiking activities and enjoy the breathtaking views of the landscape.
  • Bird Watching: CAR is home to several rare species of birds, such as the African grey parrot, the shoebill, and the black-headed bee-eater. You can go bird watching at the national parks and reserves.
  • Attend Festivals: CAR has several cultural festivals throughout the year such as the National Arts and Culture Festival, which takes place in Bangui, and the Festi-Bétango, which is celebrated in the northwest region of the country.
  • Experience Local Cuisine: CAR has a diverse cuisine influenced by French and African culinary traditions. You can enjoy the local delicacies such as moambe (chicken or fish cooked in palm oil), maboké (smoked fish with cassava leaves), and riz gras (rice cooked with vegetables and meat).

These are just a few of the many things you can see and do in the Central African Republic. It is recommended to travel with a reputable tour operator who can help you plan your trip and ensure your safety while exploring the country.

Central African Republic

WHAT TO EAT IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

The Central African Republic has a rich culinary tradition influenced by French and African cuisine. Here are some of the dishes that you should try when visiting the country:

  • Moambe: Moambe is a popular dish made with chicken or fish, cooked in palm oil with onions, tomatoes, and spices. It is usually served with rice or fufu (a starchy side dish made from cassava or yams).
  • Riz gras: Riz gras is a rice dish cooked with vegetables and meat such as chicken or beef. It is often served with a tomato-based sauce and can be quite spicy.
  • Maboké: Maboké is a smoked fish dish cooked with cassava leaves, onions, and spices. It is often served with fufu.
  • Kanda ti-ni: Kanda ti-ni is a peanut sauce dish served with beef or goat meat and vegetables such as okra, eggplant, and spinach. It is often served with rice or fufu.
  • Brochettes: Brochettes are grilled skewers of meat, usually beef or goat, seasoned with spices and served with a spicy dipping sauce.
  • Beignets: Beignets are fried doughnuts usually sold in street markets. They can be sweet or savory and can be filled with chocolate, fruits, or meat.
  • Bissap juice: Bissap juice is a refreshing drink made from hibiscus flowers, sugar, and water. It is often served cold and can be sweetened with honey or sugar.
  • Palm wine: Palm wine is a traditional alcoholic beverage made from the sap of palm trees. It is often served fresh and can have a sweet or sour taste.

These are just a few of the many dishes you can try when visiting the Central African Republic. It is recommended to try the local cuisine in a reputable restaurant or with a local host to ensure the authenticity and safety of the food.

LGBTQ IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

Central African Republic

WHERE TO STAY IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

When visiting the Central African Republic for the first time, it is recommended to stay in the capital city, Bangui, as it is the main point of entry and departure for most visitors. Here are some of the best accommodation options in Bangui:

  • Ledger Plaza Bangui: This is a luxury hotel located in the heart of the city, offering comfortable rooms, a swimming pool, a fitness center, and several dining options.
  • Hotel du Centre: This is a mid-range hotel located in the city center, offering clean and comfortable rooms, a restaurant, and a bar.
  • Hotel Ledger: This is a budget-friendly hotel located near the airport, offering basic amenities such as clean rooms, a restaurant, and a bar.
  • Hotel du Chateau: This is a boutique hotel located in a historic building in the city center, offering comfortable rooms, a restaurant, and a bar.
  • B&B Hotel: This is a small bed and breakfast located in a quiet neighborhood, offering clean and comfortable rooms, a garden, and a terrace.

It is recommended to book your accommodation in advance and to choose a reputable hotel or guesthouse with good security measures in place, as safety can be a concern in some areas of the country. It is also advisable to consult with your travel agent or the local tourism board to get the latest travel advisories and safety information before your trip.

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