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Congo

CONGO TRAVEL GUIDE

The Republic of Congo, also known as Congo-Brazzaville, is a small yet vibrant country in Central Africa that offers a unique and off-the-beaten-path travel experience for adventurous tourists. The country is home to lush rainforests, diverse wildlife, and an intriguing cultural heritage, making it a great destination for nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts, and those interested in history and culture. Visitors can explore national parks, such as Odzala-Kokoua and Nouabalé-Ndoki, go on gorilla treks, take river safaris, and discover traditional villages and markets. Although not as well-known as some of its African neighbors, the Republic of Congo is a hidden gem that offers a rich and authentic travel experience for those willing to venture off the tourist trail.

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CONGO QUICK FACTS

Capital: Brazzaville

Government: Republic

Currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XAF)

Area: 342,000 km2

Population:5,244 million (2018 est.)

Language: French (official), Lingala and Monokutuba (lingua franca trade languages), many local languages and dialects (of which Kikongo has the most users)

Religion: Christian 50%, animist 48%, Muslim 2%

Electricity: 220V/50Hz (French plug)

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FESTIVALS IN CONGO

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BEST TIME TO VISIT CONGO

The best time to visit the Republic of Congo is during the dry season, which runs from June to September. During this time, the weather is generally dry and warm, with lower humidity levels. This makes it easier to explore the country's natural attractions, such as Odzala-Kokoua National Park and Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park, and to go on gorilla treks or river safaris.

 

However, it's worth noting that temperatures can still be high during the day, reaching up to 32°C (90°F), so visitors should be prepared for the heat. The rainy season, which runs from October to May, can be challenging for travel due to the heavy rainfall and potential flooding. Additionally, some roads and attractions may be inaccessible during this time.

 

It's also worth checking the latest travel advice before planning a trip to the Republic of Congo, as the country has experienced political unrest and security concerns in recent years.

CONGO WEATHER SYNOPSIS

The Republic of Congo has an equatorial climate with a bimodal rainfall pattern and temperature structure. March through May sees a rainy season as well as September through November. Mean monthly temperatures range from 23-26°C, with February through March experiencing the highest temperatures, and June through August experiencing the lowest. The length of the dry season follows a gradient from south to north, with southern locales experiencing a longer dry season than northern ones. The dry season extends for 3 to 4 months at 2°S and 1 to 2 months for the rest of the country. Mean annual precipitation for the Republic of Congo is 1,612 mm. The wettest areas of the country are between 1-3°S, with annual precipitation above 2,000 mm. The Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) is also an important force in driving the rainy seasons as it migrates between the equator and the tropics throughout the year.

Congo

CONGO 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 CONGO

HIKING & CYCLING IN CONGO

BEACH OPTIONS IN CONGO

SURFING IN CONGO

KITESURF IN CONGO

Kitesurfing spot details and weather

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TRAVEL SAFETY IN CONGO

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

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HEALTH RISKS IN CONGO

Be aware of possible health risks in 

Congo

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.

For the latest travel health notices and recommended precautions click

CONGO TRAVEL COSTS

The cost of traveling to the Republic of Congo will depend on several factors, such as your travel style, itinerary, and the time of year you visit.

Generally speaking, the Republic of Congo is not a budget destination, and costs can be relatively high due to the limited tourist infrastructure in the country. Here are some approximate costs to consider:

  • Flights: A return flight from Europe or North America can cost between $800 and $1,500, depending on the season and airline.
  • Accommodation: Budget accommodations, such as hostels or guesthouses, can start at around $20 per night, while mid-range hotels can cost $100 to $200 per night. Luxury lodges can cost upwards of $500 per night.
  • Food: Basic meals at local restaurants can cost around $5 to $10, while mid-range restaurants can cost $15 to $25 per meal.
  • Activities: Activities such as gorilla trekking, river safaris, and national park fees can cost several hundred dollars per person.

It's also worth noting that some areas of the country may require permits or special arrangements, which can add to the overall cost of your trip. Additionally, travel insurance is recommended for the Republic of Congo, and this should be factored into your budget.

CONGO TRAVEL TIPS

Here are some travel tips for the Republic of Congo that may be helpful for tourists:

  • Obtain necessary visas and permits: Before traveling to the Republic of Congo, check the visa requirements for your country of origin and make sure to obtain the necessary permits and visas in advance.
  • Get vaccinated: It's recommended to get vaccinated against yellow fever, as well as other common diseases such as typhoid and hepatitis A.
  • Pack for the climate: The Republic of Congo has a humid tropical climate, so pack lightweight, breathable clothing and comfortable walking shoes. Also, pack insect repellent and sunscreen.
  • Be prepared for limited infrastructure: The Republic of Congo is a developing country, so be prepared for limited infrastructure and tourist amenities. It's advisable to bring cash in local currency as ATMs and credit card facilities may not be widely available.
  • Respect local customs: The Republic of Congo is a culturally diverse country, so it's important to respect local customs and traditions. Learn a few phrases in French or the local language, and dress modestly when visiting villages or public places.
  • Be aware of security concerns: Some parts of the Republic of Congo have experienced political unrest and security concerns in recent years, so it's advisable to check the latest travel advice before planning your trip.
  • Travel with a reputable tour operator: To ensure a safe and enjoyable trip, consider traveling with a reputable tour operator who is knowledgeable about the local area and can provide guidance on the best places to visit and stay.

SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF CONGO

The Republic of Congo has several regions worth visiting, each offering unique attractions and experiences. Here are some of the main regions and their highlights:

  • Brazzaville: The capital city of the Republic of Congo is located on the banks of the Congo River and is known for its vibrant markets, colonial architecture, and cultural attractions such as the Basilique Sainte-Anne and the National Museum of Congo.
  • Odzala-Kokoua National Park: This pristine wilderness area in the northwest of the country is home to diverse wildlife, including western lowland gorillas, forest elephants, and chimpanzees. Visitors can go on gorilla treks, river safaris, and nature walks to experience the park's natural beauty.
  • Pointe-Noire: This coastal city in the southwest of the country is known for its beautiful beaches, bustling port, and vibrant nightlife. Visitors can explore the bustling markets, relax on the beach, or take a boat trip to explore the nearby islands.
  • Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park: This remote rainforest reserve in the north of the country is home to a range of wildlife, including forest elephants, gorillas, and chimpanzees. Visitors can go on guided hikes, river safaris, and visit local communities to learn about the area's cultural heritage.
  • Lefini Reserve: This wildlife reserve located just outside Brazzaville is home to a variety of species, including elephants, gorillas, and antelopes. Visitors can go on guided nature walks, river cruises, and birdwatching tours to explore the area's natural beauty.
  • Lesio-Louna Reserve: This wildlife sanctuary in the south of the country is known for its rescued and rehabilitated primates, including chimpanzees and gorillas. Visitors can take guided tours of the reserve and learn about the conservation efforts to protect the area's wildlife.

These are just a few of the regions worth visiting in the Republic of Congo. Each offers a unique and authentic travel experience that showcases the country's natural beauty, cultural heritage, and rich wildlife.

The Republic of Congo offers a wide range of unique and exciting experiences for visitors. Here are some of the best things to see and do when visiting the country:

  • Go on a gorilla trek: The Republic of Congo is one of the best places in the world to see western lowland gorillas in their natural habitat. Visitors can go on guided treks in the Odzala-Kokoua and Nouabalé-Ndoki national parks to see these majestic primates up close.
  • Explore the rainforest: The country's rainforests are home to a diverse range of wildlife, including forest elephants, chimpanzees, and antelopes. Visitors can go on guided nature walks, river safaris, and birdwatching tours to explore the area's natural beauty.
  • Visit Brazzaville: The capital city of the Republic of Congo is known for its vibrant markets, colonial architecture, and cultural attractions such as the Basilique Sainte-Anne and the National Museum of Congo.
  • Relax on the beach: The country's coastal region offers beautiful beaches and scenic coastal towns such as Pointe-Noire, where visitors can relax on the beach, take boat trips to nearby islands, or explore the local markets and nightlife.
  • Learn about traditional culture: The Republic of Congo has a rich cultural heritage, with many traditional customs and practices still being observed today. Visitors can visit local communities and learn about traditional crafts, music, and dance.
  • Visit wildlife reserves: The country has several wildlife reserves, such as the Lefini Reserve and the Lesio-Louna Reserve, where visitors can see a variety of animals and learn about conservation efforts to protect the area's wildlife.

These are just a few of the many things to see and do when visiting the Republic of Congo. Whether you're interested in wildlife, culture, or adventure, the country offers a unique and authentic travel experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

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WHAT TO EAT IN CONGO

The Republic of Congo offers a diverse range of cuisine that reflects its cultural heritage and natural resources. Here are some of the foods to try when visiting the country:

  • Poulet Moambé: This is the national dish of the Republic of Congo, and it consists of chicken cooked in a sauce made with palm nuts, onions, and garlic. It is usually served with fufu or rice.
  • Saka-Saka: This is a popular side dish made with cassava leaves, often served with grilled fish or meat.
  • Kwanga: This is a traditional Congolese food made from cassava flour, which is cooked and fermented to produce a sour, bread-like dough. It is often served with grilled fish or meat.
  • Yassa: This is a West African dish made with marinated chicken or fish, onions, and lemon juice. It is often served with rice or couscous.
  • Makayabu: This is a type of smoked fish that is often used in soups and stews.
  • Beignets: These are sweet, deep-fried doughnuts that are often served as a dessert or snack.
  • Fruits: The Republic of Congo has a wide variety of tropical fruits, including mangoes, pineapples, papayas, and bananas, which are often served as a refreshing snack or dessert.

These are just a few of the many delicious foods to try when visiting the Republic of Congo. The country offers a rich culinary experience that is sure to satisfy any foodie's palate.

LGBTQ IN CONGO

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WHERE TO STAY IN CONGO

When visiting the Republic of Congo for the first time, there are several accommodation options available that cater to different preferences and budgets. Here are some suggestions:

  • Brazzaville: As the capital city, Brazzaville has a range of accommodation options, including budget hotels, mid-range hotels, and luxury hotels. This is a good option for visitors who want to be close to cultural attractions and amenities such as restaurants, shops, and nightlife.
  • Odzala-Kokoua National Park: This national park is one of the main attractions in the Republic of Congo and offers a range of eco-lodges and tented camps that allow visitors to experience the rainforest and see western lowland gorillas up close.
  • Pointe-Noire: This coastal city offers a range of beachfront hotels and resorts that are perfect for visitors who want to relax by the sea and enjoy water activities such as swimming, snorkeling, and fishing.
  • Lésio-Louna Natural Reserve: This reserve offers eco-tourism accommodations that allow visitors to experience the rainforest and see a range of wildlife, including chimpanzees and gorillas.
  • Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park: This national park also offers eco-tourism accommodations, including treehouses and bungalows, that allow visitors to explore the rainforest and see a range of wildlife, including forest elephants and chimpanzees.

It's important to note that some of these accommodations may be remote and require travel arrangements, so it's important to plan accordingly. It's also a good idea to book accommodation in advance, especially during peak travel seasons.

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