Large Gorilla in Virunga, Congo
Large Gorilla in Virunga, Congo

Endangered Species

There are only around 1,000 individuals remain in the wild, making the mountain gorilla one of the planet's most endangered animals.
Photo by Luc Huyghebaert

REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

Africa

Republic of the Congo Travel Information

Temp icon
Overview icon

Key facts

Capital:

Brazzaville

Location:

Central Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Angola and Gabon

Currency:

FRANC (XAF)

Area:

342,000 sq km

Population:

5,417,414 (July 2021 est.)

Languages:

French (official), French Lingala and Monokutuba (lingua franca trade languages), many local languages and dialects (of which Kikongo is the most widespread)

Religion:

Roman Catholic 33.1%, Awakening Churches/Christian Revival 22.3%, Protestant 19.9%, Salutiste 2.2%, Muslim 1.6%, Kimbanguiste 1.5%, other 8.1%, none 11.3% (2010 est.)

TimeZone:

UTC+1

Tel Code:

+242

Weather

The Republic of Congo, also known as Congo-Brazzaville, is a country located in Central Africa. Known for its lush rainforests, diverse wildlife, and friendly people, it is a great destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers.

Climate

The climate in Congo is generally tropical, with high temperatures and humidity year-round. There are two main seasons: the rainy season, which typically runs from March to June and the dry season, which runs from June to October. During the rainy season, heavy downpours can be expected, while the dry season is characterized by hot, sunny weather.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Congo will depend on what you're looking to experience during your trip. If you're interested in seeing the country's wildlife, the dry season is the best time to visit as animals tend to congregate around water sources during this time. However, if you're looking to experience the lush, green rainforests, the rainy season may be a better option. It's important to note that the dry season is also the peak tourist season, so you may want to consider visiting during the rainy season to avoid the crowds.

Overall, the best time to visit Congo is during the dry season (June-October) for wildlife viewing and during the rainy season (March-June) for lush rainforests and fewer crowds.

Transportation

Air Travel

The main international airport in the Republic of Congo is Maya-Maya Airport, located in Brazzaville. The airport is well connected to other major cities in Africa and Europe, with regular flights from cities such as Paris, Addis Ababa, and Johannesburg. There are also flights to other cities within Congo and the region.

Ground Transportation

Once you arrive in Congo, there are a variety of ground transportation options to choose from. Taxis are widely available and can be found at airports, train stations, and major hotels. They can be a convenient option for getting around the city, but it's a good idea to negotiate the fare in advance and ask for the driver's identification.

Bus and Train

There are also buses and trains available for travel within Congo, but these options can be less reliable and may not be as comfortable as other forms of transportation. Bus services connect the major cities within the country and can be a budget-friendly option. While the train service is limited, it can be a good option for traveling between Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire, the country's second-largest city.

Car Rental

Car rental is also an option for getting around Congo, but it's important to note that driving can be challenging due to poor road conditions and the potential for accidents. It's also recommended to hire a driver if you are not familiar with the roads and the traffic regulations in Congo.

Water Transport

The Republic of Congo is also a country with a lot of water ways and rivers, so water transport can be an option in some places. There are several options such as boats and ferries that can be used to travel between towns and villages located along the rivers.

Overall, the Republic of Congo offers a variety of transportation options, including air travel, ground transportation, bus and train, car rental and water transport. However, depending on the destination, some options may be more reliable and convenient than others. It's important to plan ahead and research the best option for your specific travel needs.

Accommodation

Hotels and Resorts

The Republic of Congo offers a variety of hotels and resorts for visitors to choose from. Many of these options are located in Brazzaville, the capital city, and offer comfortable accommodations, amenities such as swimming pools and fitness centers, and access to local attractions. Some popular hotel and resort options include:

  • Hotel Le Bougainville: A four-star hotel located in the heart of Brazzaville, offering comfortable rooms and suites, a swimming pool, and a fitness center.
  • Le Meridien Brazzaville: A luxury hotel located on the banks of the Congo River, offering spacious rooms and suites, a swimming pool, a fitness center, and a variety of dining options.
  • Hotel Le Jardin: A charming hotel located in the historic Mfilou neighborhood of Brazzaville, offering comfortable rooms and suites, a swimming pool, and a restaurant.

Camping and Lodges

For those looking for a more immersive, nature-based experience, Congo offers a number of camping and lodge options. These options are often located in national parks and other natural areas and offer the chance to explore the country's wilderness and wildlife up close. Some popular camping and lodge options include:

  • Nouabale-Ndoki National Park: This national park offers visitors the chance to stay in traditional, thatched-roofed lodges, as well as the option to camp in the park.
  • Dzanga-Ndoki National Park: This national park offers a variety of accommodation options, including traditional lodges, camping, and luxury tents.
  • Odzala-Kokoua National Park: this national park offers a variety of accommodation options, including luxurious tented camps and traditional lodges, which provide visitors with the opportunity to explore the park's forests and wildlife.

Homestays

Another option for accommodation in Congo is to stay with a local family in a homestay. This can be a great way to experience Congolese culture and hospitality, and to gain a deeper understanding of the country and its people. Homestays can be arranged through local tour operators or through the local government's tourism office.

Overall, the Republic of Congo offers a variety of accommodation options to suit all types of travelers, from luxury hotels and resorts to traditional lodges and camping, as well as homestays to experience the local culture.

Money

Money Tips for Travel

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans to avoid any potential issues with international transactions.
  • Bring a mix of cash, credit, and debit cards--and possibly a travel money card.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.
  • Make sure to have a backup option for accessing money in case your primary method doesn't work.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • NEVER accept currency conversion at ATMs! Always get your home bank to convert at much better rates.
  • Think about getting a Wise or other travel debit card; these can provide much better rates and some free ATM withdrawals.

ATM and Credit Cards

  • Research the availability of ATMs and credit card acceptance at your destination before you depart.
  • Keep your ATM card in a safe place and be mindful of your surroundings when using it.
  • Try to stick to using ATMs that are affiliated with major banks.
  • Keep your credit card information safe and secure, and be aware of potential scams.
  • Make sure your cards have the necessary security features, such as chip and pin.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.

Exchange Rates

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • Be careful of places that may offer to exchange money at rates that seem too good to be true.

Mobile

When traveling, getting mobile access is very important these days. If you are working remotely, wanting to update social media, or need to access your banks SMS authentication messages having a reliable service is a must. At WhereNext we recommend:

eSIM

Services such as those offered by our partner, Airalo, allow you to easily order and install an eSIM for different countries or regions that you are traveling in.

Dual SIM phone

If you have a phone that supports dual SIM's then you can get a SIM on arrival for each country, this is probably better done at a telco store rather than at the airport.

Extend your home plan

Depending on where you live and your mobile service provider you may be able to extend your plan to cover mobile roaming at reasonable rates.

Keep your primary SIM

With the amount of accounts we all have that require two factor authentication via SMS, keeping a constant number for these accounts is a must.

Community

There are several online communities and platforms that you can use to meet people while traveling, both for making new friends or for networking professionally. Some popular options include:

Facebook groups

There are many Facebook groups dedicated to connecting people while traveling, from expat groups and travel communities to groups specific to certain cities or regions of the country. You can search for groups based on your interests or location and connect with others who share similar interests.

Meetup

Meetup is a platform that allows you to find groups of people that share your interests in your local area. There are Meetup groups all around the world, and they cover a wide range of topics, such as language exchange, sports, and cultural activities.

Internations

Internations is a social network for people who live or work abroad. It has a large community of expats and organizes regular events, activities and gatherings that allow members to connect and socialize.

Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing is a platform that connects travelers with local hosts, who offer free accommodation and a chance to experience the local culture. It's a great way to meet locals and make friends!

Reddit

Reddit has a large community, and there are several subreddits dedicated to connecting expats and travelers. You can use it to ask questions, get advice, and connect with others who are also living or traveling in the country.

Linkedin

LinkedIn is primarily a professional network, but you can also use it to connect with people who work in the same industry or have similar backgrounds. It can be useful to connect with people before you arrive and establish a few professional contacts to help you get started.

At WhereNext, we use Nomad List as a global community and then research more local ones for our destination. These are just a few examples of online communities you can use to meet people; please suggest any others that you think are appropriate for this destination.

Insurance

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It covers a wide range of needs--even some you might not expect!

Medical Coverage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for medical expenses if you become ill or injured while traveling. This can include coverage for doctor visits, hospital stays, and emergency medical transportation. It's also a good idea to ensure that your travel insurance covers COVID-19 related illness and delays!

Trip Cancellation and Interruption

Travel insurance can provide coverage if you need to cancel or interrupt your trip due to unexpected events such as illness, weather, or travel bans. It can also provide coverage if your trip is delayed or if your travel provider goes out of business.

Lost or Stolen Luggage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for lost or stolen luggage, as well as personal items such as passports and electronic devices.

Emergency Assistance and Evacuation

Many travel insurance plans offer emergency assistance services, such as providing information on local hospitals and doctors, assistance with replacing lost or stolen documents, and help with arranging transportation in the event of an emergency. At WhereNext we have partnered with Global Rescue for evacuation services, which are highly recommended if you are undertaking dangerous activities or are travelling to dangerous parts of the world.

Liability coverage

Travel insurance can also provide liability coverage in case you cause an accident or harm someone while you are traveling.

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It can help cover the costs of medical expenses, trip cancellations, lost or stolen luggage, and more. It's always a good idea to review the coverage and compare the different options available before making a decision. At WhereNext we both use and have partnered with Safety Wing for general travel insurance.

Entry Requirements

Here are some general travel tips regarding entry requirements that apply across all countries:

Passport

Make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival in the country you are visiting. Some countries will not allow you to enter if your passport is set to expire within a certain period of time.

Visa

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if you need a visa. Some countries require a visa for entry, while others do not. Make sure to apply for a visa well in advance of your trip as the process can take several weeks. Check the latest Visa requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Health Requirements and COVID-19 Rules

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if there are any health requirements for entry. Some countries require vaccinations or proof of medical insurance. Check the latest health requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Travel Insurance

Consider purchasing travel insurance, especially if you are traveling internationally. Travel insurance can cover you in the event of trip cancellation, medical emergencies, and other unexpected events. Our travel insurance partner is SafetyWing. For dangerous activities and/or countries consider a rescue service like those offered by our partner, Global Rescue.

Customs

Be familiar with the customs and laws of the country you are visiting. Some countries have strict laws regarding drug possession, alcohol consumption, and dress codes.

Currency

Check the currency exchange rate and make sure you have enough local currency for your trip. Some countries may not accept credit cards or travelers cheques, so it is always good to have some cash on hand. At WhereNext we recommend use a Wise debit card, which provides low cost currency conversions and ATM withdrawals.

Research the country

Research about the culture, customs and laws of the country you are visiting. It will help you to understand the place more and also prepare you better for the trip.

Contact Information

Make a copy of your passport and keep it in a separate place from your passport. Also, leave a copy of your itinerary and contact information with a friend or family member at home.

Things to Do

The Republic of the Congo, also known as Congo-Brazzaville, is a country located in Central Africa and is known for its lush rainforests, diverse wildlife, and rich culture. If you're planning a visit to the Republic of Congo, here are the top 10 things you won't want to miss:

1. Visit the Lefini Reserve

The Lefini Reserve is a great place to go for a safari and see a wide variety of wildlife, including elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees, and many more. The reserve also offers several hiking trails and a chance to visit local villages.

2. Explore the capital city of Brazzaville

Brazzaville is the capital of the Republic of Congo and offers a mix of modern and traditional African culture. Visitors can explore the city's markets, museums, and historical sites, as well as enjoy its nightlife and local cuisine.

3. Visit the Pointe-Noire

Pointe-Noire is the second-largest city in the Republic of Congo and it's known for its beautiful beaches and clear waters, which are perfect for swimming, sunbathing and water sports.

4. Visit the Loango National Park

The Loango National Park is a UNESCO-listed park and a great place to go for a safari and see a wide variety of wildlife, including elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees, and many more. The park also offers several hiking trails and a chance to visit local villages.

5. Visit the Impfondo

Impfondo is a small town located in the north of the Republic of Congo and it's known for its lively market and its traditional way of life. Visitors can explore the town's market, visit local villages, and learn about traditional customs and practices.

6. Visit the Diosso

Diosso is a small town located on the Congo River and it's known for its beautiful landscapes and its traditional way of life. Visitors can explore the town's market, visit local villages, and learn about traditional customs and practices.

7. Visit the Mayombe Forest Reserve

The Mayombe Forest Reserve is a great place to go for a hike and see a wide variety of wildlife, including monkeys, elephants, and birds. The reserve also offers a chance to learn about the traditional practices of the local communities who live in the area. The Reserve is also known for its rich biodiversity and is home to many rare and endemic species of plants and animals. It is also a spiritual site for many locals, and some of the trails will lead you to the sacred groves and shrines.

8. Visit the Poubara Dam

The Poubara Dam is a hydroelectric dam located on the Ntem River and it's known for its beautiful landscapes and its traditional way of life. Visitors can explore the dam, visit local villages, and learn about traditional customs and practices.

9. Visit the Odzala-Kokoua National Park

The Odzala-Kokoua National Park is a UNESCO-listed park and a great place to go for a safari and see a wide variety of wildlife, including elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees, and many more. The park also offers several hiking trails and a chance to visit local villages.

10. Visit the Mindouli

Mindouli is a small town located in the south of the Republic of Congo and it's known for its beautiful landscapes and its traditional way of life. Visitors can explore the town's market, visit local villages, and learn about traditional customs and practices.

The Republic of Congo offers a wide range of activities and attractions to suit all interests. From the lush rainforests to the diverse wildlife and rich culture, Congo-Brazzaville is a destination that will leave you wanting to come back for more. So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!

Join logo

Join our newsletter to stay up to date. No spam, ever!