Not to be outshone by its ‘Big Brother’ (Democratic Republic of the Congo – DRC), the Republic of the Congo has claimed a spot in the top echelons of safari experiences in Africa. Three-quarters of the country is covered in the lush, dense Congo rainforest and bordered by the DRC, Gabon, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, and Angolan enclave of Cabinda.
For those seeking to discover an alluring wildlife wonderland, the rich biodiversity of the “Second Lung of the World” is enclosed in a handful of national parks with Odzala, Conkouati, and the Lefini Faunal Reserve featuring most prominently. They offer encounters with unique species like the famed western lowland gorilla and hundreds of more species of different orders. The mighty Congo river glistens brightly across the country’s landscape. Originating in the highlands of the East African rift and crossing the equator twice, it snakes its way for more than 4,500 kilometres—making it the second-longest river in Africa and the ninth in the world—before ending in the Atlantic ocean.
Brazzaville stands proudly as the safe capital city of the Republic of the Congo. Here, visitors can explore the buzzing markets and purchase a variety of local souvenirs, as well as discover the country’s colonial history. International visitors to the Republic of the Congo are serviced by flights into Brazzaville. Upon arrival, it is best to make use of pre-arranged transport and services by recognised operators as vehicle hire, with a driver, is expensive.
Despite gorilla trekking being the most popular attraction when planning a safari to the Republic of the Congo, the country has a variety of other activities on offer. Other natural wonders to marvel at include the Diosso Gorge that offers expansive views of the countryside, as well as the Loufoulakari Falls, situated at the confluence of the Congo Loufoulakari River. Some of the biggest tiger fish in the world can be reeled in at the Tiger Fish Congo Camp.
The capital of Brazzaville sometimes referred to as the ‘Little Paris of Africa’ provides an abundance of cultural experiences, from cheerful markets to delving deeper into the varied history. Travellers can also venture to Linzolo where the first Catholic Church was constructed by French priests in 1882. For a laid-back experience, an excursion to the seaside city of Pointe Noire is a must. Travellers can sip on a sundowner while taking in the sights and sounds of the Atlantic ocean.
Since the average daytime temperature is in the mid-20s Celsius, the Republic of the Congo is a good safari destination all year round. Travellers should be aware that there are two wet seasons with the short rains occurring in March and April and the long rains between October and December.
International tourism in the Republic of the Congo is seeing an upwards curve and there has subsequently been a marked improvement in accommodation facilities. Most of the more luxurious facilities, however, can still only be found in the larger towns. When venturing outside the concrete jungle, various eco-friendly camps have been developed.
Most travellers require a visa to enter the Republic of the Congo. Visas can be obtained from one of the diplomatic missions in the country of origin, while other visitors from visa-exempt countries can obtain a visa on arrival.
Travellers coming to the Republic of the Congo are advised, by the CDC, to get the following vaccinations: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, yellow fever, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR),
Travellers are advised to drink bottled water when visiting the Republic of the Congo, as access to clean drinking water is limited throughout the country.
While the Republic of the Congo is a safe travel destination, it might not be the best country for a family holiday. The recreation on offer caters more to adults, with fishing and jungle trekking high up on the list.
Safari-goers coming to the Republic of the Congo for gorilla trekking should have a higher level of fitness. The safari experience requires heavy trekking through dense jungle and forest to spot these incredible primates.
Most tour operators and travel agents will recommend purchasing travel insurance before arriving in the Republic of the Congo. Most plans include emergency air evacuation if visitors are travelling to remote areas of the country. We advise that visitors talk to their travel consultants before travelling.
Travellers opting to self-drive in the Republic of the Congo require an international driving permit.