INFORMATION FOR TRAVELLERS
Information for travellers to Congo
The Republic of Congo is served by RAM, Air France and Ethiopian Airlines. When booking your international flights, we recommend that you book a changeable ticket.
For domestic transfers, we charter a French-registered Business Jet.
From the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Fast boats and ferries run daily between the capital Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo) and Brazzaville.
From Gabon, there are two options for getting to Dolisie: the first runs south from N’Dende and takes around three days. The second leaves from Bakoumba and goes to Mbinda before heading south via a weekly rail link.
Currency restrictions on entry and exit: obligation to declare cash in excess of 1 million CFA francs (1,500 euros) or the equivalent in another currency. In the case of non-declaration to customs of sums, titles or values of more than one million (1,000,000) CFA francs, the penalty is equal to 20% of the amounts of the sums in question.
French is the official language of Congo Brazzaville, but other local languages are also spoken: Kikongo (36.5%), Lingala (13%), Mboshi (8.5%), Teke (8%) and over 40 other languages. In general, people understand and speak French, but if you leave the big cities, dialects may be in the majority.
On board, our guides speak French and English.
Here is a useful glossary of terms:
- Hello : mboté
- Goodbye : Tokomonana
- How are you : Boni ?
- Very well, thank you, and you? : Ngai malamu, bongo yo ?
- What is your name? : Nkombo na yo nani ?
- My name is… : Kombo na ngai…
- I understand : nNazoyoka
- I don’t understand : nazoyoka te
- Sorry : Limbisa ngai
- Thank you ( very much) : Matondi (mingi)
- I am (French) : Nazali (français)
- How much is it? : Talo boni ?
- It’s too expensive! : Ezali ntalo mingi !
- Can you lower the price ? : Kitisa talo ?
- I’d like to go to… : Nalingi kokende na…
- Where is … ? / how do i get to… ? : … ezali wapi ?
- What time is it ? : Tozali er nini ?
- I’m hungry : Naza na nzala
- I’m thirsty : naza na posa ya komela
- I need to see a doctor. : Esengali ete munganga
- Where is the toilet ? : Wapi kabine ?
- Gorilla : Mikomboso
- Elephant : Nzoku
- Hippopotamus : Ngubu
The local currency in Congo is the CFA franc. (655 FCFA = 1 euro). The exchange rate is fixed. You can exchange currency in Brazzaville or use your credit card at ATMs.
Most transactions are carried out in cash.
Taxis are plentiful and an excellent way of getting around the urban centres. A fare in Brazzaville costs 1,000 FCFA.
Postal services are available in urban centres. Société des postes et de l’épargne du Congo (SOPECO) is the operator of the postal service in the Republic of Congo.
GMT + 1 hour
Telephone and internet coverage is very limited. You will not be able to connect during certain parts of the cruise. The ship is equipped with a satellite telephone and Wi-Fi if necessary. Use of this service is at the passenger’s charge. The price will be communicated, and payment will be made on board.
Access to drinking water remains a major problem in Congo Brazzaville. It is advisable to drink bottled water. Water fountains exist on board.
Local voltage is 220v 50hz. Sockets are the European type (C, F and M). Adapters are available for purchase at departure airports, in duty-free shops just before boarding.
1 January : New Year’s Day
10 April : Easter Monday
1 May : Labour Day
18 May : Ascension Day
29 May : Whit Monday
10 June : Commemoration of the Sovereign National conference
15 août : Independance day
1 November : All Saints’ Day
25 December : Christmas Day
Formalities for entering the country
The visa must be obtained before departure from the consular services of the Republic of Congo in your country of origin.
For European/Swiss citizens: Passport valid for 6 months after the date of return.
A yellow fever certificate is required for entry into the Republic of Congo.
If you opt for Bonobos tracking, a DRC visa is required as well as a Republic of Congo double-entry visa.
If you wish to visit the Dzanga Sangha National Park in the Central African Republic or the Lobéké Park in Cameroon, you do not need an additional visa. You will be issued with a special permit.
In Congo, driving is on the right. To hire a car in Brazzaville, you need to show proof of identity, a driving licence, and an international credit card. French driving licences are recognised in the Republic of Congo.
Other nationalities are strongly advised to contact the Congolese embassy or consulate in the country of departure for further information. Furthermore, an international driving licence may be required if your licence is in a language other than that of the country where the vehicle is hired.
There are many shops and markets in major towns such as Brazzaville, Pointe Noire and Ouesso. A wide range of local products are available. These reflect local craftsmanship and traditional methods (wood, clay, ceramics).
The Plateau des 15 ans market is the best place to buy handicrafts.
Travellers must pay duty on the purchase of antiques or traditional objects, and proof that duty has been paid is systematically required on departure.
The purchase of ivory is prohibited.
Responsibility of passenger
Passengers have responsibilities towards their fellow passengers and the crew. Passengers must comply with safety rules on board and during excursions and behave appropriately and respectfully towards crew members and fellow passengers.
Passengers must be fully insured to cover any risk of medical expenses and repatriation (including repatriation of mortal remains) and the Company is not liable in any way. Passengers must pay all medical bills incurred prior to departure: medical care, medication and any other medical services provided by the company to the passenger.
We strongly recommend additional insurance to cover medical evacuation by helicopter to a clinic in Brazzaville if necessary.
The company also declines all responsibility for personal belongings lost or stolen during the journey.
Medical evacuation from the first few kilometres and repatriation insurance is required.
Passengers must be in good physical health to make the most of their cruise. Daily excursions involve walking over rough terrain, embarking and disembarking from the boats can be physically demanding. Excursions on foot can sometimes take several hours (particularly for gorilla watching). An alternative route may be offered in some cases.
List of compulsory vaccinations:
- A yellow fever certificate is required for entry into the Republic of Congo.
- Polio, measles and Covid-19 vaccinations are compulsory for gorilla monitoring in Nouabale-Ndoki NP. The COVID-19 rapid test will be carried out in Nouabale-Ndoki NP before the gorillas tracking. Only a negative result will allow to track the gorillas.
Malaria is a parasitic disease transmitted by mosquito bites. There are two complementary ways of preventing malaria:
- Protection against mosquito bites: wear light-coloured, loose-fitting, covering clothing impregnated with an insecticide textile treatment at dusk; use an insect repellent (repellents containing DEET are recommended in the Congo Basin).
- Preventive anti-malaria treatment. For anti-malaria medication, please ask your doctor for advice.
On board, First Aid will be provided. In connection with our referring doctor based in Brazzaville, the decision to evacuate to the nearest hospital can be taken. Evacuation is carried out by boat, vehicle or helicopter if necessary.
List of private clinics in Brazzaville
CENTRE MEDICO SOCIAL DE L’AMBASSADE DE FRANCE
(In front of the "Congo-Pharmacie" bus stop)
DR Pierre-Yves LEBRUN
Secrétariat : + 242 06 639 45 45
Medical telephone (emergencies only) : + 242 05 578 19 54
Avenue Lyautey, Centre-ville.
Dr. Philippe KALINA, médecin référent
Medical telephone : +242 06 660 25 25
88, rue de Djambala - Moungali
Tel : 06 990 63 77
Mail : email@example.com
CLINIQUE SECUREX (SAMU)
33, av. Amilcar Cabral
Mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel : 22 281 38 72
Fax : 22 281 53 84
CLINIQUE DENTAIRE LES CLAIRONS
Plateau des 15 ans.
Dr. Myriam MAKANI-SOUSSOUMIHEN, dental surgeon
Tél. +242 06 632 51 51
CABINET SEMINET CLINIQUE DENTAIRE
Above the MAVRE pharmacy, City Centre.
Dr. Michel SEMINET, dental surgeon
Tél : +24205 551 42 96
Equipment and clothing
- Lightweight, breathable clothing
- Long-sleeved shirts and quick-drying trousers (ideally in natural colours)
- Lightweight, quick-drying, closed-toe walking shoes or old sports shoes
- A light fleece or jumper for cooler evenings
- Lightweight raincoat
- A sun hat, swimming costume, casual clothes, and comfortable shoes for relaxing on board.
- Binoculars (with night vision ideally), torch (headlamp recommended)
- Camera with a minimum 200 mm lens
- Water bottle
- Light backpack for daily excursions
- Luggage must not exceed 20 kg due to weight restrictions on domestic flights.
The climate in the Congo is of the equatorial type with temperatures varying from 21 to 30 degrees Celsius between night and day.
Depending on the season, rainfall is more or less abundant in the Sangha region:
- September, October and November are the least rainy;
- July and December, January, February are the driest.
Each month has a more or less similar sunshine rate.
For more information on the climate of the Sangha region: https://www.climatestotravel.com/climate/congo/ouesso
Most of the journey takes place in sparsely populated areas. What’s more, the Republic of Congo is one of the safest countries in Africa. For more information, consult the travel advice on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in your country of residence.
Books in french
- Au cœur de la dernière contrée sauvage : journal de Mike Fay, Michael Nichols, National Geographic, 2007
- Au coeur des ténèbres, Joseph Conrad, 1899
- Congo, Vuillard, Actes Sud, 2012
- Congo Inc. : le testament de Bismarck, In Koli Jean Bofane, Babel, 2016
- Congo Mater, Gampoko Duma di Bula, L’Harmattan, 2019
- Congo Requiem, Jean-Christophe Grangé, Albin Michel, 2016
- Congo, Une Histoire, David Van Reybrouck, Actes Sud, 2012
- Faune et Flore d’Afrique centrale, J.J Faure, J.Vivien, D. Daniel, Nguila Kerou, 2012
- Guide photo des grands mammifères d’Afrique, Chris Stuart et Mathilde Stuart, Delachaux et Niestle, 2016
- Histoire de la République du Congo, Lassy Mbouity, Editions Edilivre, 2016
- Kongo, Tom Tirabosco et Christian Perrissin, Futuropolis, 2021
- La France et le Congo-Brazzaville : Histoire d’une marche singulière, Jérôme Ollandet, L’Harmattan 2023
- Le Bassin du Congo. Monde sans lui, monde sans vie, Michel Innocent Peya, L’Harmattan, 2021
- Le peuplement du Bassin du Congo et son impact: Le cas des Teke et leurs voisins Kongo et Ngala au Congo-Brazzaville, de Zéphirin Sah, Univ Européenne, 2018
- Le royaume de Congo et les contrées environnantes, Filippo Pigafetta et Duarte Lopes, Editions Chandeigne, 2002
- Les forêts d’Afrique centrale pour toujours, Meindert Brouwer
- Les gorilles, Annie Gautier-Hion, Apogée, 2006
- Forêts d’Afrique centrale : la nature et l’homme, Jean-Pierre Vande Weghe, Lannoo, 2005
- Les jardins du Congo, Nicolas Spitz, La boîtes à bulle, 2013
- Les Mystères du Congo, A. Nirep, Bruxelles
- Oiseaux de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, Nik Borrow et Ron Demey, Delachaux, 2015
- African Psycho, Alain Mabanckou, Serpent’s Tail, 2017
- Blood River, A journey to Africa’s Broken Heart, Tim Butcher, Arrow Books, 2007
- Brazzaville Beach, William Boyd,Penguins Books, 1990
- Brazzaville Charms, Magic and rebellion in the Republic of the Congo, Cassie Knight, Frances Lincoln, 2007
- Congo, Michael Crichton, 1980
- Congo Journey, Redmond O’Hanlon, Penguin, 1997
- Dictatorland : The Men who stole Africal, Tête de Zeus, 2019
- King Leopold’s Ghost : A story of Greed, terror, and Heroism in colonial Africa, Livre Mariner, 2020
- Little Boys come from the Stars, Emmanuel Dongala, Ancre, 2002
- The survival of Virunga, Africa’s first national park, Marc Languy, Babelio, 2006
- Brazzaville (Republic of Congo) Travel Guide, Tiki Travel
- Guide Congo Brazzaville 2018-2019 Petit Futé, Jean-Paul Labourdette
- Ultimate Handbook Guide to Brazzaville: (Republic of the Congo) Travel Guide, Agustina Dillman
Films and documentaries
- A la vie, à la terre – Congo : des arbres et des hommes, TV5 Monde
- Bons Baisers de Brazzaville, Emilie Darnaud, Alexandre Largeron
- Centimètre par centimètre, Emmanuel Manteau
- Congo, TV5 Monde
- Congo Paradiso, TV5 Monde
- Le conflit des villages, Eddy Mikolo
- KONGO – documentaire sur le Congo – Brazzaville, Hadrien La Vapeur et Corto Vaclav
- Ordalies, le tribunal de l’invisible, Hadrien La Vapeur, Corto Vaclav
- Tala-Tala, la mémoire de l’homme, David-Pierre Fila