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Republic of the Congo

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Atlantic Palace Hotel
Atlantic Palace Hotel - dream vacation

Charles de Gaulles AvePointe-Noire

Ledger Plaza Maya Maya
Ledger Plaza Maya Maya - dream vacation

Avenue Auxence Ickonga BP 1178Brazzaville

Mikhael\'s Hotel
Mikhael\'s Hotel - dream vacation

67 Nelson Mandela AvenueBrazzaville

GHS Hotel
GHS Hotel - dream vacation

Boulevard Denis Sassou NguessoBrazzaville

Radisson Blu M\'Bamou Palace Hotel Brazzaville
Radisson Blu M\'Bamou Palace Hotel Brazzaville - dream vacation

Avenue Amilcar Cabral Centre-Ville CornicheBrazzaville

Residence Saint-Jacques Brazzaville
Residence Saint-Jacques Brazzaville - dream vacation

381 Rue Du Ruisseau CentrevilleBrazzaville

Hotel Palm Beach Pointe-Noire
Hotel Palm Beach Pointe-Noire - dream vacation

Rue bord de mer cote sauvagePointe-Noire

Residence Saint-Jacques Bord de Mer
Residence Saint-Jacques Bord de Mer - dream vacation

381 Rue Du Ruisseau Centreville Brazzaville CongoPointe-Noire

The Republic of the Congo is a country in Central Africa. Formerly a colony of France, it is commonly referred to as Congo-Brazzaville to distinguish itself from its giant neighbour, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa).

One of the most sparsely populated countries in Africa, the Republic of the Congo is rich in diversity and landscapes, with more than 60 languages spoken. The Kongo, the largest ethnic group, make up 48% of the population. Other prominent ethnic groups include the Sangha, the Teke, and the Mbochi. There is also a small European community, comprising 3% of the population.

The Republic of the Congo is a predominantly Christian country, with Roman Catholicism being the largest denomination in the country. Independent African churches thrive in the country; Kimbanguism, a syncretic movement, has several followers here.

Endowed with pristine wilderness areas and charismatic fauna, there is plenty to do and see in the Republic of the Congo, even though it's not on most travellers' lists.


The Republic of the Congo is divided into twelve departments.


  • Brazzaville — the capital of the country, situated right on the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • 2 Djambala
  • 3 Dolisie
  • 4 Mossendjo
  • 5 Ouésso — a transit hub in the remotest far north of the country, in a territory with many nearby Pygmy villages.
  • 6 Owando — considered one of the best places to visit in the north of Republic of Congo.
  • 7 Pointe Noire — a port city on the coast.

Other destinations

  • Conkouati Reserve
  • 1 Ile Mbamou Island — a government-owned island that is located about one hour from Brazzaville.
  • Lefini Reserve — the country's best known reserve, bordering Lesio-Louna to the north.
  • The Lesio Louna Gorilla Reserve — a park located north of Brazzaville and is dedicated to the protection of gorillas in the Congo.
  • Mount Fouari National Reserve
  • 2 Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park — the largest and most remote of Congo's national parks and reserves, located in the far north bordering the Central African Republic's Dzanga Sangha National Reserve.
  • Odzala National Park — the country's most famous national park.
  • Tiger Fish Congo Camp. You can visit the Tiger Fish Camp to capture the biggest tiger fish in the world - the largest fish ever caught there was 56kg!
  • 3 Odzala-Kokoua National Park



Following independence as the Congo Republic on August 15, 1960, Fulbert Youlou ruled as the country's first president until labour elements and rival political parties instigated a three-day uprising that ousted him. The Congolese military took charge of the country briefly and installed a civilian provisional government headed by Alphonse Massamba-Débat.

Under the 1963 constitution, Massamba-Débat was elected President for a five-year term but it was ended abruptly with an August 1968 coup d'état. Capt. Marien Ngouabi, who had participated in the coup, assumed the presidency on 31 December 1968. One year later, President Ngouabi proclaimed Congo to be Africa's first "people's republic" and announced the decision of the National Revolutionary Movement to change its name to the Congolese Labour Party (PCT). On 16 March 1977, President Ngouabi was assassinated. An 11-member Military Committee of the Party (CMP) was named to head an interim government with Col. (later Gen.) Joachim Yhombi-Opango to serve as President of the Republic.

After decades of turbulent politics bolstered by Marxist-Leninist rhetoric, and with the collapse of the Soviet Union, Congo completed a transition to multi-party democracy with elections in August 1992. Denis Sassou Nguesso conceded defeat and Congo's new president, Prof. Pascal Lissouba, was inaugurated on 31 August 1992.

However, Congo's democratic progress was derailed in 1997. As presidential elections scheduled for July 1997 approached, tensions between the Lissouba and Sassou camps mounted. On 5 June, President Lissouba's government forces surrounded Sassou's compound in Brazzaville and Sassou ordered members of his private militia, known as "Cobras", to resist. Thus began a 4-month conflict that destroyed or damaged much of Brazzaville and caused tens of thousands of civilian deaths. In early October, Angolan troops invaded Congo on the side of Sassou and, in mid-October, the Lissouba government fell. Soon thereafter, Sassou declared himself President. The Congo Civil War continued for another year and a half until a peace deal was struck between the various factions in December 1999.

In sham elections in 2002, Sassou won with almost 90% of the vote cast. His two main rivals Lissouba and Bernard Kolelas were prevented from competing and the only remaining credible rival, Andre Milongo, advised his supporters to boycott the elections and then withdrew from the race. A new constitution, agreed upon by referendum in January 2002, granted the president new powers and also extended his term to seven years as well as introducing a new bicameral assembly. International observers took issue with the organization of the presidential election as well as the constitutional referendum, both of which were reminiscent in their organization of Congo's era of the one-party state.

Elections in July 2009 were boycotted by opposition parties. Inevitably, Sassou was re-elected, but with a questionably high turnout. Demonstrations in Brazzaville were firmly put down by riot police.

The Republic of the Congo's sparse population is concentrated in the southwestern portion of the country, leaving the vast areas of tropical jungle in the north virtually uninhabited. Thus, the Republic of Congo is one of the most urbanized countries in Africa, with 85% of its total population living in a few urban areas, namely in BrazzavillePointe-Noire, or one of the small cities or villages lining the 332-mile (534 km) railway which connects the two cities. In rural areas, industrial and commercial activity has declined rapidly, leaving rural economies dependent on the government for support and subsistence. Before the 1997 war, about 15,000 Europeans and other non-Africans lived in Congo, most of whom were French. Only about 9,500 remain.


The country has large reserves of petroleum, the mainstay of the country's economy, and accounts for 80% of the country's exports. Although the country is one of the leading oil producers in Africa, this hasn't exactly translated into prosperity. Political instability, corruption, inadequate infrastructure, heavy dependence on oil, a neglected educational system, and the effects of the 1997 civil war mean that the country is among one of the least developed countries in the world. Most Congolese people live in poverty and unemployment is rampant.

Despite these factors, the government has been keen on diversifying the economy and actively encourages foreign investment.

Get in

Visa requirements

The Republic of the Congo is not a country you can just waltz into. There are few visa-free arrangements in place, and thus, almost everyone requires a visa to visit the country.

Citizens of the following countries can obtain a visa on arrival: Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Togo, and the United Arab Emirates.

For everyone else, you must possess a valid passport and you must submit the following: two completed visa application forms, two passport photographs, airline tickets, a travel itinerary, an invitation letter from a Congolese individual or organisation (a hotel reservation will normally suffice), and proof you've been vaccinated against yellow fever.

Visa fees tend to be very expensive (The Congolese embassy in the United States charges $200 for visa applications), so plan accordingly. Congolese embassies recommend that you submit all relevant documentation (usually a month before your trip) in advance. Visas typically take 7-10 days to process.

If you hold an "official letter of invitation" you can, in theory, enter the country without a visa, but it may be difficult to obtain because there's little information available on how to obtain it.

By plane

  • 1 Maya-Maya Airport (BZV IATA), ? +242 820-996. Maya-Maya Airport is the main airport of the country and is situated in Brazzaville. It offers flights to Paris, Casablanca, and so on. (updated Mar 2022)

By car

It's safe to drive in the Republic of the Congo. A good sealed road goes north from Brazzaville, but only as far north as President Sassou's hometown of Oyo. Beyond Oyo, the roads get very bumpy and are totally impassable in the rain. It is also very hard to get a rental car that you can drive yourself.

By boat

Passenger and VIP ferries operate daily between Brazzaville and Kinshasa roughly every 2 hours between 8AM and 3PM. Prices for the ferries are: US$15 for the passenger and US$30 for the VIP ferry. The VIP ferry is recommended as these are brand new boats and are not as cramped. A valid visa for both countries is required in either direction. The bureaucracy at either end require some time. Entry and exit procedures in Brazzaville are "easy" and straight forward and people are very helpful in assisting to get through without troubles. In contrast, these procedures are a bit difficult in Kinshasa and depend much on whether you are an individual traveller or assisted by an organisation or an official government representative. There are also speed boats to hire, either in a group or alone (price!), however, it is not advisable to book them as they really speed across the river along the rapids.

Barges follow the Congo, then the Oubangui, rivers right up to Bangui.

Get around

By shared taxi or minibus

Ridiculously cheap shared taxis and minibuses run on an ad hoc basis between towns and villages, crammed with Congolese villagers taking all sorts of livestock for sale in Brazzaville.

By taxi

Taxis in the Republic of the Congo do not have a meter, which means you have to negotiate for a reasonable fare before going anywhere. Don't expect this to be an easy process if you do not possess solid French language and negotiation skills.

In the capital city, Brazzaville, taxis are white and green in colour. If you want to go to the city centre from the airport, it will cost you 3000 CFA. In the main city, however, the official taxi fare stands at 700 CFA.

By train

The Congo-Ocean Railway (COR, or CFCO) links the Atlantic port of Pointe-Noire (now in the Republic of Congo) with Brazzaville, a distance of 502km.

From the start of the civil war in 1997, the line was closed for six years. In 2007 the BBC reported it to be in a "decrepit state with the majority of trains now broken". UNICEF organised a train in August 2007 to distribute malaria nets vital in the prevention of the disease.


See also: French phrasebook

The official language of the country is French. The main indigenous languages are Kituba and Lingala.


  • Odzala National Park
  • Gorillas in Lesio Louna Gorilla Reserve.
  • Colonial and post-colonial architecture in Brazzaville.
  • Sangha Trinational - a forest in the Sangha and Likouala region that is an UNESCO World Heritage Site (shared with Cameroon and the Central African Republic).




The currency of the country is the Central African CFA franc, denoted FCFA (ISO currency code: XAF). It's also used by five other Central African countries. It is interchangeable at par with the West African CFA franc (XOF), which is used by six countries. Both currencies are fixed at a rate of 1 euro = 655.957 CFA francs.

The U.S. dollar is not widely accepted.


All Ecobank ATMs in the Republic of the Congo take Mastercard and Visa card for cash withdrawal.


There is an artisan mart and boutiques in the market near the BDEAC (Banque Developpement pour les Etats de l'Afrique Centrale). Really beautiful jewelry, masks, paintings, and other artwork.

All business is conducted in cash. Small change is very scarce and hard to come by. Do not accept torn or taped banknotes.


There is good and healthy Chinese food at Osaka Restaurant, in Pointe Noire. The average price for a meal is US$12-18. All meals are served in nice clean dishes, the restaurant is indoors and has AC, with a back-up generator, just in case. Some of the workers speak English and French.

There are several great restaurants in Brazzaville. Any taxi driver can take you to one of these nicer places (FCFA 5000-15 000). Most places are closed on Sundays. Expect beers to be overpriced here (FCFA 1000-2000).


Palm wine is a local favorite in the village. Beer is the favorite in town next to Fanta, Coke etc. There is also a local red wine (SOVINCO) imported from Gabon and the "brique", a liter of imported, mostly Spanish wine from the box.

There is a big price range on beer (FCFA 500-5,000) depending on what neighborhood and type of bar or restaurant you're in.

Produced in Congo under Heineken supervision: N'Gok (meaning "Crocodile", blond, Congolese), Primus (blond, Belgium, Central Africa), Mütsig (blond, French Alsace Region), Guinness (dark, Ireland), and Turbo King (dark, Central Africa)

Imported: Heineken and Bavaria

If the above is too much there is also water of various local and imported brands sold in 1.5 litre plastic bottles.



With incredibly mild tax laws and a huge foreign population, the Republic of the Congo has ideal working conditions, but weak political conditions and excessive bureaucracy mean that many are often reluctant to take up work opportunities in the country. In addition, unemployment is quite high (40-50%), due in large part to a poorly developed education system.

Personal connections matter greatly in the Republic of the Congo, and the importance of having local contacts cannot be overstated. This being said, it's obvious to say that nepotism is quite common here.

Many NGOs are situated in Brazzaville. If you have a background in politics or international relations, working in Brazzaville won't be such a bad idea. In addition, the country is a great place to further develop your French language skills.

The government maintains a list of sectors that are in need of investment or development. If you have any skills to offer, or if your company has anything to offer to the country, the government may be more than willing to help you out. As with any country, do your homework before getting into something.

Stay safe

The Republic of the Congo is generally a safe country. Crime rates tend to be low, and people can travel independently without any major worries or concerns. This said, crime such as robbery and assault remains a concern. As in any developing country, don't draw too much attention to yourself and do what the locals do. As the saying goes, "when in Rome, do what the Romans do".


There are numerous police checkpoints throughout the country and it's difficult to know if you're coming across a police checkpoint since many of them are poorly marked. In the event you come across a police checkpoint, the police may ask you for your ID and they may conduct a thorough search of your vehicle. This is purely for security reasons, nothing more, nothing less.

Since members of the police earn low salaries, it's possible they may coerce you into giving them bribes or they may abuse their powers. As with all authority figures, always remain calm, firm, and polite. If a policeman asks you to do something, just do it. Do not lose your temper if you end up meeting an ill-behaved official and do not challenge their authority.

Political unrest

The Republic of the Congo is one of the most corrupt and least efficiently governed countries in the world. Corruption, cronyism, and nepotism are widespread.

You will very easily learn that the Congolese in general are absolutely frustrated with their government and demonstrations against the government can turn violent. Although no major protests have occurred since 2015, keep an eye out as protests can occur without warning.

Civil conflict

As aforementioned, many Congolese people are frustrated with their government, and this has often lead to open warfare. The most recent war was the "Pool War", in which more than 13,000 people were displaced in the Pool region. Although ceasefire agreements remain in place, frustrations with the government mean that conflict can erupt at any time.

Stay healthy

Population estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected. In any case use your common sense: do not have unprotected sex.

The likelihood of getting malaria is very high if effective preventative medication is not taken. The malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum can be very serious. Medical attention should be sought if any symptoms are shown.

Tap water is not drinkable, if it's even running at all.

Medical care is substandard throughout the country. Hospitals lack modern equipment, necessary medical supplies and medications, and well-trained physicians, nurses and support staff.

  • Netcare Clinic:

Address: B.P. 2422, Brazzaville, Congo Tel: 547 0911 (Main Line) or 679 6711

This facility is a franchise from South Africa. It is clean, has facilities for 3 private rooms, an ambulance, a one bed emergency room, basic radiography, pharmacy and a laboratory with microscopy, haematology, and basic chemists. There are two main doctors, Dr. Ali, a Lebanese doctor who considered as the best medic in Netcare, and Dr. Stephan, a French doctor who is also a good doctor.

  • Pharmacie Mavre

Tel: 81 18 39 Located in Centreville, next to the Cabinet Dentaire building Brazzaville boasts a number of pharmacies, but Pharmacie Mavré is recommended. Please remember to always check the expiration dates on boxes before purchasing any products.


White travelers should take care while travelling in the Republic. Racial tension and discrimination is not uncommon here, so be safe and keep to yourself.


You can talk to your loved ones using any of the three mobile operators MTN, CelTel (now Zain), or Warid.

The local call rate are relatively cheap and cost you around FCFA 20-20 per minute.


The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice. In the event of a crisis situation that requires evacuation, the Government of Canada’s policy is to provide safe transportation to the closest safe location. The Government of Canada will assist you in leaving a country or a region as a last resort, when all means of commercial or personal transportation have been exhausted. This service is provided on a cost-recovery basis. Onward travel is at your personal expense. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints on government resources that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide assistance, particularly in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability is high.

Heavy gunfire was reported in the centre of Brazzaville on the morning of December 16, 2013. Even though the situation currently appears calm, be extremely vigilant and avoid unnecessary movement.

Due to insecurity in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), you should use extreme caution if travelling to the border areas in northern Congo along the Ubangui River. Sporadic fighting occurs in the Pool region, which includes the capital, Brazzaville, and east of Bouenza.

Business visitors should travel to the Republic of Congo only if they have assistance from their hosts and/or local authorities. The security situation remains unpredictable. You should stay in close contact with the Embassy of Canada in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo or Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada in Ottawa while you are in the Republic of Congo.


Criminal activity occurs as a result of long-term economic recession and the influx of arms. Street crime such as mugging and purse snatching can occur. Local police resources are limited and response to emergency calls is often very slow (15 minutes or more). In case of robbery, legal recourse is limited. Ensure that personal belongings and travel documents are secure at all times. Do not show signs of affluence, and do not venture out alone after dark.

Poorly marked roadblocks monitored by undisciplined, armed soldiers are present throughout the country. Security forces may detain foreigners and/or attempt extortion.

Civil unrest

Even though a ceasefire accord was signed in March 2003 between the Congolese government and the Ninja rebel group, war-related crimes, such as the murder of Congolese civilians or looting of private property, remain a risk, particularly in the Pool region. You should exercise caution and should be especially vigilant and avoid situations where political violence and demonstrations may occur.

Road travel

Other than National Route 2, north of Brazzaville, which reaches the city of Oyo, most roads are dirt tracks. Overland travel outside major cities should only be undertaken during daylight hours, in a convoy of four-wheel-drive vehicles. You should provide your itinerary to the Embassy of Canada in Kinshasa. Although no authorization is required for road travel in the Pool region, you can take the precaution of requesting information on current safety issues from the Congolese local security services or the United Nations offices in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo).

Rail travel

Passenger travel on the railroad is discouraged, as there are frequent reports of extortion by undisciplined security forces and robberies by criminal elements along the route. The rail line between Pointe-Noire and Brazzaville should be avoided as it is not safe and is frequently attacked by rebels. The rail service is very sporadic at best and several serious accidents in recent years have raised concerned over safety standards.

Air travel

Travel between Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire should be by air. Note that while flights between Brazzaville and the cities of Pointe-Noire, Nkayi and Loubomo run on a daily basis, the air links to other cities like Impfondo may be more random. Departure schedules are often not respected.

Consult our Transportation FAQ in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

General safety information

Tourist facilities are limited. There are frequent electrical power outages and fuel shortages.


Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.


Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.


Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.


There is a risk of polio in this country. Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up-to-date.


Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).


Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
  • There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required for travellers from all countries.
  • Vaccination is recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites.

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in Central Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Central Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!


There have been cases of cholera reported in this country in the last year. Cholera is a bacterial disease that typically causes diarrhea. In severe cases it can lead to dehydration and even death.

Most travellers are generally at low risk. Humanitarian workers and those visiting areas with limited access to safe food and water are at higher risk. Practise safe food and water precautions. Travellers at high risk should get vaccinated.


Schistosomiasis is caused by blood flukes (tiny worms) spread to humans through contaminated water. The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in contaminated water. There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.

Travellers' diarrhea
  • Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.


Insects and Illness

In some areas in Central Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis, Rift Valley feverWest Nile virus and yellow fever.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

African trypanosomiasis

African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a tsetse fly. Tsetse fly bites are painful and if the disease is left untreated it is eventually fatal. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from bites especially in game parks and rural areas during the day. Avoid wearing bright or dark-coloured clothing as these colours attract tsetse flies. There is no vaccine available for this disease.


Onchocerciasis (river blindness) is an eye and skin disease caused by a parasite spread through the bite of an infected female blackfly.  Onchocerciasis often leads to blindness if left untreated. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from blackfly bites, which are most common during the daytime and close to running water. There is no vaccine available for onchocerciasis although drug treatments exist.



  • There is a risk of malaria throughout the year in the whole country.
  • Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
  • See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss the benefits of taking antimalarial medication and to determine which one to take.


Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in Central Africa, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.


HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 

Practise safe sex while travelling, and don’t share needles, razors, or other objects which could transmit infection.

Remember that HIV can also be spread through the use of unsterile medical equipment during medical and dental procedures, tattooing, body piercing or acupuncture. Diseases can also be spread though blood transfusions and organ transplantation if the blood or organs are not screened for HIV or other blood-borne pathogens.


Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.

High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.

Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Medical facilities are poor, particularly in rural areas. Medicinal supplies are limited.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

Photography of public buildings or military installations is prohibited. Ask permission before photographing individuals.

An International Driving Permit is required.


The currency is the Central African CFA franc (or XAF bank code). The economy is primarily cash-based, but credit cards are accepted at a few hotels and restaurants in Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire.


The rainy season extends from September to June in the south. Some roads may become impassable during this period. You should keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.

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