Congo with Wilderness Safaris

Travel Advice for Congo

The sparsely populated Republic of the Congo has largely been spared the conflict of its neighbours. Tourism to the Congo is at a fledgling stage with an aura of exploration and discovery enhancing every journey into its interior.

Name: Republic of Congo
Capital: Brazzaville
Population: 4 million
Coordinates: 22 00 S, 24 00 E
Area: 342 000 sq. km
Time: 1 hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) all year round.

Climate and Seasonality

The climate in the Congo is the same across the country, with slight variations between the northern and southern regions. In general, the year is divided into four seasons:
- a long rainy season from October to December
- a short dry season from January to February
- a short rainy season from March to April
- a long dry season from May to September

The north is equatorial, hot and humid, while in the south the climate is tropical and humid with slightly less rain from October to May and a dry period from June to September. The centre is distinguished by a sub-equatorial climate marked by a very pronounced dry season.

What to pack

  • Camera with waterproof/dustproof bag/cover
  • A good pair of binoculars
  • Day pack for walks / gorilla tracking.
  • “Zip lock” bags or a lightweight dry bag for electronic equipment
  • “Head torch” or flashlight for night walks and moving around after dark
  • Fast-drying clothes and amphibious shoes
Download Packing list in PDF

Health and Safety

A yellow fever vaccination is compulsory. Wilderness Safaris camps in Congo are situated in malaria-risk areas; please consult your medical practitioner regarding any anti-malarials. Please check with your health department/travel clinic prior to departure, in the event there have been changes in the health regulations of the country you are visiting.

Passports and Visa

All visitors need a visa, which is to be obtained from their nearest Congo embassy or consulate prior to travel. Visas are usually valid for one month from the date of issue.

Visitors to Africa must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond your intended departure date, together with onward travel documents, proof of accommodation and sufficient funds for the duration of your stay. Please also ensure that you have sufficient blank visa pages (not endorsement pages) in your passport, with at least 2 consecutive/side by side blank pages. Our recommendation is 3 pages (or even 4 if you are travelling through more than one country on your journey). Please speak to your Africa specialist to ensure that you have any appropriate travel documentation before departing on safari.

Banks and Foreign Exhange

The currency in Republic of Congo is the Communaute Financiere Africaine Franc (XAF). The Euro is the preferred foreign currency accepted in Republic of Congo. Due to various limitations in the country, our recommendation is to travel with and use Euro cash for all payments. Wilderness camps accept Euros and US Dollars as payment for drinks, gratuities, etc.

US Dollars and Euros in large denominations can be exchanged in the main cities. It is, however, not recommended and all necessary money exchange should be made prior to travel. Travellers Cheques are not recommended as they carry a high commission rate and it is a very lengthy procedure to exchange them.

Languages

French, Lingala and Kituba are the most common languages spoken, with French being the official language. English is spoken in some hotels and tourist areas.

Recommended Reading

We recommend the following books specific to the Congo region. A further list of recommended books is contained in our pre-tour information.

  • Forests of Central Africa: Nature and Man - Jean Pierre Vande Weghe
  • Congo Journey - Redmond O'Hanlan
  • Bradt Travel Guide: Congo - Sean Rorison
  • Birds of Africa: South of the Sahara - Ian Sinclair and Peter Ryan
  • The Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals - Jonathan Kingdon