Former Portuguese colony which went through a brutal civil war. Now largely safe, it has been surprisingly slow to appear on the tourist radar.
Sometimes referred to as Africa in Miniature, the terrain includes rain forest, desert plains, mountains and high plateau.
|Central African Republic |
Dense jungle in the south and semi arid in the Sahelian north, this very unstable and poor country is very much off the radar for visitors.
|Democratic Republic of the Congo |
Huge, blessed with incredible natural wealth and beauty and culturally diverse, but is extremely unstable and dangerous.
|Equatorial Guinea |
Perhaps one of the world's most corrupt countries, where massive oil wealth is confiscated by a thuggish government, it is not a terribly safe place to travel, but it has great beaches, laid-back beach bars, and locals who speak Spanish.
Has largely escaped the strife afflicting other Central African states; rich in oil and mineral reserves and a high biodiversity.
|Republic of the Congo |
Huge tracts of forest with a small population mean great potential for eco-tourism, but the country has not fully recovered from a terrible war in the 1990s.
|São Tomé and Príncipe |
Tiny islands in the Gulf of Guinea.
|South Sudan |
The world's newest country. It has been in a continuous state of conflict ever since it gained independence from Sudan in July 2011 and has little to offer to tourists.
- 1 Bangui — capital of the Central African Republic
- 2 Cabinda — Angolan exclave with large oil wealth and an active independence movement
- 3 Brazzaville — capital of the Republic of the Congo; contiguous with its much larger neighbour across the Congo river, Kinshasa
- 4 Goma — gateway town to wonderful volcano trekking and gorilla park in the Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
- 5 Kinshasa— capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the most populous city in Africa
- 6 Libreville capital of Gabon and a major oil commerce centre
- 7 Luanda — the capital of Angola which has been through a huge renaissance in past decade
- 8 Malabo — capital of Equatorial Guinea, offshore on the island of Bioko
- 9 Yaoundé — the capital of Cameroon
- 1 Dzanga Sangha National Reserve — large rainforest park on the Sangha River in the Central African Republic.
- 2 Garamba National Park — a vast, isolated national park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has become relatively safe to visit, if you have enough time to actually get there!
- 3 Lesio Louna Gorilla Reserve — is dedicated to the protection of gorillas in the Republic of the Congo.
- 4 Loango National Park — a 100-km stretch of virgin beaches and adjacent rainforest in Gabon, both scenic and a place to view leopards, elephants, gorillas, & monkeys on the beach.
- 5 Maiko National Park — vast park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo which is off-limits for most tourists due to constant conflict in the area.
- 6 Manovo-Gounda St. Floris National Park — a UNESCO World Heritage Site and important national park in the Central African Republic.
- 7 Ngoketunjia — a beautiful grasslands region in Cameroon inhabited by semi-Bantu and Fulani people.
- 8 Virunga National Park — Africa's first national park, very important for the future conservation of the mountain gorilla, and threatened by the Democratic Republic of the Congo's conflicts.
Ramadan is the 9th and holiest month in the Islamic calendar and lasts 29–30 days. Muslims fast every day for its duration and most restaurants will be closed until the fast breaks at dusk. Nothing (including water and cigarettes) is supposed to pass through the lips from dawn to sunset. Non-Muslims are exempt from this, but should still refrain from eating or drinking in public as this is considered very impolite. Working hours are decreased as well in the corporate world. Exact dates of Ramadan depend on local astronomical observations and may vary somewhat from country to country. Ramadan concludes with the festival of Eid al-Fitr, which may last several days, usually three in most countries.
If you're planning to travel to Central Africa during Ramadan, consider reading Travelling during Ramadan.
While the climate is significantly tropical, warm around the year, the Congo basin has the most rainfall on the continent, with more arid savanna climate in the north and south.
- See also: Flying to Africa
Rail networks across Central Africa are fragmented and often oriented towards carrying freight from the interior to ports, meaning that they usually do not connect larger cities well. The last decade have seen a renewed interest in railways but decades of neglect means that there is still a very long way to go before passenger train can be useful for the average tourist. With that said, there are a few routes that might be useful when travelling.
- Cameroon has perhaps the most well developed railway network in the region, with daily departures between Douala and the capital Yaoundé as well as overnight service to Ngaoundéré
- The Transgabonais railway line in Gabon connects Owendo, a suburb of the capital Libreville with Franceville in the interior. There are several trains per week.
- Within Democratic Republic of Congo the only reliable route is between the capital Kinshasa and Matadi. There are several departures per week.
The predominant languages in this region are mostly Niger-Congo and Nilo-Saharan languages. French and Portuguese are the most common official languages, and are often widely spoken as they are used as lingua francas within linguistically diverse countries. Except for South Sudan and parts of Cameroon where English is an official language, English is spoken by almost nobody, even in major cities.
- See also: African wildlife
Animals such as mandrills, bonobos, Western Lowland gorillas and African forest elephants.
Much of Central Africa has an unfortunate history of severe armed conflict, including a variety of rebel militias and other violent groups. South Sudan and the Central African Republic are suffering from civil wars, and the DR Congo has long been dealing with a complicated and shifting set of rebel groups.
Large parts of the region are seriously underdeveloped; do your research and make thorough preparations.
In several of these countries, photography is heavily restricted or at least viewed with suspicion. If in doubt, get permission from an authority before taking pictures.