Republic of Congo Holidays – Tours & Adventures Travel Guide
“The Congo is now an open country inviting tourists to come and experience a country unique in every way. The equatorial climate and lush jungles will keep you looking for animals around every corner. The oldest national park with the newest grand opening will show you one of the greatest outdoor displays you’ve ever seen. The Congo has some highlights that should not be missed with genuinely interesting people and a variety of natural attractions.”
Note - Congo (which is officially called the Republic of Congo and may also be known as Congo-Brazzaville) and should not be confused with the Democratic Republic of Congo. Congo is a more friendly and generally safer destination.
Republic of Congo Holiday Highlights
History & Culture - Artistic carving, folk songs, and traditional and modern dance, play an important part in Congolese culture. Most of the population lives in the south of the country, and tradition is very important. The capital city is Brazzaville on the west side of Malebo Pool on the Congo River. It is a relaxed city with plenty to see including the Basilique of Sainte Anne, the Temple Mosques, the always lively and happening Oluendze and Moungali market, the Marche Total market, the Municipal Gardens, de Gaulle house and the National Museum. Try golfing at the Cite du Djoue. Inland steamers travel the Congo and Ubangi Rivers from Brazzaville and are vital for transport and trade.
Linzolo is 30km (19 miles) from the capital and is home to the first church in Congo, built in 1882 by a French priest. Linzolo is also home to an excellent market and the regional seat of the World Health Organization. M’Be is an historic village 150km (90 miles) north of the capital, which is the capital of King Makoko.
On the coast, the main town is Pointe Noire and the water temperature is great all year round. There are several good clean beaches with shady palm tress in the surrounding region, known as the Cote Sauvage, and there is a lively evening market.
Around 20km (12 miles) from the city are the villages of Loango and Diosso. The nearby Diosso Gorges are a remarkable rock formation in a lush and virgin rainforest area, with spectacular cliffs formed by sea and wind erosion.
The forest in the north of the country is full of wildlife and is home to several native tribes who have maintained their traditional way of life.
Nature & Wildlife - Odzala National Park in the central north of the Congo is an ecotourism paradise with an exceptional diversity of plants and animal. Travelers are likely to see lowland gorillas, monkeys, elephants, Grimm's duiker, spotted hyenas, lions, buffaloes, bongos, leopards and other forest mammal species as well as many bird species.
One of the best places to see gorillas in the Congo is in the Ouesso district in the Sangha Region. The area is really a challenge to access, so you’ll need to find a tour operator who has experience venturing into these unpopulated areas. The Wildlife Conservation Society suggests that there are around 125,000 Western Lowland Gorillas in the area.
Trekking - One of the oldest parks in Africa may be a great place to start your trekking experience in the Congo. The Odzala National Park (1935) has interconnecting walking trails perfect for day or multi-day hikes. There are forests running into Savannahs, with some trees reaching over 30 meters. There are hogs, gorillas, elephants and an array of avifauna to see. If you’d like flatter, wildlife treks, then the upcountry of the Congo includes a plateau. The Congo is right along the Equator, so there are plenty of jungle explorations to be had. The only real way to undertake such a trip is through an organized tour operator. Don’t wander alone in this part of the world.
Mountain Biking - A mountain biking tour is a great way to get around the Congo. The dry season lends the only real opportunity to get out and about, unless getting stuck in meter deep mucky mud is your definition of a fun ride. If not, then there are some spectacular rides through the forests and jungles, with some interior plateau rides where distances seem infinite. A support vehicle will be required to go some of the longer distances to towns that have any real accommodation.
Water Sports - The beautiful Pointe Noire Beach makes a perfect getaway for travelers who want to participate in windsurfing, hang-gliding, surf-casting and deep sea fishing. Water-skiing is popular on the Congo and Kouillou Rivers, and the Congo Rapids are a great place for the adventurous.
Fishing - The Congo has plenty of freshwater, especially after the rainy season, which may not be the best time for a fishing tour. There are many tributaries of the Oubangi River forming the natural border to the west of the DR of the Congo. Trying your luck on the Congo River will give you over 4000 kilometers of river to practice in. Within this river alone, there are almost 700 species of fish, 80% endemic to the river itself. Lac Bleu is a tourist fishing hotspot.
When To Go
Your best bet to miss any rain in Congo is July and August. June gets less than 25 mm, so it’s a dry-time to go as well, but perhaps the ground will still be muddy from the April and May battering. You’ll get the most rains from January till May. The temperature reflects any other equatorial climate, so it’s important to dress accordingly.
- Don’t venture into the jungle alone. The last place you want to end up is in the DR of the Congo right now.
- Anything you want to do here, do it through a reputable tour operator.
- Stay away during the heavy rain season; the country becomes impassable and unbearable.
- Do not smoke or drink alcohol in public places during Ramadan.
- It is forbidden to photograph public buildings.
- Go on a walking tour of Brazzaville.
- Visit Odzala National Park and see a diversity of plants and wildlife.
- See the Diosso Gorges.
- Go fishing at Lac Bleu
- See Lowland Gorillas in the Sangha Region.