Waterfalls, rapids and swamps characterize the lush landscape of the Republic of the Congo, whose north is made up of vast, pristine forests teeming with wildlife. The forest is also home to several indigenous tribes who have retained their traditional way of life. The Mayombe Mountains rise behind the narrow, sandy coastline, broken by lagoons. There are many fascinating things to discover in the capital, Brazzaville. The Republic of the Congo gained independence in 1960, and its first elected President was Abbé Fulbert Youlou, a Catholic priest. He led the republic to a one-party state, a trend also seen elsewhere in Africa. Since independence, the country has suffered constant civil war, and although a peace agreement was signed with the southern rebels in 2003, remnants of the southern Pool region’s rebel groups known as the ninjas are still active.
Arriving by plane
According to top-medical-schools, there are no non-stop flights to the Republic of the Congo from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Air France (AF) fly to Brazzaville from Frankfurt/M., Vienna and Zurich via Paris and Ethiopian Airlines (ET) from Frankfurt/M. and Vienna via Addis Ababa. Air France (AF) via Paris and Ethiopian Airlines (ET) from Frankfurt/M. and Vienna via Addis Ababa and Brazzaville.
Frankfurt/M. – Brazzaville: 11 hrs 15 mins; Vienna – Brazzaville: 11 hrs 15 mins; Zurich – Brazzaville: 11 hours 35 minutes (each with a stopover); Paris – Brazzaville: 7 hours 55 minutes (non-stop). Frankfurt/M. – Pointe Noire: 11 hrs 40 mins; Vienna – Pointe-Noire: 11 hrs 40 mins; Zurich – Pointe-Noire: 12 hours (each with a stopover).
Arrival by car
Roads lead from Lambaréné (Gabon) to Dolisie and Brazzaville. The connecting road from Cameroon is only passable in the dry season. Another road connects Pointe-Noire with Cabinda (Angola). Arrival is also possible via the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Documents: In addition to the national driver’s license, the international driver’s license is required. A carnet de passage is recommended.
Arrival by train
There is no cross-border rail traffic.
Ferries dock at the port of Pointe-Noire. A ferry runs several times a day across the Congo between Kinshasa (Dem. Rep. Congo) and Brazzaville (journey time: 15 minutes). Ferries on the Ubangi connect Congo with the Central African Republic.
Traveling by plane
Trans Air Congo (Q8) offers scheduled flights between Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire as well as Dolisie several times a day. Private charter services also fly to Owando, Zanaga and Impfondo.
Traveling by car/bus
The road network has a length of almost 9,000 km.
Right-hand traffic/left-hand traffic
Condition of the roads
Only about 1,000 km of the entire road network is open to traffic all year round. The Brazzaville-Oyo and Brazzaville-Pointe-Noire routes are relatively well developed; however, potholes are also to be expected here. Most of the roads are unpaved sand tracks that are only passable with four-wheel drive vehicles during the dry season. Driving at night is generally not recommended.
The road network of the Congo consists of trunk roads, which are marked with the letter N and a number, and regional roads, which start with the letter P.
Rental cars are available at Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire airports as well as in the cities; even with a driver. The minimum age for drivers is 25 for most car rental companies; the maximum age is 70 years.
Taxis are available in the cities; in Brazzaville they can be recognized by their green colour. Shared taxis and minibuses that operate as taxis go almost everywhere at reasonable prices.
In addition to the national driver’s license, the international driver’s license is required. A Carnet de Passage is recommended.
Traveling in the city
Minibuses operate in Brazzaville. Taxis are available in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire and Loubomo; the fare should be agreed before departure.
Locally on the way by train
The rail network is operated by the Congo-Océan Railway Company. There is a connection between Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire (journey time: at least 1 day), from which another rail line branches off at Mongo Bélo to Mbinda on the Gabonese border.
Traveling by ship
Steamers operate from Brazzaville on the Congo and the Ubangi. The rivers are of great importance as transport routes.