Things to do in Congo

The Republic of Congo has some really exciting attractions but struggles with infrastructure to support tourism. It's considered mostly safe for foreigners, although petty crime is a problem and roads are in a poor condition and sometimes impassable, making it difficult to reach many of the amazing destinations the country has to offer. As a result, tourists tend to stick to the two largest cities, Brazzaville and Pointe Noire, which both have international airports and are linked by rail.

Both cities have sights of interest for visitors and there are many natural wonders nearby to explore: the beaches of Pointe Noire are particularly popular; Brazzaville is situated on the banks of the massive Congo River; and the dramatic Diosso Gorge is easily accessible.

But it seems a pity not to venture beyond the cities into the Congolese wilderness, as the rainforest and its wildlife are really the Congo's greatest asset. The Congo Basin is home to the second largest rainforest in the world. The best place to experience the country's famous but relatively unexplored flora and fauna is the Odzala-Kokoua National Park, where visitors can seek out forest elephants and gorillas, which are now so endangered that it is difficult to find them anywhere in the wild.

Pointe Noire photo

Pointe Noire

Pointe Noire is the second largest city and the commercial hub of the country. Tourists flock to the port mainly to enjoy the stretch of beaches and the French atmosphere of the pl…

Pointe Noire

Pointe Noire is the second largest city and the commercial hub of the country. Tourists flock to the port mainly to enjoy the stretch of beaches and the French atmosphere of the place which is invigorated by the large expat community. Hotels in the city are expensive considering the standard of accommodation, but it is easy to find one right on the beach. Cote Sauvage is a string of beaches which are picturesque and spacious, lovely for long walks, swimming and surfing. There are several hotels along the beach with volleyball courts, pools and bars, while there's a great market at the Port Side Beach where the local artisans gather to sell crafts and souvenirs. Popular excursions are the nearby Diosso Gorge or the Conkouati-Douli National Park, which is a five-hour drive away but provides remarkable opportunities to see gorillas, chimpanzees and elephants.

Brazzaville photo

Brazzaville

Brazzaville is located on the mighty Congo River, just opposite the sprawling city of Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is the only place in the world where…

Brazzaville

Brazzaville is located on the mighty Congo River, just opposite the sprawling city of Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is the only place in the world where two capital cities face each other across a river. Brazzaville is generally just a stopover for tourists keen to explore the Congo's rainforest or Pointe Noire. But there are landmarks such as the beautiful St Anne's Basilica built in 1949; the 1901 colonial Palais du Peuple; and the Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza Mausoleum. There are markets to be explored at Moungali, Poto-Poto and Bacongo, as well as wonderful restaurants with views over the Congo River. The beautiful Livingstone Falls lie just on the outskirts of the city, where the Djoue River meets the Congo.

Odzala National Park photo

Odzala National Park

The Odzala-Kokoua National Park is one of the most amazing protected wilderness areas in the world. Founded in 1935, it remains one of the most important strongholds for forest ele

Odzala National Park

The Odzala-Kokoua National Park is one of the most amazing protected wilderness areas in the world. Founded in 1935, it remains one of the most important strongholds for forest elephants and western gorilla conservation in Central Africa.

The Congo Basin is home to the second largest rainforest on the planet, along with swathes of savanna and rivers bragging a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna. The park is recognised as an Important Bird Area by Birdlife International as a result of the wealth of birdlife, keeping company with antelope, hyenas, buffalo, hippo and crocodiles.

There are tour operators offering safaris and treks in the park and guides that will help track animals. Two popular camps in the park are Lango Camp and Ngaga Camp, where visitors enjoy game drives, boat cruises and kayaking, as well as guided forest walks and gorilla treks. The best time to visit the park is between May and December.

Website www.africanparks.org/the-parks/odzala-kokoua

Diosso Gorge photo

Diosso Gorge

Diosso is a town in the Republic of Congo, situated about 15 miles (25km) north of Pointe Noire in the Kouilou Department. The town is conveniently close to Pointe Noire and has a …

Diosso Gorge

Diosso is a town in the Republic of Congo, situated about 15 miles (25km) north of Pointe Noire in the Kouilou Department. The town is conveniently close to Pointe Noire and has a few attractions such as the nearby Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Centre. Erosion in the area has resulted in the dramatic scenic splendour of Diosso Gorge, the lush rainforest interrupted by red rock ridges and cliffs rising steeply out of the jungle. This stunning landscape can be admired from two viewing platforms accessible by car. One is smaller and seldom visited, but provides lovely views; the other is larger and near the paved road. Climbing down into the gorge can be dangerous and shouldn't be attempted without the appropriate gear and an experienced guide.

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