As in much of Central Africa, Congo-Brazzaville has impenetrable rain forests, so settlers arrived much later here than in the rest of Africa, and except for some small groups of pygmies, the region was uninhabited until a number of Bantu tribes moved in during the medieval period. The dominant Bantu tribes sold slaves to European traders from the 15th century through the 19th, after which the French and the Belgians scuffled for control over the area. It was during that period that Pierre de Brazza, an Italian explorer working for France, founded Brazzaville.

By 1891, France had wrested complete control of the Congo River basin from its Belgian and Bantu overloads and immediately began to exploit the region's forestry and diamond industries. After several years of civil unrest (not all of which was related to the independence movement), France granted independence to the region in 1960 as part of the Congo Republic, which included both Congo-Brazzaville and Congo-Kinshasa.

French is the administrative language of the Congo. Lingala, Kikongo, Sangha and Bateke are the most widely spoken native languages. Generally, Central Africans take care in their dress, and Congolese are no exception. Brazzaville is considered the educational capital of Central Africa. 


It is said that "Every Congolese leads to sing" Singing has long been used to make work less boring. Congolese are also great storytellers. Since the introduction of French and written language, Congolese novelists, playwrights, and posts have gained celebrity though out French-speaking Africa. People who have lived in the rainforest for generations know about the healing characteristics of plants that grow there. Modern pharmacists and doctors are now beginning to be study these exotic plants.

1. Internet cafés are plentiful in Brazzaville and Pointe Noire, and many hotels and restaurants offer free wireless Internet access. That said, there is virtually no Internet access outside these cities. Intrepid expats and locals have been known to set up satellite connections while living in outlying areas, and you can find the equipment for that in either of the two large cities. Newspapers and radio stations offer local news in French; for English-language news, your only option is the Internet.

2. Like other countries in the region, Congo uses the Central African CFA franc as its official currency. Crédit Lyonnais maintains the only two ATMs in the country, in Brazzaville and Pointe Noire. Keep some cash on hand at all times. Although major hotels will accept credit cards, most other vendors will not.

Famous for its welcoming culture and rich history, the Republic of congo has a well-developed tourist infrastructure.Whether you are interested in Safaris, rain forest hikes, sun-drenched beaches, or Brazzaville's vibrant mist of art, nightlife, and history Congo-Brazzaville has you covered.

The Top 10: What to Do in the Republic of Congo

1. National Parc Ndoki-Nouabalé: Besides being home to more than 1,000 species of plants, as well as gorillas, elephants, antelopes, and over 300 types of birds, National Parc Ndoki-Nouabalé is one of the country’s best-staffed parks. The virgin rain forest is not navigable in some places, and a guide is essential for walking or boat tours. Most visitors to the park arrive via airplane from Brazzaville or Pointe Noire.

2. Lesio-Louna Gorilla Reserve: The Congo is home to some 80 percent of the world’s wild gorillas and chimpanzees, and even the most nature-averse traveler will fall in love with the chimp families and majestic gorillas that romp around the country’s several reserves. Although Ndoki-Nouabalé National Park remains the best location for seeing all kinds of wildlife, Lesio-Louna virtually guarantees close encounters with primates and is quite accessible, only a short drive north of Brazzaville.

3. Brazzaville’s Waterfalls: Although Congo-Brazzaville’s waterfalls are generally not as impressive as the ones in Congo-Kinshasa, Loufoulakari Falls and the nearby Bela Falls are the exceptions that prove the rule. Cutting noisily through a tangle of untouched rain forest, these waterfalls are relatively easy to reach from Brazzaville and offer lovely panoramas of the surrounding forest.

4. Poto Poto: Perhaps Brazzaville’s most famous arrondissement, Poto Poto draws in many tourists with its sprawling market, where you can bargain with local vendors for handicrafts, food, and clothing. Traditionally part of the West African area of town, Poto Poto is also known for a laid-back and popular bar scene as well as its painting school, established in 1951.

5. Pointe Noire: This city’s convenient port (possessing the only deepwater harbor in Africa south of Dakar) and offshore oil reserves make it a center for opulence and expats, although most of the locals still live in poverty. Pointe Noire has a livelier and more expensive club scene than Brazzaville, but it is generally worth the cost. Visitors have a choice between the pricey bars on Avenue General de Gaulle and a more authentic experience in La Cité, Pointe Noire’s “African district.” The beaches outside the city are world class, and diving equipment and fishing boat rentals are readily available.

6. Northern Congo Trekking: Although driving to this part of the country is not a pursuit for those with weak stomachs (or weak transmissions), doing so affords as much authenticity as you can get in Africa, and the lifestyle in its traditional villages is vastly different from what one can observe in Pointe Noire and Brazzaville. It is possible to hire a guide from Ouesso, Oyo, or Owanda who can lead you on rain forest hikes, and will also take you to pygmy villages on request.

7. Basilique Sainte-Anne and Central Mosque: In architecturally sophisticated Brazzaville, places of worship aren’t just lovely; they’re innovative, serene, and difficult to bypass. Why would anyone want to? Basilique Sainte-Anne is a gorgeous modern Catholic church, and the Temple Mosque has attractive mosaics and a beautifully decorated inner chamber.

8. Congo Rapids: The rapids, which start and stop along the Congo River between Brazzaville and Kinshasa, are unsafe to raft on but are quite pretty and wonderful to walk along. Most of the city’s bars and clubs are nearby, so the white water is a picturesque location at which to mingle with expats and locals. 

When to Go

Congo’s wet season lasts from October to May. During that time, roads tend to turn into muddy quagmires and unwitting tourists into mosquito bait. Avoid this period, especially if you plan on venturing outside of Brazzaville or Pointe Noire. Instead, visit between June and August or during the shorter dry season in December. 

Darrell Hartman  - Afar



Since opening last August, two jungle camps, Ngaga and Lango, have become a gateway to the lesser-known tropics of Central Africa.

Located on the edge of more than 3.3 million acres of parkland, the camp’s 12 raffia-thatched huts were inspired by the building techniques of local B’Aka Pygmy groups.

Travelers watch for lowland gorillas and crowned monkeys in comfortable hideouts built nearbai (forest clearings).

Flat-bottomed, motorized canoes transport guests down the area’s interweaving rivers.

From $5,885 for six nights. 27/(0) 11-807-1800. This appeared in the August/September 2013 issue. Image: Wickerfurniture/Foter.com




BRAZZAVILLE, Congo - The national airline of the Republic of the Congo, ECAir (Equatorial Congo Airlines), is organising the 47th Annual General Assembly and the Summit of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) from the 8 to the 10 November 2015 in Brazzaville. The theme will be "Open skies: Growth through competition and collaboration". The event has been organised under the patronage of His Excellency, Denis Sassou-Nguesso, President of the Republic of the Congo.

AFRAA regroups 45 African airline members and around a hundred industrial partners, including aircraft and engine manufacturers, consultants, and high technology service providers, as well as representatives of governments, airports and international organisations.

The Association was created in 1964. Its mission is to encourage and support African companies as they develop their air transport services. It also aims to facilitate cooperation between African companies in order to develop interconnectivity and establish a maximum of intra-African relationships. The AFRAA General Assembly is a unique business event in Africa and it takes place every year in November. It is organised by an African airline and is attended by an average of 400 participants. This includes airline directors, chief executive officers and decision-makers on a global scale.

During this event, participants explore the challenges of the aeronautical industry and debate on which measures to implement in order to improve air transport growth across the continent.

Fatima Beyina-Moussa, ECAir managing director and AFRAA President, will also participate in a round table with other directors of African airlines: Mbuvi Ngunze, Kenya Airways managing director, Tewolde Gebremariam, Ethiopian Airlines president and managing director, Sherif Fathi, EgyptAir president and managing director, Abderahmane Berthe, Air Burkina managing director, Sanjeev Gahdia, Astral Aviation managing director, and Khellil Faical, Tassili Airlines managing director.

The AFRAA General Assembly will put the spotlight on the Republic of the Congo's aims and challenges with regard to air transport, thanks to dialogue between aeronautical experts. Eight airports have either been restored or built in 10 years in the Republic of the Congo. Last August, national airline, ECAir, reached a big milestone: one million passengers have been transported since the airline was created four years ago.

The Summit's Brazzaville location will attract the attention of the world industry towards the Congolese capital's extraordinary opportunities, particularly with regard to the Maya-Maya Airport. Furthermore, commercial and tourism ties will be strengthened throughout the continent and with new and traditional markets outside of Africa (Dubai, China, Europe). 


BBC - 2014 - The idea of using the mighty Congo river to provide electricity across the African continent has been around since the 1960s.

Now, thanks to a recent deal signed by South Africa promising to buy electricity from the planned Grand Inga dam, in eight years' time it may start to become a reality.

If the full project is completed, the Grand Inga would be the largest hydropower station in the world.

Maud Jullien visited the existing dams on the Congo and the site for the new, larger structure.

Where are the Inga Dams located?

The Inga dams are located in western Democratic Republic of the Congo, 50 km upstream of the mouth of the Congo River, and 225 km (140 miles) south west of Kinshasa on the Congo River. The Congo River is the world’s second largest in terms of flow (42,000m3/s), after the Amazon, and the second longest river in Africa (4,700km), after the Nile River. It empties into the equatorial Atlantic Ocean creating what is famously known as the Congo Plume. The plume is a high productivity area arising from the rich nutrient flow from the river and is detected as far as 800km offshore. The plume accounts for 40%-80% of total carbon productivity and is one of the largest carbon sinks in the world.

The river is unique in that it has large rapids and waterfalls very close to the mouth while most rivers have these features upstream. The dam site is on the largest waterfall in the world by volume, the Inga Falls. Inga Falls is a series of falls and rapids that drop in elevation via small rapids. The main falls are 4 km wide, dropping to about 21.37 metres near a bend and forming hundreds of channels and rivulets and many small islands. At the Grand Inga site the Congo River drops 96 meters in a run of 14.5 km.

The falls are currently incorporated into the Inga I and Inga II hydroelectric facilities. The volume of the river diverted for Inga I and II is approximately 30% of the average discharge. It is postulated that if the Grand Inga project is built, it will draw as much as two-thirds of the river water, if not more.

Why is Grand Inga being proposed?

Africa faces a huge energy gap that has contributed to slow economic development and poverty. On the other hand Africa has a huge potential for all forms of energy, hydropower, solar, wind and fossil fuel energy. The proponents of the Grand Inga project (mainly African governments and development organizations) consider hydropower to be clean renewable energy.

They have put forward arguments that the Grand Inga hydropower scheme will provide cheaper and readily available energy and allow Africa’s industrial and manufacturing industry to take off. In addition the project is promoted as being good for promoting peace in the region and for the environment. However, a number of concerns that include environmental and social impacts of this project have not yet been addressed and all energy options are still to be explored.


By Franz Wild October 30, 2013

South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo signed a treaty to jointly develop a hydropower project that will eventually provide about 40,000 megawatts of electricity to the continent.

The Grand Inga project on the Congo River will cost as much as $100 billion, President Jacob Zuma said in a speech, a copy of which was e-mailed yesterday.

“The Grand Inga project has the potential to ‘light up’ the region and further boost economic growth of the surrounding countries,” Zuma said in Kinshasa, Congo’s capital. “This will also provide South African companies with further investment opportunities including in other areas of infrastructure.”

STORY: The World Isn't As Fragile as the U.S. Thinks

Grand Inga will be built in six phases before reaching full capacity, according to Congo’s Energy Ministry. One megawatt is enough to supply 2,000 average European homes.

Congo will choose a developer from three groups of companies, the ministry has said previously. The groups are made up of China Three Gorges Corp. and Sinohydro Corp. (601669); Posco (005490) and Daewoo Corp. (047050) of South Korea in partnership with Canada’s SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. (SNC); and Actividades de Construccion y Servicios SA, based in Madrid, and Spain’s Eurofinsa Group have submitted a third bid.

Congo currently has about 2,400 megawatts of installed capacity, about half of which is available because of mismanagement, the World Bank said last year. Only about 10 percent of the country’s 70 million people have electricity, according to the Energy Ministry. South Africa, the continent’s biggest economy, has installed capacity of about 40,000 megawatts.

October 22, 2013



New York, US- Brazzaville, the capital and largest city of the Republic of Congo, has become the first city to be designed by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as a member of its network of “creative hubs” promoting socio-economic and cultural development worldwide through creative industries.

Other cities that were designated alongside Brazzaville are Zahle (Lebanon), Krakow (Poland) and Fabriano (Italy).

Brazzaville was designated “City of Music” within the Creative Cities Network, which was launched by UNESCO in 2004 to develop international cooperation among cities that have recognised creativity as a driver for sustainable development.

UNESCO also listed Zahle, Krakow and Fabriano to join the Network in the categories of Gastronomy, Literature, Crafts and Folks Arts, respectively.

PANA quoted the Paris-based UNESCO as saying in a statement that in implementing local
initiatives, policies and strategies, Brazzaville, Zahle, Krakow and Fabriano ”have all tapped into creativity as a source of enrichment for the contemporary urban landscape and the daily life of citizens.

“As new members of the Network, the cities commit to strengthening participation in cultural life through fostering access to the creation and enjoyment of cultural activities, goods and services, promoting creativity and creative expressions, and integrating cultural and creative industries into local development.”

It disclosed that the Network, organised around seven categories reflecting different dimensions of cultural life, serves to facilitate the exchange of experience, knowledge and resources among its member cities as a means to promote the development of local creative industries.

The Network also foster worldwide cooperation in the cultural and creative sector, all for sustainable development.

With the latest additions, the Network now comprises 38 cities from all regions of the world, while more cities are expected to be designated before the end of the year.

Announcement of the new designees came on the second day of UNESCO’s Creative Cities Summit, being held in Beijing, China.

Dear Delegates,
Honourable Guests,

It is an honour and a privilege for us to receive Lions in Congo in the framework of the 20th Africa Lions Conference in February 2015 from 4th to 8th.

Lions Clubs International is a great organization that we respect regarding the quality of its Commitment everywhere in Africa beside our populations.

The theme “Peace in Africa for the safety of our Nations” reveals your determination to encourage the process of Peace and Development in Africa and all over the world.

We only have to support the noble initiative of Lions Clubs International of safeguarding Freedom and Peace for Mankind because “ it is impossible to conceive Development without having Mankind in the center …. ” 
This is essential.

I am inviting you to come and meet the Africa Lions in the beauty and relaxed atmosphere of Brazzaville which is offering you its legendary hospitality.
I am inviting you to come and visit Congo-Brazzaville and to affirm with Pride and Honour your slogan: We Serve.

Congo is happy to welcome you. You, Actors of Peace, of Freedom and Harmony among men.

Welcome to Brazzaville!
President of the Republic of Congo