The difficulty of simply arriving in the Central African Republic—a country that has only a few incoming flights per week, mostly through African carriers, and can be entered by car only through its sole stable neighbor, Cameroon—should give potential visitors an idea of what they are in for if they choose to visit this tropical nation. At once beautiful and challenging, the Central African Republic is subject to poor internal governance and security issues outside of urban areas. It is blessed with a wealth of natural resources, which will, it is hoped, be utilized in the future to stabilize the economy and bring international dollars into this landlocked country.
The Top 2: What to Do in the Central African Republic
1. Dzanga-Sangha National Park:
For those hoping to experience one of the world’s densest rain forests, Dzanga-Sangha National Park is the place to go; it is also the only one of the Central African Republic’s national parks open to visitors at this time. It is possible to hire a guide to hike or canoe through the park, where you can see bongo antelopes, forest buffalo, gorillas, and elephants. A lodge and basic tourist facilities are available in the nearby town of Bayanga. The park’s website
has a wealth of information about current activities, transportation, and more.
2. French Influences:
Although the French left Bangui 50 years ago, their influence is still readily apparent in the broad boulevards and architecture of the town. Several high-quality restaurants can be found here, including Satis and the deservedly popular Relais des Chasses, both of which specialize in French and international dishes. The culturally inclined will enjoy a stroll through the charming and busy Marché Central, and the Musée de Boganda offers insights into the country’s history, along with an impressive collection of indigenous musical instruments. At night, try heading to Kilomètre 10, where most of Bangui’s bars and nightclubs are located.
When to Go
If possible, visit the Central African Republic during the dry season, from November to March; it’ll be much easier to travel by road and enjoy outdoor activities. On March 29, the people of the Central African Republic mark the death of Barthelemy Boganda, the first prime minister of the country. It’s an event worth observing if you are in the area. Some businesses close during the holy month of Ramadan, and visitors are expected to behave more conservatively at that time; for example, do not drink in public.