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Congo

A trip to the Congo offers many opportunities to its visitors. Do not confuse this country, also called Congo-Brazzaville, with its neighbour, the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire). Take a walk on the streets of his capital Brazzaville, go visit its museums, sunbathe on its beaches, and enjoy the stunning beauty of its reserves and natural parks.

The Congo located in the Gulf of Guinea, below the equator, stretches 1,500 km long and is divided into 12 departments. The country is one of the eight states which form Central Africa. The major river is Congo, which separates it from the Democratic Republic of Congo (or DRC) in the East. Its other neighbors are Angola in the South East, Central Africa in the North, Cameroon and Gabon in the West. There are no less than thirty rivers in the country, which make it one of the most fertile countries in Africa. One quarter of the country’s area is devoted to agriculture (largely cassava). The highest point rises to 903 meters at Mount Bérongou.

Relax on the virgin beaches bordered by coconut trees … Remember to put your towel and lie on the fine sand heated by the sun and enjoy the delicious sound of the rolling waves. Take a walk in a nature reserve and discover the amazing fauna and flora… Be at the foot of waterfalls and smell the spray that caresses your face … Vibrate to the sound of traditional dances to the frantic rhythm of the tam-tams … During your stay in Congo what will you do?

The climate is hot during the entire year. The rainy season starts from October to December, then come 2 months of dry season before March and April. Finally from May to September it is the long dry season with more moderate temperatures (between 18 – 25 °). During the rest of the year, temperatures rise to 30-35 °.

Enchanting beaches, historic ruins, natural reserves, traditional villages, ancestral customs, national parks, you will have plenty to do. Known for their hospitality, the Congolese people are waiting for you to discover their culture. The population which was originally made of pygmies is mixed with other peoples such as Bantu from the north. In the 15th century Portuguese settlers arrived. French domination prevailed at the beginning of the 1890s and ended in 1960. The official language remains French, but two national languages are commonly spoken, Lingala in the north and Kikongo in the south. The main religion is the Catholic religion (about half of the population), followed very closely by the animist religion.

Three national parks, one royal palace and one former embarkation port are world heritage sites. The city of Brazzaville alone offers an interesting range of possibilities, with its museums, beautiful markets, old neighborhoods, ceramics and sculpture workshops. The Niari valley and its waterfalls, the coast, the Mayombe forest and Pointe Noire (the second largest city in the country) are worth to discover. Each region has its share of entertainment and attractions. We recommend you to visit, caves, hunting reserves, fishing villages, lakes or forests.

In a nutshell, the Republic of Congo is a land with a wide variety of landscapes and activities. With more than 4 million inhabitants, the country is one of the most urbanized in Africa and remains the second largest ecological lung in the world after the Amazon region.

Before leaving, do not forget sunscreen cream, hat, sunglasses, and mosquito net! Also bring your vaccination book (vaccinations against yellow fever, smallpox and cholera are mandatory). Preventive treatment against malaria is recommended.

Art and culture

Téké’s statuettes and wooden masks and bembes’s fetishes with nails are the majority in the Kongos‘s craft. Music and dance, as in many African countries, play a very important role. Niari’s dancers perform their art using stilts! Mbochis dancers, during the so-called KyébéKyébé dance, adorn themselves with colorful puppets!

The Franco-Congolese singer Passi and the Bisso na Bisso group are well known in France. Congolese literature also transcends borders with the writer Alain Mabanckou, who won the Renaudot prize in 2006 for “Mémoires de porc-épic”.

What to visit

The port of Loango (site classified World heritage by Unesco) saw 2 million African slaves embarking for the Americas. Ruins are still there to remind us of the slave trade

The royal domain of Mbé is made up of different sites, villages, sacred places like the Nkouembali Falls, and historical places of the Teke people.

National Parks of Conkouati Douli (nesting site of leatherback turtles), Odzala-Kokoua (occupied by gorillas, buffaloes and elephants), and finally Nouabalé-Ndokki (home for the spotted hyena) will fascinate you.

Gastronomic specialties

Like any coastal region, fresh fish and seafood are daily food. Monkey, snake, chicken or lamb meats are also commonly consumed. Lianas asparagus or cassava leaves are a possible garnish and accompaniment. Grasshoppers and caterpillars are also part of Congolese gastronomy….

The traditional dish is Saka-saka, or Pondu, and consists of cassava leaves and fish, palm oil, and is eaten with rice, semolina or plantains. Makobé (a fish dish), chicken Mwanbe or Moambe, will delight fans of spicy food

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