Brazzaville

Brazzaville is the capital of the Republic of Congo.

Head office of Equatorial Congo Airlines at Airport Brazzaville
Mausolée de Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza
Brazzaville city

Understand

Brazzaville was a relatively well-developed and thriving city before the civil war began in 1997. Although there is still some fighting in the rural areas, it is a safe city to visit, but the infrastructure has been run down. Many new restaurants and hotels are being built—especially by Lebanese immigrants—and it can be a pleasant stopover to Pointe Noire or visits to the Congolese rain forests.

Get in

By plane

Brazzaville can be reached from Paris by Air France on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. There are flights from Johannesburg by Interair on Mondays and Thursdays.

Brazzaville can also be reached through Ethiopian Airlines from Addis Ababa four times a week; Addis Ababa has connecting flights to numerous other international destinations, including Dubai. Royal Air Maroc operates three direct flights a week from Casablanca. Kenya Airways operates flights to Brazzaville three times a week from Nairobi. If you are a Sky Team associate, you can catch a KLM or Air France flight to Nairobi, and connect to Brazzaville from there.

There are also many flights to other smaller capital cities in Africa, including neighbouring Kinshasa.

By ferry

You can also travel to Brazzaville from Kinshasa via boat, but it is recommended to fly directly into Brazzaville if your intent is to visit the Republic of Congo.

By train

Rail services link Brazzaville with Dolisie and the seaside city of Pointe-Noire. A new "express" train named La Gazelle was introduced in 2012, however it still takes a grueling 15 hours to complete the journey. On the plus side the train has air conditioning, a bar car and power sockets. There's also slower services, generally not recommended for tourists.

By road

There is surprisingly no bridge between Brazzaville and Kinshasa. If you wish to take a car across, it is possible to pay extra and get a ride on the ferry. There have been reports the car will require "disinfection" when crossing from Congo to DR Congo.

Get around

You may use local green taxis, even if they are in a poor technical condition. Much as you would anywhere, take a security-first approach to taxis - Refuse to hop into any car that has two or more people in it already. One trip anywhere in town is XAF 1,000 (USD 2).

See

Do

Recreational Activities

If you enjoy outdoor sports, bring equipment that you may need, such as picnic supplies, golf equipment, and sports attire. All equipment available locally is expensive. Photographic equipment and facilities are also available at double U.S. prices. The following clubs/hotels are open to paying memberships:

Eat

Eat at Mami Wata (great pizzas in the afternoon, enjoy the Kinshasa view over the Congo river) or Nenuphar (great steaks). For Muslims there are very few places to go out for eating like La Mandarine, one of the Lebanese Restaurants in the city. On the Avenue Foch are few restaurants and cafes where you can get dinner, snack, caffe. But at all the Lebanese restaurants one can find Halal food.

There are several great restaurants in Brazzaville. Any taxi driver can take you to one of these nicer places (5000-15000 CFA). Most places are closed on Sundays. Expect beers to be overpriced here (1000 to 2000 CFA).

Street food is mostly limited to beignets and manioc in the downtown area. Egg sandwiches, and avocado and salami sandwiches are found at random. At night there is meat on a stick.

Drink

Beer: Primus, N'Gok, Mutzig, Heineken, Guinness, Turbo King.

Buy

Brazzaville is a very very expensive city, as you will find all kinds of things but almost four times the price in Dubai or elsewhere. For example if you are looking to buy a can of Pepsi Cola which is usually 1 UAE Dihram in Dubai and you will get it for XAF 750 (Central African CFA Franc) which is equivalent to 5 UAE dirhams. Same goes for other things. So if you are planning to come here, bring usual day to day usage stuff along with the you.

There is a HUGE market close to the Cathedral where one can buy decent African wear and bright colored materials - an adventure in itself.

Groceries

Currently, there are two major grocery stores in Brazzaville, as well as a few convenience type stores which carry some of the same products. Below is a list of supermarkets and convenience type stores: Casino (used to be Score) is the second largest supermarket with Park N Shop new super market recently inaugurated. Everything is overpriced here, but if you need your frozen pizzas, . Tel: 81 03 35. Park N Shop (close to the Mpila roundabout and Tower Nambemba). Tel: 548 2936 Ste. Regal (located close to Park N Shop, on the same street as Tower Nambemba). Tel: 527 5260

With enough patience, shoppers can usually find most of the brands what they are looking for which they are accustomed.

The major grocery stores and a few other stores have a good selection of imported fruits and vegetables, but prices are a bit expensive. You can get a wide selection of local and fresh fruits from local markets around town. Below is a list of the local markets frequented by Americans and expatriates:

Butchers and Meat Stores

There are two good butcher stores in town that sell both local and imported meats and seafood. There are also a few stores that sell frozen meat and seafood.

'*Guenin or Coup:' Located opposite the entrance to the ‘Beach’. Store sells frozen meat, fish, chicken, etc.

Bakeries

Local bread, white and whole wheat, is of good quality. You can buy fresh bread from the following bakeries:

Bread is cheap and sells out quickly. The best times to shop are between 9 and 11AM on weekdays and between 8:30AM and 10AM on the weekends. However, "street bread" can be found throughout the day for 100-150 FCFA. You can also find imported white and whole wheat bread from a few grocery stores, but they are expensive and sell out very quickly.

Small boutiques (mostly run by north Africans) are on every corner. You can find soap, pasta, croissants, basic goods here. They are reasonably priced.

Craft Shops/Souvenirs

Olympic Palace Hotel Craft Shop (located at Olympic Palace). Here you can find local crafts, but they are very expensive. You can get better prices at the local craft markets listed above.

Sleep

Equipped for business conferences and receptions, it is the ideal meeting place for entrepreneurs.

Cope

Embassies

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, September 04, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.