Congo (Republic) Travel Information

Photo The Republic of Congo is a developing nation in Central Africa. Civil conflict in 1997, late 1998 and early 1999 damaged parts of the capital and large areas in the southwest of the country. Peace accords were concluded in November and December 1999 that have largely brought an end to the conflict. Restoration is now underway in Brazzaville and other cities; however facilities for tourists remain limited. The population of the Congo comprises four major ethnic groups divided into about 75 smaller groups. The Kongo, the major ethnic comprising around one-half of the total population, occupy the section southwest of Brazzaville.
The Congo has a rapidly growing, relatively young population. More than 40 percent are under age 15. The birth and death rates are both high by world standards, though they are average for sub-Saharan Africa. With more than half of the population living in urban areas, the Congo is one of the most highly urbanized countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Life expectancy is low, at about 47 years for men and 50 years for women. The economy is a mixture of village agriculture and handicrafts, an industrial sector based largely on oil, support services, and a government characterized by budget problems and overstaffing.
Road conditions are generally poor and deteriorate significantly during the rainy season, November-June. Maintenance of the few paved roads is limited. Overland travel off the main roads generally requires a four-wheel drive vehicle. Poorly marked armed checkpoints, often manned by undisciplined soldiers, exist throughout the country. Train travel between Brazzaville and Pointe Noire resumed in January 2001, but there are frequent reports of extortion by undisciplined security forces and robberies by criminal elements along the route. Night travel outside of Brazzaville should be avoided. The war in neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo has led to insecurity in border areas in northern Republic of Congo along the Ubangui river. Travel to these regions is not recommended. Photography of public buildings is prohibited. Airport police and customs officials routinely inspect incoming and outgoing luggage. For a complete list of prohibited items, contact the nearest Congolese embassy or consulate.
Cash is used for most financial transactions. Credit cards are accepted at only a few hotels and restaurants.

Important: Travel to Congo (Republic) may require a travel visa. Whether a visa is required for travel depends on citizenship and purpose of journey. Please be sure to review Travisa's Congo (Republic) visa instructions for details. Visa instructions for other countries are available on our do I need a visa page.

Country Statistics

Full country name: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Capital city: Kinshasa
Area: 2,344,858 sq km
Population: 73,599,190
Ethnic groups: over 200 African ethnic groups of which the majority are Bantu
Languages: French
Religions: Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 20%, Kimbanguist 10%, Muslim 10%, other
Government: republic
Chief of State: President Joseph KABILA
Head of Government: Prime Minister Augustin Matata PONYO Mapon
GDP: 25.29 billion
GDP per captia: 300
Annual growth rate: 6.9%
Inflation: 15.5%
Agriculture: coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber, tea, cotton, cocoa, quinine, cassava
Major industries: mining
Natural resources: cobalt, copper, niobium, tantalum, petroleum, industrial and gem diamonds, gold, silver, zinc, manganese, tin, uranium, coal, hydropower, timber
Location: Central Africa, northeast of Angola
Trade Partners - exports: China 48.1%, Zambia 21.3%, US 9.5%, Belgium 5.4%
Trade Partners - imports: South Africa 21.7%, China 16.2%, Belgium 8.5%, Zambia 7.1%, Zimbabwe 5.7%, Kenya 4.8%, France 4.7%