REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO RISK REPORT
Security travel advice for the Republic of the Congo
Threat level: Medium
The Republic of Congo is situated between Gabon and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The threat from terrorism is at a low level in this country, most risk is presented by crime. Crime is relatively low, but does peak in some areas, mostly in rural tourist attractions such as Lesio-Louna Park, where pick pocketing and muggings occasionally occur. Most trips to The Republic of Congo are trouble free as long as basic security measures are taken.
Recent Security Events
The areas in which Pool borders the Democratic Republic of the Congo have experienced high levels of armed conflict and instances of banditry. It is advised that you avoid all travel within 25km of the Pool area. If you go against advice, road travel in the Pool region requires a permit from the Congolese army. It is recommended you travel with a convoy and if possible with an armed close protection officer, avoid night time travel.
Tourist vehicles have been attacked by armed bandits on the roads between Brazzaville and Pointe Noire. Although the risk of rebel attacks and acts of banditry in the coastal town of Pointe Noire are relatively low, you should exercise a high level of vigilance during travel.
Tourists sometimes travel by boats along the Congo River. Boats are often seen as an easy target for attacks by armed rebel groups in the country. You should ensure you only travel with reputable boat services and avoid travel along the Ngabe stretch of the Congo River.
October 2015 saw a political referendum in the Republic of the Congo which led to violent political demonstrations. Most demonstrations take place in Brazzaville and Pointe Noire. In the past police and military have been known to use lethal force to disperse crowds of protestors. You should avoid large gatherings, monitor the local media regularly and avoid talking about the country’s political situation in public.
France is now one of The Republic of the Congo’s most valued allies, ever since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, whom which The Republic of the Congo were close allies with. France contributes a significant amount of economic assistance to the country, while playing a highly influential role as well.
The Republic of the Congo is a well-established member in many international organisations such as the United Nations, Organisation of African Unity, and the African Development Bank.
The road conditions in the Republic of the Congo are poor standard and can get worse during the rainy season. Many of the roads are simply dirt tracks and travel outside of the main cities should only use four-wheel drives. Safety on the roads is questionable as drivers can be erratic with little regard for regulations or other road users.
There can sometimes be fuel shortages even in the cities and you may struggle to find fuel stations in rural areas beyond major cities. You should take this into consideration when embarking on journeys and ensure you have enough supplies for the whole trip.
Public transport such as buses are highly advised against as it can be unreliable, crowded and dangerous. Taxi fares should be agreed before the journey begins and you should only use authorised taxis. These are green and white in Brazzaville and blue and white in Pointe-Noir.
Taking a train presents itself with many risks including banditry and the risk of derailing, derailments are not uncommon.
Official languages: French
Currency: Central African franc
Most visitors to the Republic of the Congo including U.S, Canadian and E.U citizens are required to apply for a visa prior to departure. You will be unable to get a visa upon arrival to the country. There are costs fixed to visas and vary depending on the length of the issued visa (between 15-180 days).
Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months beyond the length of your stay. Travellers will also have to provide a Yellow Fever vaccination certification to gain entry to the Republic of the Congo. Failure to do this will result in further vaccinations being administered in the country which can prove costly. For further information on visa requirements for the Republic of the Congo, see: Visa advice Republic of the Congo
It is advised that visitors to Republic of the Congo are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is essential that you get vaccinated against Yellow Fever as there is risk of the disease throughout the country. It is an entry requirement that you present a certificate proving your immunisation. This should be completed at least 10 days prior to departure.
It is further recommended that most travellers get Tetanus, Typhoid and Hepatitis A vaccinations. You may also want to consider a Rabies jab as there is a small risk in some areas of the country. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
Other health risks
The medical facilities in the Republic of the Congo are of relatively poor standard and supplies can be extremely limited, particularly in rural areas. All medical requirements that extend beyond the basic treatment will require medical evacuation. It is essential, therefore, that you purchase comprehensive travel insurance that will cover you for all medical treatment abroad.
Malaria and chikungunya fever are prevalent across the entire country with transmission rates for malaria particularly high. Anti-malarial tablets should be taken before, during and after your trip to the country; medication can reduce the chances of contracting the disease by about 90%. Check with your local health practitioner for more advice.
Diarrheal diseases are common in the Republic of the Congo even in the most luxurious hotels. Your personal hygiene should be paramount and include precautions such as washing your hands before eating or cooking and drinking only sealed, bottled water. You should avoid ice as this is often frozen tap water.
U.S. Embassy Brazzaville
Boulevard Denis Sassou Nguesso
Republic of the Congo
Telephone: +242 066 122 000
Emergency telephone:+242 066 122 010
83, Avenue Roi Baudoin,
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Telephone: +243 81 556 6200