• Congo
    ©Sergei Uriadnikov / 123RF
  • Congo
    © GRAPHICOBSESSION
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Congo

By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile
Congo, or the Republic of Congo, should not be confused with its neighbour, the Democratic Republic of Congo. The first is much smaller than the second. They are also separated by the River Congo. The Republic of Congo has been independent since 1960. The country is essentially a business destination, due to its offshore oil fields, so not many tourists travel to Congo. The difficulty of getting to its different sites and its communication networks obstruct the development of tourism at this moment. However, its various ethnic groups give it considerable cultural diversity. The Congo also has a wide range of landscapes, with rainforests in the north and steep mountains in the Mayombe.

Our Editorial team's advice

Apart from imperative professional or family reasons, you are advised to wait for definitive settlement of hostilities between the warring factions before visiting the country.

pros

  • +The scenery is varied: lakes, rapids, waterfalls, lagoons...
  • +There are various sporting activities: golf, water sports, and fishing.

cons

  • -The difficulties of getting around by road.
  • -Unsatisfactory security conditions in certain regions.

Traditions

In Congo, statuettes are the major items : they are carved out of wood, and destined for the cult of the ancestors and spirits. Each type of statuette has specific characteristics, such as knife blades and nails for the Kongo statuettes.

Food

Most restaurants have French cuisine, and excellent fish and seafood. In Brazzaville, a few Italian, Lebanese or Vietnamese restaurants offer their culinary specialities. The local dishes are piri piri chicken (hot), or mohambe chicken, fried in palm oil and accompanied by cabbage salad and cassava leaves.

Souvenirs

In Brazzaville, the Poto-Poto market exhibits and sells local craftwork: paintings, figurines, and sculpted masks. Foch Avenue is invaded by travelling salesmen. Basketwork and pottery can be bought in the villages nearby Brazzaville. Shopping hours : Monday to Saturday, from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM. Some shops close on Monday afternoon, others are open on Sunday morning.