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Central African Republic travel guide

About Central African Republic

One of the least visited countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Central African Republic ranks amongst the poorest nations on the planet and has struggled to find its feet since gaining independence from France in 1960. Suffice to say few tourists venture out this way.

A country of contrasts, the Central African Republic is a place where the Sahara Desert meets tropical Africa, where the pastoral traditions of Africa’s tribespeople rub shoulders with the colonial architecture of imperial France.

The French influence is particularly strong in the capital, Bangui, which retains its colonial aesthetic and is scattered with patisseries serving fresh baguettes and éclairs. Vibrant stalls around the central market provide cheap and tasty local cuisine, which ranges from fish straight out of the Ubangi River to fried plantain and fufu, a sour-tasting starch prepared from manioc flour which is a staple of the region.

The country’s frenzied markets are perfect places to interact with and better understand the culturally diverse tribespeople that make up the population. The shortest interaction with these people shows them to be inquisitive, warm and generous beyond their means.

Geographically, much of the Central African Republic is composed of rolling grasslands, dusty deserts and steamy jungles. The northern reaches of the country are dominated by the seemingly infinite Sahara. With so little light pollution here, the night skies gleams with millions of stars.

The far south is home to equatorial rainforests, which are considered some of the best places in Africa to see forest elephants and western lowland gorillas. The jungle is also home to pygmy tribes, which live off the land in remote pockets of central Africa. Visits to these tribes are possible and offer an insight into their extraordinary lives.

Key facts


622,984 sq km (240,535 sq miles).


4.829.767 (UN estimate 2020).

Population density:

8.7 per sq km.





Head of state:

President Faustin-Archange Touadéra since 2016.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Félix Moloua since 2022.

Travel Advice

The FCDO advises against all travel to:

  • the whole of the Central African Republic (CAR)

Before you travel, check the ‘Entry requirements’ section for Central African Republic’s current entry restrictions and requirements. Due to COVID-19, these may change with little warning. Monitor this advice for the latest updates and stay in contact with your travel provider.

If you plan to pass through another country on your journey, check the travel advice for the country you’re transiting.

It is more important than ever to get travel insurance and check it provides appropriate cover. See the FCDO’s guidance on foreign travel insurance.

Consular support is severely limited in CAR as there is no British Embassy. However, the British Embassy Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo can provide limited remote consular support to British nationals.

Tensions remain high and there is potential for further violence across the country. Attacks on individuals and groups, including car-jackings, are likely and unpredictable. There is a risk that foreign nationals could be targeted by armed groups and militias. We advise any British Nationals who remain in CAR to remain vigilant and to limit non-essential movements. There are armed patrols that have set up several roadblocks across the country. Detention by police forces and armed groups is a common occurrence, primarily for CAR nationals, but also for expatriates. You should take extreme care, and take personal security precautions, if possible.

Following the constitutional referendum which took place in July 2023, there is an increased risk of social unrest.

Elections in late 2020 and early 2021 were mired in violence and led to a 6-month state of emergency. President Faustin Archange Touadéra was re-elected and formed a new government in June 2021.

A national curfew is in place which comes into effect at 10pm and ends at 5am. You should follow the government’s instructions and avoid travel around Bangui during these hours.

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in the CAR, attacks cannot be ruled out. See Terrorism

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for CAR on the TravelHealthPro website

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

International travel

International and UN mission flights are operating from Bangui M’Poko international airport.

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in CAR.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID-19. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

If you test positive for COVID-19 while in CAR you will need to stay where you are to isolate. You must test negative before traveling. You may need to seek treatment where you are. The government does not provide any assistance for treatment, this would need to be covered by your insurance. This applies to all, including those under 18.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned


There are limited options for accommodation in Bangui.

Public places and services

A national curfew is in place. This curfew comes into effect at 10pm and ends at 5am. You should follow the government’s instructions and avoid travel during these hours.

Healthcare in CAR

The government of CAR has established a coronavirus hotline (French and Sango). Call 1212 if you have questions or to report possible exposure.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health.

View Health for further details on healthcare in CAR.

See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.


For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Further information

If you need urgent consular assistance, contact the British Embassy in Kinshasa via email:

Sign up for travel advice email alerts and follow the British Embassy Kinshasa on Twitter and Facebook.

Local travel

Bangui remains fragile with periodic instances of killings, looting, house burglaries and gunfire. There are also armed patrols in Bangui and you will encounter several roadblocks (official and unofficial) that are likely to be manned by armed personnel. Take particular care when approaching these and travel in groups if possible.

Security conditions outside of Bangui are extremely unstable. There have been recent incidents of rebel activity, banditry and hostage-taking across the country.


Worsening inflation, fuel shortages and food insecurity are aggravating causes of crime. Incidents of theft and robbery occur regularly and armed gangs are known to operate in the outlying areas of Bangui. Take personal security precautions and be vigilant in public places. Avoid carrying valuables or wearing jewellery in public. Do not walk alone at night. Avoid isolated or poorer areas.

Road travel

You need to have a 1968 International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in CAR, please note that 1926 and 1949 IDPs will not be accepted. From 1 February 2019, you can only get IDPs over the counter from 2,500 UK Post Offices. It may be extremely difficult to obtain an IDP in CAR. FCDO recommends buying one in the UK before departure.

Roads are poorly maintained and most need a four-wheel drive vehicle. Road travel is particularly difficult during the wet season (May to November). If you do decide to travel by road, you should keep a private supply of fuel if possible and carry supplies with you if travelling outside Bangui.

Illegal roadblocks operate in remote areas. You may be forced to hand over money or possessions in order to continue your journey. There have been indiscriminate and violent attacks on travellers in remote areas. Vehicles have been fired on, and passengers killed or injured. In many of these cases, victims have been robbed or taken hostage and vehicles taken or burnt.

Seek local advice before travelling and FCDO recommends that you do not travel after dark.

Political situation

Following the constitutional referendum which took place in July 2023, there is an increased risk of social unrest.

Consular assistance

Consular support is severely limited in the CAR as there is no British Embassy. However, the British Embassy Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo can provide limited remote consular support to British nationals. In an emergency, British nationals should contact the British Embassy Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The French Embassy in Bangui may also be able to offer some consular assistance (telephone: +236 613 000 or +236 610 584) to those requiring urgent help.

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in the CAR, attacks cannot be ruled out. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.

There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. You should remain vigilant at all times.

You should carry a residence permit or a certified copy of your passport at all times. Failure to produce ID can lead to detention by the police.

Penalties for the use and possession of drugs are severe.

Buying diamonds or precious stones is prohibited except through agents authorised by the government. All cultural artefacts are subject to an export tax.

Be careful when taking photographs in public places as permission is often needed. Photographing government property, uniformed law and enforcement officers, military installations and personnel, may lead to detention, fines and confiscation of your camera.  

Taking photographs which the authorities deem as damaging the image of the country (street children, people with disabilities) is not permitted.  

You can get a permit for more serious photography from the Ministry of Tourism.

Satellite telephones should be registered with the Bangui or regional Agence chargée de la Régulation des Télécommunications (ART) Government Telecommunication offices.

Homosexuality is not widely accepted in Central African society and some sexual acts between members of the same sex are illegal. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

This page has information on travelling to Central African Republic.

This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in the Central African Republic set and enforce entry rules. If you’re unsure how Central African Republic’s entry requirements apply to you, contact its UK embassy, high commission or consulate.

Upon departure, proof of vaccination and COVID-19 testing requirements depend on the policy of the country of destination. Travellers are advised to check the requirements of their country of destination before departing Central African Republic.

If you’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19

Upon arrival, fully vaccinated travellers must present proof of vaccination.

If you’re not fully vaccinated against COVID-19

Upon arrival, non-vaccinated passengers must provide a PCR test obtained within the previous 72 hours.

Children and young people

Children and young people must follow the same guidance set out for adults.

Check your passport and travel documents before you travel

Regular entry requirements

Passport validity

If you are visiting Central African Republic, your passport should be valid for 6 months from the date you arrive.

Check with your travel provider to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.


British nationals need a visa to visit CAR. To apply for a visa and for further information on entry requirements, contact the Embassy of CAR in Paris at 30 Rue des Perchamps, 75116 Paris.

Yellow fever certificate

You will need a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate to enter or travel through the Central African Republic as a visitor. More information is available at the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.

If you have a health condition, or you are pregnant, you may need specialist healthcare abroad. Check whether your destination country can provide the healthcare you may need and ensure you have appropriate travel insurance for unexpected medical evacuation or local treatment.

See the Coronavirus travel health and Healthcare sections in the Coronavirus page for COVID-19 health information.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or brought in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Medical facilities are extremely limited and strikes by government workers have affected medical services and hospitals. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation, including medical evacuation by air ambulance.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 610600 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.


Visitors should be aware of confirmed cases of Ebola in North Kivu province in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2022. Further information and updates on Ebola can be found on the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.

Zika virus

UK health authorities have classified the CAR as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For information and advice about the risks associated with Zika virus, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.

Other health risks

Cholera is known to occur in CAR. Malaria is also common. Check the NaTHNac website for more information.

It is easier to exchange euros rather than US dollars to the Central African Franc – CFA. Travellers’ cheques may be exchanged at banks.

There are no international ATM machines and very few places (including hotels) accept major international credit or debit cards.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or cannot offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you cannot find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry, or contact us on Twitter or Facebook. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

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