Things to see and do in Republic of Congo
Attractions in Republic of Congo
Delve into Congo’s history at Diosso
Around 20km (12 miles) from Pointe Noire are the villages of Loango and Diosso. Loango was a major embarkation port for slaves during the era of the transatlantic slave trade. The Gorges of Diosso, spectacular cliffs formed by the erosion of the sea and the wind, are well worth visiting, as are some of the remote and idyllic palm-fringed beaches nearby.
Experience Congo’s biodiversity at Conkouati-Douli National Park
Not far from Pointe Noire, stretching from the Atlantic coastline into densely-forested mountains, Conkouati-Douli is Congo's most diverse park and recent investment in conservation has seen a rejuvenation of wildlife stocks previously decimated by poaching. Gorillas, elephants, buffalo and chimpanzee can be seen here, as can sea turtles laying eggs on the beach.
Explore bustling Brazzaville
The small, crumbling Congolese capital is situated on the banks of the mighty Congo River, with clear views across the water to DRC's capital Kinshasa on the opposite bank. Brazzaville has a number of pulsing markets and a surprisingly vibrant arts and culture scene, as well as some fascinating colonial relics and memorials.
Get lost in D’Odzala National Park
One of the oldest parks in Africa, the arrival of African Parks and Wilderness Safaris has breathed new life into D'Odzala after decades of turmoil. Remote even by Congo's standards, the only way to access the park is on an exclusive fly-in safari. Activities include face-to-face encounters with habituated lowland gorilla families, accompanied by local BaAka (pygmy) guides.
Kick back in Pointe Noire
Pointe Noire is Congo's economic capital, but it often feels more like a small seaside town. The beachfront itself is rundown and relatively underdeveloped, but therein lies much of its charm. And there are still a number of good spots for a seaside sundowner. Away from the beach, the city has a bustling market and a few good restaurants.
Marvel at the Loufoulakari Falls
Find beautiful panoramic views of the verdant surrounding countryside at the Loufoulakari Falls, the confluence of the Congo and Loufoulakari rivers. A bumpy 80km (50-mile) drive from the capital Brazzaville, Loufoulakari is held to be the most impressive falls in the region and well worth a day trip.
Ride ‘La Gazelle’
This air-conditioned train runs between Brazzaville and Pointe Noire a few times a week and is a much more immersive experience than taking the short flight. Though it's a slow and arduous journey, there is some striking scenery along the way. Do spend time some considering the human cost of this journey: the construction of this historic train line claimed the lives of more than 17,000 Congolese.
Stroll around Linzolo
The first Catholic church in Congo was built in 1882 by a French priest and is located in Linzolo, 30km (19 miles) from the capital. The small city is also home to the regional seat of the World Health Organization and a very good market.
Track gorillas in Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park
Once referred to by National Geographic as the world's 'Last Eden', this vast and remote park in the northern corner of Congo is home to lowland gorillas, forest elephants and chimpanzees among other interesting fauna found in the swampy rainforest. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Unwind at Les Rapides
Just west of Brazzaville, at Les Rapides, the Congo River can be observed in all its power and glory. These wide and untamed falls are best observed with a frosty beer in hand in the leafy garden of the bar at the river's edge, which is a popular weekend hang out with locals and tourists alike.