Guided tours of Brazzaville can be arranged for guests of Congo Conservation Company while staying in Brazzaville before or after their journeys to Odzala Discovery Camps and Sangha Lodge. A half-day tour of Brazzaville is included in all Discovery packages, please advise on booking if you will be using the tour.
Enquire with us to upgrade your tour or add an additional tour.
½-Day Tour | US$ 120pp
Explore: Begin with lunch at the famous riverside Mami Wata restaurant overlooking Kinshasa and the Independence Bridge. Your guide will share more about Brazzaville, Congo and the sites you will be visiting. Depending on the day, you will visit key attractions such as Poto-Poto Textile Market and Painting School, Marche Plateau Ville, St. Anne’s Basilica, Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza Memorial, ending up for a drink overlooking the mighty Congo River, followed by sunset driving along La Corniche and the Independence Bridge.
Sapeurs of Brazzaville
2-3 hour experience | From US$ 700
Explore: We receive many requests from guests wishing to experience the local Sapeurs or La Sape, a slang abbreviation based on the French word sape, meaning ‘attire’. This refers to the Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes (Society for Creators of Ambiance and Elegant People) which is a subculture centred on the cities of Brazzaville and Kinshasa but growing in followers throughout Central and West Africa. Spending time with the Sapeurs, you will be enlightened and taught the rules of elegance, through parades, dance and walking the town.
Full-Day Tour | From US$ 950
Explore: This VIP experience combines the City Tour and Sapeur Experience for the best of both worlds and an immersive foray into the sights, sounds and spirit of Brazzaville. Guests who choose this tour will have additional time for local engagement, visit more markets as well as seeing the Des Dépêches Museum. The day ends in elegance and style with the Sapeurs.
TOP TIP: This tour is an ideal option for private groups spending 1 or 2 nights in Brazzaville before or after a Group Discovery or set departure.
Need to know
GETTING AROUND: To get around Brazzaville, you may use local green taxis and it generally costs XAF 1000 (US$ 2) per stop within the city. Trips from the airport or longer distances are between XAF 2000 – 4000 and a taxi for an hour will cost you XAF 4000 – 5000. Bear in mind that some taxis may be in poor technical condition.
TRANSPORT SAFETY: Much as you would anywhere in the world, do take a security-first approach to taxis and refuse to hop into any car that already has a passenger. If travelling late at night, you may encounter roadblocks, but are unlikely to be harassed.
PERSONAL SAFETY: Safe and peaceful – employ the same personal safety measures you would while travelling anywhere new. It is always highly recommended to leave valuable items at home when travelling abroad.
TIPPING ON CITY TOURS: As a guide, 10% or US$ 10-20 per person per activity for your guide in Brazzaville is always appreciated. Tipping is at your discretion, but it is always appreciated.
LOCAL CURRENCY IS KING: Very few establishments use credit card machines and even fewer accept foreign currency. Draw local currency from cash dispensers (ATMs) in the area or visit an exchange bureau. The local currency is the Central African Franc (XAF). It is linked to the Euro at 655 XAF to 1.00 EU and, approximately 595-610 XAF to 1 USD (fluctuating daily). ATMs are available at major banks with Visa being the preferred card, but MasterCard may also be used at certain banks (e.g. Credit de Congo).
CASH BILLS: Ensure you carry small change whenever possible, as there is often no change available and notes bigger than XAF 2,000 can be hard to break (especially if using taxis).
CASH IN OUR CAMPS: Extras and in-camp purchases may be paid in cash in our camps, at our office in Brazzaville or via PayPal. At the camps, we accept Euros, US dollars as well as local currency. US dollars must be bills from $5 or higher and 2013 or newer (older bills incur premium exchange fees).
|CLOSEST AIRPORT||Maya Maya Airport (International)|
|AIRLINES LANDING AT MAYA MAYA AIRPORT||Kenya Airways (via Nairobi)
Ethiopian Airlines (via Addis Ababa)
RwandAir (via Kigali)
Air France (via Paris)
|AIRPORT ASSISTANCE||Included at Maya Maya for all set Discoveries|
|DISTANCE TO ODZALA-KOKOUA NATIONAL PARK||2-hour charter flight (LET L-420 12-seater)|
|RECOMMENDED HOTEL||Radisson Blu M’Bamou Palace Hotel
(enquire for alternative hotel options)
|ATM & BUREAU DE CHANGE|
|CURRENCY||Central African Franc (XAF / FCFA)
Euro and USD (newer than 2013) can be exchanged at a bureau
|CREDIT CARDS||Very limited use in Brazzaville (no card facilities in our camps)|
|LANGUAGES SPOKEN||French, Lingala and Kituba
Basic English is spoken in some hotels and tourist areas
|CITY TOURS||Half-day city tours included in all Discoveries
Additional tours available – costs apply (see above)
|SAFETY||Safe to walk around and use transport, be mindful of pickpockets and avoid exiting the city perimeter without a guide|
|EMERGENCY CONTACTS||+242 050 582 324 or +242 068 113 842 or email@example.com|
What to do
POTO-POTO MARKET: A kaleidoscope of colours and rich African textiles characterise the Poto-Poto Market. A nearby painting school showcases a selection of paintings from local artists. Delve into the layers of fabric, colourful artworks and rich heritage of the area.
ST ANNE’S BASILICA: The iconic green-roofed church at Poto-Poto Roundabout was designed and built in 1949 by local priests. Local legend has it that the green tiles are a reference to the generous nature of the equatorial environment and that their snake scale shape is said to keep out evil. As the St Anne’s Basilica was damaged during the civil wars of the 1990s, major restoration works were carried out in late 2000.
If you are in luck, the choir might be practising when you visit and be sure to test the acoustic entrance hall for a special moment.
PIERRE SAVORGNAN DE BRAZZA MEMORIAL: In the heart of Congo’s capital stands a memorial which houses the remains of Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, the explorer who founded Brazzaville in 1880. The gleaming white marble memorial along the banks of the Congo River includes a museum, sculpture garden and giant statue.
SACRED HEART CATHEDRAL: The church is the seat of the Bishop of the Archdiocese of Brazzaville and the oldest existing cathedral in Central Africa still standing.
MAMI WATA RESTAURANT: This icon of Brazzaville is a favourite for guests and overlooks the Congo River. Enjoy a local beer with delicious Congolese cuisine (or western-style fare if you prefer).
MARCHE PLATEAU VILLE: Peruse the market stalls for antique masks, voodoo dolls, local art and clothing.
THE CATARACTES: If you are feeling adventurous, take a visit to the sandy and rocky beaches of the Cataractes. The breath-taking view of the infamous Djoue Rapides, the cataracts offer marvels for the eyes and input on local culture and tales.
LES SAPEURS: Meet the Congo’s ‘Dandies’ of the Bacongo district. These men and women’s sophisticated eccentricity of dress is a movement which began as an act of resistance by claiming ownership of what were originally colonial styles of dress and has now spread across the world. Best experienced on Sunday evenings.
Customs & Phrases
PHOTOGRAPHY: Be careful where pointing your lens, locals do not like their pictures taken without permission and it is illegal to take images of military, police and government buildings.
DRESS: Brazzaville is relaxed, however, to be considerate of the conservative, women can avoid wearing shorts (though knee-length & longer skirts are acceptable). When visiting villages, knees should be covered.
|Hello, how are you?||Bonjour, comment allez-vous?|
|Very well, and you?||Très bien, et vous?|
|Thank you||Merci beaucoup|
|Taxi please||Un taxi s’il vous plaît|
|To the Radisson Blu||Destination Radisson Blu|
|What is your name?||Comment vous appelez-vous?|
|Too expensive||Trop cher|
|Very good||Très bon|
|I would like to buy it||Je voudrais l’acheter|
|A coffee (tea) with milk||Un café (thé) au lait|
|A beer please||Une bière s’il vous plaît|
|Bill please||L’addition s’il vous plaît|
”The Sapeur culture is still alive and thriving – inspiring a younger generation with a peopleʼs unique philosophy. It is a subculture instilled with pride, defiance and style. It is electrifyingly optimistic in a place where lives are the hardest of the hard.Sophy RobertsJournalist
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