Eco-friendly travel guide to Central Africa advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to travel in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Central Africa, Africa.
- Air quality: 2.5 - 3 / 5
- Bus connections: 3.5 - 4.5 / 5
- Train connections: 3.5 - 4.5/ 5
- Hitchhiking: 2 - 4 / 5
- National parks: 3.5 - 5/ 5
- Outdoor activities: 3.5 - 4.5 / 5
- Locals' English level: 3 - 4 / 5
- Safety: 2 - 3 / 5
- Accommodation: US$35 - $90
- Budget per day: US$70- $100
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 Regions
- 11 Cities
- 12 Getting There and Moving Around
- 13 Sustainable Shopping
- 14 Recycling
- 15 Work and Study Abroad
- 16 See Also
Irrespective of whatever country you visit within this region, you are sure to feel the African culture.
These countries do not joke with their wildlife. Thus, you must ensure that whatever activity you carry out should not affect nature or wildlife. We know that foreigners are usually curious, and it is not wrong to let your curiosity reign free when visiting this region. It is the only way you get involved in most local activities, making you a responsible traveler.
Air Quality and Pollution
It may be delightful to visit the Central African region, but you will encounter some hitches. One of them is in the form of air pollution.
The locals of these countries engage in some activities that affect their environment, affecting the air quality. It could sometimes be through industrial activities and other times from vehicle emission. Waste burning is also not left out of the elements that lead to air pollution in these countries.
Since air pollution is a major problem in this region, you should not expect high air quality whenever you are visiting. Knowing this information comes in handy so that you will not be taken by surprise.
Respect the Culture
The best way to stay respectful in the Central Africa region is by not talking down on their religion or traditions.
Understandably, what they practice may differ from what you know. However, it will be best if you accord them respect by not downplaying it. If there is something that you do not understand, it is best to ask questions.
Clarifications are always better than assumptions. If you are not condensing, you will be in the good books of the locals.
These people are always ready to welcome foreigners, but you must show interest that you can sometimes compromise and meet at a common ground. This helps you maintain synergy with the locals.
Top 10 Places to Visit
Here are some of the top places to visit in the Central African region cutting across its countries:
- Quedas de Kalandula (Angola): They are one of the largest waterfalls by volume in Africa. You will behold a beautiful and amazing sight when you visit this place. It has many tour guides as it holds the interest of foreigners. Some people say that they feel at peace when they look at the waterfalls. It also serves as a great place to take pictures and explore.
- Musée Vivant (Burundi): There is never a bad time to visit this place. It serves as both a zoo and a museum. It is always a lovely experience, and you get to shop at the gift store. It has been in place since 1977 and is a manifestation of how the Central African region is particular about wildlife protection.
- Manovo-Gounda-Saint Floris National Park (Central Africa Republic): This is another manifestation of how the region is particular about wildlife protection. It is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites since it houses different species of animals. We are sure that you will see animals that you have never seen before at this place. It comes in handy that it is properly managed.
- Dja Faunal Reserve (Cameroon): You should be ready to explore different places that house wildlife in the Central Africa region. This rainforest has different species of animals. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its diversity. People say that they do not have any regrets about visiting it, so it is a top tourist attraction in the region.
- Mikeno Volcano (The Democratic Republic of the Congo): If you love going on adventures, this is a place to visit. Have you ever visited a volcano? If no, here is your opportunity. You should know that the slopes at this mountain are harsh. After all, the translation of Mikeno is ‘poor.’ The mountain is also famous for its endangered gorillas. Thus, it will come in handy to have a tour guide. These people have a proper and better understanding of the area and will be helpful.
- Lake Tele (Republic of the Congo): It is a freshwater lake in the region. Fishing is an activity that occurs at this place. People say that you can find different species of fishes anytime you indulge in this activity. Thus, they are always on the lookout and sometimes turn it into a competition. The sizes of the fishes also leave people in awe. This place is a great place to relax and connect with the locals.
- Ennedi Plateau (Chad): The rock paintings at this place usually gets the interest of foreigners. Thus, it gets a high inflow of people. When foreigners visit this place, they get to see nomadic people. It is usually exciting to hear the stories surrounding their history. Visiting this place usually leaves an imprint, and you will remember it for a long time.
- Elobey Grande (Equatorial Guinea): It is one of the smaller islands that serve as a great location for a getaway. If you are looking to leave the hustling and bustling of the major towns, this is a great place to relax. The atmosphere is always conducive, and you will feel a sense of peace. This puts a smile on the faces of many people. There are also different activities to do on this island.
- Loango National Park (Gabon): If you have never seen a forest elephant before, you should visit this place. It is one of the top attractions in the region and also a manifestation of wildlife protection. Asides from forest elephants, you also get to see whales. The idea here is to protect some wildlife species and let people connect with nature and the environment.
- Lake Ruhondo (Rwanda): The atmosphere of this place is conducive, refreshing, and relaxing. It presents a pleasant view that anyone will not want to miss. It is helpful to know that you can also see mountain gorillas at this place. Thus, having a local or tour guide is usually helpful. It is a beautiful place.
It is already in the minds of foreigners that they have to see many places once they are in a new country. They do not mind moving between towns and cities to see the different tourist attractions. Thus, exploration is something that foreigners do.
Even those who might not be in the country for holiday reasons usually find time to explore. Thus, you know that people will not want to visit a place that does not have places to explore. Visiting the Central Africa region is not out of place as you can never run out of places to explore. These places usually connect people with nature.
We have seen that many people love to visit city parks when they are in a new place. A city park is unique to the town you are staying in.
After researching, we noticed that many countries within the Central African region do not have city parks. We do not know the reason for this. Thus, exploring city parks will not be feasible.
If you had to explore city parks on your wish list, you should cross it out. However, this should not dampen your mood as there are many other places to explore in the Central African region. The fact that there are no city parks does not mean that you will not have a swell time.
The number of national parks in the Central African region contrasts with the number of city parks. We cannot count the number of national parks as they are numerous.
However, it is safe to say that each country within the region has national parks. These places play host to wildlife and help people to connect with their environment.
If you desire to visit and explore a national park, you have numerous options in the Central African region. This is never an issue for foreigners, and we know that you will have a pleasant time exploring.
These places are usually in a top-notch state.
Visiting a beach is the favorite activity for some foreigners. It could be that you are in this category.
It is only when we see people who desire to explore beaches. The countries in the Central African region are not void of beaches, so we would say that this activity is feasible.
Among the countries in the Central African region, Gabon stands out to see different beaches. Thus, you can choose from various options if you are in the country. Other countries also have their beaches.
When you visit a beach, ensure that you indulge in the different activities and have fun.
We have not seen any country that does not have landmarks. The idea is to ensure that people, especially foreigners, do not get lost as they move around the area.
You will realize that people will use a landmark to answer your question when you ask for descriptions of places. These landmarks could be a statue or a high building. Landmarks are usually things or places that can capture interest so that you do not miss them.
There are different landmarks in each of the countries within the Central African region. One of the glaring landmarks is the Nabemaba Tower in the Republic of Congo. It is hard and near impossible to miss this tower.
Most countries ensure that they have at least one museum. After all, where else will they preserve their history?
For curious minds, the museum is one of the first places you will want to explore in a new place. This is because you want to know more about the place and be equipped with information.
We can assure you that there are museums in each of the Central African region countries. These museums are usually encompassing, ensuring that you will not have any regret in visiting them.
Some of them also have tour guides that ensure to answer any questions you have. Thus, exploring museums is possible in this region.
You will enjoy a variety of meals when you are within the Central African region. Some people never want to go back to their home cities because of the local traditional foods that they enjoy in this region.
It is best to know that rice is one of the top and famous meals in this region. It is only normal as the locals are active in agriculture and they cultivate rice.
It should be a crime to leave this region without trying their spinach stew. It is appetizing and always leaves people wanting more. If you are in the Central Africa Republic, you should eat the bread called Makara before leaving.
You cannot run out of places to get these meals as each country within the region has traditional local restaurants. Irrespective of the city you stay in any country in this region, you are sure to see restaurants that serve local delicacies.
If you did not know, these local meals serve as a significant selling point of the region. They know that people love their food, so they always ensure that they deliver nothing but the best.
The services at these restaurants are amazing as they treat their customers like kings. They always want foreigners and people to pay return visits. We know that you will enjoy the array of food options they offer.
If you are a vegetarian, you do not need to worry when visiting the Central African region. The same way there are traditional local restaurants is the same way there are vegan restaurants. Thus, you will meet your eating needs.
These vegan restaurants are usually in the top cities of the countries within this region. If you also desire to eat the traditional foods, you will get them in your eating preference.
Understandably, vegans have a hard time finding restaurants that attend to their eating preferences. However, we can assure you that you will not face this difficulty in the Central African region.
Street food is also a type of meal that you can enjoy in the Central African region. The region has many options that can leave a person salivating.
If you are visiting Cameroon, you will see pies and puff as types of street food. These are snacks that do not take long preparation times.
The choices you see might differ in the different countries, but they are all tasty. It also comes in handy that they are affordable. We often see people rushing to buy street food even after they have finished eating their main meals.
There is nothing wrong with enjoying the combination of street food and traditional local meals when in Central Africa.
The Central Africa region does not have limitations to the type of drinks individuals can consume. Thus, you have both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options.
One of the first drinks you might notice in this region is palm wine. It is famous in most African countries, and we know that you will enjoy it. We earlier mentioned that being in the Central African region lets you experience the African culture.
You can also get varieties of carbonated drinks in this region if you do not take alcohol. Beer lovers are also not left out of the fun as there are many beer options.
It is safe that say that drinks usually overflow in this region.
It will not be right to talk about drinks without mentioning tap water. There are also questions about tap water as people want to know if it is consumable and portable.
When traveling to the Central African region, getting portable tap water depends on the country you visit. If you are in the Central African Republic, you have high chances of getting clean tap water.
However, some countries may have issues with their tap water, making it unsafe to drink. As a foreigner, we would advise that you buy bottled water from the vendors. This helps you to stay on the safe side.
What can one do in the Central African region? It is a common question we get, and we are happy to say that this region offers many activities.
When anyone visits the Central African region, they are sure not to have a dull time. One way through which this occurs is by engaging in fishing and kayaking.
People often do these activities for fun. Sometimes, people turn them into competitions. You can have fun engaging in them either way.
These are activities that occur across all Central African region countries. It is helpful if you are a social person as the locals will draw you into their inner circle.
Although it has not gained adequate grounds, another activity in the Central Africa region is yoga. Not everyone in this region is familiar with the concept, but you can find some yoga studios.
The idea is for professionals to train people who indicate interest. As a foreigner, it could be that you are a professional yogi. You can go and engage in this activity in any of the yoga studios.
The studios are not many in the region, but we are sure that you can find one in any of the countries you are visiting. One can never tell, but you might be the one to teach the locals some yoga skills.
If you do not have where to stay before visiting a new place, you are sure that you will encounter difficulties. This is why some people do not want to travel to a place where they do not have anyone.
It could be that you have never been to the Central African region, and you do not know anyone there. Thus, it is best that you research the available accommodation options before you leave your home country.
We do not want a situation where you visit the region with a low accommodation budget because you did not do adequate research. Sorting out accommodation is always a key process in traveling.
If you prefer to stay in n eco-friendly option when you travel to a new place, we know that you will be on the lookout for green hotels. Fortunately, you can find such hotels in the Central African region.
These hotels are usually well-maintained and have facilities that help in sustainability. Their goal is to provide comfort for their customers and ensure that they do not endanger the environment.
These hotels’ beauty is usually alluring, and some people say that there is a certain irresistible charm. If you desire to stay in a green hotel, you will get this option in most Central African region countries.
Hostels and Guest Houses
The Central African region is commended in the fact that it provides different accommodation options.
If you are not particular about staying in an eco-friendly place, you can choose to stay in either a hostel or guest house.
Any option you choose is perfect as there is an undeniable warmth to feel at these places. It is typical to expect bunk beds in a hostel. The environment of these places is usually clean, and you might have a surrounding garden for relaxation.
Most of the Central African region countries have these options, so there is no need to fantasize as your dreams can become a reality.
If you have a high accommodation budget or do not mind spending much when it concerns accommodation, you can choose to stay at an apartment.
This accommodation usually has many facilities that are sometimes more than other options. It is why it is also sometimes more expensive than others. At an apartment, you are sure to get the treatment fit for royalty. This makes you forget the amount you are paying for it.
Most of the Central African region apartments give an exquisite view, and you are sure to see them in all the countries. Thus, we can say that getting an apartment or staying is one is accessible.
Another feasible accommodation option in the Central African region is Couchsurfing. It allows you to put up with a local while you are in that region.
It may seem uncomfortable to stay with a stranger at first, but you will get to love it, especially if you are open-minded. The locals of the Central African region are not problematic, so staying with them is usually stress-free.
Respect always has to come to play as that is the only way the cohabiting process will be smooth. You should be ready to hear out their ideas and disagree respectfully if there is a need. Courtesy always comes in handy.
We doubt if there is any Central African region country that is not suitable for camping. In each of these countries, you are sure to find a place that people can set up a campsite.
Going on camping entails being outdoor and connecting with your environment. Many of the tourist attractions in this region make this possible, especially the national parks.
Before you embark on camping in this region, it is right to have a local or go in the company of locals. Remember that it is a new terrain, so you need people who are already used to the environment. We can assure you that you will have fun while camping.
Former Portuguese colony which went through a brutal civil war. Now largely safe, it has been surprisingly slow to appear on the tourist radar.
Sometimes referred to as Africa in Miniature, the terrain includes rain forest, desert plains, mountains and high plateau.
|Central African Republic |
Dense jungle in the south and semi arid in the Sahelian north, this very unstable country is very much off the radar for visitors.
|Democratic Republic of the Congo |
Huge, blessed with incredible natural wealth and beauty, culturally diverse, and is extremely unstable and dangerous.
|Equatorial Guinea |
Perhaps one of the continent's most corrupt countries, where massive oil wealth is confiscated by a thuggish government, it is not a terribly safe place to travel, but it has great beaches, laid-back beach bars, and locals speak Spanish.
Has escaped the strife afflicting other Central African states; rich in oil and mineral reserves and a high biodiversity.
|Republic of the Congo |
Huge tracts of forest with a small population mean great potential for eco-tourism, but the country has not fully recovered from a terrible war in the 1990s.
|São Tomé and Príncipe |
Tiny islands in the Gulf of Guinea.
|South Sudan |
The world's newest country, it split off from warring neighbor Sudan in July 2011.
- Bangui — capital of the Central African Republic
- Cabinda — Angolan exclave with large oil wealth and an active independence movement
- Brazzaville — capital of the Republic of the Congo; contiguous with its much larger neighbour across the Congo river, Kinshasa
- Goma — gateway town to wonderful volcano trekking and gorilla park in the Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Kinshasa— capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Libreville - capital of Gabon and a major oil commerce centre
- Luanda — the capital of Angola which has been through a huge renaissance in past decade
- Malabo — capital of Equatorial Guinea, offshore on the island of Bioko
- Yaoundé — the capital of Cameroon
Getting There and Moving Around
We are unsure if you know your way around when it concerns getting to the Central African region. From interactions with some people, we see that they do not know how to get there.
Sadly, some people act on their assumptions and refuse to ask questions. This makes their journey harder, and they may end up at the wrong location. For those who finally reach the destination, they are usually fatigue.
It is always proper to get adequate information on how to reach your destination. We shall highlight some ways of getting into the Central African region. It will be best if you always remember that moving based on assumptions is bad.
It is also important to know how to move around when you are in a new place. It could be that you wish to buy something or you want to visit a tourist site.
Understandably, it is impossible not to have a movement need when you are in a new place. As we said earlier, it is wrong to move based on assumptions. We doubt that the available means of moving around in your home city is also applicable in the Central African region countries.
We shall also highlight some of the available means of movement not to be ignorant when you arrive in the region. We would say that walking is a means of moving around in the Central African region. However, it has its advantages and disadvantages.
The environment in this region is usually conducive as people get to appreciate nature as they move around. Thus, we can say that walking is a form of stress relief.
However, it is best to know that the Central African region is not safe. Petty crimes happen in this region, making people scared to walk around. As a foreigner, you become prey to these hoodlums when you walk around.
It is why many people do not subscribe to walking around when in the Central African region.
We can trace the concept of the cycling way back in the Central African region. Thus, it is safe to say that one can use a bicycle to move around.
It is helpful to know that this region does not have many infrastructures. Thus, if you are looking for a bicycle trail or lane, you will not see one. If you are using a bicycle in this region, you should be prepared to cycle in between cars.
Our advice is that you study the roads and how the drivers ride before you start cycling around. However, one of the best times to cycle is in the evenings, as the soothing breeze makes one happy.
There is also the idea of using a scooter to move around in the Central African region. We would not say that this is popular or famous, but it is feasible.
You can see some people who own scooters in this region. However, some people seeing scooters as luxury items to own. If you love to ride a scooter in this region, you should get one from a rental store. It is also important to get your safety gear while you are renting it.
You need to beware of the drivers while riding as it can be hard to navigate them. We are sure that you will get the hang of it with time.
Using air is almost the easiest way of getting to any way you desire. Getting to the Central African region is not an exception as you can fly there from many cities worldwide.
If you have chosen a Central African region country, you need to check if you can get a direct flight from your present location down there. It is sometimes easy as we see that people can fly to this region from different continents.
If there is no direct flight from your present location, you need to go to where you can get a direct flight. In no time, you will be in the Central African region.
Using air not only stops at getting into the region as people also use it to move around between cities. That is the idea of having domestic flights.
If you are not staying in the region for long but wish to see many places, using air will be your safe bet since it is fast and reliable. It will come in handy if you have a high movement and transportation budget before you start using air to move around. This way, you will not be stranded.
Some people say that they get pleasant views when they use air to travel. There are many reasons why people travel via air.
It is possible to use a bus in getting to some Central African region countries. However, it is dependent on your present location.
If you are already in Africa, it will be easy to use a bus. However, there is no feasibility of getting a bus from another continent.
A road trip is usually fun, especially when you are with other people. There might be some delays at the border, but you can use a bus to this region.
You can also use a bus to move around in the region. Irrespective of the country you visit, we are sure that there is a bus system for moving around. This is common in most African countries.
The locals are the best to tell you the exact fare to pay, but it is usually affordable. In most countries, the bus system is the main way that people move around.
It is usually not hard to get these buses.
It is impossible to get trains that operate international locations to the Central African region. It is not that the countries do not have railways, but it mainly operates between cities and not countries.
Thus, you can use trains as a means of moving around but not in getting there. Some people love the train experience. If you fall under this category, you should not think of using a train to get to the region as it is not possible.
Since there are road connections that lead to the Central Africa region, it is possible to hitchhike.
It is usually best if you are trying to hitchhike from one country to another within the region. The idea is to get free rides from those who are headed in your direction.
The drivers will mostly agree to carry you. However, there is that fear of getting into the wrong vehicle and being wrong. It is why some people are skeptical about hitchhiking.
Apart from the ways that we have highlighted, you cannot get into the Central African region through any other means.
The idea of sustainable shopping stems from the fact that you need to be a responsible traveler when visiting a new place.
If you are going to the Central Africa region, you should be ready to patronize the local vendors as it is what sustainable shopping entails.
There should be no fear about patronizing these vendors as they will not sell you things that are not of high quality. After all, they do not want bad reviews from foreigners, and they want their products to go far.
A person can engage in sustainable shopping by visiting the food markets in the region. You are sure to see more than one food market in each of the Central African region countries.
You can purchase many things at these markets, and it is possible sometimes to get confused. It comes in handy that the sellers are usually helpful by telling you different items’ uses and helping you to make a choice.
Asides from the food markets, you can also visit second-hand stores. The idea here is that the locals are selling off things they do not want anymore. There are many reasons why people sell off their stuff, but your money will go a long way in helping them.
Some people have the mindset that second-hand items are not durable, but this is not right. You can get many things from a second-hand store, and we know that you will be happy with your visit.
We do not know if you have heard about eco-fashion before. Buying these clothes is also a means of sustainable shopping.
It is the creative result of the locals and also eco-friendly. Eco-fashion involves using recyclable items to make wear. This trend is slowly gaining ground in many parts of the world.
Wearing eco-fashion items does not make you look less fashionable. Instead, it makes you look unique and outstanding. With time, we know that everyone worldwide will buy into this idea.
We see that countries in the Central African region practice recycling. It is majorly conversion of plastics into other items.
Sometimes, people go around to pick up these plastics. Other times, you are directed on where to deposit your plastics. Whatever the case might be, it is important to support recycling when you are in this region.
It helps to bring out the innovativeness in people as they recycle these items into amazing things. It also helps to limit littering.
We would not say that all the Central Africa countries are proactive or effective in their waste management methods. However, we see that they do not like when their environment is untidy. It is common to see people gathering their trash to burn. It is one of the major causes of air pollution in the region.
More ideas need to come to play when it concerns waste management in the Central African region.
Work and Study Abroad
For those who desire to school in the Central African region, it will come as splendid news that there are no laws against students working while schooling.
There is the belief that students are students and can make the best decisions concerning their personal lives. Thus, you have the liberty to work while studying.
While there is this freedom and liberty, we would advise that you balance both worlds as it is not fair for anyone to slack for the other.
Many schools within the Central African region carry out exchange programs. Thus, you can be an international student if you desire.
There may be some rules or guidelines, but it is dependent on the agreement your current school has with your desired school.
It is always fun to enjoy yourself to the fullest as an international student in this region. Be rest assured that the people will welcome you with open arms. International students usually have a swell time in this region.
The au pair system helps people who are struggling to get a job in this region. When you log on to the website, you get to see local job postings.
Usually, it is a call from a family. Thus, we can say that au pair jobs are domesticated. If you can offer your services, you should not hesitate as it helps you to keep busy.
Being a volunteer can be fun, but it is also tasking. Volunteering entails that you make an impact in whatever field or sector that you choose.
If people cannot feel your impact, there is no need to be a volunteer. The Central African region has many openings for volunteers, so do not waste any further time.