Central Africa

Central Africa is a region of Africa bounded by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, the African Rift Valley in the east, the Sahel plains in the north, and the Zambezi basin in the south.


Central Africa regions
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 and poor country is very much off the radar for visitors.
  Democratic Republic of the Congo
Huge, blessed with incredible natural wealth and beauty and culturally diverse, but is extremely unstable and dangerous.
  Equatorial Guinea
Perhaps one of the world'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 who speak Spanish.
Has largely 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 has been in a continuous state of conflict ever since it gained independence from Sudan in July 2011 and has little to offer to tourists.


View from Brazzaville to Kinshasa; across the Congo river is the only place in the world to see a national capital from another

Other destinations[edit]

Elephant with offspring in Loango National Park



Ramadan is the 9th and holiest month in the Islamic calendar and lasts 29–30 days. Muslims fast every day for its duration and most restaurants will be closed until the fast breaks at dusk. Nothing (including water and cigarettes) is supposed to pass through the lips from dawn to sunset. Non-Muslims are exempt from this, but should still refrain from eating or drinking in public as this is considered very impolite. Working hours are decreased as well in the corporate world. Exact dates of Ramadan depend on local astronomical observations and may vary somewhat from country to country. Ramadan concludes with the festival of Eid al-Fitr, which may last several days, usually three in most countries.

  • 11 March – 9 April 2024 (1445 AH)
  • 1 March – 29 March 2025 (1446 AH)
  • 18 February – 19 March 2026 (1447 AH)
  • 8 February – 8 March 2027 (1448 AH)

If you're planning to travel to Central Africa during Ramadan, consider reading Travelling during Ramadan.

While the climate is significantly tropical, warm around the year, the Congo basin has the most rainfall on the continent, with more arid savanna climate in the north and south.

Much of central Africa has an unfortunate history of serious armed conflict, involving various rebel militias and other violent groups. South Sudan and the Central African Republic suffer from civil wars, and the Democratic Republic of Congo has long faced a complex and changing array of rebel groups.

Large parts of the region are seriously underdeveloped; do your research and make careful preparations.

In many of these countries, photography is heavily regulated or at least viewed with suspicion. If in doubt, obtain permission from an authority before taking photos.

Get in[edit]

See also: Flying to AfricaAfrican highways connect many cities in West Africa, with Nigeria being the main hub.

Flying from other African cities can be dangerous, as many airlines have a very poor safety record. Check this before choosing to travel with an airline.

In order of size, here are the main air hubs.

Lagos Airport – Several flights per day to London. Less frequent flights also to other major cities in Europe

Dakar Airport - Many flights to Milan, Madrid, Brussels and Paris

Accra Airport - Many flights to the UK (Manchester, London, Glasgow) as well as Frankfurt.

Abidjan Airport - Flights to Paris, Brussels and Dubai

Get around[edit]

Outside major cities, most of Central Africa has poor infrastructure. Offroad driving and general aviation are usually needed.

By train[edit]

Rail networks across Central Africa are fragmented and often oriented towards carrying freight from the interior to ports, meaning that they usually do not connect larger cities well. The last decade have seen a renewed interest in railways but decades of neglect means that there is still a very long way to go before passenger train can be useful for the average tourist. With that said, there are a few routes that might be useful when travelling.

  • Cameroon has perhaps the most well developed railway network in the region, with daily departures between Douala and the capital Yaoundé as well as overnight service to Ngaoundéré
  • The Transgabonais railway line in Gabon connects Owendo, a suburb of the capital Libreville with Franceville in the interior. There are several trains per week.


The predominant languages in this region are mostly Niger-Congo and Nilo-Saharan languages. French and Portuguese are the most common official languages, and are often widely spoken as they are used as lingua francas within linguistically diverse countries. Except for South Sudan and parts of Cameroon where English is an official language, English is spoken by almost nobody, even in major cities.



See also: African wildlife

Animals such as mandrills, bonobos, Western Lowland gorillas and African forest elephants.




Stay safe[edit]

Much of Central Africa has an unfortunate history of severe armed conflict, including a variety of rebel militias and other violent groups. South Sudan and the Central African Republic are suffering from civil wars, and the DR Congo has long been dealing with a complicated and shifting set of rebel groups.

Large parts of the region are seriously underdeveloped; do your research and make thorough preparations.

In several of these countries, photography is heavily restricted or at least viewed with suspicion. If in doubt, get permission from an authority before taking pictures.

Go next[edit]

This region travel guide to Central Africa is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!