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Introduction

While a peace accord was signed in March 2003, unnecessary travel to Republic of the Congo is not recommended.  If one does go, it is strongly advised that visitors do not leave the towns of Brazzaville and Pointe Noire and travel between the two cities only by air.

A lush country located on the western coastline of central Africa, the Republic of the Congo features sandy beaches, lagoons and the towering rise of the Mayombe Mountains.  The northern interior of the country is covered with rainforests teeming with exotic wildlife and unique flora.  In the central part of the country one discovers a completely different landscape covered in rolling hills, green plateaus, swamps and gorges caused by tributaries of the majestic Congo River. 

First inhabited by Pygmies (who remain in the national forests) the area was resettled during Bantu migrations.  In the 1880s, Congo-Brazzaville came under the control of the French when it was claimed by the French explorer Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza who was competing with Belgian explorer Henry Morton Stanley for much of the same territory. Independence was achieved in 1960 and the country was ruled by a Marxist government until a national conference ushered in democracy in the early 1990s. Civil war erupted in 1997 and former military ruler Denis Sassou-Nguesso toppled democratically elected president Pascal Lissouba. Although a peace accord was signed in 2003 the country remains unstable.

Nestled along the west side of the Malebo Pool of the Congo River, the capital, Brazzaville, retains much of its colonial charm.  Discovered in 1880 De Brazza, excursions through the city will reveal the Basilique St. Anne where one can see the architecture of Eyelle, the energetic Poto-poto neighborhood, Municipal Gardens, the Temple Mosque and the National Museum. It hosts an excellent collection on Congolese culture.  Day trips out of the city include a visit to the infamous Congo River Rapids and Loufoulakari Falls.

When you are ready to relax, Pointe-Noire offers sandy beaches and crystal clear water. Colorful evening markets are rich in culture.  Trips outside of town will take you to Loango, an important slave trading post, and the Gorges of Diosso, which were formed by a combination of wind and sea erosion. Pointe-Noire and Brazzaville also offer a booming nightlife.


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