Reasons why you should travel to Central African Republic right now
Africa is a remote continent, and even more central – there is no sea or ocean. The Central African Republic is perhaps the richest country in the world in terms of beauty and wildlife diversity, but the country is one of the poorest in terms of economy. Landlocked, located between several other war-torn countries. Faced with their own difficulties, military actions, and other problems, a Central African Republic trip is not welcome. A trip to this country for an amateur, if not for a professional like Indiana Jones, and it will all be like a great adventure. The journey starts from the main city of the capital of Central African Republic - Bangui.
Like that of most other countries on the continent, the history of the Central African Republic is marred by colonization and its consequences. The civil war in the CAR, the armed conflict between the Government and the rebels of 2004-2007, brought its problems, both in the economy and in the country as a whole. Many missions from European countries left here. Schools, medical facilities, and much more were closed. As a result, peace agreements were signed between the rebels and the Government between 2007 and 2012 to resolve the conflict. Since 2013, the French contingent of the military has been in the country, and since 2016-the EU mission for training personnel for the armed forces of the CAR. In 2014, following the UN Security Council resolution, a multidisciplinary integrated UN mission was established. Although still many European countries and the United States do not recommend ordinary people to visit this country.
Central African Republic on the map of Africa
Are you wondering where is Central African Republic? If you look at the world map, you will see that the Central African Republic is located in the continent's center. CAR is located slightly north of the equator, and therefore during the year, daytime temperatures rarely fall below 30C. The republic is about the size of France. It borders Chad to the north, the Republic of the Congo to the south, Cameroon to the west, and Sudan. The capital of Central African Republic is Bangui. CAR is a former French colony. The Central African Republic in relief is an undulating plateau divided by river systems. Within its limits, the eastern and western parts are distinguished. The east of the country is low-lying plains. There is a mountain Fertit with a height of more than 900 meters in the north, and some peaks reach a height of 1370 meters. In the south, the cahas rock outcrops rise. To the west are the plateaus where the Yade massif is located, a gently undulating plateau composed of white stone.
The capital of the CAR – the city of Bangui stands on the Ubangi River. Bangui is the commercial and administrative center and the largest city with about 600 thousand inhabitants. Everything is like in the capitals of exotic countries: the Presidential Palace, the Republic Square, there is even a Triumphal Arch in the Roman style, a museum, hotels and the central market, without it in any way. The market is not big. Here you can buy various traditional souvenirs made of wood, leather, and ivory. This market differs from other countries in one detail – a large selection of butterflies collections that live in the CAR, from which local craftsmen make a beautiful panel. All this is in the African flavor. The capital of Central African Republic Bangui is located in the south of the country closer to the equator, it is hotter and wetter here than in other areas of the republic located to the north.
The Central African Republic economy is based on agriculture and the forest industry. Export of cotton, coffee, tobacco, peanuts, millet, sesame, bananas. Including gold and diamond mining. CAR shares the 4th-5th place in the world for the natural purity of diamonds. The civil war in the CAR has greatly affected the country's economy, which has recently been gradually rising.
Since 2016, EU countries have been providing advice to the Government on strategic issues and the development of the Central African Republic economy. An EU mission of more than 3,000 people is currently in CAR to maintain order in the country. Besides, Brussels allocates financial assistance within the framework of the humanitarian program. This has a positive impact on the state of the republic in recent years.
How do people live in the CAR?
The CAR is one of the most sparsely populated countries in Africa and, perhaps, the poorest of this continent's countries because of the civil war in the CAR. The Central African Republic population is approximately 4.5 million people. The country is divided into ethnic groups. How people live in the CAR after the civil war. Most of the Central African Republic population is engaged in agriculture, while some are engaged in the illegal trade in diamonds, ivory, wild animals, and some in traditional medicine. But perhaps the most interesting thing – the lives of people in the CAR- is the life of ethnic groups of pygmies, such as Baka-hunters and gatherers, wandering from place to place. When hunting animals, men use poisoned arrows and spears as many centuries ago, and when fishing for fish – natural poison. They get all this from the sap of plants. The Baka peoples build their huts from the branches of trees and cover them with large leaves. In most families, women are engaged in the collection, production, storage and distribution of food. The CAR's main products are cassava, rice, zucchini, pumpkin, and bananas, which are served with fried meat or fish. Accordingly, the head of the tribe is the chief. The tribes, as a rule, have a council. The official language of Central African Republic inhabitants is French (since it is a former French colony) and the Sango language. The inhabitants speak about seven dialects. Most of the residents are adherents of the local traditional African religion. There are Protestants, Catholics, and Muslims.
Tourism and travel in the Central African Republic
Of course, people travel to Central African Republic for its nature and exoticism, directly related to the trip, namely zoo tourism, ethnotourism, and safari. You don't have to sit in one place here. The world of safari, in which everything is very diverse and unique, in these large territories. Sleeping rainforests with pygmies, savannas with wild animals, rivers with beautiful waterfalls and rapids, mountains and hills with views of the valley. The country has a small cluster of the tourism industry. Tourist companies organize canoe trips on the rivers. There are safari tours by car through the savanna and jungle. This is a good opportunity to get to know African nature by observing wild animals in their natural habitat. And here are some short descriptions of the natural tracts of the CAR.
The Central African Republic on the map of Africa is a river country. There are quite beautiful rapids and waterfalls of various capacities. But the most famous is the Buali Waterfall on the Mbari River. It is located in a wooded area 70 km from the capital. In height, it is not inferior to Niagara Falls. It is an impressive natural sight. The waterfalls almost from the vertical rocks with a height of more than 50 meters, the length of the rocky cliffs is about 250 meters. The streams from multiple waterfalls among the lush vegetation between the rocks. In the dense tropical forests to the south-west of the capital, about 107 kilometers away, is the town of Mbaiki. Which is called paradise. Here they grow coffee and tobacco. In some areas of Mbaiki, indigenous Pygmies still live in primitive conditions. These people live throughout Africa's middle line, but only in the CAR with pygmies you can communicate and get acquainted with their traditions and rituals. And if you want to communicate with shamans and healers. About 10 km from Mbaiki is the village of Sabe, where craftsmen cut sculptures made of black, red, white wood, and rainbow eucalyptus. The artists in their works draw on earlier traditions in creating carvings of animals and people. There are various works of totem motifs and various masks of the African style. Due to the special climatic conditions, the nature of the CAR is very diverse. The Central African Republic on the map of Africa is a green country. For example, the Manovo-Gounda-Saint-Floris National Park, which consists of several natural tracts. These are the grassy valleys of the Bar-Auk and Bar-Kamer rivers. Wooded lowland savanna. And the Cheyne de Bonga plateau, rising above the valleys. Five rivers flow from the plateau side down into the valleys. In the park you can easily see wild African animals: leopards, cheetahs, black rhinos, forest elephants, hyenas, red-fronted gazelles and many other representatives of the animal world. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The European Development Fund (EDF) actively helped to restore the park. A tour of the vast expanses of the park takes place by car.
The 6,866-square-meter Dzanga Sangha National Nature Reserve is located in the rainforest. Where the borders of Cameroon, the Central African Republic and the Republic of the Congo meet. It is home to gorillas, chimpanzees, buffaloes, and antelopes. The reserve is home to a large number of different species of birds. The park is located on the Sanga River, near the village of Bayanga. Nearby there is another forest reserve Dzanga-Ndoki, it is located in the Congo Basin. Here you can see large forest elephants. WWF conducts major campaigns and projects to protect key areas of these rainforests in the Congo river basins.
Reasons to travel to Central African Republic
So, to summarize 10 reasons why you should travel to Central African Republic right now (but only if you are prepared and evaluate your strength). The reasons for visiting the CAR are very strong to visit this country. As they say, the spool is small, but expensive, especially for the avid traveler-naturalist. This will be remembered for a lifetime. The CAR is a country free of asphalt, dust, smog, and stone jungles. Even though the list of places that you can visit is not very large, starting from the capital of the CAR and in the jungle, but this is quite enough because these are all huge territories. How pleasant it will be to return to this amazing modern world from the past.
10 reasons why you should travel to Central African Republic right now:
1. Safari is a separate journey of 3 to 5 days in the journey itself.
2. The jungle! And it's really better to see it once than to hear it a hundred times after being there.
3. See the most famous waterfall in all of continental Africa, akin to Niagara.
4. Observe the life of various wild animals in their natural habitat.
5. Go through the African rivers by canoe in the jungle or by motor boat on their navigable part.
6. The probability of visiting African shamans and healers.
7. Take a jeep ride on the African Savanna.
8. See the villages and the life of the indigenous Pygmy people in the African forests.
9. In the same forests, see African forest elephants.
10. Visit the places where gold and diamonds were and are being mined.
And finally. Central African Republic. The rainy season is from May to October in the south of the country, with a decrease in precipitation until June-September in the north. The best time to travel to Central African Republic is November - April. Traveling alone is not recommended yet, including the cities of the CAR, especially at night. Tourism is considered a promising sector in these parts. Since 2018, travel has been organized better than ever. But still, it is difficult to call the CAR a tourist country, and therefore, in order to avoid difficulties, it is more reliable to contact the relevant travel agencies.
Have a successful trip to Africa!
Nargiz was born in Russia where she grew up until the age of 12 before moving to Baku, Azerbaijan. At different life stages she lived in Turkey and Serbia. As of 2020, she has been to 38 cities in 11 countries. AIESEC Azerbaijan Alumna. She is fond of participating at youth projects and making friends with people from all around the world. Her biggest dream is to visit all the continents and as many countries as possible. Following her passion to travel, she joined the team of a “Trawell Group” company.