Republic of Congo (Brazzaville)
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Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) - AVOID NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada advises against non-essential travel to the Republic of Congo, except for the cities of Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire..
Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire - NO ADVISORY
Exercise a high degree of caution in the cities of Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice. In the event of a crisis situation that requires evacuation, the Government of Canada’s policy is to provide safe transportation to the closest safe location. The Government of Canada will assist you in leaving a country or a region as a last resort, when all means of commercial or personal transportation have been exhausted. This service is provided on a cost-recovery basis. Onward travel is at your personal expense. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints on government resources that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide assistance, particularly in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability is high.
Heavy gunfire was reported in the centre of Brazzaville on the morning of December 16, 2013. Even though the situation currently appears calm, be extremely vigilant and avoid unnecessary movement.
Due to insecurity in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), you should use extreme caution if travelling to the border areas in northern Congo along the Ubangui River. Sporadic fighting occurs in the Pool region, which includes the capital, Brazzaville, and east of Bouenza.
Business visitors should travel to the Republic of Congo only if they have assistance from their hosts and/or local authorities. The security situation remains unpredictable. You should stay in close contact with the Embassy of Canada in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo or Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada in Ottawa while you are in the Republic of Congo.
Criminal activity occurs as a result of long-term economic recession and the influx of arms. Street crime such as mugging and purse snatching can occur. Local police resources are limited and response to emergency calls is often very slow (15 minutes or more). In case of robbery, legal recourse is limited. Ensure that personal belongings and travel documents are secure at all times. Do not show signs of affluence, and do not venture out alone after dark.
Poorly marked roadblocks monitored by undisciplined, armed soldiers are present throughout the country. Security forces may detain foreigners and/or attempt extortion.
Even though a ceasefire accord was signed in March 2003 between the Congolese government and the Ninja rebel group, war-related crimes, such as the murder of Congolese civilians or looting of private property, remain a risk, particularly in the Pool region. You should exercise caution and should be especially vigilant and avoid situations where political violence and demonstrations may occur.
Other than National Route 2, north of Brazzaville, which reaches the city of Oyo, most roads are dirt tracks. Overland travel outside major cities should only be undertaken during daylight hours, in a convoy of four-wheel-drive vehicles. You should provide your itinerary to the Embassy of Canada in Kinshasa. Although no authorization is required for road travel in the Pool region, you can take the precaution of requesting information on current safety issues from the Congolese local security services or the United Nations offices in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo).
Passenger travel on the railroad is discouraged, as there are frequent reports of extortion by undisciplined security forces and robberies by criminal elements along the route. The rail line between Pointe-Noire and Brazzaville should be avoided as it is not safe and is frequently attacked by rebels. The rail service is very sporadic at best and several serious accidents in recent years have raised concerned over safety standards.
Travel between Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire should be by air. Note that while flights between Brazzaville and the cities of Pointe-Noire, Nkayi and Loubomo run on a daily basis, the air links to other cities like Impfondo may be more random. Departure schedules are often not respected.
See Transportation Safety in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
General safety information
Tourist facilities are limited. There are frequent electrical power outages and fuel shortages.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry requirements. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the Congolese authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of the Republic of Congo, based in Washington, DC (USA) for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit the Republic of Congo.
Canadians must also be in possession of a visa.
Tourist visa: Required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
Transit visa: Required
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
There is a risk of polio in this country. Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up-to-date.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Yellow Fever Vaccination
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Central Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Central Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Schistosomiasis can be spread to humans through freshwater sources contaminated by blood flukes (tiny worms). The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in freshwater sources (lakes, rivers, ponds). There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among pediatric travellers, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers at high risk visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in Central Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis, Rift Valley fever, West Nile virus and yellow fever.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
Onchocerciasis (river blindness) is an eye and skin disease caused by a parasite spread through the bite of an infected female blackfly. Onchocerciasis often leads to blindness if left untreated. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from blackfly bites, which are most common close to fast-flowing rivers and streams. There is no vaccine available for onchocerciasis although drug treatments exist.
- There is a risk of malaria throughout the year in the whole country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss the benefits of taking antimalarial medication and to determine which one to take.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in Central Africa, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Medical services and facilities
Medical facilities are poor, particularly in rural areas. Medicinal supplies are limited.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws & culture
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
Photography of public buildings or military installations is prohibited. Ask permission before photographing individuals.
An International Driving Permit is required.
The currency is the Central African CFA franc (or XAF bank code). The economy is primarily cash-based, but credit cards are accepted at a few hotels and restaurants in Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire.
Natural disasters & climate
Natural disasters & climate
The rainy season extends from September to June in the south. Some roads may become impassable during this period. You should keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
There is no resident Canadian government office in the Republic of Congo. You can obtain consular assistance and further consular information from the Embassy of Canada in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Kinshasa - Embassy of Canada
For emergency assistance after hours, call the Embassy of Canada in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, at the numbers listed above and follow the instructions. You can also call the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at 613-996-8885.
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