Pointe-Noire Train Station

Hello Congo (Brazzaville)!

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I got the chance to visit Congo-Brazzaville for work last month. It was a very short trip as I was only in the country for about 5 days. I always look forward to visiting new countries, no matter the duration, more so when they are usually less travelled to. So I was very happy for the opportunity.

The Republic of Congo or Congo-Brazzaville – not to be confused with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) or Congo-Kinshasha is a country in Central Africa. Pointe-Noire, the city I visited is its second largest city – after the capital.

Beach Congo Brazzaville

First Impressions of Point-Noire, Congo…

I tried to do some research before leaving Nigeria to get a sense of what Pointe-Noire would be like. I didn’t find many resources that talked about this but I got the feeling that it would be very much like cities in Benin Republic.

It was. Both countries belong to ‘Francophone Africa’, so the culture was pretty much similar. If I were to compare Pointe-Noire with a Beninese city I have visited, it would probably fit right in the middle between Cotonou and Ouidah. It wasn’t as chaotic as the former but not as calm as the latter.

Pointe-Noire Congo Brazzaville Pointe-Noire Congo Brazzaville

Generally, I loved Pointe-Noire the moment I stepped into the city. The weather was perfect – not too hot or cold; people seemed more relaxed and easy going, my colleagues were amazing hosts and I got a very calm vibe from the city.

Getting a Visa to Congo-Brazzaville from Nigeria

I needed to submit the documents below for the visa. I applied for a business visa; the requirements may vary slightly for a tourist visa.

  • International passport with at least 6 months validity and a minimum of 2 free leaflets
  • Letter from Immigration office in Congo – sent via DHL to Abuja
  • Original Letter of Introduction – sent via DHL to Abuja
  • Hotel reservation in colored print
  • 2 passport photos(white background)
  • Copy of Work ID card
  • Flight itinerary
  • Certificate of incorporation from the host country and applicant’s country
  • International vaccination certificate (find out how to get the new e-yellow card here)
  • Copy of biodata page
  • Filled and signed visa forms
  • Copy of marriage certificate if married
  • Copy of Birth Certificates if traveling with kids

The actual visa processing time took only about 4 days but it took a little over a month to get the Letter from the Immigration office in Congo. The cost for the single entry one-month visa was ₦40,000.

Congo Brazzaville

PS: A requirement for entry into Congo Brazzaville is a copy of the letter of invitation from the immigration office, so be sure to travel with it.

Getting to Pointe-Noire from Nigeria

There are no direct flights from Lagos, Nigeria to Congo. So to get there, I flew with Ethiopian Airlines. First to Addis Ababa, where I spent the night and then to Pointe-Noire via Brazzaville. It was a really long trip for a journey that should have taken less than 4hours. However, I spent nearly 23 hours (layover time inclusive) getting there.

Ethiopia First View Addis Ababa

Other airlines that fly to Pointe-Noire are Air Cote D’Ivoire and Asky (combined with other airlines). With about 8hour flight time, Air Cote D’Ivoire is the fastest way to get to Pointe-Noire from Lagos. The airline operates the route from Lagos 3 days a week, alternating the days for the return from Pointe-Noire.

Les Gorges de Diosso Congo Brazzaville Les Gorges De Diosso lookout Congo Brazzaville

I enjoyed visiting Pointe-Noire a lot. I had a free weekend while I was there, so I got to explore the city a little. I’ll write about that in my next article.

QUICK FACTS – CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE

Where | Central Africa

President | Denis Sassou Nguesso (since 1997) via Wikipedia

Capital City | Brazzaville

Flag |

Official Language | French

Currency | Central African C.F.A (1$ = 585.38 CFA)

Population | 5.261 million (2017)

What do you think about exploring the road less travelled? Is Congo on your list of places to visit?

4 Comments

  1. Fisayo Adeleke

    Hi Amarachi!!!!!!
    It’s been a minute, I was on a self imposed blog break and I have missed this space so much!

    Congo – the two of them have never featured on any of my travel lists..just never crossed my mind.
    But I totally love the pictures, they have this Cotonou/Lome vibe.

    Huggss

    • Good to have you back, Fisayo! I’ve missed you too 🙂
      Up until this visit, I also never had any of the two countries on my travel list but I would like to visit DRC now. I wonder how different it is from Brazzaville…

  2. Awesome article! The city looks clean and very developed.
    I wonder why a whole Lagos won’t fly directly to Congo.
    Anyways, I think Brazzaville is the capital of the Republic of Congo and about Population, please is it for Congo or just Brazzaville cos it’s really low?

    • Thanks for your comment, Emmanuel. I guess not that many people fly to Congo, so there’s no reason for a direct flight. And you’re right, Brazzaville is the capital (I included that in the article).

      The population is for the entire country 🙂

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