Central African Republic Travel Overview

Central African Republic Travel Overview

Africa

GENERAL

Official name of the state

Central African Republic

Capital

Bangui.

Geography

According to topschoolsintheusa, the Central African Republic borders Chad to the north, Sudan to the east, the Congo and Democratic Republic of the Congo to the south, and Cameroon to the west. The huge country in the heart of Africa has no access to the sea and consists largely of forests, savannah and animal sanctuaries. On the border with Cameroon, in the northwest, west of Bocaranga, the country rises up to 2000 m. In the southwest lies dense tropical rainforest. Most of the country consists of rolling hills and a flat plateau with dry deciduous forests, some of which have been destroyed by bushfires or turned into savannah by deforestation. In the northeast, the landscape changes into quite mountainous wasteland and desert.

Government

Republic since 2004. Presidential republic from 1986 to 2004. Old constitution from 1995. New constitution from 2004. Parliament (National Assembly) with 109 members. Introduction of universal suffrage, in force since 1995. Independent since 1960 (former French colony).

Head of state

Faustin Archange Touadéra, since March 2016.

Head of government

Mahamat Kamoun, since August 2014.

Electricity

220/380 V, 50 Hz. Electricity only in larger locations.

Time zone

West Africa Time: CET +2

TRAVEL WARNING

Overview Central African Republic

Security
advice from the Foreign Office: Status: July 25, 2016
Unchanged valid since: July 14, 2016

Country-specific safety information

In view of the persistent very high security risks and resurgence of fighting, the Federal Foreign Office warns against traveling to the Central African Republic.

Travel over land

Travel throughout the Central African Republic involves significant risks. Across the country, there is a risk of violent crime (kidnapping, looting, street robbery) and of military action. Following attacks, the Republic of Cameroon has temporarily closed some border crossings. Blockades may occur at the most important border crossing into the Republic of Cameroon near Garoua-Boulaï.

Bangui Airport can be closed to civilian air traffic at short notice for security reasons.

In the capital Bangui, after another violent clash at the end of September 2015, the situation pacified after several months. However, there is still a risk of violent crime (kidnapping, looting, break-ins and assaults). Military conflicts cannot be ruled out. It is not advisable to stay outside the immediate city center and to leave the apartment when it is dark. The Federal Foreign Office urgently advises the Germans remaining in the Central African Republic to exercise particular caution, to follow the security situation in the media, to observe curfews and to avoid crowds.

The so-called Panther Hill (la Colline aux Panthères) in Bangui is a restricted military area and may not be entered without a permit.

Central African Republic Travel Overview

MONEY

Currency

1 CFA (Communauté Financiaire Africaine) Franc * = 100 Centimes. Currency abbreviation: CFA Fr, XAF (ISO code). Banknotes are in circulation to the value of 10,000, 5000, 2000, 1000, 500 CFA Fr. There are coins in denominations of 500, 100, 50, 25, 10, 5, 2 and 1 CFA Fr.

Note: [*] Is issued by the Banque des Etats de l’Afrique Centrale (BEAC, State Bank of the Central African States) and used by Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Cameroon, Congo, Chad and the Central African Republic. The CFA Franc (XOF) issued by the Banque des Etats de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (BCEAO, State Bank of West African States) is not legal tender in the Central African Republic. The CFA Franc is pegged to the Euro.

Credit cards

Are only accepted in some larger hotels. Details from the credit card issuer.
ATMs

ec / Maestro card / Sparcard

Attention: Travelers who pay abroad with their bank customer card and want to withdraw money should find out about the possibilities of using their card from their bank before starting their journey.

Bank opening times

Mon-Fri 7.30am-11.30am.

Foreign exchange regulations

Unrestricted import of the national currency, export of only up to CHF 50,000.
Unlimited import of foreign currencies, obligation to declare from an equivalent value of CHF 25,000. Export of foreign currencies up to the amount of the declared import.

Currency Exchange

Possible in banks in Bangui and Berbérati. In some cases, US dollars can also be used to pay in cash. The redemption is associated with high losses.

LANGUAGE

Overview

The official language is French; Sangho is the lingua franca and the national language. Ubangi languages and Fulani serve as colloquial languages.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

DUTY-FREE SHOPPING

Overview

The following items can be imported into the Central African Republic duty-free (people over 18 years of age):

1000 cigarettes / cigarillos or 250 cigars or 2 kg of tobacco (women are only allowed to import cigarettes);
5 bottles of alcoholic beverages;
5 bottles of perfume.

ECONOMY

Business etiquette

In larger hotels there are sometimes translators and interpreters available, French language skills are necessary. Business cards should also be labeled in French. November to May is best for business travel.

Business hours:
Mon-Fri 7.30 a.m.-3.30 p.m.

Economy

Chamber of Commerce de la République Centrafricaine
PO Box 252, Bangui

Business contacts

Chamber of Commerce de la République Centrafricaine
PO Box 252, Bangui

COMMUNICATION

Phone

Dial-up remote service.

Cellphone

GSM 900. Network operator is Telecel Centrafrique (Internet: www.telecel.com) and Nationlink Telecom RCA (Internet: http://nationlinks.info). The cellular network is limited to the capital Bangui.

Internet

Internet providers are Socatel (Internet: www.socatel.intnet.cf), Fateb and Bangui 2000.

Post Office

There is a post office in every prefecture, but post and telecommunications are still in the development stage and the local postal system is very unreliable. Airmail shipments to Europe take about a week, sometimes considerably longer. Poste restante items can only be sent to Bangui. Post office opening times: Mon-Fri 7.30 a.m.-11.30 a.m. and 2.30 p.m.-4.30 p.m., stamp sales: Sat 2.30 p.m.-6.30 p.m. and Sun 8 a.m.-11 a.m.

Radio

Since the use of shortwave frequencies changes several times over the course of a year, it is advisable to contact Deutsche Welle customer service directly (Tel: (+49) (0228) 429 32 08. Internet: www.dw-world.de) to request.

SHOP

Overview

Gold jewelry and ebony carvings. Handcrafted items can usually be obtained through barter in the villages outside the large towns. Shop opening times: Mon-Sat 8 a.m.-12 p.m. and 4 p.m.-7 p.m. All shops are closed on Sundays, some also on Mondays. The Bangui market opens at 7:30 am and closes at nightfall.

NIGHTLIFE

Introduction

The few hotels in Bangui have expensive nightclubs for tourists and business people. The local nightlife is concentrated in the Kilometre Cinq district (see Destinations & Excursions).

CULINARY

ACCOMMODATION

Hotels

Bangui hotels are of a high standard, some are very exclusive and expensive. The better hotels have air conditioning and swimming pools. Advance booking recommended. Outside of Bangui, good accommodations are hard to find; there are pensions in the small towns of Bangassou, Bambari and Bossangoa.

Camping

It is offered at the Center d’Accueil des Touristes at Kilometre Cinq. The necessary equipment and food should be brought with you.

CULTURE

Religion

35% followers of natural religions, 50% Christians, 15% Muslims.

Social rules of conduct

Casual wear is accepted; in Islamic areas one should observe the prevailing customs and traditions. It is considered impolite to show the soles of your feet while sitting. You shake hands in greeting. Especially during the fasting month of Ramadan one should neither drink nor smoke in public in predominantly Islamic areas. Photography: Films are expensive and should be developed in Europe. Military facilities and public buildings may not be photographed. One should always ask for permission before photographing locals. Tip: 10% is customary for all services.

CLIMATE

Best travel time

Hot all year round with a pronounced dry season. Monsoon rains occur in the south from May to October.

COUNTRY DATA

Area code +236 Area (sqkm) 622984 Population 5391539 Population density (per sqkm) 9 Population in 2015 Member of the EU No main emergency number 118