UN Women Humanitarian Work with Refugees in Cameroon Photo by UN Women via Flickr Creative Commons

The Central African Republic, or what you think of when you epitomize “real” Africa, encompasses the continent’s natural beauty and rare wildlife. Despite its poverty and political issues, it is home to some of the world’s most generous and friendliest people.

The country also boasts a wide variety of natural resources and mineral deposits. Situated in Africa’s geographical center, it is an excellent jumping off point for visits to Sudan, South Sudan, Chad, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Cameroon. The southwest region is where the majority of the nation’s population resides since it is home to Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, as well as Dzanga-Sangha National Park, one of its biggest tourist draws. Also noteworthy is the Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Start exploring the Central African Republic in the capital, which is conveniently located in the southern area near the river. From there, you can easily head to Bamingui-Bangoran National Park in the northwest or to St Floris National Park in the northeast. Navigating the Oubangui River’s waterways is an experience that should not be missed.

The locals have a communal lifestyle that gives importance to family life. The culinary tradition is surprisingly rich and you will find French, Chinese, and traditional African influences, particularly in the capital. The local beer is a must-try, and the prices are very similar to the US. It is easy to find wine and bottled water and with a good selection of modern hotels in Bangui, you will feel right at home.

Visas are required for travel to the Central African Republic, except for citizens of Israel and Switzerland. Getting around the country is easy by bus or boat. Backpackers and the adventurous can also hitchhike safely.


  • Explore Bangui’s vibrant central market, the Boganda Museum, Saint Paul Mission, and the cathedral
  • Meet indigenous forest tribes in the Lobaye Region, which lies 60 miles from Bangui
  • Spot wildlife on a four-wheel drive safari through national parks like Manovo-Gounda St Floris, Dzanga-Sangha, and Bamingui-Bangoran
  • Play basketball with the locals
  • Marvel at the Boali waterfalls near Boali village
  • See the burial mounds at Bouar
  • Visit the town of Zinga along the Oubangui with rare and well-made traditional wooden houses
  • Navigate the River Kotto in Bangassou to the Kembe Falls

Click here to learn about Things to Do in the Central African Republic