A quick guide to visiting Bangui / INFO ON TRAVEL TO BANGUI

Bangui Travel Blog

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I've heard from quite a few people that although wikitravel has some info on Bangui, there is precious little to be found on the web. No street maps, outdated directories, etc. So here is a resource for all you travelers that have wanted to go to Bangui but have not found any information to answer your questions, quell your fears, etc. I'll update throughout my stay, as I discover new things almost every day.

Roads and Transportation

 

You will arrive into Bangui airport, likely on a Thursday via Air France from Paris. I believe that is the only “Western” airline that flies into Bangui, the others are regional flights such as Air Tchad or Afriquiyaah. Only 1 flight comes in and leaves per week to Paris - and this happens on Thursdays.

 

There are not many paved roads in this country. And in Bangui, you will find the same. The main streets are Avenue De L’Independence, Avenue De La Republique and Avenue Boganda. I’m not sure about the spelling because streets are generally not labeled and only spoken, though I’m sure somewhere there is a sign for these larger streets. I believe all these streets intersect at PK0, which is the “center” of Bangui where a roundabout and one of the famous Bokassa arches are. Most taxis generally drive around this area, with availability becoming sparser the further you get from PK0 (which stands for Point Kilometre Zero).

 

Restaurants and Supermarkets

 

There are about 10 restaurants that serve the NGO/IGO workers and visitors from abroad. I highly recommend you go to these restaurants because the lack of access to water and electricity make it very difficult for other restaurants to keep sanitary standards. Here’s a list:

 

Ali Baba • my favorite. Lebanese restaurant with some great baba ganoush (they call it something else though). I have yet to figure out where the kabobs are, but will keep trying. Be careful ordering though, apparently there are dishes on the menu that have brain. Average menu price is 6,000 CFA, but with a drink, it’ll come out to about 7,500 CFA. This restaurant is located off of Avenue Boganda right behind a blue building that says Hi-Tech.

 

Tentacion • Mostly Indian but also some other asian food thrown in. Quickly becoming my favorite, foodwise, but not as nice of a nice atmosphere as Ali Baba. They have the nicest Asian foods to eat, including Palak Paneer (basically Saag Paneer), Mutton Khourma, and those raw Vietnamese spring rolls. Each dish is also about 6,000 CFA but I always walk out of here with a bill no less than 15,000 CFA ($30 bucks) because of all the nice dishes available. This restaurant is right across from the blue building that says Hi-Tech and is next to the only wine shop in Bangui.

 

Relais de Chasse (also known as Freddy’s) • This is a french place but they serve the best pizzas in town. There is frequent use of local ingredients such as the river fish • Capitaine, and they always have beef tongue and stuff. This place is known as the nicest restaurant in Bangui. For lunch they have a prix fixe for 8,000 CFA where you get an appetizer (usually salad), a main dish (usually beef tongue), and a cake I believe? Otherwise, a meal, side and soda here usually runs about 16,000 CFA. I have no idea how to get here, sorry.

 

Carre Gourmand • Everyone loves this place as it has nice atmosphere and is very spacious, but I think the food is mediocre at best. They have pastas, crepe-like things, and pizza. But they’re all mediocre at best and the price is about the same as the other restaurants so I don’t really like coming here. But they do press fresh juice which is kind of difficult to find in Bangui and have a really nice bartender who I suspect is the manager or owner of this place. Located around the corner from Alliance Francais.

 

Bangui Plage - This is a cafe-type place on the shore of the Oubangui river and must be very beautiful at sunset. They serve some food, like chicken and fries. I hear prices are cheap and sodas were only 600 CFA which is about half the price you will find at restaurants. Decent view of the Congo, but as it's not elevated, you have a big hill kind of blocking the way. Still nice to dig your toes in the warm brown sand. There is also a children's jungle gym a few meters away, so you'll see kids running around here often.

 

Grand Cafe - This is the "most famous cafe" in all of Bangui and I can't really figure out why, as there are about half a dozen cafes that look identical to it. It is rumored that people come here "to be seen" but from what I can tell, it's a normal cafe. But I hear they have good coffee (coffee in CAR is terrible for some reason), their food has never made me sick, there is a gelato section that I'm sure melts very frequently, and they exchange US$, Euros and CFA! The Grand Cafe is just down the street (away from PK0) from Ali Baba and Tentacion. A plan crossaint costs 500 CFA, and a ham and cheese one is something like 800 CFA - very reasonable! They also have some nice cookies here =)

 

Tropicana • heard of, but haven’t been there yet.

 

L’Escale • heard of, but haven’t been there yet.

 

Old Sofitel Hotel • heard of, but haven’t been there yet.

 

There are 3 supermarkets in town, and they are all right next to each other. I haven’t been inside yet, but if you get in a taxi and just tell them “Le Super Marche”, they will know what you are looking for.

 

Stuff to Do

 

Granted, there isn't a lot, but here are things that I've discovered.

 

The Rock Club - one of the only places to swim and sunbathe, it costs 5,000 CFA to get in ($10). Not sure if there is an annual or monthly membership. Their pool looks really nice and I went on a weekend and there were only about 20 people here. The club is kept in pretty nice condition and the views of the Obangui are nicer from here than Bangui Plage. I have heard you can get day passes to the Congo at this place and there are multiple pirogue (canoe) owners who will happily take you up and down the river, or across.

 

Alliance Francais - they have a beautiful compound in Bangui with nice trees, flowers and paths to walk on. They are probably the only cultural institution in Bangui, showing old films, inviting people to perform small concerts, and they also teach french lessons here for a price more reasonable than in the US, but still fairly expensive, I think it's like $15-20 an hour.

iniakiag says:
Hello
I am travelling to Central African Republic on the 15th of September 2010, are you going to be there by that time?
Anyway, I would like to know something else although I am not going to be a long time in Bangui hence I a, going to Dzanga-Sangha.
This is my e-mail in the case you want to contact me: iniakiag@yahoo.es
Thank you for sharing your experience there.
Posted on: Aug 22, 2010
vulindlela says:
Very good info!
Posted on: Sep 23, 2009
RJ82 says:
very informative jenn! good job. =p
Posted on: Sep 23, 2009
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photo by: Bluenose