The Central African Republic is famous for its significant deposits of minerals and resources such as lumber, uranium, gold, cobalt, diamonds & hydropower. Its vast bare lands and rainforest covers are characterized by beautiful landscapes and inhabited by an assortment of wildlife.
With all its natural resources, it should be a rich nation but it is not and it is considered one of the world’s least developed nations. According to the World Bank, the Central African Republic’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is estimated to be 2.303 billion USD.
If you’re considering a trip to the Central African Republic, this article is for you, as it contains a lot you may not know about this African country.
The Capital City Of Bangui
This is one of its urban dwellings surrounded by fascinating landscapes characterized by meadows and scenic wooded hills that roll into the distance.
As fascinating as it is, the city of Bangui was founded in 1889 as a trading post by the French, and it sprawls along the banks of river Ubangi, whose waters rage and roar away into the Congo.
It is a city still under development which makes it a little rough and dusty with overly populated shanty towns and modern residential estates. Otherwise, a majority of the country’s population dwells here, and for that reason, its nightlife is vibrant as people drink and dance away the night.
While in the city, make a point of visiting the following places which are within its vicinity;
- During the day and on market days, the central marketplace is one of the fascinating places to visit and buy souvenirs such as the malachite necklaces.
- Visit Barengo Palace Grounds and see the tomb of the Central African Republic emperor and 2nd president Jean Bedel Bokassa who died in 1996 and is depicted in two movies; Our Africa and Echoes from a sombre Empire.
- There is also De la Grande Corniche which is a route offering a picturesque view of the Ubangi River, the canoes and the fishermen’s huts.
Note: Make a point to visit the local eateries to have a taste of the local cuisines.
The National Park Of Dzanga-Ndoki
What is Africa without its wildlife? Like other African countries, the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park is massive with vast wildlife species. This national park is located in the Central African Republic’s extreme southwest region.
Established in 1990, it sits on a 1,143.26 square kilometers (441.42 sq mi) land area. Dzanga-Ndoki has three types of forest, namely;
- Mainly dryland
- A semi-evergreen
- A closed-canopy
There are several significant forest wildlife populations still preserved, these are;
- The western lowland gorilla
- African forest elephant
- Giant forest hog
- Red river hog
- Endangered bongo,
- African forest buffalo
- Six species of duiker.
The Special Dense Forest Reserve of Dzanga-Sangha
The Dzanga-Sanga ecosystem is a UNESCO-World Heritage Site located in the country’s southwestern part, like the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park.
It is a forested landscape consisting of evergreen tropical forests, wetlands, swampy forests, and sometimes flooded forests, not forgetting exclusive natural forest clearings.
The main purpose of this special dense forest reserve is to protect endangered wildlife species from poachers who kill wild animals for their trophies.
Zemongo Faunal Reserve
Established in 1925, Zemongo Faunal is a protected reserve located in the Eastern part of the Central African Republic.
Its terrains consist of dense savanna woodlands and gallery forests that breed and support the lives of eastern chimpanzees and an assortment of other primates.
Other faunal reserves in the Central African Republic include;
- Aouk Aoukale (established in 1939 and covers 3,451 kilometers square)
- Quandjia Vakaga (established in 1925 and covers 7,233 kilometers square)
- Nana Barya (a lion conservation unit since 2005, cover 2,314 kilometers square)
- Yata Ngaya (established in 1960 and covers 4,200 kilometers square)
Remarkable Display Of Song And Dance
The Central African Republic people can produce remarkable songs and dances that have been recognized internationally.
For example, the Aka people who reside in the southwestern tropical forests have traveled abroad on numerous occasions to perform mostly in European nations.
In the capital and other towns, musical and dance bands perform unique twists of Congolese music where different African languages and rhythms take center stage.
This social life rules the nightlife of urban settlements, and visitors get to mingle and enjoy this diversity.
Andre-Felix National Park
Unlike other game parks situated in ragged grasslands, Andre-Felix is a site to behold, having half of the 600,000 hectares covered in shrubs and the other half covered in lush green forest cover.
It’s so big that it flows across borders from the Central African Republic and into Sudans’ Radom National Park.
It was established in 1960, and it is home to tens of bird species, making it the undisputed destination for bird viewing.
Among the birds are animals such as;
- Ostriches & Elephants
Manolo-Gouda- St. Floris National Park
Another gem to visit and enjoy the sights and sounds of the wild. Located on its Northeastern border with Chad and covering a ground cover of 1.75 hectares, Manolo-Ground is massive with an impressive number of wildlife.
Being the biggest animal reserve and named as a World Heritage Site in 1988, its terrain is covered in a grassland savanna and receives a massive number of tourists guided by tours and travel companies.
The Traditional Village of Zinga
Zinga is a village worth a visit. Situated along River Ubangi, the small village stretches a kilometer along the river and just 300meter inward.
What is fascinating is its traditional setting. To get here, inhabitants and visitors alike cross the river using canoes and motorboats are welcomed by woven mud huts and houses surrounded by lush green vegetation.
The houses and mode of living is a replica of the country’s traditional culture and architecture. And just like most African people, the traditional people of Zangi are warm and friendly to everyone.
The Chinko Project
The Chinko project is a nature reserve situated on the drainage basin of Chinko and is ranked as one of the best biologically diverse places in the world.
Home to a variety of wildlife species including the black rhino and elephants who are under protection from poachers who are specifically thirsty for Ivory, willing individuals and companies are welcomed to take part in this noble venture.
The Indigenous People Of Lobaye
The indigenous people of Lobaye plus their Pygmy counterparts live just 60miles north of the Capital.
They mingle with civilization but have managed to steer away from assimilation. Among the people of Lobaye are farmers who own vast plantations of coffee.
When you visit the region of Lobaye, you get the chance to visit the lands and learn a lot about coffee farmers as well as see and learn the ways of the Lobaye people.
Les Chutes De Boali
Boali Falls is located 100km from the capital and in the town of Boali, which gets its name from the river itself.
Named as one of the landmarks in the country for its massiveness, it remains one of the best tourist attractions for the following reason;
- During the rainy season, it flows down in one huge whiteness. When the rains subside, it camouflages into several smaller waterfalls flowing separately into the pool below before drying out completely.
- But though it’s seasonal and flows only during the rainy seasons, you wouldn’t want to miss the magical display of nature as a deafening amount of waterfalls 164 feet down, making Les Chutes De Boali an equal to Niagara Falls.
Upriver is a Chinese-built dam that collects the water then releases it mostly on Sundays for tourists to watch at a fee during the dry season.
Boganda National Museum
Boganda National Museum, also named as the Barthelemy Boganda National Ethnographic Museum after the country’s first prime minister, is located in the Rue Du Languedoc area of the capital city of Bangui and is home to 3500 historical artifacts.
It was built in 1964 and was opened to the public in 1966, but because of the civil and political unrest, artifacts in the museum were looted which led to it being barred.
Today, the artifacts can be viewed while inside huge wooden boxes that protect them from being stolen.
The Bouar Megaliths
Bouar is located on the western side of the country along the main road leading from the capital Bangui towards the border with Cameroon.
It is a market town that is also home to about 70 groups of megaliths dating back to the Neolithic Era of between 2700-3500 BC, which are now on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Tentative.
This is the part of the capital city Bangui that is regarded as the true heart of Bangui as it is the area where locals and visitors alike throng to enhance their social life.
Situated just 5 kilometers from the intersection, K-Cinq leads in the number of bars and clubs with its public transport making it easily accessible.
Mbaere Bodingue National Park
Located in the south-western part of the country and covering approximately 866 kilometers square, Mbaere-Bodingue National Park is sandwiched between two rivers; river Mbaere and river Bodingue.
It was established in 2007 and is managed by the Forest Ecosystems Programme of the Central African Republic which comprises different Ministries such as that Forestry, Water, Fishing and Hunting.
Some of the iconic species of animals found in this park include;
- Over 400 species of birds
Coexisting together with the wildlife are Central African Republic indigenous tribes that live along the boundary of this park.
Some of these indigenous tribes include;
- The Bolemba
- The Mbati
- The Boffi
- The Banda-Yanguere
- Ngoundi & the BaAka
The Central African Republic is divided into two main climatic conditions: grassland savanna and dense tropical forests.
While its people are predominantly farmers, most parts of its territory are home to many wildlife species that face extinction because of the amount of poaching.
Several animal reserves in tropical forests and wetlands are protected from encroaching. Traveling to this country will expose you to the natural beauty of nature and that of its people & their culture.