Central African Republic - Rainforest Discovery
Central African Republic - Rainforest Discovery
Group Tour Essentials
Visitors from most countries, including UK, EU and US visitors require a visa for entering Central African Republic. There is no CAR Embassy in the UK, and applications must be made to the embassy in Paris. Many people prefer to use a visa agency to assist with this. There is however an embassy in the US.
Visa regulations can frequently change. Therefore we recommend that you check with your nearest embassy for the most up to date details.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, valid for at least six months after the date of return to the UK. We strongly advise that your passport contains a minimum of two blank pages, as this may be a requirement of the local immigration authorities. In addition certain countries will stipulate that the two blank pages are opposite each other. If you are unable to meet these requirements you may be refused boarding by your airline or denied entry by the immigration authorities.
For specific information about the requirements for your destination please check with the country’s embassy or consulate. Alternatively UK citizens can visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
There is departure tax of CFA10,000 to be paid when exiting the Central African Republic.
Health and Immunisations
As with travel to most parts of Africa, we strongly recommend that you contact your doctor’s surgery or a specialist travel clinic for up-to-date information, advice and the necessary vaccinations. For a visit of less than one month, almost certainly you will be advised to have immunisations against the following: Diphtheria and Tetanus, Hepatitis A and B, Polio and Typhoid.
Anti-malaria medication will also be required and the use of a DEET-containing insect repellent is highly recommended.
A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is required for entry into the Central African Republic.
What should my travel insurance policy cover?
• medical and health cover for an injury or sudden illness abroad
• 24 hour emergency service and assistance
• personal liability cover in case you’re sued for causing injury or damaging property
• lost and stolen possessions cover
• cancellation and curtailment (cutting short your trip) cover
• Extra cover for activities that are commonly excluded from standard policies, such as certain sports
The policy should cover the whole time that you are away.
Your policy may also have:
• personal accident cover
• legal expenses cover
Common travel insurance policy exclusions
Always check the conditions and exclusions of your policy:
• most policies will not cover drink or drug-related incidents
You must take reasonable care of your possessions or your policy will not cover you.
The local currency in CAR is the CFA. For current exchange rates visit www.xe.com. The CFA is rarely obtainable outside of Central Africa, and so it is best to bring currency in Euros. It is possible to exchange US dollars but it is more difficult to do so.
Where currency can be exchanged
Exchange facilities are available in Bangui. However Sangha Lodge will also accept Euros.
Credit cards and travellers cheques
As a general rule we advise against taking travellers’ cheques as these will be difficult, if not impossible to change. The use of credit cards is limited to the top hotels in Bangui. As a sensible ‘back-up’ your card provider may be able to arrange an over the counter cash advance from a Bangui bank – but you should check with your card issuer before travel.
Best time to go
Being situated close to the equator, the Central African Republic enjoys a year round warm climate. Rainfall occurs throughout the year, with precipitation averages higher between the months of April and October. However even when the average rainfall increases at this time of year, it does not rain every day
The official language is French. There are many local languages, the most widely spoken being Sango. Other than with your guide, you will find little English is spoken.
Approximately 25% Roman Catholic, 25% Protestant, 15% Muslim and the remainder of the population following other beliefs, including indigenous religions.
Food and drink
On our tour to the Central African Republic, meals are included at Sangha Lodge. International style cuisine will be served, sometimes with local dishes for you to try.
If you have any special dietary requirements you must notify us at the time of booking. While we will make every effort to cater for you, we cannot guarantee that this will be possible.
Our tours in the Central African Republic use 4wd vehicles. For river trips, small dug out canoes are used.
We also use privately charted flights to fly between Bangui and Bayanga.
Travelling in the destinations that we visit requires a good deal of understanding that often standards simply won’t be as they are at home. While we aim to make your trip as comfortable as possible, please be aware that we are often visiting remote or less developed regions that may have little infrastructure. While we aim to make your trip run as smoothly as possible there may be times when we need to ask for your patience while we rectify any problems.
What to take with you
First Aid Kit
The first thing on your list should be a first aid kit. Whilst there is no undue cause for alarm, travellers are best advised to travel well-prepared: adequately immunized, with sufficient supplies of prescription drugs, along with a medical kit.
When it comes to clothing it is usually recommended that lighter clothes are worn through the day, and warmer ones at night. A hat is also advised to be worn through the day to protect from the sun, along with at least one piece of waterproof clothing for any days that the weather may be wet or windy.
Footwear is a main priority on this tour. Comfortable walking shoes/boots are recommended.
Your luggage should not exceed 12kgs (26lbs). One large rucksack, and one small hand luggage rucksack is acceptable. We advise you to travel with a rucksack or soft bag rather than a suitcase.
Suncream/sunblock is a must. When out on tour, it is important to have suncream with you, as there will not be any services nearby in which to provide it.
Insect repellent, including a bite spray will be useful to have. You should also bring a waterbottle along with you for excursions.
If you will be using a camera which needs film, it is recommended that a supply is taken with you, as it is not available locally.
This tour does not require any special degree of fitness but you will find it more enjoyable if you are reasonably fit.
Cultural and environmental guidelines
You may come across beggars while on tour. Every traveller has different perspectives on this and ultimately the choice is up to you. Many sources recommend that you watch to see if local people give, and then follow their lead with genuine beggars. We do not recommend giving money, sweets, pens etc to children as this can encourage a begging mentality and can lead to children choosing to beg rather than go to school.
Haggling is a way of life in Africa when making many purchases, especially with tourist souvenirs. Usually, but not always, the vendor will start with a price that is higher than they are prepared to accept, and the buyer is expected to haggle. There are no hard and fast rules with this – some vendors may initially quote a vastly overinflated price, others may start with a price close to the true value, while others may just present you with one price and not be prepared to discuss it. Although many tourists may feel uncomfortable with this, it’s important to remember that this is best entered into in a relaxed manner. Once you have agreed upon a price, it is extremely bad form to then not pay this. Please also bear in mind that a small amount of money to you can be a relatively large amount for the vendor, and that it is not necessarily best practice to ‘beat the vendor down’ to the lowest possible price. Remember that they also have a living to make.
You will be spending time in some of the most pristine rainforest environments on earth on our tours in the Central African Republic. It is important to ensure that they stay this way. Please make sure that you take any rubbish back to the lodges and camps with you where they can be properly disposed of – this includes cigarette butts as well.
Please do not buy any products made from endangered species – this is not sustainable and hastens the species’ decline.
You should always ask permission before taking anyone's photograph and respect their decision if they say no. In more remote areas women and older people often do not want to be photographed. Some people may also ask for some money – sometimes a little, sometimes a lot - in return for a photo. Taking photos of military installations, state buildings, and airports can lead to problems with local authorities. If you are unsure about whether it is acceptable to take a photo, please ask your tour leader or guide.
Allow around EUR40-50 for tips to lodge staff and guides.
Foreign Office Advice
We constantly monitor the advice posted by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). In particular we will always advise clients of any travel warnings. At the time of writing the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against travel to the areas within the Central African Republic that we visit on our tours. Please feel free to contact us should you have any specific concerns or if would like to know in detail what measures are being taken to ensure visits remain trouble free and without incident.
It should be noted that this information applies to British citizens. Other nationals are asked to check the current position of their respective government.
Public Holidays in Central African Republic:
1 Jan New Year's Day
29 Mar Boganda Day
1 May Labour Day
30 Jun Prayer Day
13 Aug Independence Day
15 Aug Assumption
1 Nov All Saints Day
1 Dec Republic Day
25 Dec Christmas
Dates are for guidance only and may vary year to year.
Generally electrical supply is 220-240V AC (50 Hz) and uses European two circular pin style plugs.
The Scramble for Africa
The State of Africa
IMPORTANT NOTES – PLEASE READ
Please note that the information provided is correct at the time of writing but may change. It is intended as a guide only. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health visit www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk or contact your local healthcare provider.
In addition we strongly advise you to check the information and any travel advice provided by your government. For British citizens you should visit the Foreign Office website www.fco.gov.uk.
Furthermore, you should be aware that any travel warnings or advisories may affect the validity of your travel insurance. Therefore, at the time of booking your tour it is essential you check any restrictions on cover with your insurance provider.
Issue Date – 14/9/2012
For possible changes to this dossier please visit www.undiscovered-destinations.com or call +44 (0)191 296 2674