Congo Driving Guide
Driving in Congo and getting an international driving permit is something that is practically unavoidable when you go there on a trip. Additionally, here’s a complete guide to give you the best travel
The Republic of Congo resides near the Equator in west-central Africa. This country is an incredibly green region of Africa and surprises tourists with its luxurious vegetation and the number of animals to enjoy. Congo’s main attraction is primate tourism, where people can have encounters with the mountain gorillas that live there.
Widely covered by tropical forests, Congo also possesses broad areas of unused fertile land representing approximately one-third of its total area. It is also the home of Virunga Massif, a chain of eight volcanoes that provide an exciting attraction. Furthermore, the country ranks among the top 10 of Africa’s oil producers and has essential mineral resources, with most of it still left untapped.
How Can This Guide Help You?
Traveling to a foreign country without having even a tiny bit of information can lead to a problem. This guide aims to provide you with the necessary information you need to have a smooth adventure when visiting the Republic of Congo. The guide includes the current border status, things you can do in the country, and an overview of the history, landmarks, and people. As for driving in the Congo, this guide includes driving rules, car rental information, and top destinations you should visit.
The Republic of Congo has a population of 5.2 million over a surface area of 342,000 kilometers squared. This country is sparsely populated, with more than half of the people occupying its two largest cities, Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire. The rest of the country is one of the least occupied areas in Africa, with just 12.8 persons per square kilometer.
Current Border Status of Congo
The Republic of Congo has resumed most transportation options, which include airport operations for international flights. However, land and river borders remain closed. All international passengers must self-quarantine for two weeks in their residence or hotel for 14 days upon arrival. Here is the list of countries that can enter the airport border of Congo:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Czech Republic
- Guinea Bissau
- Saudi Arabia
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- United Arab Emirates
- North Macedonia
- Burkina Faso
- Côte D’Ivoire
Is It Safe to Travel in Congo?
Yes, it is safe to travel to Congo. However, you need to follow the country’s specific health and safety protocols for a smooth and secure visit. Passengers traveling to Congo must hold a negative Covid-19 PCR test certificate obtained within 72 hours before departure. Passengers that cannot present a medical certificate with a negative test result are subject to a test upon arrival and quarantine at their own expense.
Who Are Allowed to Travel in Congo?
International travelers are now allowed to enter the Republic of Congo. Even though non-essential travel is not prohibited, it is still not encouraged. People at a high risk of containing the virus, including children below 18 years old, elders 60 years old and above, pregnant women, and sick persons, are discouraged from traveling in general. For people who are capable of traveling, practice social distancing protocols and proper hygiene routine.
Requirements Needed to Enter Congo
Upon arrival, tourists must present a negative COVID-19 test, which has been taken 72 hours before boarding and must undergo a temperature check. You must also have a valid passport, visa, a vaccination certificate showing a current yellow fever immunization, evidence of the purpose of the visit, means of support for the duration of stay, and accommodation arrangements.
Requirements Needed to Enter Congo
Upon arrival, tourists must present a negative COVID-19 test, which has been taken 72 hours before boarding and must undergo a temperature check. You must also have a valid passport, visa, a vaccination certificate showing a current yellow fever immunization, evidence of the purpose of the visit, means of support for the duration of stay, and accommodation arrangements.
Health Protocols Imposed in Congo
Tourists who can’t provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate must undergo a test upon arrival and quarantine at their own expense. Tourists who show symptoms of COVID-19 must undergo further testing and undergo a quarantine protocol at a government-designated facility. Face masks are still necessary, and you must practice social distancing at all times. Handwashing and personal proper disinfecting are highly required.
Are There Special Visas Needed?
The country requires a valid passport for all foreign nationals entering the Republic of Congo. A visa for the destination country is required to cross the Congo River between Brazzaville and Kinshasa. All visa applicants should submit their application and passport for visas at least two weeks before the intended date of departure. The processing time for the service requests take up to 5-7 business days.
Tourists residing in Burundi, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe can enter the country without obtaining a visa for up to 90 days. Only tourists from Kenya, Mauritius, or Zimbabwe are eligible for a visa on arrival since these are some of the handful of visa-exempt countries.
Do I Need Travel and Health Insurance?
Before traveling to Congo, it is vital to have comprehensive medical and travel insurance, especially since there’s still a pandemic. Having travel and health insurance is not a requirement but is highly encouraged. Medical expenses can be quite expensive in Congo, so you are responsible for shouldering all medical costs incurred during your stay in the country without the insurance. Even so, observe health protocols and social distancing.
Where Is the Republic of Congo Located?
Borderline countries surround Congo: Cameroon to the northwest, the Central African Republic to the north, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the east and south, the Angolan exclave of Cabinda to the southwest, and to the west by Gabon. The country also has a 100-mile-long coastline along the Atlantic Ocean. Brazzaville, the capital city and is presently the most populous, is a major inland port on the Congo River.
What Are the Facts About Their Tourism?
Possessing three excellent and unexposed national parks where everything from splendid safaris to bush camping is possible, the main attraction to this fascinating slice of West Africa is the new, rampant call of nature. The Republic of Congo is on its way to becoming one of the finest ecotourism destinations in Africa. This land is the home of steamy jungles hiding half the world’s lowland gorillas, massive forest elephants, and chimpanzees’ troops.
Congo was not famous to tourists since the 1960s and has over the past 30 years been the preserve of the most adventurous of tourists and business people. The region around the inlet and path of the great Congo River, its forests, volcanoes, and mountains ruffling out and sloping eastward, comprises some of Africa’s most beautiful riches in resources, but furthermore - astonishing scenery, beauty, and wildlife.
What Is Their History?
Since the country gained its independence from the French in 1960, the Republic of Congo has been troubled by occasional but severe civil war and ethnic conflict. The bloodiest of which followed disputed parliamentary elections in 1993 and reached its peak in 1997, powered in part by the prize of the country’s substantial offshore oil wealth, which motivated many of the warlords.
In 2003, the countries signed a peace accord agreement. Since then, the government has slowly but surely been reimagining and rebuilding itself as a peaceful tourist destination that is no longer defined by its torrid history. Still, it deserves to be noticed and appreciated since the country is more than just its history. It is the home of numerous tourist destinations with beautiful scenery.
What Languages Do They Speak?
French is the official language of the country and the medium of educational instruction. The indigenous people all speak Bantu languages, except for the Pygmies and the Adamawa-Ubangi speaking population in the northeast. The evolution of two trade languages, Lingala and Kituba, was developed due to intergroup communication and trade. Lingala is the language used in the north of Brazzaville, and Kituba is popular in the area between the capital and the coast
What Groups of People Live in the Country?
About half of the country’s inhabitants associate with the Kongo people, whose major subgroups include the Sundi, Kongo, Lali, Bembe, Dondo, Kamba, Kougni, Yombe, and Vili. The Ubangi people have the Makoua, Kouyou, Mboshi, Likouala, Ngala, and Bonga. The Binga Pygmies live in small bands, usually as consumers of surrounding farming people. Only a fraction remains of the Europeans who stayed in Congo in the late 1990s .
Why Go Road Tripping in Congo?
Going on a road trip is one of the best things to do when visiting a foreign country. Aside from the less hassle of transportation, you control when to stop and what places you would consider as a stopover to get some rest, relax, and enjoy the scenery. Besides, driving on Congo island can take you to different tourist attractions in the country at your own pace.
With the country so dispersed and difficult to access using public transportation, driving in the Congo is one of the best things you could do when you go there on a trip. Going on a road trip in Congo lets you visit some of the most popular destinations outside the country’s main attraction, primate tourism. Some of the popular destinations include the country’s bustling city, famous volcanoes, parks, lakes, and shopping hubs.
International Driver’s Permit in Congo
Driving in Congo island can be hassle-free and smooth-flowing if you can provide all the requirements needed to move into the country. Your permit is a valid form of identification that serves as your driving license in Congo. It acts as a translation of your local driver’s license and solves language differences between you and the authorities. Here are a few essential things to keep in mind about the international driver’s permit in Congo.
Is a Local Driver’s License Valid in Congo?
Most countries do not recognize a driver’s license from other countries but recognize an IDP. Tourists with a valid local driver’s license accompanied by an IDP are allowed to drive in Congo. Even though an IDP contains information present in your local driver’s license, it does not replace it, and you can’t use the IDP for transactions in the country since it only acts as a translation of your local driver’s license.
Do You Need an International Driver’s License in Cities of Congo?
Only tourists with a valid local driver’s license and a valid IDP are allowed to drive in the country. The only thing you’ll need to do to get a permit is access it online and fill out some necessary information from your existing license to have a driving license in Congo. When driving across Congo, you must carry your international driver’s permit with you since authorities in the Congo often conduct checkpoints in different country cities.
Who Can Apply for an IDP?
Tourists who are 18 years old above and have already possess a driver’s license for at least six months before the application are allowed to apply for an international driver’s permit. If you’re planning on visiting the country and you’re imagining what it feels like driving in Congo now, visit the International Driver’s Association website to apply for an international driver’s permit in the country and get a first-hand experience of moving across Congo.
When Will I Use My IDP?
The international driver’s permit acts as a translation of your driving license to help crucial language differences. Your IDP is an essential piece of document that allows you to rent and drive a car during your stay in a foreign country. When going on a road trip, your IDP presents as a validation during checkpoints. Getting an IDP transforms your imagination from driving in your country map to driving in the Congo map.
When Can I Apply for an IDP?
You can apply for an IDP at any time. There’s no specific period when to apply for an IDP. You can apply for an IDP before traveling to Congo or even when you’re already in the country. The process of getting an IDP from the International Driver’s Association only takes 2 hours to email the digital copy, and the physical copy will reach you within 7-15 days. To make driving in Congo possible, enter the correct zip code when applying online to avoid delays in the IDP shipment.
Who Needs an IDP?
If you are one of the people who love traveling, staying in other countries for vacation and driving around the foreign country by car, then you probably need an IDP. Car rental companies usually request an IDP for them to understand your language and vice-versa. A permit from the International Drivers Association can be translated into the 12 most widely-spoken languages worldwide, and it is acceptable in 165 countries.
How Long Is an IDP Valid?
An IDP is valid depending on the duration you applied for, which could also be your stay in the country. A permit from the International Driver’s Association is valid for one to three years. However, your international driving permit in Congo is only valid for up to a year. If you’re staying in the country for more than that period and love driving in the Congo map, you must convert your driving license to a Congo driving license.
Is It Legal To Drive in Congo Using a US License?
If you are an American citizen with an American license and intend to travel and drive in Congo, it’s essential to keep in mind that driving in Congo with a US license is not an option. A United States license is unacceptable in Congo’s driving law. It only takes an international license of a foreign traveler. However, you can still obtain an international permit to be driving in Congo now.
How to Get an International Driving Permit?
You must have an international driving permit if you’re planning to rent a vehicle in Congo. The IDP serves as a valid form of identification that contains your name, photo, and driving information. Applying for an IDP can be done online to avoid going out, so you have to provide all the information correctly. IDP is needed to be driving in Congo, enter the correct zip code to prevent shipment delays.
What Do I Do If I Lost My IDP?
In unpredictable moments where you lost your IDP, the International Driver’s Association offers a free replacement service for its customers. The backup IDP is free, so you only need to pay for your new physical copy’s shipping fee. To ask for a new IDP, contact customer service, provide them your IDP number and name, and settle your payment. You also need to give the address, country, and zip code to ship your IDP in Congo.
Renting a Car in Congo
Public transportation is only available in the two main cities of Congo. However, it is strongly discouraged to use public transport, especially public buses. Driving in Congo can be more satisfying with the help of car rental companies. You need to consider factors before renting a car, such as your budget and the country’s road conditions and driving rules. In Congo, rental companies aim to make your driving experience hassle-free.
How to Rent A Car in Congo?
When it comes to driving in Congo, renting a car is one way it is similar to the US. As long as you have your local driver’s license, your payment card, and your international driver’s permit, renting a car in Congo is hassle-free. If you are at the airport, sometimes you may even see car rental companies familiar to you.
It would be a good idea to rent a car at the airport, so you are in control of your travels the moment you step out of the gate. Besides, you also won’t have to worry about renting a car later in a place that you aren’t familiar with.
Is It Easy To Rent A Car in Congo?
Renting a car in Congo is a smooth process if you have the right documents needed to rent a car: your driver’s license, international driver’s permit, and your payment card. Once you step out of the airport, you will see rental vehicles waiting for tourists, and some of them are from famous rental companies. In this country, it is advisable to rent a car from the airport to avoid the hassle of using the transport system. Here are some tips for spending less money:
Booking before your flight may get you a better deal when renting a car. You can apply the phrase ‘the earlier you reserve a rental car, the better the price’ in this country. By booking earlier, you can keep track of the prices as they go up and down while preparing for your trip, letting you book the best deal in advance. The latest time to wait to book your car would be two weeks before your landing time in the country.
Be Mindful of the Ground
When renting a car, you should choose a four-wheel-drive vehicle due to the country’s driving conditions and roads. Especially when you’re going on a road trip, choose a car that can handle the weather and all bumpy roads, so you won’t have a problem with your car breaking down and getting stuck in an unfamiliar place. Congo does not have the safest route to drive on, so you might want to reduce the chance of getting into trouble without help as much as you can.
When applying for an international driver’s permit, you should also think of accompanying it with insurance. Insurance could protect you and save you some extra expenses if ever you get into trouble. Before renting a car, you must check with your insurance agency, so you will know whether you are covered or not. Some rental vehicles also include insurance for the car and charge you an extra fee for it.
To save money when driving a car, you should think about how you want to handle the fuel issue with your rented car. You have the option to pay in advance to make the tank full and bring it back empty or bring it back full to avoid those extra costs. Inquire at the rental car company and let them explain to you how much fuel should be in the car when you return it so you can weigh and make the right decision.
Once you have selected a car to rent, agreed with the insurance and the fuel issue, the last things that you need to submit are the documents they need and your payment; then, you will have the keys to your rented car. Your international driver’s permit, your local driver’s license, and your payment card are the items you need to submit. You can use Visa, American Express, and MasterCard to pay, but check in first with the company to be safe.
Where Can I Rent a Car?
There are various car rentals available in Congo, such as Car Rental Congo, Car Express Services, Rent a Car Rwanda, 4x4 Car Rentals, Kigali Car Rentals. You can book your rental car online before you even arrive in the country. Online booking is more comfortable and convenient for international travelers since you can just book anytime and find car rental companies that fit your budget.
Suppose you’re looking for quality and affordable car rental services. In that case, Car Rental Congo is a local car hire company that offers the lowest cost and provides a reliable & quality car. This company has been serving clients for over 12 years and offers unparalleled personal customer service and unbeatable prices in Africa.
What Documents Are Needed?
Renting a car in Congo is easy if you have a valid driving license. You also need to provide other government-issued identification such as your passport as proof of identity. If your native driving license is not in English, the car rental company will require you to provide an international driver’s permit. You can apply for an international driver’s license on the website of the International Driver’s Association.
What Vehicle Types Can You Rent?
Car Rental Congo is available in Goma, Bukavu, Lubumbashi, Kisangani, Beni, Butembo, Brazzaville, and Kinshasa. You can rent various types of cars, such as the Toyota Rav4 SUV, Safari Land Cruiser, Toyota Land Cruiser, Trucks Rental, Double Pick-ups, and MiniVan Rental. No matter where the project operations are, this company provides rental car services in most African countries.
It is essential to rent cars that are efficient on your trip. For instance, if you’re traveling alone, you won’t need to rent a massive vehicle as it would cost more than a regular car that could take you to the same destination.
What Are the Age Requirements?
The minimum age requirement to rent a car in Congo is 18 years old. Car rental companies are usually hesitant to rent cars to drivers under 18 years old because it is considered underage and uncontrolled accidents caused by underage drivers. Some car rental companies even require an underage driver fee for drivers under the country’s driving necessary age.
Where Can I Pick Up My Rental Car?
If you plan on renting a car in Car Rental Congo, you can pick up your rental car from the airport or the car rental company’s location. You need to present your receipt, proof of identity, and driving license accompanied by your international driver’s permit. Another option would be to request the company to drop off your car at your place for convenience. It would be best to pick up your rental car from the company’s location.
Tips for Staying Safe
The rate of renting a car in Congo depends on the car rental company. If you plan on renting a car on Car Rental Congo, the rates per day depend on the type of car you will rent. The rates per day of renting the vehicle ranges from $100 to $445. Ag of extra services such as having your rental car delivered to your place can also affect the rental price. Here are the rates when renting a car in Congo:
- Toyota Rav4 SUV - $100/day
- Safari Land Cruiser - $200/day
- Toyota Land Cruiser - $145/day
- Trucks Rental - $445/day
- Double Pickups - $135/day
- MiniVan Rental - $140/day
Would My Insurance Apply if I Rent a Car?
Insurance provides a sense of security to drivers as they explore and go to places they have never been before. Driving on new and unknown roads can be a bit scary for first-time tourists, so it’s advisable to rent a car from a company that includes insurance in the rent package. Most car rental companies would consist of car insurance in their extra services fee, but if you rent a car at a car rental company without covered insurance, it’s best to secure one before exploring.
There are some things that a car rental company may include in their extra services, such as Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), Personal Accident Insurance (PAI), Additional Liability Insurance (ALI), Emergency Sickness Plan, and Extended Roadside. These insurance waivers cover your financial responsibility and medical coverage when things go unexpected while traveling.
How Can I Save Rental Costs?
Renting a car in a foreign country can be quite expensive if you don’t know how to save rental costs. The number one tip in saving would be the first process - renting. Rent a car directly on the car rental companies’ websites instead of renting it from a booking agent because the booking agent might ask for extra fees, which can be costly. Besides, avoid renting random cars at the airport since they usually charge higher and include airport fees.
Another factor that causes costly rental would be the type of car that you will rent. If your destinations are in cities that you could just drive on a highway, and the number of people on your trip is not significant, then a necessary car would suffice your trip. Booking in advance also helps reduce rental costs. You can book any time, even when you’re not yet in the country. Lastly, pick up the rental car from the company’s location.
The Road Rules in Congo
Driving a car in a foreign country can be extremely dangerous, especially when you don’t know the country’s road rules. Road rules and operating rules differ in every country, so it is essential to know and keep in mind the laws of the country you’re visiting. Not knowing the rules can often lead to accidents, and being in an accident while on vacation could be one of the worst things that could happen.
What Are The Speed Limits in Congo?
In some parts of Congo, such as the urban areas, Congo driving law states that you must maintain a maximum speed limit of 69 kilometers per hour. You can drive at a speed of 110 kilometers per hour in regions such as rural areas since that area has less traffic. You can be caught overspeeding in Congo when you pass by an authorized officer that detects your speed as way above the limit.
The laws for driving in Congo are not fairly implemented. For instance, it is a possibility that you might be pulled over for overspeeding. Although it doesn’t often happen, it would still be possible that the police authorities might offer a bribe to let you go for free in exchange for something else like money, instead of being given a speeding ticket.
Is Drink-Driving Okay?
Driving under the influence of alcohol is against the law in Congo, and it is considered illegal at the national level because drunk drivers often cause road accidents. Like in the United States, there is a specific blood alcohol concentration that you cannot go over. In Congo, the blood alcohol content limit is 0.01%. If you are stopped and proven that you are over the legal limit of blood alcohol concentration, you could face up to six years in jail.
Is Using Cellular Phones While Driving Okay?
Driving while using cellular phones is prohibited in Congo. Distracted driving isn’t technically a punishable offense by law in Congo, compared to the United States, police authorities could still pull you over for driving while using cellular phones. It is essential that you are vigilant and focused when driving in this country since the Congo road conditions and driving in Congo weather are rugged pairs.
Are There Car Window Rules in Congo?
Roads in Congo are generally in poor condition, and driving in Congo weather sometimes makes it impossible to pass through during the rainy season. There are no car window rules in Congo that are considered illegal by law, but it would be good to know when is the right time to keep the windows up and down. When driving in cities, keep the windows up and doors locked. During checkpoints or roadblocks, you must show the needed documents through closed windows.
What Side of the Road Do Drivers Follow In Congo?
This question is one of the most common questions tourists ask when planning to drive in a foreign country. For US citizens coming to Congo, you will be glad to know that Congolese people go on the right-hand side of the road, exactly how it is in the US. Driving a US car in Congo is legal and will make you feel more comfortable and confident while driving on Congo’s unfamiliar roads.
Is Congo Banning Right-Hand Drive Cars?
The driving side in Congo may come as a relief to the US citizens. Still, it is causing a bit of a problem for the natives because Congo is going through banning cars that feature right-hand drive orientations to improve the roads’ safety, which require repair. This news agitates quite the controversy within the borders of the country.
What are the General Standards of Driving in Congo?
Congo also observes general standards of driving to ensure native drivers, pedestrians, and tourist drivers will be safe on the road. These driving standards are also present in other countries’ driving standards, making it easy for you to understand and apply them.
The first step before you start to explore the roads of Congo is to ensure that your vehicle is in good condition. You should check if the tires are in the right shape, if the side mirrors are in the right place, if the windows are up and if the brakes are functioning well. The vehicles, mostly cars, often conflict with other vehicles and pedestrians because their intended direction intersects and interferes with each other’s routes.
While driving in the street, make sure to drive on the right side of the road. Follow the road signs diligently and observe the proper speed limit. When planning to overtake, check if no cars are planning to overtake or if there is a vehicle coming your way, and make sure to turn on your indicator to alert the driver behind you.
After driving, make sure to park your car in the appropriate parking area of your destination. Make sure that you don’t leave your ignition on and the keys inside the vehicle. Double-check your tires and if there are scratches on your car so that you can contact the car rental company and help you with this issue.
What are the Traffic Road Signs in Congo?
Road signs exist to prevent road accidents. These signs are essential to drivers as they will help them decide where to go and what to do while driving. There are various road signs in the country such as:
Priority signs alert drivers who have the priority to pass a particular road first. Priority signs include:
- Give Way Sign
- Stop Sign
- Priority Road
- End of Priority Road
- Priority for Oncoming traffic
- Priority over oncoming traffic
Prohibitory signs alert drivers that certain types of operations or some types of traffic activities are forbidden. Prohibitory signs include:
- Standard Prohibitory
- Parked Prohibited
- Stopping Prohibited
- End of Prohibition
Mandatory signs are a reminder to set all traffic responsibilities that use a specific area of the road. Mandatory signs include:
- Standard Mandatory
Unique regulation signs alert to indicate a danger warning which applies to one or more traffic lanes. These signs indicate lanes reserved for buses and the beginning or end of an on-going work area with zonal efficiency. Unique regulation signs include:
- All signs
Information, facilities, or service signs alert drivers of the road situation. These signs are usually blue or green. Informative signs include:
- All signs
Directions signs give information about the location or possible destinations they could go from their vantage point. Direction signs include:
- Informative signs
What Is the Right of Way in Congo?
The general principle that sets up with the right to go first is called “right of way” or commonly known as “priority.” The structure indicates drivers who have the right to use the conflicting part of the road and who need to wait until the other vehicle passes. The car that has the “right of way” or to “have priority” does not need to wait and line for the traffic so they can pass through.
The right of way in Congo is a priority to the right, which means that the vehicle’s driver must give way to vehicles approaching from the right at intersections. This right-of-way system is in Article 18.4.a of the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic for countries where the traffic keeps to the right.
Is There a Law About Overtaking?
Overtaking cars can be dangerous in Congo since the road condition in this country is very low. Especially during rainy seasons where you can’t see the road. Overtaking in this country is not prohibited, but it is also not encouraged. Overtake only at urgent times, and keep in mind that before overtaking, signal the drivers behind you that you’re about to overtake. You should also make sure that no other cars are attempting to overtake.
Overtaking is not prohibited in Congo; however, you should take proper caution when overtaking a vehicle. Turn on the right indicator when planning to overtake to inform the driver behind you and avoid collision. Before overtaking, make sure no other cars are coming your way to prevent accidents.
Are There Places in Congo That You’re Not Allowed To Go?
As long as you apply for an international driver’s permit, you are 18 years old, and you have a valid local license, then you are eligible to drive in Congo. Exploring the roads of Congo and going to tourist attractions could be the highlight of your trip. However, the country forbids tourists to go to certain places such as North Kivu and Ituri provinces, the eastern DRC region, and the three Kasai provinces, and the Equateur province due to terrorism, crime, and Ebola.
Driving Etiquette in Congo
Unexpected issues could happen when driving on the road, whether you’re in your native land or a foreign country. Without knowing the proper etiquette in the country could lead you into trouble. It’s essential to read and understand the driving etiquette of the country you’re visiting before traveling there to avoid the consequences.
What if a Car Breaks Down?
Car breakdowns can happen anytime when you’re driving on the road, which is why you must ensure your car is in good condition before starting your journey. Rental cars from trusted rental companies are regulated, so they are not likely to cause car breakdowns. However, if your car breaks down, try to move your vehicle off the road as it will be a hassle to the other drivers passing on the road.
When you drive a rental car, and your car breaks down, the best thing to do would be to call the company since some companies include insurance for cases like this. If you are driving your car and it breaks down, it would be good to fix it yourself. Taking your car for an official routine inspection could cost a lot.
What if the Police Stop You?
When driving on the Congo roads or even driving in Congo village, you need to look out for checkpoints that you will most likely run. There are no indications for these checkpoints since they are not usually marked, so you will need to be on the lookout for police authorities on the side of the road. Even though it may sound hassle and tiring, keep in mind these roadblocks for your safety.
Since you will never know when you’ll be encountering these checkpoints, you must always bring the documents needed. These documents included your passport, local driving license, and your international driver’s permit. It is also essential to know that when you are stopped at one of these checkpoints to show the documents needed, you don’t need to step out of the car and just should show the documents through a closed window.
What if You Ask for Driving Directions?
Just like in other countries, there are also pedestrians on the roads of Congo. If you get lost and ask for driving directions, they would spare you a few minutes to help. When asking for help, stop your car at the side of the road and politely ask a person. It is also essential to keep in mind that Congolese people speak French, so it would be good if you could spare a few hours learning basic driving directions to communicate with them properly.
It would be polite to exchange greetings first before asking for directions. Most people will greet you with Mbote (hello). Other Lingala greetings include Tikal Malamu! (Goodbye), Melisa (Thank you) and Bolimbisi (Sorry). You should make sure that your facial expressions and tone of voice are as polite as the words you’re saying so Congolese people won’t be offended.
What if There Are Checkpoints?
As mentioned, checkpoints are pervasive in Congo. Driving on Congo roads or driving in Congo village, you may encounter random checkpoints conducted by police authorities for your safety. Remember that you should present your passport, local driver’s license, and your international driver’s permit during checkpoints. You should show these documents to the uniformed officer through a closed window.
Checkpoints can happen at any time when driving in this country, so you must know what a real checkpoint looks like so you can avoid being scammed. One reason to avoid driving at night is because of the fake checkpoints put up by some people to scam other drivers, mostly tourists. Uniformed officers checkpoints, so you should report it to the police if you notice an unusual checkpoint
What if I Get Involved in an Accident?
When you are driving in Congo and get involved in an accident where someone is injured, the best thing to do would be to report to the nearest police station immediately and provide your name and address to the person involved in the accident. Call an ambulance as soon as possible and inform the car rental company if you’re renting a car.
If no injuries happened, you must provide your name, address, and registration number to the authorities involved. In cases where you are not involved in the accident, but you want to help, you should warn the other drivers behind you about what’s happening to know what caused the traffic. Never drive away from the accident scene if you caused the accident, as it would lead to more trouble later.
What to Do When There Is a Motorcade?
Official motorcades cause severe risks to drivers and pedestrians in Kinshasa. If you hear sirens or see security authorities announcing a motorcade approaching, pull off the road as far as possible and put out your headlights. Do not attempt to move until the entire motorcade has passed. Failure to follow these rules may result in arrest or vehicle damage with possible personal injury.
What to Do When Passing a Building During Raising/Lowering of the Flag?
Local drivers in Congo and tourists renting a car should stop their vehicles when passing a government building while raising and lowering the Congolese flag. This rule also applies to pedestrians who pass by the building during the ceremony. Stopping while lowering/raising the flag is a sign of respect for the country. This ceremony occurs at roughly 7:30 am and 6:00 pm.
Driving Situations and Conditions
Driving situations and conditions is also an essential factor to observe when going on Congo’s roads. Learning the driving conditions and problems, operating rules, and etiquettes could help you prepare for possible issues that you may encounter on the road. Knowing the driving situations and needs in a foreign country keeps you more alert and confident when driving.
How Frequent Are Vehicle Accidents in Congo?
Generally, traffic safety in Congo is relatively low due to various hazards that are not as common in the United States. Most of the accidents come in the form of the high speeds motorists often travel in Congo, and when accompanied by aggressive driving, it usually leads to an accident. Motorists can cause accidents with people driving in the car and pedestrians innocently walking down the street.
According to the latest World Health Organization data published in 2018, Road Traffic Accidents Deaths in Congo reached 27,759, or a total of 4.17% of total deaths. The age-adjusted Death Rate is 35.98 per 100,000 population, which ranked Congo #28 in most death caused by road accidents in the world.
What Are the Common Vehicles Used in Congo?
The standard vehicles you can see in Congo are SUVs, land cruisers, and trucks. The Isuzu D-Max is the most popular vehicle in the Republic of Congo. Toyota keeps the lion share of Congo sales to itself with 37.1% of the 3.641 new light cars that found a buyer in 2017. The next two popular vehicles in the county are Nissan (14.9%) and Mitsubishi (13%) to complete the top three.
Among the commonly used vehicles in Congo, you should choose the essential car for your journey. Keep in mind the roads you’re going to pass-through and how the car would behave in different weathers. Choosing the right vehicle for your journey is essential to avoid car breakdowns and get stuck in places you are not familiar with.
Are They Using Kph or Mph?
Kph, kilometers traveled in an hour, and Mph, miles traveled in an hour, are units of measure used to display speed limits. Every country differs in the units of measure they’re using. Congo uses the kilometers per hour system for measurement. If you are from countries like the USA, Myanmar, and Liberia that use MpH, the KpH measurement can be confusing for you, so it’s essential to learn and understand the two measures’ conversion.
What Are the Road Conditions in Congo?
For driving in Congo update, roads will typically be in poor condition, and the driving standards are low. The road conditions will worsen in the wet seasons from November to May, so a 4-wheel drive is likely to be needed at this time of year. Only 10% out of the 13,000 km of roads in the country are furnished. People can use the two main streets - RN1 and RN2, but some are in bad condition.
Is It Safe To Drive at Night?
Driving at night may seem familiar in some countries. Some people love going at night since no other cars on the road compare in the day time. However, if you’re planning on visiting Congo, driving at night is not highly recommended due to the risk of violence or bandits. Armed robbery on the roads and fake checkpoints is possible at night in this country. Besides, driving at night means you should watch out for cars without lights and stray animals.
Are Road Signs Difficult To Understand For Tourist Drivers?
Congo resides in a land that the French once inhabited, so the language has stuck around up to this day. Reading the signs in Congo might be a challenge or an actual problem for the average American. You will notice that many of the road signs you will encounter in Congo are often in French. It would be best if you could spend a few hours learning basic directions in French.
Are Congolese Safe Drivers?
Yes, Congolese are safe drivers. They drive so that they don’t invite you for a race, although most of them will go faster than you. There is a speed limit, which is 69 kilometers per hour, so they cannot drive more quickly than that. However, the Congo roads are not in good condition, which sometimes causes accidents on the road.
Congolese often give signals to alert other drivers whenever they turn in a different direction. They also follow road signs and road rules carefully so tourists won’t be having a problem with reckless drivers in this country.
Is US Insurance Enough to Protect You in Case of an Accident?
Just like driving in Congo with a US driver’s license is not allowed, driving in Congo with US insurance is not enough to protect you in case of an accident. Although some American driving insurance policies allow international driving, you need to contact your provider in advance to see whether US insurance applies to you. Some international insurance policies do not cover driving in Congo due to the roads’ low and dangerous conditions.
Things To Do in Congo
Congo has many tourist destinations that you can visit. Driving a car as a tourist and going to the beautiful attractions in this country can be fun and exciting. If you’re looking for some way to earn cash, you might be wondering if you can make some money by being a driver in this country. There are a lot of factors that you need to consider before finalizing your decision.
Are There Driving Jobs In Congo?
Like other countries, there are numerous ground transportation modes for local citizens and tourists in the country. When you look at the busy streets of Congo, you will see every type of public vehicle present in your country. These public vehicles include trucks, buses, taxis, and more. Those drivers possess a Congolese driving license, which is why they can operate the cars professionally.
Can I Apply For A Driving Job in Congo?
If you are interested in doing something else aside from visiting the local country’s tourist spots, you can do many things. Unfortunately, getting a driving job as a tourist in Congo is not possible. Driving jobs are not open to tourists or citizens of a foreign country. Having an international driver’s permit is not enough to obtain employment in the country.
The only way for you to land a driving job in Congo is to be a Congo resident and possess a Congo driver’s license. Some of these drivers are employees for some rental car companies. Since some car rentals won’t allow you to drive their cars, they will include a driver when you rent a car from their company.
Can I Apply for a Residency in Congo?
To operate a vehicle and work as a driver in the country, you need to be a Congo resident and possess a Congo driver’s license. Article 18 of Act No. 23-96 of the Congo law states that a foreigner who is at least 16 years old who enters the country is authorized to reside in Congo by applying for a resident card within eight days after their entr
How Much Can a Truck Driver Earn in Congo?
You can work as a Congo driver if you are a Congo resident and possess a Congo driver’s license. There are many driving jobs in this country. When you visit Congo, you can see many public drivers and truck drivers. A citizen working as a truck driver in Congo typically earns around 148,000 Congolese Franc per month. Salaries range from 71,200 Congolese Franc to 233,000 Congolese Franc.
The Top Road Trip Destinations in Congo
The Republic of Congo is on its way to becoming one of the finest ecotourism destinations in Africa. This country is the land of steamy jungles where half of the world’s lowland gorillas, forest elephants, and chimpanzees’ troops live. Here are the famous road trip destinations in Congo that you can add to your list on your trip.
Parc National d’Odzala
This park is one of the oldest national parks in Africa. The park comprises a massive slice of the Guineo-Congolian rainforest, which is also one of the earth’s last strongholds for lowland gorillas and forest elephants. Parc National d’Ozala offers one of Congo’s few expensive travel experiences for locals and tourists who want to visit their three excellent camps operating within its extensive land.
- From Kinshasa Airport, drive straight until you reach Mbandaka.
- When you reach Mbandaka, turn left and drive straight until you reach the Parc National d’Odzala.
Parc National Nouabale-Ndoki
This Unesco World Heritage Site since 2012 is home to significant populations of forest elephants, western lowland gorillas, chimpanzees, and various endangered animals. If you are a bird lover and are looking for a peaceful place, this would be the best place for you. The park is also the home of over 300 bird species and is a rare example of an intact forest wilderness uninhabited by human settlers
- From Kinshasa Airport, drive straight until you reach Gemena.
- From Gemena, ride a ferry to cross the water pool until you reach the Parc National Nouable-Ndoki.
Parc National Conkouati-Douli
Of the three national parks in Congo, this park is the newest since it launched in 1999. It is also considered the most biodiverse of the country’s national parks. This park comprises beaches and mangrove swamps, savannah, and rainforests, which are home to many species, including gorillas, elephants, chimpanzees, dolphins, and mandrills
- From Brazzaville airport, drive straight until you reach Pointe-Noire.
- When you reach Pointe-Noire, turn right.
- Drive straight until you reach Parc National Conkouati-Douli.
This city was named after its founder Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, an Italo-French explorer, in 1880. With some attractive modernist architecture, and a beautiful riverside embankment perfect for taking in views of the Congo River, Brazzaville is the best spot when you want to listen to the sound of nature.
- From Kinshasa Airport, drive straight until you reach the Brazzaville area.
Pointe-Noire is Congo’s second-largest city, and it is rich in oil and SUVs. Aside from that, this city is also rich in fancy restaurants, glitzy hotels, and nightclubs. If you are looking for a city-life experience in this country, this would be the best place for you to explore and stay.
- From Kinshasa Airport, turn left.
- Drive straight until you reach Pointe-Noire
Lac Tele Reserve
Congo is known for its massive land, which comprises jungles and animals. If you are one of the locals and tourists who want to go deeper and visit attractions where the country is famous, it is the best destination. This lake is surrounded by wetlands-forests that remain unexplored and is the home of an estimated 100,000 lowland gorillas.
- From Kinshasa Airport, turn right
- drive straight until you reach Mbandaka
- When you get Mbandaka, turn left
- Drive straight until you reach Lake Tele
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