Brazzaville

Brazzaville

Few African capitals amongst the countries that we feature are major destinations for our travellers; Brazzaville is no exception to this. However, it’s a pleasant place to base yourself for a night or two, which due to international flight timings and onward connections to Odzala, most people will have to do.

Sat calmly on the opposite river bank to the DRC’s crazy urban metropolis, Kinshasa, Brazzaville is relatively well organized by comparison. Once referred to as the “Paris of Africa", the elegant French Colonial city was damaged in the civil war. It’s now calm, fairly laid-back and the scars of the war are mostly hidden from view.

The city is small enough to explore on foot, with the few cultural sites of interest all within moderately easy walking distance of each other. A day should suffice if you are organized, though it would be easy to spend two days here also – just wondering around and soaking up the relaxed atmosphere. The iconic Tour Nabemba on the river’s edge is the tallest tower in the city, and worth a visit; whilst just north of the tower, is Poto Poto, a famous market where travellers can browse the for local handicrafts. The vibrant St Anne’s Basilica Church with its striking green-tiled roof of is also worth a visit. On the outskirts of the city (you’ll need to take a taxi), there are some attractive river rapids at the Pont du Djoue. While the white waters of the Congo River aren’t safe to raft on here, they do make for a picturesque walk watching the locals wash their clothes in the waters, and looking over at the DRC on the other riverbank.

Recent years have seen Brazzaville make real strides in attracting investment, and with this has come a handful of reasonable hotels. Though most visitors to Brazzaville come on business, so hotels here are generally aimed towards the corporate market; sadly we were unable to find any good, distinctive guest houses or quirky boutique hotels on our last visit.

Located close to town and so easy walking distance form most of the sights, and only 30-minutes from the airport, Mikhael’s Hotel is relatively new and has 92 rooms, with either a view of the pool or mountains that form the backdrop to the city. The main areas are stylish and rooms spacious, and whilst the service was a bit sporadic in its quality it was always very friendly.

There are some other reasonable hotels in Brazzaville, such as the Olympic Palace, which has a pleasant pool area and restaurant. But none seemed nearly as nice, or as convenient as Mikhael’s which remains the best option by far.
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