Brazzaville is the capital of Congo. Founded in 1880 by a Franco-Italian explorer named Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, and the city still retains much of its French heritage. There, tree-lined boulevards give way to intimate cafes serving strong coffee and fresh croissants, and pastel-colored colonial buildings sit next to grand Catholic churches. Brazzaville may lack a large amount of traditional tourist attractions, but it makes up for it in charm.
Best Time to Visit
In Congo, year is divided into four seasons: a long rainy season from October to December; a short dry season from January to February; a short rainy season from March to April; and a long dry season from May to September. You can choose dry season to visit Congo.
Top Places to Visit in Brazzaville
1. Basilique St. Anne
One of the most striking sights in Brazzaville is the Basilique St. Anne. Built in 1949 by French architect Roger Erell, the most notable feature is the church’s pointed arch inspired by the country’s tradition of spearheading. The church is topped with a green tile roof that invokes the equatorial environment, and the snakeskin-like tiles take the place of gargoyles to keep evil outside the church. The interior’s wrought-iron balustrade was inspired by pre-colonial weapons, and the ceiling shines thanks to a number of tinted glass blades.
2. Cathedral of the Sacred Heart
Construction on the church began in 1892, making it the capital’s oldest religious institution. Although renovations altered the church’s interior in 1952 and 1993, the exterior remains well-preserved in the traditional colonial style. The site of the celebrated cathedral also offers amazing views of Brazzaville and Kinshasa, the capital of the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo.
3. Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza Memorial
The memorial was designed to be a commemoration of de Brazza’s humanitarian work against slavery, but it was not without controversy. Many locals protested the choice to honor the explorer as one of the Republic of the Congo’s founding fathers, believing that the Congolese who fought for independence should instead be honored.
In Brazzaville, there are also many opportunities for outdoor recreation within the city. Visitors can play tennis, golf at a nine-hole course and play squash at clubs near the National Stadium.
There are several great restaurants in the capital, including some that cater to expatriates and serve up Lebanese, Moroccan, French and Italian food in addition to Congolese favorites. At night, head to the Bakongo district to enjoy some delicious and inexpensive street food, then spend the evening at one of the many bars, nightclubs or lounges in the area. Many of the bars have terraces, courtyards and excellent views of the river.