Go Volunteer Africa, Africa’s largest volunteer travel organization welcomes you to The Republic of the Congo (A.K.A Congo-Brazzaville – not to be confused with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo DRC). Straddling the Equator, the Republic of the Congo (aka Congo-Brazzaville is located in the heart of the Congo Basin, the world’s largest tropical rainforest region after the Amazon.
Volunteer in Congo Brazzaville on a gap year volunteer travel experience with Go Volunteer Africa and make a meaningful contribution to the rural and under-served communities of The Republic of Congo. Volunteers in Congo-Brazzaville will assist in serving on the many Go Volunteer Africa’s community development projects in the Republic of the Congo.
We provide real, guided, safe, comfortable, and amazing Republic of Congo holidays, safaris and tours combined with a meaningful volunteer work experience. From voyaging on the Congo River, to gorilla safaris and Congo Rain-forest tours, we have got you covered.
Volunteers will be connected and fully placed in Go Volunteer Africa Orphanages, Schools, Outreach Programs, Water and Sanitation projects, Building and Construction projects, Childcare projects, Environment Conservation, Administrative tasks, Crafts projects, women empowerment projects, Youth empowerment projects, Income generating ventures, Micro-finance projects, Teaching placements, Healthcare and medical service and Sports, games, music, dance and drama projects in Congo-Brazzaville.
Experience the best that a gap year volunteer travel experience in Congo Republic can offer with Go Volunteer Africa. This gap year program in Africa offers a great mix of community and environment conservation activities for those volunteers that are keen to take on a challenge and support our ongoing projects.
Whether you stay with us for 2 weeks, 1, 2 or 3 months, you will have the opportunity to make a real difference through sustainable, life-changing project work that will improve the lives of poor communities, and at the same time take on personal challenges as you trek mountains, Gorillas, Chimpanzees and other wildlife adventure safaris.
Go Volunteer Africa’s gap year travel and volunteer projects in Congo- Brazzaville provide a perfect balance between fulfilling community work, skills development, adventure, travel and fun. We also design programs for groups in our volunteering opportunities in Congo that are designed to give you the chance to fully immerse yourself and become part of a community in a different culture, off the beaten track.
The exact nature of project work depends on you, what you want to do and the skills and talents you have to share. We recognize that not everyone wants to stand up and teach in a classroom, but there are so many different ways in which you can get involved.
You could be coaching sports, running after school clubs, renovating school buildings or getting involved in the wider community. We give you the flexibility to make the project your own, to use your initiative and develop your skills whilst helping others.
The Republic of the Congo as described by lonely planet is a land of steamy jungles hiding half the world’s lowland gorillas, masses of forest elephants, and hooting, swinging troops of chimpanzees, the Republic of Congo is on the cusp of becoming one of the finest ecotourism destinations in Africa.
Boasting three excellent and little-visited national parks where everything from luxurious safaris to bush camping is possible, the main attraction to this alluring slice of West Africa is the raw, untrammeled call of nature. However, Congo-Brazzaville (as it’s often called to distinguish it from Democratic Republic of Congo, south of the Congo River) also enjoys a pleasantly laid-back capital city in Brazzaville, some decent beaches on its Atlantic coastline and the warm and welcoming Congolese culture. For those ready to heed the call of the wild – and are not afraid of adventure – the Congo awaits.
EXTRAS AND SUPPORT
ABOUT CONGO BRAZZAVILLE
The Republic of the Congo is in Central Africa. The country is also known as Congo-Brazzaville to distinguish it from its giant eastern neighbour, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa). It is bordered by Gabon, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola (the exclave of Cabinda).
The Republic of the Congo's sparse population is concentrated in the southwestern portion of the country, leaving the vast areas of tropical jungle in the north virtually uninhabited. Thus, Congo is one of the most urbanized countries in Africa, with 85% of its total population living in a few urban areas, namely in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, or one of the small cities or villages lining the 332-mile (534 km) railway which connects the two cities.
In rural areas, industrial and commercial activity has declined rapidly in recent years, leaving rural economies dependent on the government for support and subsistence. While Congo's regions are diverse, there is one constant you can rely on: about 80% of the entire country is covered in the dense Congo Rainforest.
The geography of Congo is diverse depending on where you are in the country (which also speaks to the size of the country!). The southwestern part of Congo is a coastal plain while the interior is made of central plateau. The climate in Congo is the same all year round due to its location near the Equator. The dry season starts from June to August and the wet season takes place twice a year – from March to May and September to November.
The economy of Congo is supported by agriculture and sale of village handicrafts. There is also a massive industrial sector in Congo that is based on petroleum production. However, the government has been plagued with overstaffing and insufficient budget problems for years. Thankfully, petroleum extraction has given the economy a boost to support forestry. In fact, the oil sector accounts for 65% of the country’s GDP (as of 2008). The rapid increase in oil revenue has allowed the government to fund large-scale development projects.
Congo-Brazzaville is famous for its welcoming culture and rich history, the Republic of Congo has a well-developed tourist infrastructure. Whether you’re interested in safaris, rain forest hikes, sun-drenched beaches, or Brazzaville’s vibrant mix of art, nightlife, and history, Congo-Brazzaville has you covered.
National Parc Ndoki-Nouabalé: Besides being home to more than 1,000 species of plants, as well as gorillas, elephants, antelopes, and over 300 types of birds, National Parc Ndoki-Nouabalé is one of the country’s best-staffed parks. The virgin rain forest is not navigable in some places, and a guide is essential for walking or boat tours. Most visitors to the park arrive via airplane from Brazzaville or Pointe Noire.
Lesio-Louna Gorilla Reserve: The Congo is home to some 80 percent of the world’s wild gorillas and chimpanzees, and even the most nature-averse traveler will fall in love with the chimp families and majestic gorillas that romp around the country’s several reserves. Although Ndoki-Nouabalé National Park remains the best location for seeing all kinds of wildlife, Lesio-Louna virtually guarantees close encounters with primates and is quite accessible, only a short drive north of Brazzaville.
Brazzaville’s Waterfalls: Although Congo-Brazzaville’s waterfalls are generally not as impressive as the ones in Congo-Kinshasa, Loufoulakari Falls and the nearby Bela Falls are the exceptions that prove the rule. Cutting noisily through a tangle of untouched rain forest, these waterfalls are relatively easy to reach from Brazzaville and offer lovely panoramas of the surrounding forest.
Poto Poto: Perhaps Brazzaville’s most famous arrondissement, Poto Poto draws in many tourists with its sprawling market, where you can bargain with local vendors for handicrafts, food, and clothing. Traditionally part of the West African area of town, Poto Poto is also known for a laid-back and popular bar scene as well as its painting school, established in 1951.
Pointe Noire: This city’s convenient port (possessing the only deepwater harbor in Africa south of Dakar) and offshore oil reserves make it a center for opulence and expats, although most of the locals still live in poverty. Pointe Noire has a livelier and more expensive club scene than Brazzaville, but it is generally worth the cost. Visitors have a choice between the pricey bars on Avenue General de Gaulle and a more authentic experience in La Cité, Pointe Noire’s “African district.” The beaches outside the city are world class, and diving equipment and fishing boat rentals are readily available.
Northern Congo Trekking: Although driving to this part of the country is not a pursuit for those with weak stomachs (or weak transmissions), doing so affords as much authenticity as you can get in Africa, and the lifestyle in its traditional villages is vastly different from what one can observe in Pointe Noire and Brazzaville. It is possible to hire a guide from Ouesso, Oyo, or Owanda who can lead you on rain forest hikes, and will also take you to pygmy villages on request.
Basilique Sainte-Anne and Central Mosque: In architecturally sophisticated Brazzaville, places of worship aren’t just lovely; they’re innovative, serene, and difficult to bypass. Why would anyone want to? Basilique Sainte-Anne is a gorgeous modern Catholic church, and the Temple Mosque has attractive mosaics and a beautifully decorated inner chamber.
Congo Rapids: The rapids, which start and stop along the Congo River between Brazzaville and Kinshasa, are unsafe to raft on but are quite pretty and wonderful to walk along. Most of the city’s bars and clubs are nearby, so the white water is a picturesque location at which to mingle with expats and locals.
Capital: Brazzaville (Population: 1,800,000)
Currency: Central African CFA franc (XAF) $1 = 592XAF / £1 = 760 XAF (2019)
Population: 6,261,000 (approx)
Official languages: French (official)
Area: 342,000 sq km
International Calling Code: + 242
PROJECT LOCATIONS & QUICK FACTS
Congo- Brazzaville is a less traveled destination nevertheless worthwhile place to visit. Brazzaville where our base of operations in Congo are is a burgeoning metropolis in the southern region of the country. From its architecture, vibrant nightlife and fine dining options, the capital provides a nice stop-over between activities.
Unlike its so-called ‘noisy neighbour’, Kinshasa; Brazzaville is calm and welcoming. It’s the place you go to get away from bustling life; quite unassuming but intriguing and impressive. There are so many reasons why you should visit Brazzaville, but top of it is that Brazzaville sends a message that it’s not just another African capital city. Tucked neatly on the Northern Side of the Congo River, Brazzaville is simply a distinct central African city with striking structures, walkable streets and cool ambience that make it a classic city with a sense of peace.
Whether volunteers wish to spend their time in the Brazzaville working on sustainable development projects, or hiking through the dispersed national parks, the Republic of Congo offers an experience rich in natural charm. Around 60% of the country is lowland tropical rainforests, home to a remarkably rich diversity of flora and fauna including western lowland gorilla, forest elephant, chimpanzee, various colobus monkeys and the bongo.
With one of the richest and most biologically important – yet least visited –forest ecosystems on the planet, a visit to the Republic of the Congo is a must for lovers of off-the-beaten track adventure and rare, endangered wildlife. By visiting pristine national parks such as Odzala, one contributes to their conservation and protection from unsustainable exploitation.
VOLUNTEERING IN CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE QUICK FACTS
- The program is open all year-round
- Very flexible start and end dates (arrive any day of the month)
- Over 8 oustanding sustainable project options
- Projects are based across the country with major locations being Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire.
- Accommodation available at volunteer house & host families
- Program fees include pre-departure support, airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
- We are the most affordable organization in Africa, because we are the locals!
- Internet cafés are plentiful in Brazzaville and Pointe Noire, and many hotels and restaurants offer free wireless Internet access. That said, there is virtually no Internet access outside these cities. Intrepid expats and locals have been known to set up satellite connections while living in outlying areas, and you can find the equipment for that in either of the two large cities. Newspapers and radio stations offer local news in French; for English-language news, your only option is the Internet.
- Like other countries in the region, Congo uses the Central African CFA franc as its official currency. Keep some cash on hand at all times. Although major hotels will accept credit cards, most other vendors will not.
- Although French is the formal language of Congo, the local dialect may take some getting used to; its vocabulary and accent are quite different from those of European or Canadian French. English speakers are rare outside of Pointe Noire. Among locals, Lingala and Monokutuba serve as the lingua franca. If you hope to make yourself welcome, it won’t hurt to learn a few phrases.
The capital, Brazzaville is located on the Congo River, in the south of the country and the international airport here is the main entry point for visitors. From the Europe and the rest of the world, regular flights are operated to Brazzaville by Ethiopian Airlines, Air France and Kenya Airways.
Go Volunteer Africa's Congo volunteer programs and holidays are extremely affordable, memorable and offer a meaningful experience. Visit and volunteer in Congo-Brazzaville with Africa's leading and largest volunteer travel organization.
Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate, unless volunteering with a parent or guardian. All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to Go Volunteer Africa's local Coordinators on arrival in the country.
SAFARIS & TOURS
Safaris, day and cultural tours can be organized over the weekends for volunteers. This is a fantastic opportunity to see the famous Congo wildlife. There is a lot to see and do in Congo-Brazzaville.
BEFORE YOU GO
§ Pre-departure support & documentation
§ Travel & medical advice & documentation
§ Advice on visas & equipment advice
§ Project orientation
§ 3 meals a day
§ Airport pickup
§ In-country emergency support
§ 24-hour HQ backup
§ Free GVA t-shirt
CONGO VOLUNTEER PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS
Volunteer Guest house/ Host Family
ARRIVAL & AIRPORT PICKUP
After you have booked and confirmed your placement, please book your flights to arrive at Maya–Maya International Airport in Brazzaville. A member of staff from our local partner organization in Congo will meet you on arrival at Airport in Brazzaville and take you to the volunteer guest house or host family which will be your base for volunteering.
Orientation and Placement will be done the next day. This airport services numerous international carriers. Congo- Brazzaville has good connections to destinations throughout Europe, the Asia- Pacific region, USA and Africa.
ACCOMMODATION & LIVING IN CONGO
Participants in our programs and tours in The Republic of Congo are provided accommodation in a nice well organized guesthouse or in a homestay accommodation managed by the local coordinating team. Three meals a day (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) are provided to the participants from Monday - Sunday. Life at the accommodation facility is simple, unsophisticated and fun, perfect for unwinding from a busy day!
The accommodation is neat and clean. Accommodation is shared amongst volunteer tourists on the ‘same gender sharing’ basis rooms. Wifi internet, warm water is not guaranteed. The facility has western style toilet and shower facilities are shared between 4 or 10 people.
The accommodation is very close to useful amenities like banks, ATM’s, currency exchanges, restaurants, cafes and shopping places. All placements are around 10 - 30 minutes from the accommodation. Its equipped with a lounge, TV, Kitchen, hand washing facilities and spare electricity sockets.
Over the weekends or evenings, participants are free to eat out and explore the different delights that Congo- Brazzaville has to offer. We arrange city day tours and long-weekend safaris. No matter what your interests, there is always something for everyone to enjoy!
Some volunteers are also provided accommodation in the project premises itself. For example - Volunteers working in orphanage project can be provided accommodation in the project premises itself in a separate room that is allotted for volunteers.
PLACEMENT BOOKING FEE:
After application process and acceptance into the program, you will be required to pay a placement booking and confirmation administration fee of USD$180 (solo traveler), USD$150 (2-5 participants p/p), USD$125 (6+ participants p/p). This is charged above the program fee quoted which is paid in cash upon arrival to your host country.
The fee covers: Administration Costs, Placement Booking & Confirmation, Pre-departure support & documentation, 24-hour international HQ back-up
Visas: Visitors to the Republic of the Congo must obtain a visa from one of the Republic of the Congo diplomatic missions unless they come from one of the visa exempt countries or countries that can obtain a visa on arrival. In April 2019 Congolese authorities announced a plan to introduce electronic visas in August 2019.
Insurance: You'll need to buy appropriate travel insurance covering your participation on the program. You won't be able to go without the right travel insurance so double check to avoid disappointment. Please make sure that you're covered for the whole duration of your trip – from the day you leave your home to the day you return.
APPLICATION & BOOKING
To participate in this program, you have to fill an online application form, and submit it for consideration. After application process and acceptance into the program, you will be required to pay 50% of the program fee within 14 days of your acceptance. Failure to make the placement booking and confirmation payment will lead to cancelation of your program.