Facts About Republic of the Congo’s Culture, Geography, and History
The Republic of Congo borders DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo), Gabon, CAR (Central African Republic), Angola, and Atlantic Ocean. We have gathered 12 amazing facts about this resource-rich country to help you get informed.
12. The Republic of the Congo, also known as Congo Republic or Congo-Brazzaville, is a country located in Central Africa.
Congo-Brazzaville rests within the Congo basin of central Africa – a land endowed with natural abundance in the heartland of Africa.
It has one of the most magnificent flora and fauna, which includes dense equatorial forest, rich woodlands, the big cats, giant herbivores and plenty of primates. Hidden underneath its ground rests treasures including gold, diamond, oil, iron, among so many other minerals.
11. The woods, caves and waterfalls of Boma and equatorial Mayumbe and the Tombs of Tshela can be visited on the way to the ocean beach of Moanda in Congo.
Boma and the Equatorial Mayumbe are found on the southernwestern tip of the country, which spreads into DRC and borders the Atlantic Ocean. There are many beautiful waterfalls and caves in this area, which is largely occupied by woodlands. The Tombs of Tshela are located in this region. They represent a great historical narrative about the ancestral natives of this region.
10. A team from National Geographic magazine, who visited the fledgling Parc National Nouabalé-Ndoki in the mid-1990s, called this northern corner of The Republic of the Congo the world’s ‘Last Eden’, and they chose their words wisely.
Parc National Nouabalé-Ndoki deserves the name of ‘Last Eden’. It is actually the last natural habitat on earth where you can find a rich flora and fauna that remains undisturbed by global changes.
Its uniqueness is characterized by its availability of the both the world’s largest carnivores (the big cats), the biggest herbivores (elephants, buffalos, rhinos), and rare apes (bonobos, and gorillas). It is also home to world’s second largest river after Amazon – the River Congo, which has the reputation of being the deepest river in the world and second-longest river in Africa (after River Nile).
9. The Republic of the Congo’s most diverse national park stretches from the Atlantic Ocean through a band of coastal savannah up into jungle-clad mountains.
Seventy percent of Congo is under dense rain-forest cover, with 40% being protected area. Odzala-Kokoua National Park is the largest national park in Congo. It is located in the Cuvette-Ouest region and covers an area of 13,600 km square.
Forest elephants and Western gorillas are the most famous animals in this park. Beside the two, the national park has thousands of plant and animal species. It is a great place for ecotourism.
8. The great apes, such as the bonobos and the eastern lowland gorillas, can be found only in The Republic of the Congo.
Congo has a huge army of apes. Eastern lowland gorillas and the bonobos are endemic species (only found in the Congo rainforest). Apart from these, there are many other apes and primates including the chimpanzees, Columbus monkeys, among others.
If you want to witness a species that is closest to humans in its natural habitat, Congo is the place to visit. You will be well entertained by the meekness of the chimpanzees and the pride of the gorillas.
7. The okapi also known as the forest giraffe or zebra giraffe located in The Republic of Congo in Central Africa. Although the okapi bears striped markings reminiscent of zebras, it is most closely related to the giraffe.
Forest giraffe is one of those baffling species in the Congo region. Like a bat that confuses one between a rodent and a bird, the forest giraffe confuses one between a zebra and a giraffe. It has the height of a giraffe and the decorations of a zebra.
For those who love viewing the glyphic patterns of the zebra and marveling at the stylish walk of the giraffe, this is an opportunity to see both in one – the okapi.
6. In pre-colonial times, the region now called the Republic of Congo was dominated by three kingdoms: Kongo (originating about 1000), the Loango (flourishing in the 17th century), and Tio.
Kongo kingdom is the most famous and probably the oldest of the kingdoms in the central African region. This Kingdom occupied the area spreading from the Cabinda region (Angola), southern Congo, and northern DRC. It is estimated to have existed between 13th century and 17th century AD.
The Loango kingdom most likely superseded the Kongo kingdom as it was established by the Kongo-speaking people between the 17th century and 18th century AD. The Tio kingdom, also known as Teke or Anziku kingdom reigned over the lower Congo River in the areas around Pool Malebo.
There is a rich fascinating history pertaining to these kingdoms that can be best narrated by elders of this region when seated with them while enjoying game meat barbeque. Make sure your ears do not miss these epic narrations.
5. The region was dominated by Bantu-speaking tribes, who built trade links leading into the Congo River Almost all Congolese are Bantu, a name that refers to the people living in Central, Eastern and Southern Africa. The Bantu originated from Nigeria and Cameroon and migrated to Southern Africa 2,000 years ago.
Most historical texts points to the Congo basin as the origin of the Bantu people. This is the most populous group of the aboriginal Africans. It is from the Congo basin that the Bantus spread outwards to the western, eastern and southern parts of Africa.
If you are an anthropologist or culture lover, you can easily visit and trace the ancient migratory routes of the Bantu people as you explore more of Congo and its surrounding regions.
4. In the Republic of Congo food taboos depend on the tribe and village. If a family has a totem, it cannot eat that animal, which is considered a spiritual protector. At major festivals, meat, usually chicken, is eaten. Plum wine and beer are consumed at these times.
People of Congo are diverse in terms of cultural roots. Thus, what is a taboo in one tribe may not necessarily be a taboo in another tribe. However, they share a lot in terms of celebrations. For example, drinking beer at celebrations cuts across the entire country.
Sometimes Congo is termed as the ‘Bavaria of Africa’ due to its beer drinking tradition. Religiously, indigenous religions are deep-rooted. Even though some people may profess foreign religions, they still remain strong observant of traditional religious faith.
Fetishes are not as common as in West Africa, but totems are common.
3. There are probably 30,000 Pygmies in The Republic of the Congo. Most live in the deep forests of the north (the Sangha and Likouala regions) and west (the Chaillu Range). They live in small family units and practice mainly hunting to secure their livelihoods.
Pygmies are the undoubted aboriginals of the Congo basin. They are distinctive due to their height. Most of them grow to less than half the average adult human height. They are mostly dwarfs with normal height being an extreme exception. They are mostly forest dwellers who still practice their traditional form of life characterized by hunting and gathering.
2. Saka Saka or Pondu: It is the national dish in Congo, made up of ground cassava leaves, palm oil, smoked fish and peanut butter. It could be eaten with bush meat or smoked fish.
Saka Saka or Pondu is the Congolese word for dish made from cassava leaves. Ground cassava leaves forms a major portion of the meal. Palm oil is another important ingredient. Most of the time, it is served with either red meat (beef) or white meat (fish, chicken) or both.
Traditionally, the meat is smoked and then pounded. Peanut, when available, is also a common traditional ingredient. Other ingredients such as garlic, onions, pepper, and eggplant can be added based on one’s recipe and taste.
1. The Congo has a tropical climate characterized by high humidity and heat. There are two wet and two dry seasons.
The Congo basin, being a rainforest basin has high levels of humidity. Due to Congo-Brazzaville being close to the ocean makes the atmosphere hot and humid as you draw towards the ocean.
Like most tropics, Congo experiences two wet seasons and two dry seasons. Wet season can be so drenching to visitors. The best time to visit Congo is when it is relatively dry – that is, from June to August. There is short dry season from January to February and a long dry season from May to September.
This is interspersed with a short rainy season from March to April and a long rainy season from October to December. However, since Congo is slightly a long stretch of land, there can be slight variations in the season between the southern, central and northern parts.
Republic of Congo is a country richly endowed with natural wealth. It has magnificent flora and fauna that makes it termed the ‘Last Eden’. Here is probably the only place on earth where you can experience a bit of Adam and Eve as the wild goes on its business.