Founded by the French in 1880, Bangui is reminiscent of its founders’ aesthetics. A bustling central market is the heart of the city, and all the tree-lined, wide boulevards radiate from there. Set on the Oubangui River, the Central African Republic’s capital city is always busy, rarely boring and often quite charming.
One of the best ways to introduce yourself to the city is to stroll through the quaint center district. There, visitors are greeted by a white and green columned arch that was built in 1979 in honor of the menacing dictator Jean Bedel Bokassa. Today, the arch is the gateway of the city. The breathtakingly beautiful Presidential Palace is nearby, and the residential area that borders the center offers superb examples of traditional homes.
The northern end of the capital is characterized by pristine scenic beauty. The lush rolling green hills are crossed with many hiking paths perfect for discovering the region’s natural gems. Be on the lookout for exotic wild flowers exploding into colorful blossoms and the migratory birds whose calls echo throughout the dense forest. Those who hike to the top of the hills will be sweetly rewarded with the best view of the city.
The nearby Chutes de Boali are another stunning example of the Central African Republic’s nature. Visit during the rainy season to get the full dramatic effect as water falls more than 164 feet down the cliffs. You’ll have to pay to see the natural wonder, but the admission is no more than some pocket change and is worth every cent.
Just southwest of the city is M’Baiki, a tobacco, timber and coffee growing area that is surrounded by dense rainforest. Getting to the forest from Bangui’s center is easy, as many pick-up trucks and buses make the trek to and from the area each day. The village of Sabe borders the forest and is a great place to purchase ebony statues, one of the Central African Republic’s finest handicrafts.
Bangui has few museums, but the Musee de Bonganda is definitely worth a visit. The impressive collection features artifacts that detail the country’s history and includes fascinating array of traditional musical instruments.
The heart of the city is its central market, where narrow streets are lined with locals selling handmade crafts, fresh produce, fabrics in a rainbow of colors and more. Side-street eateries offer yummy local snacks and there is more often than not a music show or drum circle providing a soundtrack to bustling marketplace.
Bangui was founded by the French, and their legacy still permeates much of the city. The Alliance FranÁaise compound is one of the most lovely places in the city and is one of the capital’s few cultural institutions. Visitors are welcome to stroll the beautifully manicured gardens, and the organization often puts on foreign film nights and live music concerts.
There are a handful of restaurants in the city that cater to travelers and international workers. These include Lebanese, Indian, Vietnamese, French and seafood restaurants, and a decent meal can be had for less than $10.
Bangui Geographical Location
Bangui is located in the south of the Central African Republic on the banks of the Ubangi River.
The population of Bangui is approximately 630,000.
French is the official language of the Central African Republic and Sangho is the national language. In addition to these two there are also many tribal languages still spoken.
Bangui Predominant Religion
- 35% Indigenous Beliefs
- 25% Protestant
- 25% Roman Catholic
- 15% Muslim
There are many missionaries in the Central Financiere Africaine who have influenced the religious demographics throughout the countries history.
The Communaute Financiere Africaine Franc is the official currency of the Central African Republic.
Bangui experiences hot temperatures all year with a rainy season from May until October.
Bangui Main Attractions
- Musee de Bogana
- Place de Republique
- Marche Central
Other Attractions in Bangui
- K-Cinq (Km-5 Intersection)
- Manova-Gounda St Floris
- Dzanga-Sangha National Park