Customs and traditions
Regardless of class affiliation, Congolese
take pride in acting properly and being well-dressed.
In the urban areas, Congolese usually greet each
other by shaking hands and saying hello. In the
countryside, some women can greet men by clapping their
hands a few times and bowing easily. Children are
expected to greet each adult in the company by shaking
hands and sometimes even with a kiss on the cheek.
Overview of the capital city of Republic of the Congo, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
When people meet, whether in cities or in the
countryside, it is a good idea to first ask the person
you meet about the person's health and about his or her
family. Anyone who does not run the risk of being
disrespected. The elderly are shown special respect.
Punctuality is not so important, but for a foreigner
it is still good to be on time for meetings. Many
Congolese themselves wait patiently for delayed
transport or for important people to show up at the
meeting. Often you can wait for at least an hour for
these people, but when they arrive they usually stay
committed and give of their time. Meetings often begin
only when a sufficient number of those considered
important for the meeting have arrived.
Bringing small gifts with you when you are invited to
a home is an African custom that a foreigner should also
follow. This applies to business acquaintances as well
as the host or hostess as well as the children in the
family at private invitations.
When you hand over one thing to another, you do it
with your right hand or with both hands.
Eating habits and meals
Congolese often eat with their hands and then only
with their right hand. The left hand is used for toilet
visits and as a foreign guest it is best to avoid eating
with the left hand just like the Congolese. Only the
oldest person in the company can distribute food with
both hands to those who eat.
Everyday, the Congolese eat mostly cassava, rice,
potatoes, cassava, jams, bread, taro (the stem of a
plant), corn and peanuts. Common fruits are bananas,
pineapple, mango, papaya, coconuts and oranges. Many
people also eat fish if they have access to it. Meat -
often imported - is expensive and therefore consumed in
smaller quantities, depending on how much income the
At festivals and feasts, the Congolese eat meat,
usually chicken. For the food you drink plum wine and
beer on festive occasions.
When it comes to food, there may be different taboos
among Congolese living in the traditional way. Which
taboo it depends on which clan you belong to. Each clan
has a protective spirit. It can be an animal, a plant or
something else from nature. The guardian spirit or clan
symbol represents a band of unity within the group. If
the protector of the clan is an animal, then everyone in
the group avoids eating that animal.
The most important holidays are Christmas, New Year,
Easter, May 1, All Saints Day, National Day of Atonement
(June 10), Tree Day (March 6) and Independence Day
Congo-Brazzaville rivers are important
transport routes, while railways and roads have long
been neglected, partly as a result of the civil war in
1997 ̶ 2000. Improving infrastructure, financed by oil
money, among other things, is a high priority for the
There is over 500 km of navigable river road. The
Congo and Ubangi rivers play an important role in the
transport system that links Chad and the Central African
Republic in the north with, for example, Gabon and
Cameroon on the Atlantic in the southwest. For example,
the Congo River is an important transport route for
freight and passenger transport between the country's
capital, Brazzaville and the capital of Bangui, where it
is only navigable during the rainy season from April to
October. In the port city of Pointe-Noire on the coast
is one of West Africa's best natural deep-water ports.
The country's second most important port is at
Brazzaville on the Congo River. An oil port is located
in Djéno, just south of Pointe-Noire.
Another important transport route is the more than 50
km long railway between Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire.
The railroad is in miserable condition since the Civil
War and it was closed occasionally during the war and
the years immediately afterwards. Extensive renovation
There is only about 180 km of paved road and over
half of the road network is in poor condition. In many
parts of the north, roads are completely missing. The
World Bank has assisted the country with road
maintenance money to improve communication between rural
villages and important markets. Several other roads have
been repaired with EU money.
Aviation is important for transport within the
country. International airports are located in
Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire, but only Air France has
direct flights to Europe. There are also five regional
airports and twelve smaller airports in the country.