Getting there & away
The usual routes across the borders with CAR’s neighbours are well-worn paths, but check with embassies and other reliable sources about the status of the crossings before you go, as the borders are all very prone to opening and closing. At the time of research the borders with Cameroon and the DRC were likely to be open but the border with Congo (Brazzaville) was closed. The borders with Sudan and Chad were no-go zones.
The most popular crossing point is just east of the town of Garoua-Boulaï. Trucks and buses run from Bangui to Garoua-Boulaï, overnighting in Bouar. From Garoua-Boulaï, minibuses go to N’Gaoundal, and trains go from there to Yaoundé.
Instability in Chad makes these border crossings particularly questionable. The main crossing is found at Sido, on the route to Sarh. Trucks may trundle from Bangui to Kaga Bandoro, but from there only occasional trucks and minibuses go to Kabo (where there’s a checkpoint) and on to the border. Once over the border, pick-ups go from Sido and Maro to Sarh.
A riverboat managed by Socatraf (61 4315; Rue Parent Bangui, Bangui) steams between Bangui and Brazzaville every two or three weeks from late May to early December. The cabins are basic and the journey takes about seven days. Alternatively, you can jump aboard one of the barges serving this route. They take twice as long, but are far less crowded; they depart every week, and the fare is around US$25.
The main border crossing between CAR and the DRC is over the Oubangui River from Bangui to Zongo. This (and the other border crossing at Mobaye) is usually closed to foreigners.
Routes into Sudan were only ever an option for hardy travellers (or is that foolhardy?), however the turmoil in Sudan’s western Darfur region has firmly closed the door for everyone. The usual route ran from Bangui to Juba, via Obo, while the tough route from Bangui to Nyala via Birao in the northeastern corner of CAR used to take at least two weeks travel as traffic was rare and the roads appalling.