The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office advise against all-but-essential travel to central Bangui between the airport and Oubangui River. All travel to the rest of the Central African Republic is advised against. Click here for more information.
Central African Republic (CAR) is a country with staggering rare natural beauty and some wonderful wildlife. Not so long ago it was one of the best places in Africa for encounters with huge forest elephants and western lowland gorillas, and the best place in the world, some say, to see butterflies. However, since 2012 political problems and religious-fuelled civil war have made the country completely off limits to travellers for safety reasons, with all Western governments warning against any visits here.
One of the most impoverished and least developed countries on the continent, CAR endured centuries of rapacity from colonisers and then from its own leaders. Yet the people of this plundered nation remain incredibly open and friendly; and their conversations are more full of hope than despair.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Central African Republic.
This national park, wedged into the triangle of southwestern CAR Cameroon from Congo, is probably the one corner of the country still attracting visitors. Gorillas, elephants and the Baka people are all found in this remote corner of Africa.
Southwest of Bangui and surrounded by rainforest, M'Baïki is in a timber, coffee and tobacco growing area. It's also the stopping-off point for visiting nearby Baka encampments. One bus and several pick-ups leave Bangui each day from K-Cinq. About 10km (6.2mi) northeast of M'Baïki is the village of Sabe, worth visiting for its ebony sculptures.
These waterfalls tumble 50m (164ft), which is just a whisker more than Niagara can manage. Although no more than a trickle when its dry, they are dramatic during the rainy season. A small entry fee applies. The water is controlled by a huge Chinese-built dam upriver, but they usually release some water on Sunday for the tourists.