Pointe-Noire, Ma Ville

13:08

My last trip to Congo was 3 years ago so when I visited Pointe-Noire last August I was so pumped to reconnect with my hometown.
If I had to choose 3 words to describe Pointe-Noire, it would be Seaside - Welcoming - Alive.
Seaside: Located along the Atlantic Ocean in the South West of Congo, Pointe-Noire is a gateway to the world.
Welcoming: I say that just because the ocean always brings a fresh breeze and "cool vibe" to a city. 
Alive: Pointe-Noire is so full of life. The city is always vibrant (excepted Sunday morning because most people go to church). But the Nightlife is crazy every day!

It is always a pleasure for me to share my experience of places I have been and particularly to showcase the cultural and touristic aspects of the Republic of Congo. Let me walk you through it!

Notes: 
$CAD 1 = 452,3 FCFA = 0,69 Euro
Languages: French, Lingala, Kikongo and few people speak English
Phone providers: Azur, Warid, MTN Congo, Airtel
Airport name: Agostinho Neto 
* National airlines: Trans Air Congo (TAC)
* International airlines: Ethiopian Airlines, TAAG Angola,  CAMAIR Co, Royal Air Maroc, Kenya Airways, Air France, South African Airways and more.

WHAT TO BRING FOR YOUR TRIP?
First things first, do not forget to bring a Bathing suit, Sun cream, Insect repellent products (lotion or spray), an umbrella + rainy boots (during the rainy season Oct - March), a hat, sunglasses, on a safe note some medicines for headaches or a cold. Most importantly make sure you take all the vaccines needed to travel to Congo.

ACCOMMODATION
There is a variety of accommodations you can consider. From high standard hotels to modest ones or house renting.

If I needed to rent a place while visiting home,  I would definitely choose Restaurant Hotel La Villa Antonetti for its simple and old school decor. It is located downtown, and not far from the beach.
The restaurant's menu starts from 20.000 FCFA.
Photo by Villa Antonetti
I also like Hotel Azur a lot. Maybe it is because it reminds me of so much teenager's memories with my friends by the pool.

Some other hotels: Elais Hotel, Villa Madiba, Atlantic Palace, Palm Beach, ...

Rent
One of the best website to rent anything in Pointe-Noire is Les Marraines de Pointe-Noire . But even though there are not many offers, Airbnb can be an option.
VAC website is also a good place to find deals or any information related to moving to Congo.

EAT/DRINK
The average price for a meal + drink in a restaurant downtown is 15000 FCFA ($CAD 33.16). We do not have a gratuity culture (tips) but you still can tip the waitress/waiter. Here are few of the places I went to during my trip;

La Voile Blanche
The new trendy place that everyone talks about, I had to go there. It is perfectly located in front of the beach. I have to say that it is expensive. The burgers cost minimum 9000 FCFA and a cocktail 6000FCA. I guess the decor is included to the bill.

Le Derrick
This restaurant is firstly for the employees of the oil company Total EP, so if you are not an employee you will pay an extra 3000 FCFA per person to eat there.

Cercle Bouali
CB has a very relaxing restaurant with very reasonable prices compare to the other restaurants downtown. You can have a whole meal for 5000 FCFA only (appetizer, main, desert). You have 3 choices for the main dish, and the local drinks are 1000 FCFA.

Where to get some ice cream?

My Gelato!!!  my friend wrote a full article about that place (here). I couldn't miss going there. The ice creams are great :)

Pain de Sucre
It is a brand new café where you can take a breakfast or enjoy some ice cream.
Photo by VAC
Where to buy some bread ?
We are so frenchy in Congo, so we love bread. Best places to buy fresh bread are Downtown/ Centre-Ville (Plateau Market, Pain de sucre), Grand marché (Boulangerie Gerbe D'Or).

Any Supermarkets?
We do have supermarkets but they are expensive. You only shop there if you really need very specific products like strawberries, mozzarella, etc... One famous supermarket is Casino.
But markets are the best places to get local fruits, vegetables, any ingredients for your dishes.

P.S: Always boil tap water before drinking it or you can buy water bottles from Mayo or Cristaline.

WHAT TO DO & SEE ?
There is so much to do and see but sometimes the trail is not safe or most of the time not marked out. If you want to hike or explore make sure you have a guide.

Within the city
Go to the beach before sunset and have a fresh drink.
Photo by Rey Mangouta
Visit the train station and learn about the CFCO railway which plays a significant role in the story and the economy of the country.
Photo by David Stanley on Flickr
Visit local painters at La Poste, just next to the train station.


Outside the city...
Diosso Gorges
Located 35 KM from Pointe-Noire, the Diosso Gorges are one of the famous and most beautiful tourist sites of the Kouilou region. It is a group of cliffs composed of pink granite rocks. This place is also covered with dense vegetation.

In order to enter the territory of Diosso, you must pay a toll of 1000 FCFA *2 (entry and exit) at the toll booth of Lemba. Le Relais du Kouilou is located at Matombi 15 km in the North of Pointe-Noire. It is a guesthouse and restaurant on the shoreline of Matombi beach. A single night costs minimum 20 000 FCFA.
View of Matombi Beach from the restaurant Relais du Kouilou
Malonda Lodge
You can visit Malonda Lodge and take a drink or a canoe ride. There is also a toll of 1000 FCFA *2 (entry and exit) to pass the territory of Ngoyo (where Malonda Lodge is located) up to Cabinda (Angola).

Other places: Barrage du Kouilou, Pointe-Indienne, Mvassa.
Photo of Mvassa: Camille Fresser
WHAT TO BUY ?
Plenty of souvenirs like African fabrics or the popular/trendy top called "Ya Mado" (dashiki). 
I love mine!!
Me buying some items in our kind of 7/11 (depanneur).
Get some ideas of gifts from my previous article about Congolese Art.


TRANSPORTATION
Most of the time people take a cab. A regular taxi ride costs 1000 FCFA.
But you can hire a personal driver or rent a car from Hertz, Europcar, Prestig'Events,... Or check Les Marraines de Pointe-Noire . No bike renting, bicycle routes are inexistent.

There is so much to say about Pointe-Noire, I could write an encyclopedia but I will stop here ;)
I hope it gives you an idea of what to expect when visiting my hometown.
Don't forget to take the time to contemplate, breathe, admire, enjoy, ... what surrounds you. 
Talk to locals and get to know their story. Let me know if you have any questions. 
Love you!
XO
#PointeNoireMaVille

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6 comments

  1. Magnifiques les photos, nostalgie :(
    ps: merci pour le clin d'oeil sur My Gelato

    ReplyDelete
  2. Awesome �� ,it's always a real pleasure to see my beautiful city described in a few words,great pics! #muchlove from France.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much!!! Share to your friends.
      Much love from Canada :)

      Delete
  3. Nice post! Thank you for bringing the light to Pointe Noire! Now you have to do the same for Brazza! ;-)
    For holiday rentals, you can also go to: http://house.jumia.cg/kouilou/pointe-noire/rent/q:pointe-noire+%28kouilou%29/furnished:1/
    And for booking a hotel, you can go to https://travel.jumia.com/fr-fr/hotels/congo/pointe-noire/2843?region=2843&q=Pointe-Noire&checkin=&checkout=&roomCount=1&adults=1&children=0
    Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for reading. Haha yes I will do one for Brazza as soon as I can.
      Take care!

      Delete

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