Earth : Africa : Central Africa : Republic of the Congo : Coast and Mayombe : Pointe-Noire
Pointe Noire is a city in Republic of the Congo.
Pointe Noire is the second city of the Republic of the Congo. It is also a major sea port and a tourist destination. The town has a very French feel to it, because of the colonial past and the still large number of French expatriates and tourists.
Pointe Noire is served by local carriers and international airlines such as Air France, PrivatAir (Swiss substitute for Lufthansa and very nice all-business class flights,) and several local airlines like Equatorial Congo Airlines (ECA). The airport is not far from the town or beach hotels. A taxi will cost about CFA2000 to the town.
It is possible from Brazzaville 2-3 times a week. The train is very new as of 2013 and a great ride through the jungle. Best booked in advance or through a travel agency for Republic of Congo. The train ride is one of Africa's greatest.
Roads inside the town are in good condition.
It is very safe to travel around with a taxi. Taxis in PNR are shared so if you are in a hurry tell him to take you straight where you want to go, and pay around 700-1000 XAF. If you take other people from the road you pay ~ 150-350 XAF, depending on the length. If you use a taxi more than 1 hour you will have to pay 3000 XAF for that hour.
Do not go outside of PNR without a known driver and a 4WD. A 4WD with gas for the day is about $300 and so using your own or booking through a travel agent helps cut costs considerably. You can drive the road from Brazzaville to Point Noire in a day. The new road is worth driving on just to get a feel for the forest/grassland region of Congo. It is best to go with a reputable driver from a professional agency.
Taxis are easy to find and are relatively inexpensive. Most journeys around town will cost no more than CFA1000. It is OK to walk around the main parts of town.
There are a few junior mining companies setting up close to pointe noire with touching base with including Cominco Resources and Equatorial Resources. If you have the appropriate working visa these companies are worth touching base with.
Some hotels will accept payment in Euros or US Dollars. There are also a few money exchange offices. Changing Euros or dollars is easy. Very poor rates are given for British pounds. Artisan village is located on the Port Side Beach (next to Le Derrik). Prices will differ for every customer. It is ok to take pictures and send local trustworthy people to buy in your place as they will get at least half of the price. Be careful when buying wood statues as they need to be fumigated for bugs.
Hotels in Pointe Noire are very expensive given the standard of accommodation. Also, not many accept credit cards.
Unlike many African cities, it is quite safe to walk in the main parts of the city and the beach area. There are relatively few beggars.
Credit cards are not accepted in many places - only the very best hotels. Internationally linked ATM's are also not too common. Credit du Congo have a few branches with machines that will accept foreign cards.
There are several FM radio stations (all French language), including RFI on 93.2MHz.
Not many people in the town speak English.