Travel by truck.
A lot of travel in Africa is done by truck. If you go to a truck park, normally near the market, you should be able to find a truck driver to take you where ever you want, conflict zones aside. You travel on top of the load with a large number of others. If you pick a truck carrying bags of something soft like peanuts it can be quite comfortable. Beer trucks are not. If the trip takes days then comfort can be vital, especially if the truck goes all night. It helps to sit along the back, as the driver will not stop just because you want the toilet. The cost has to be negotiated so ask hotel staff first and try not to pay more than twice the local rate. Sometimes the inside seat is available. Food can be bought from the driver, though they normally stop at roadside stalls every 5/6 hours. Departure time are normally at the start or end of the day, though time is very flexible. It helps to make arrangements the day before. It is best to travel with a few others. Women should never ever travel alone.
Travel to/from Sudan.
If the situation in Darfur in Sudan calms down, trucks will resume to/from the Sudan border to Bangui. The trip is an exceptional adventure as it passes through jungle and backwoods Africa. However the road is dirt near the Sudan border and turns to a mud bog during the wet season. Consequently a two/three day trip can turn to a two/ three week trip as you winch from bog to bog. Take extra food etc. Always book through the whole way or you may be stranded in the middle of nowhere.
Now this is a difficult country to divide, given that it is sparsely populated and there is very little reliable info about it.
The south is tropical forests and savanna with pockets of dense jungle in the far SW and SE similar to that found in the DRC. It is located near the Oubangui (also spelled Ubangi) River which connects to the Congo and thus is useful for trade. The south is also where the country's largest cities (Bangui, Berberati, Mbaiki, Bambari) are located as well as the country's most visited places are (Bangui, Dzanga-Sangha NP, pygmy settlements). The SW (Bangui-Berberati and southwards) seems to be the most visited and could be its own region. The South is home to many ethnic groups, but they all live in harmony and speak Sanga as a common language.
The northeast is similar to the sahel, sparsely populated, and contains Manovo-Gounda St. Floris National Park which was the country's most visited NP prior to the conflict that began in the late 90s which now makes this region very unsafe for travel. There is a large massif on the Sudan border.
The north is a range of savanna and tropical forests (but not dense jungle) and populated by the Sara peoples which make up the majority of the population of southern Chad. There are some highlands in the NW, but I don't think they're particularly significant to create a different region. It's not very safe, but it mostly tension, corruption, & robbery...whereas the NE seems to be more anti-gov't rebel/warlord fighting.
There's no real defining lines between regions as it's mostly a gradual transition from jungle to sahel/Sara as you go S-N, so the only decent breakup of the country is to unfortunately use political boundaries (not that "regions" are important in the CAR). Using this map, the regions may roughly correspond to: Southest (Sangha, Haute-Sangha, Lobaye, Omballa-Mpoko, Kemo-Gribingui), North (Nana-Mambere east through the western half of Bamingui-Bangoran, including the city of Ndele), Northeast (the other half of Bamingui-Bangoran, Vakaga, and the northern half of Haute-Kotto, not including Bria & Yalinga), Southeast (everything else). Feel free to smooth out borders, these regions are not an exact science! In the way of important thing to include on a map:
Cities: every city with a star symbol
Rivers: Ubangui (southern border, labeled Mbomou in east); Sangha (also labeled Mambere?); the Mpoko, Ouaka, & Kotto feeders of the Ubangui; and the Bamingui & Grimingui (they form the Chari near Sarh, Chad which is the main feeder of Lake Chad).
Parks: there are many parks on paper, but only three are actually set up as parks: Dzanga-Sangha National Park (D-Z Nat. Preserve forms a buffer on the north and can be included), Bamingui-Bangoran Park, Manovo-Gounda St. Floris National Park (UNESCO World Heritage site).
As far as what to include outside the CAR, the map I linked to can be reduced at the top & bottom so that Nyala, Sudan is visible and, in the south, the northern bend of the Congo with the towns of Lisala & Bumba are visible. The roads that pass through these cities were once the main routes from Sudan & DRC (and Uganda), with the road through the northern DRC once being the main E-W route across central Africa (back when Angola was inaccessible & before the conflicts in Darfur, DRC, and Eastern CAR began). Other cities outside the CAR that should be included are Yokaduma, Cameroon & Ouessa, Congo (both important on overland routes to D-Z NP)and Sarh & Moundou (main cities of southern Chad). Is this good enough info to create a good map? And no, I did not know all but a small bit of this before I began reading a guidebook & Wikipedia articles...I'm glad I took this on as I once thought the CAR was a jungle, war-torn hell in the middle of Africa. AHeneen 01:01, 25 January 2010 (EST)
Great stuff again! I am sure that Peter will find this very helpful. When we started to look at Africa, I thought the CAR would be the toughest country of all given the paucity of information. I had no idea that any of this country was Sahelian desert.--Burmesedays 02:05, 25 January 2010 (EST)
As I said in the last sentence, I didn't either. I was about to write on Peter's talk page that there is no decent way to divide the CAR (and next to no info available on it) and why didn't he pick a country like Nigeria with regions carved up and ready for a map...but I decided to dig through the book and learn more about it. My impression was that the southern part was dense jungle like the CAR and faded to simply tropical forests in the North. I also knew a bit about the rebel situation & D-Z NP. It turns out that just 8% is jungle with most being "vegetated savanna" (so high grass, lots of trees...not quite the same empty "savanna" as you find in Kenya or Tanzania). In December I decided to buy some travel guides and my plan was to buy some used, one-off edition Bradt guides to Central Asia, but ended up with cheaper (and thus, more) ones for Africa...and with all the work being done in Africa, I'm glad I did! The guidebook I used was the Lonely Planet Central Africa, which was published in 1989 & 1994 (I've got the 94 edition) and remains the best guidebook available for the region (and just one cent for the book & $4 shipping! ). I'd fill in the info for the country, but I spend too much time on Wikitravel as it is. AHeneen 02:44, 25 January 2010 (EST)
Whoa, thank you for this! When I saw the "see discussion" link on the expedition page, I thought I had just added that in a senile moment. I've already drawn up the map sans-regions, and was for once at a total loss as to how to divide the country up. I'll get to work on the regions as you've defined them. --PeterTalk 12:44, 25 January 2010 (EST)
Really good map Peter. --Burmesedays 01:38, 26 January 2010 (EST)
Okay the part saying the the CAR is the most lawless nation in Africa besides somalia is really over doing it. Any way I want to know the adress mailing of the ministry of defense, interior, and foreign affairs. I want to do an internship in the government most likely in one of those ministries but I can't find an adress to mail them my resume and things like that.
Which nation would you suggest is more lawless, other than Somalia?. Maybe Sudan. I would suggest that the best first stop re your internship inquiry would be the nearest CAR embassy. There are not many, but they are listed here. --Burmesedays 09:06, 10 March 2010 (EST)