Bangassou is a city in Southeast Central African Republic, lying on the north bank of the Oubangui River. It is known for its wildlife and its market and is linked by ferry to the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the south bank.
There is no public transport to Bangassou as of May 2019. Trucks occasionally cover the roads from Bangui, Bakouma and Rafaï. Neighbouring towns can also be reached by moto-taxi (Bakouma in around 3 hours for around 15.000cfa, Rafaï in around 6 hours for 30.000cfa) although this can be complicated in the height of the rainy season. From Ndu in the Democratic Republic of Congo, pirogues cross the Mbomou river for a small fee from the jetty at the end of the road opposite the préfecture.
Flights from Bangui arrive at Bangassou Airport roughly once a week with Via Air. The one way fare is 150.000cfa. The airport is 8km from the centre of Bangassou - moto-taxis are not usually available although you may be able to flag one down on the main road or hitch a lift into town with other passengers.
Bangassou is a sprawling but fairly small town so most places can be reached on foot, especially if you are not in a hurry. For longer trips there are moto-taxis - these should cost around 1000cfa from the centre to the airstrip, and less than that around town, depending on distance. Bangui-Ville to Tokoyo, as an example, is 200cfa.
There is not a huge amount to do in Bangassou but it is a pleasant place to wander around and see the old colonial houses and the markets. A lot of ruined buildings are visible around town, including the old préfet's residence at the top of the hill just northeast of the central market.
The usual clothes, food and Chinese products are available in the markets. Central Market is open in the morning but by early afternoon the area is dead and the district markets of Tokoyo, Bangui-Ville and Maliko are most active after midday.
Ets Ponzoni, opposite the Central Market, is the biggest shop in town (which is not saying much) and sells dried and tinned food, soft drinks, canned beers and printed wax cloth etc.
Small streetside restaurants for lunch are found particularly around the markets but also in some other parts of town. Several are located near Bangui-Ville market and others are on the street between the town centre and the MSF hospital in Tokoyo. Restaurants come and go, just keep your eyes open for signs, or for a woman with a big pot by the side of the road. Dishes are nearly always 1000cfa and will consist of shikwanga (cooked cassava in banana leaves) or gozo (maize meal) with meat or fish. The meat is often goat or chicken but there is also a good chance of coming across bushmeat, for example antelope or chimpanzee.
Eating options in the evening are limited - pretty much the only options are opposite the old Total station in Maliko.
Bottled water is very rare in Bangassou although there are plenty of boreholes which dispense good quality drinking water - anyone in the street can direct you to the nearest one. Bring your own bottle. There are nearly always big queues at these boreholes as people wait to fill up pots, pans and jerrycans with water to take home but if you arrive with a small plastic bottle you will always be bumped to the front of the queue.
Beers are expensive at 2000cfa but with the return of peace and easier transport in the country the prices will eventually go down. Most beers are brought over from the Democratic Republic of Congo (Primus and Turbo King) although you may occasionally find Mocaf as well. Fridges exist in a few places but don't work very well so don't expect to find icy cold drinks in Bangassou.
Cave des Nations opposite the old Total petrol station in Maliko has beers and soft drinks. and covered seating.
Cave de la Cohésion Sociale is a calmer option on the terrace of an old colonial house opposite the army base near the Central Market.
Auberge du Progrès Féminin is a nice new option opposite the Central Market with huts and an outdoor seating area.
Motel Safari, signposted opposite Bangui-Ville market, has reliably cold beers in its small bar.
Palm wine and ngouli (distilled maize alcohol) are produced in Bangassou and easy to find - ask around in the markets. These are the alcoholic drinks of choice for the population due to their much lower price - 100cfa for a litre of palm wine and 1500cfa for a litre of ngouli.
Motel Da Souza, near Bangui-Ville market and owned by the mayor of Bangassou, offers rooms with light at night (but no electricity), private bathroom with a bucket shower for 5.000cfa a night. It is better known in Bangassou by the name "l'Auberge de Demba".
Auberge Maison Blanche opposite the Central Market and Motel Safari opposite Bangui-Ville market have basic rooms for 2.500cfa a night.
The Catholic Mission has rooms at 6.000cfa.