Stay Safe in Central African Republic
Northern regions are affected by hot, dry, dusty harmattan winds. Flooding is frequent.
Bribes will be demanded by police at checkpoints; anticipate no less than USD5; there are many allegations that a journey from the Cameroon border to Bangui would cost hundreds of US dollars or Euros in bribes. Police often seize an item (passport, camera, watch) and demand payment for it. Armed robberies on rural roads are frequent. Even during the day, violent crime is frequent in the city, especially near the “kilometer 5” bus stop. Alcoholism is a significant issue among city residents, so be wary of drunks and avoid drinking with locals (you will be out-drunk).
In March 2003, rebel troops overthrew the Central African Republic’s government, and the group’s commander declared himself president. Despite calm elections in March 2005, visitors may face danger, especially during public rallies. The Christian terrorist organization Anti-balaka, as well as the Islamist organization Seleka and its affiliated terrorists, continue to operate in the nation. See the warningbox at the top of this page for the most recent information on the current severe security situation.
In principle, tourists may get a permit de filmer from the Ministry of Tourism in Bangui in a few of days. In reality, however, photography is regarded with suspicion and despised not just by the police/army in the typical sensitive areas (government buildings, infrastructure, checkpoints), but by the general public almost everywhere. Taking pictures in a prominent manner can attract unwanted attention, and you should always ask for permission to photograph anybody, especially in public areas.
Stay Healthy in Central African Republic
Some parts of Bangui have clean and filtered drinking water, thus water served at some restaurants and pubs is safe to drink. However, the cleanliness of the water is untrustworthy, therefore it is better to purchase bottled water or boil/filter water. There is no assurance of water quality outside of the capital. Prior to serving, all food should be boiled or peeled, especially food bought at local markets where cleanliness is a problem. If sickness occurs, it is preferable to seek medical advice from one of the physicians at an embassy (both the French and US embassies have excellent doctors) or at a clinic run by an organization such as Institut Pasteur. Local clinics and hospitals may have a limited supply of essential supplies such as syringes, medication, and so on.