May 11, 2018
Brazzaville – Bangui
Flight distance: 594 nm | Hours in the air: 2.30
Central African Republic (CAR) – genuine and rough Africa
For starters, we (our plane) got inspected for the first time. Little did the inspector know that Tom is one as well! So it turned out to be a funny session with photos.
During our flight up north, crossing the equator, we got to experience one of the last big chunks of untouched rain forests, very impressive. Once at Bangui, where it was hot and humid, it did not take very long to grasp the special situation this country currently is in. Right around where our plane was parked we noticed the French and Rwandan UN blue helmets, a total of about 5’000 which are here since quite some time.
The government is in control of less than 50% of the country and travel outside of the capital Bangui is strongly disadvised. The ride to the hotel demonstrated what we had expected, mostly dirt roads, hundreds of small shops along the road, relatively cleaned up, yet everything very basic to say the least. The hotel is sitting on a huge lot and we decided to hang loose for the rest of the day, knowing what a special place this is and trying to stay out of trouble.
However, in trouble came the drone pilot after security somehow found out about the drone flying around. While being called to the head of security I was told that the president currently is right next door and I should better refrain from flying some more… Luckily the rest of the day went by uneventful.
👉 YouTube Playlist TransAfrica 2018
Country facts & figures
Central African Republic, known until 1958 as Ubanghi Shari, is a landlocked country in Central Africa. The former French colony became independent in 1960. The CAR is bordered by Chad to the north, Sudan to the northeast, South Sudan to the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo to the south and Cameroon to the west.
The country occupies an area of 622,984 km², making it somewhat larger than France, or slightly smaller than Texas. The Central African Republic has a population of about 5 million people. Capital and largest city is Bangui. Spoken languages are French (official) and Sango.
Most of the CAR consists of Sudano-Guinean savannas, but the country also includes a Sahelo-Sudanian zone in the north and an equatorial forest zone in the south. Two thirds of the country is within the Ubangi River basin (which flows into the Congo), while the remaining third lies in the basin of the Chari, which flows into Lake Chad.
What is today the Central African Republic has been inhabited for millennia; however, the country’s current borders were established by France, which ruled the country as a colony starting in the late 19th century. After gaining independence from France in 1960, the Central African Republic was ruled by a series of autocratic leaders, including an abortive attempt at a monarchy by “emperor” Bokassa; by the 1990s, calls for democracy led to the first multi-party democratic elections in 1993.
Ange-Félix Patassé became president, but was later removed by General François Bozizé in the 2003 coup. The Central African Republic Bush War began in 2004 and, despite a peace treaty in 2007 and another in 2011, fighting broke out between various factions in December 2012, leading to ethnic and religious cleansing of the Muslim minority and massive population displacement in 2013 and 2014.