Advice levelsWhat does this mean?
- Leave the Central African Republic (CAR) if you can. Tensions are high. Armed groups operate across the country. They've killed foreigners, including aid workers and peacekeepers. Areas outside the capital are lawless.
- If despite our advice, you do stay, take personal safety measures. Law enforcement and peacekeepers can't ensure your safety.
- The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) regularly attacks civilians in the southeast of the CAR, especially Haut-Mbomou province. Be alert to possible threats.
- Kidnapping and violent crime occur. Kidnappers can target foreigners. Seek professional security advice.
- Bandit groups are common. They target aid groups to get cash, vehicles and equipment. Be very careful when carrying large amounts of cash. If possible, split it between your travelling companions.
Full travel advice: Safety
- Medical facilities in the CAR are limited. If you're seriously ill or injured, you may need to be evacuated. Check your travel insurance covers this.
- Yellow fever is widespread. It can be fatal. Get vaccinated before you travel. You must show a valid vaccination certificate to enter the CAR.
- Insect-borne diseases, including malaria, filariasis and African sleeping sickness, are common. Use insect repellent. Ensure your accommodation is insect-proof.
- Infectious diseases are widespread. These include hepatitis, typhoid and cholera. Boil drinking water or drink bottled water. Avoid ice and raw or undercooked food.
Full travel advice: Health
- Always carry proof of identity. This can be a notarised copy. Police might detain or fine you if you can't show them your documents.
- You need a government permit to take photos. Unauthorised photography is illegal. Don't photograph military zones, assets or personnel, government buildings or mining leases.
- You need a licence to buy or sell gems. There are heavy penalties for illegally exporting precious gems.
Full travel advice: Local laws
- If you decide to travel to the CAR despite our advice, contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of the Central African Republic for details of visa and entry requirements. The Consulate-General of France in Sydney may be able to help you get your visas for the CAR.
- Land border crossings may close at short notice. Plan your travel accordingly.
- Bangui is the only city where you can change money. You can usually convert euros or US dollars into local currency. Keep alert when changing money.
- There are very few ATMs and banks in Bangui. There are several Western Union offices. You'll need to pay cash in hotels and restaurants.
- Travel throughout the CAR is dangerous. Military personnel and civilians have been killed while travelling in convoys. Take security precautions when travelling.
Full travel advice: Travel
- The Consular Services Charter tells you what the Australian Government can and can’t do to help you overseas.
- Our ability to provide consular services in the CAR is extremely limited.
- Australia doesn't have an embassy or consulate in the CAR.
- The Australian Embassy in Ethiopia is the nearest embassy.
Full travel advice: Local contacts
Civil unrest and political tension
Tensions remain high throughout the country.
Despite Bangui being relatively calm, the security situation can worsen without warning.
In April and May 2018 violence in the capital caused deaths and injuries.
For your safety, be aware that:
- armed groups are active across the country
- many areas outside the capital are in a state of lawlessness
- armed groups and criminals set up illegal roadblocks without notice
- armed groups have killed foreigners, including aid workers and peacekeepers
- border areas are very dangerous
The security situation continues is unstable. This is despite the presence of a United Nations stabilisation mission. Inter-communal violence is frequent and widespread, particularly in rural areas. Thousands of people have been killed.
Law enforcement is unable to ensure the security of civilians.
Police may impose curfews and restrictions without warning.
Leave the Central African Republic (CAR) if you can.
Leave by commercial means if it is safe to do so. If you stay in the CAR, arrange personal safety measures.
Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent.
The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) operates in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan and Uganda. It regularly attacks southeastern parts of the CAR, especially Haut-Mbomou province.
LRA attacks target civilians. The LRA has killed many people and 1000s more have fled the region.
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
Kidnapping and violent crime occur in the CAR. Criminals have targeted foreigners, including aid workers.
If, despite our advice, you travel to the CAR:
- seek professional security advice
- put effective personal safety measures in place
- check your hotel has appropriate safety measures
- exercise extreme caution
The Australian Government's longstanding policy is that it doesn’t make payments or concessions to kidnappers.
Bandit groups and crime are common throughout the CAR.
Serious, indiscriminate violence and looting occurs in CAR. It has been widespread in parts of Bangui and regional areas.
Local police and security forces sometimes set up random road blocks.
At times people posing as officials set up roadblocks. Armed groups may attempt to extort money from travellers through fake fines or intimidation.
Criminals target aid groups to get money, communication equipment and vehicles.
If you're carrying large amounts of cash, be very careful. If possible, share the holding of it with your travelling companions.
Climate and natural disasters
In the event of an earthquake, volcanic activity or other natural disaster, follow the advice of local authorities.
Find information on natural disasters from the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.
The rainy season is from May to October. The dry season is from December to April.
You can't drive on some roads during the rainy season. Roads close due to flooding.
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won’t pay for these costs.
You'll probably need a specialised insurance policy that covers travel to high-risk destinations. Most Australian policies won't cover you for travel to Central African Republic.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many 1000s of dollars upfront for medical care.
- what activities and care your policy covers
- that your insurance covers you for the whole time you’ll be away
Physical and mental health
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
- have a basic health check-up
- ask if your travel plans may affect your health
- plan any vaccinations you need
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
Medical facilities throughout the CAR are limited.
Medicines are in short supply and hygiene standards are poor. You're likely to have to pay up front for treatment.
If you get seriously ill or injured, you could need treatment at a more suitable place. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.
Yellow fever (Department of Health) is widespread in the CAR. This disease can be fatal. It's spread via mosquito bites, but is prevented by vaccination. You must show a valid certificate of vaccination to enter the CAR.
Other common insect-borne diseases include:
To protect yourself from disease:
- make sure your accommodation is insect-proof
- use insect repellent
- wear long, loose, light-coloured clothing
Get vaccinated against yellow fever before you travel.
Other health risks
Waterborne, foodborne and other infectious diseases are widespread. These include:
- HIV/AIDS (WHO)
- tuberculosis (WHO)
- cholera (WHO)
- typhoid (WHO)
- hepatitis (WHO)
- meningitis (WHO)
- rabies (WHO)
Serious outbreaks sometimes occur.
To protect yourself from illness:
- drink boiled water or bottled water with sealed lids
- avoid ice cubes
- avoid raw and undercooked food
- avoid fresh fruit and fresh fruit juice.
- don't swim in fresh water
- avoid contact with dogs and other mammals
If you're bitten or scratched by an animal, get medical help straight away.
Get medical advice if you have a fever or diarrhoea.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Proof of identity
Police checks are common. Police might detain or fine you if you can't show them identity documents. This can be a notarised copy.
Unauthorised photography is illegal. Don't take photos of:
- military zones
- military assets
- military or police personnel
- government buildings
- mining leases
If you do, police may confiscate your camera, fine you and detain you.
You need a government permit to take photos. The government will not grant permits for strategic sites such as:
- the airport
- military buildings
- the Presidential Palace
A licence is necessary to buy or sell gems. There are heavy penalties for illegally exporting precious gems.
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you’re overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders.
Make sure you meet all entry and exit conditions. If you don't, the Australian Government can’t help you.
The Consulate-General of France in Sydney may be able to help you get your visas for the CAR.
You may need a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate to enter the CAR.
To protect yourself and to avoid entry issues, get vaccinated for yellow fever before you travel. See Health
Find out about returning to Australia after exposure to yellow fever (Department of Health).
Some countries won’t let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. It can apply even if you’re just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport’s expiry date before you travel. If you’re not sure it’ll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Make sure your passport has at least two blank pages.
Lost or stolen passport
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible.
Very few ATMs are available in Bangui.
Bangui has several Western Union offices, but only a few banks. Most hotels and restaurants catering to foreigners only accept cash.
The currency is the Central African CFA Franc (XAF). Cameroon, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea also use the XAF.
Bangui is the only city where you can change money. You can usually convert euros or US dollars into local currency. Keep alert when changing money through official or unofficial change agents.
Travel throughout the CAR is dangerous. You might encounter:
- armed groups
- illegal road blocks
Civilians and military travelling in convoys have been attacked and killed.
Land border crossings may not be open to tourists. Border crossings may close at short notice.
Roads in are in a very poor condition. Driving at night is dangerous due to poor lighting. Most roads require a 4WD vehicle. Fuel shortages are common.
The rainy season is May to October. Sometimes flooding occurs and roads become impassable.
Authorities may close borders without warning. This is due to the presence of armed groups and risk of cross border incursions.
Very few commercial airlines fly to Bangui.
Be aware of your personal belongings even within the airport terminal.
Check the CAR's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
DFAT doesn’t provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
- family and friends
- travel agent
- insurance provider
Call 610 600.
Call 117 or 2161 2200.
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can’t do to help you overseas.
Australia doesn't have an embassy or consulate in the CAR. You can contact the Australian Embassy in Ethiopia.
Australian Embassy, Addis Ababa
See the Embassy website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
24-hour Consular Emergency Centre
In a consular emergency, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
- +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
- 1300 555 135 from within Australia