Great surf but hard to get around is the experience most surfers have in Congo.
Congo is just north of The Democratic Republic of Congo and after some years of civil war and unrest it now seems that the country is on a safer road forward although there is still some tension in the country.
Luckily though the region around of Pointe-Noire you do find one of the calmest safe havens in the entire country and just by luck this is where you will also find some of the better surf spots.
The Waves in Congo
You can surf year round in Congo even though you will have the most consistency between May and August. In March, April, September and October you are pretty sure to run into some fine swell as well leaving the November through to February to a period with more waiting time in between the swells.
You can surf in your board shorts almost all year except late summer, where you might need a shortie as the temperature can drop down to almost 20 Celsius in July and August.
Congo has a 170 km sandy coastline , only interrupted by few rivermouths and points. Most of the beaches are heavy shorebreaks , breaking strongly on the sand. Main wind is from South West (side-on shore) from mid morning almost each days , stronger from june to october. Windless glassy days can sometimes happen too.
Crowds are never a problem, 20 friendly guys out on Sundays beeing the maximum. Some pollution from crude oil sometimes. Severe erosion too. Wave range is usually from 1m to 2m.
Hard travel, consistent waves
You probably will get a hard time travelling around Congo if you want to do more than just hop off the airplane and head to Point-Noire. But if you do the struggle of getting around through the confusing and limited infrastructural system in Congo you will be rewarded with some beautiful rainforest especially around the Congo River that runs up through the entire country.
Also you will find almost half the population of all the mountain gorillas in the world living here.
Look out for…
There is still some political tension in Congo so get an update on the situation before you book your flight. Also if you want to travel into the country do check with the locals and read the newspapers to find out if there is any unrest in the areas you want to visit.
Also beware of the risk of getting Malaria.
Visa to Congo
You can buy a 15 day visa on arrival and it is possible to extend it in Brazzaville or in Point-Noire. Do have a hotel reservation and an itinerary for your travels and be ready to hassle with the immigration officers who might want to collect some extra “fees”.
Congo Surf Spots:
Pointe Kunda: 3 to 4 hours 4X4 drive north of Pointe Noire. Difficult to reach , specially during rainy season. Long lefts peeling along the beach like a point break..works best with small swell (4 to 5”) ,very remote but classic wave and nice surroundings.
Matombi pointbreak: Works best with big swells.left lines peeling alongside the cliff/point. Semi-protected from the wind , two different sections. Rocks. Good waves for SUP/longboards/wave ski/beginners/kids from low to mid-high tide.
Cote Sauvage: Pointe Noire main beach breaks. Long strech of sandy beach. Heavy currents and shorebreak. Many distinct surf zones, from north to south. in front of Yes Club Restaurant, in front of Palm Beach Hotel, in front of Consulat House, in front of La pyramide Restaurant and in front of L’abri cotier Restaurant near the old wharf.
Rumours of a good peak at the northern end of the beach, behind the harbour breakwall. Can be very good on windless mornings or days or very bad, depending on sand bars. Lefts and rights. Can be surfed up to 3 m, hard to paddle out when swell is big. Works on almost any given day, best from low to mid tide, sometimes high tide too!
M’Vassa: Another good surfing zone 45 min south of Pointe Noire. Muddy and sandy tracks, 4X4 needed. Four differents spots : a big cloudbreak right with mellow slopes on heavy swells (le pic du large), a good beach break peak in the middle of the beach with lefts and rights(la baie) , an easy left point break at the bottom of the M’Vassa headland (la pointe), and various easy beach breaks on south side of the point (le sud). Friendly waves.
After your visit to Congo please report back to GoSurfAfrica.com and let your experiences and photos benefit later surf explorers. Also contact us if you need more information about surfing in Congo and we will try to help you and answer all your questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to Xavier