Map from Google - Central_African_Republic
In the Central African Republic, a country located south of the Sahara and north of the Equator, the climate is tropical
, warm all year round, with a dry season in winter and a rainy season, which lasts most of the year in the south, and is limited to the summer months in the north. In the rainiest period, from July to September in the centre-north and from May to October in the south, the rains can cause flooding.
Most of the country is occupied by a plateau, whose altitude ranges between 400 and 800 metres (1,300 and 2,600 feet); in the westernmost part it gets to around a thousand metres (see cities like Bouar and Bocaranga), in the prefectures of Nana-Mbamberé and Ouham-Pendé, where also the highest point of the country, Mount Ngaoui, at the border with Cameroon (1,374 metres or 4,419 feet), is found.
The country is covered by savanna, and in large areas of the south-central also by rainforest; in the far north there is instead a drier band close to the Sahel.
In the Far North
, winter nights are cool, and sometimes they can be a bit cold, while during the day it is hot: the maximum temperatures hover around 33/34 °C (91/93 °F), but sometimes can rise even higher. The wind from the north-east, the harmattan
, brings the sand from the Sahara and raises clouds of dust. Starting in February, the temperatures rise, and the hottest time of year begins, in which the maximum temperatures can exceed 40 °C (104 °F), until May. In the second half of May the showers and downpours related to the African monsoon begin to occur, so the temperature drops, but the relative humidity increases. In October the good weather returns and the temperatures rise again, with some hot days, but less than in spring.
Here are the average temperatures of Birao, located in the far north, at 450 metres (1,450 ft) above sea level.
Average temperatures - Birao
The rains in the far north do not reach 900 mm (35.5 in) per year, and the rainy season lasts just a little longer than four months, from late May to early October.
Here is the average rainfall in Birao.
Average precipitation - Birao
Further to the south, in the north-central
band, winter is even hotter, but then the torrid period of spring is less evident because rains and cloud banks come earlier.
Here are the average temperatures in Ndelé.
Average temperatures - Ndelé
In the north-central, precipitation hover around 1,200/1,300 mm (47/51 in) per year; the rainy season becomes longer and runs from May to October, with some showers already in late March and April.
Here is the average rainfall in Ndelé.
Average precipitation - Ndelé
In the north we find the Manovo-Gounda St. Floris National park
, a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, unfortunately at risk because of illegal hunting and poaching. The park is home to several animal species such as elephants, leopards, cheetahs, African buffalo, and the West African black rhino, which however was declared extinct in 2011.
As we mentioned, in the far west are areas located at an altitude of around a thousand metres (3,300 feet). Here the altitude has an influence on the climate, and in summer, at the height of the rainy season, the days can be even a little cool.
Here are the average temperatures of Bouar.
Average temperatures - Bouar
In Bouar, 1,400 mm (55 in) of rain per year fall, of which more than 100 mm (4 in) per month from April to October, and a maximum of 255/260 mm (10/10.2 in) per month in August and September.
The capital Bangui
is located in the south
, near the Ubangi River and at the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, 350 metres (1,150 ft) above sea level (the lowest altitude of the country). Here the temperatures are more uniform throughout the year, however in winter the temperature range is higher, and during the day it exceeds 30 °C (86 °F). Here too we see the heating between February and May, but less pronounced that in the centre-north.
Here are the average temperatures.
Average temperatures - Bangui
In Bangui, about 1,500 millimetres (60 inches) of rain per year fall. The dry season is limited to the three winter months, from December to February, when some occasional showers may still occur. The rainiest period is from July to October, when precipitation hovers around 190/220 millimetres (7.5/8.7 inches) per month.
Here is the average precipitation.
Average precipitation - Bangui
The amount of sunshine
in the Central African Republic is better in winter than in summer, and is better in the north than in the south: in fact, not only in the north the dry season is longer, but it is also more easily sunny, while in the south not only the rainy season is longer, but in winter the sun does not always shine, because the cloud cover is relatively frequent.
When to go
The best time to travel to the Central African Republic is winter
, from December to February, being the dry season. The days can be very hot, especially at low altitudes and in the centre-north. At night, however, it can sometimes be a little cold in the north. In February, the temperatures start to rise, so you may prefer the period from December to January.
What to pack
In winter: in the far north, light clothes for the day, long and made of natural fibres (cotton or linen), turban for the desert wind, a jacket and a sweater for the evening, comfortable boots or sandals. In the south and Bangui, light clothing, a light sweatshirt for the evening, a light jacket for any very cool nights, scarf for the wind full of dust.
In summer: light clothing, long and of natural fabric (cotton or linen); sweatshirt, umbrella or light raincoat for the rain showers. For higher altitude areas (Bouar, Bocaranga), you can add a light jacket.
For women, it is best to avoid shorts and miniskirts.