In the Central African Republic, a country located south of the Sahara and north of the Equator, the climate is tropical, hot all year round, with a dry season in winter, and a rainy season, which lasts for 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 reaches around a thousand metres (3,300 feet), in the prefectures of Nana-Mbamberé and Ouham-Pendé (see cities such as Bouar and Bocaranga), where also the highest point of the country is found, Mount Ngaoui, at the border with Cameroon, 1,374 metres (4,419 feet) high.
The country is covered by savanna, and in large areas of the south-central also by rainforests; in the far north there is instead a drier strip close to the Sahel.
The amount of sunshine in the Central African Republic is higher in winter than in summer, and is higher in the north than in the south: in fact, in the north not only 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 cloud banks are relatively frequent.

Index


Far north



In the far north, nights are cool in winter, and sometimes they can be a bit cold, while during the day it is hot: maximum temperatures hover around 33/34 °C (91/93 °F), but sometimes they can rise even higher. The wind from the north-east, the harmattan, brings sand particles from the Sahara and raises clouds of dust. Starting from February, the temperature rises, and the hottest time of year begins, in which highs can exceed 40 °C (104 °F), until May. In the second half of May, showers and downpours related to the African monsoon begin to occur, so the temperature drops, but in return relative humidity increases. In October the good weather returns and the temperature rises again, with some hot days, but less than in spring.

Birao

Here are the average temperatures of Birao, located in the far north, at 450 metres (1,450 ft) above sea level.
Birao - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)141620222322212120201614
Max (°C)333638383733313131333433
Min (°F)576168727372707068686157
Max (°F)91971001009991888888919391

The rains in the far north do not reach 900 millimetres (35.5 inches) 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.
Birao - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)00520651001751901353510725
Prec.(in)000.20.82.63.96.97.55.31.40028.5
Days001371014171251070

In the far north the sun shines regularly in the dry season, while in the rainy season the hours of sunshine decrease a little. July and August are the least sunny months.
Birao - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours1010999877891010

North-central



Further to the south, in the north-central region, winter is even hotter, but then the scorching period of spring is less evident, because rains and cloud banks come earlier.

Ndelé

Here are the average temperatures in Ndelé.
Ndelé - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)171921222121202019191716
Max (°C)353737353331292930313434
Min (°F)636670727070686866666361
Max (°F)959999959188848486889393

In the north-central, precipitation hovers around 1,200/1,300 mm (47/51 in) per year; the rainy season is longer and runs from May to October, with some showers already in late March and in April.
Here is the average rainfall in Ndelé.
Ndelé - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)0525651201502052402251251001167
Prec.(in)00.212.64.75.98.19.48.94.90.4045.9
Days02461011151814103093

In the center-north too, the sky is often clear or mostly clear in winter, while in the rainy period the sky becomes cloudy more often and for a longer period.
Ndelé - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours998776555689

In the north-central 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.

Manovo-Gounda St. Floris National Park

As we mentioned, in the far west there are areas located at an altitude of around a thousand metres (3,300 feet). Here the altitude tempers the climate, and in summer, at the height of the rainy season, days can be even a little cool.
Here are the average temperatures of Bouar.
Bouar - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)171920201919181818181817
Max (°C)313232302927262627283031
Min (°F)636668686666646464646463
Max (°F)889090868481797981828688

In Bouar, 1,400 mm (55 in) of rain fall per year, 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.

South


Bangui

The capital Bangui is located in the south, on the banks of the Ubangi River, at the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, and at 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 can notice the heating between February and May, but it's less pronounced that in the centre-north.
Here are the average temperatures.
Bangui - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)181921222120202020201918
Max (°C)323433323130292929293131
Min (°F)646670727068686868686664
Max (°F)909391908886848484848888

In Bangui, about 1,500 millimetres (60 inches) of rain fall per year. The dry season is limited to the three winter months, from December to February, when some occasional showers may still occur. The rainiest period goes from July to October, when precipitation hovers around 190/220 mm (7.5/8.7 in) per month.
Here is the average precipitation.
Bangui - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)203510513516515019023020020085251534
Prec.(in)0.81.44.15.36.55.97.59.17.97.93.3160.4
Days25911141213161617104129

In Bangui the sun does not shine very often, even in the short dry season, while in the rainy season the sky is often cloudy.
Bangui - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours776665445567

Bangui, panorama

When to go



The best time to travel to the Central African Republic is winter, from December to February, being the dry season. Days can be hot, especially at low altitudes and in the centre-north. At night, however, it can sometimes be a bit cold in the north. In February, 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), a 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, a scarf for the wind full of dust.
In summer: light clothing, long and of natural fabric (cotton or linen); a sweatshirt, an umbrella or a 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.

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