The Margouilla's Advice on Nightstopping in Pointe Noire

 POINTE NOIRE – AGOSTINO NETO (FCPP/PNR)

 

What airfield can I expect?

Just like one would expect from the economic capital of an oil-rich country, Pointe Noire's airport has benefited from large amounts of investment in the past few years. Remember the tiny, used-up terminal, and the dozens of Antonov 12 parked in the dirt alongside the crappy runway? Well, it's all gone now: there's a new, lengthened runway with an ILS, a larger apron and a brand spanking new terminal. Even Air France come here direct from Paris. Beware of the traffic, though: in addition to the usual passenger and cargo traffic bound for Brazzaville, there has recently been an increase in business jets and ultra-lights traffic. The controllers are pretty good at managing that mayhem, though. 

The airport is open H24. Jet A-1 is available at all times. Airport security is ensured by the highly unreliable Congolese military.

Administrative formalities are straightforward, at the airport office located on the control tower ground floor. Everything is done there: flight plan filing, weather & notams, and payment of Asecna fees (for airport & overflight) and ANAC fees (for airport & outbound passengers). Handling is not mandatory and not really necessary.

The airport is located in town. Hiring a taxi from the airport will usually cost about 1,000 to 1,500 XAF. Further taxi rides in town will cost between 700 and 1,000 XAF depending on your bargaining skills.

 

Where am I?

The city of Pointe Noire was founded by the French in 1883 on the lands of the Vili Kingdom of Loango. The name was originally Ponta Negra, given to that coastal feature by the Portugese explorers who discovered it. Having a natural deep-water harbor, Pointe Noire soon became the main port for French Equatorial Africa (AEF). The city's economic role was further strengthened by the construction of a railway line between Pointe Noire and Brazzaville between 1921 and 1934.

Pointe Noire was also the administrative capital of the French Congo colony, a title it kept until 1959 when Brazzaville became the capital of the soon-to-be independent Congo. However, this political decision did not change a thing to Pointe Noire's growth, today a major oil center on the Atlantic coast. The city was even spared the civil war lootings of the 1990's, with the French military protecting the oil assets in that part of the country.

Today, with a population of 1.1 million, the city still has a small town feel to it, and very little crime. (2011)

Central Police Station: +(242) 22 294 20 28

Clinique Guenin: +(242) 05 565 67 73

Pharmacie (Mavre): +(242) 06 652 73 73

Banks: Credit du Congo (ATM), BCI, Ecobank, BGFIBank

 

Where do I sleep?

Hotel Azur International (10mn from the airport)

Pointe Noire, 54 avenue Nteta Kouilou, near the railway station
Tel: +(242) 22 294 27 71 / 06 761 68 42

One of the older generation of nice hotels in Pointe Noire. 64 comfortable rooms, 3 suites. Swimming pool. Close to the beach, bars & restaurants. Rooms start at 80,000 XAF. A full refurbishment of the hotel is planned in the near (?) future... (2011)

Guest House (10mn from the airport)

Pointe Noire, near Migitel
Tel: +(242) 22 294 01 87

A more local alternative, the Guest House is a cosy, friendly hotel with only 30 rooms. All are clean, air-conditionned and wi-fi is free. Rooms go for 45,000 XAF including breakfast. There is no restaurant. (2011)


 

Where do I eat?

Have a strawl on the seaside and pick one of the restaurants there.

 

 What can I visit?

Pointe Noire beaches are a must see.

The city center also offers a few colonial buildings, still in pretty good condition, including the railway station, the cathedral, the chambre de commerce or the post office.

 

Where can I go out?

Le Jacadi

Pointe Noire, avenue Charles de Gaulle

The most famous night-club in town. Closed on Mondays. (2011)

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