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A Weekend on the River: Exploring Congo’s Sakana Island

A food truck on Sakana Island
A food truck on Sakana Island | Victoire Douniama / © Culture Trip
A few miles from Brazzaville emerging from the Congo River lies a tiny island. Open to visitors only over the weekend, Culture Trip takes a look at the fun and amazing things to do on Sakana Island.

Literally meaning “fun island”, Sakana Island is a family-friendly place designed to provide fun and relaxation over the weekends for locals and tourists alike. Easily explorable in a day, it is currently opened to visitors from 10am to 5pm, Friday to Sunday. During the week the island is home to 36 residents who allow access to their private pools to weekend visitors.

Sakana Island Victoire Douniama / © Culture Trip

What to do on the island

Most visitors come to the island to get a spectacular view as they cross the beautiful Congo River and to do something a little different with their weekend. For those feeling active, the island has a gym, football field and a variety of water sports on offer including jet skiing. You ca play volleyball or just tan on the beautifully clean artificial beach. For children there is a playground and exciting activities and rides for them to enjoy. If you prefer to relax, enjoy being driven around the island or picnic under the trees before going for a swim.

The restaurant on the island offers a variety of African-inspired meals as well as some fast food options such as burgers and pizzas. The island is also the only place to find delicious ice cream à la Congolese. A result of experimenting with the locally grown tropical fruits, Sakana Island’s biggest draw is arguably it’s Bissap ice cream, the most unique flavour to be invented. Bissap is a seed extracted from the hibiscus plant native to West Africa. Its seeds and flowers are boiled down to make the juice which is then used to make ice cream. The restaurant’s chef has created his very own delicious and unique ice cream made out of Bissap which definitely adds authenticity to the dessert menu.

Bissap-flavoured ice cream that is only available on the island Victoire Douniama / © Culture Trip

How to get there

Boats to get to the island leave every 30mins from 10am till 4:30pm and take around 10 minutes to get there. Boats leave from the famous Mami Wata Restaurant on the banks of the Congo River. Passengers are escorted by the Sakana Island team who also help passengers to buy entry tickets .

A boat ride to Sakana Island Victoire Douniama / © Culture Trip

Tickets to the Island

Entry to the island has two different price options and categories: Silver or Gold tickets. Silver tickets are limited and only allow access and transport to specific locations on the island. The Gold tickets are the better option as they allow visitors to gain access to the entire island. Visit the official Sakana Island website for my details.

Silver Tickets

For babies from up to one years old admission is free.

Children from 2 to 11 years old costs 5000fcfa ($9) which includes transport, access to the amusement park and the beach.

Children from 12 to 17 years cost 6500fcfa ($12) which includes access to transport, the amusement park and the artificial beach.

Adults must pay 8000fcfa ($14) which includes transport and access to the beach only.

Gold tickets

Children up to the age of 1 year can enter for free.

Children from 2 to 17 years pay 10 000fcfa ($18)

For adults the cost is 15 000fcfa ($27).