Democratic Republic of the Congo Travel Guide, Forum, Safety

On one side of the equator is the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is situated in the verdant river basin of the powerful Congo River. North and west of the lake basin of Kivu, steep mountains stand sentinel, and in the east, volcanoes growl. Western tropical rainforests are home to an abundance of exotic flora and fauna, and if one were to venture below, they would find a mineral and agricultural treasure trove that would rival that of Africa’s unforgiving landscape. So, what force splits this nation, what motivates its citizens to kill one another, and what ultimately stops them? The people of the Congo have persisted in fighting exploitation, brutal conflict, and extreme poverty for generations, but no one has been able to provide them with solutions. Unfortunately, armed groups in this country randomly target civilians, making it unsafe to travel there.

Facts About Congo

  • Capital: Kinshasa
  • Currency: Congolese Franc (CDF)
  • Area: total: 2,344,858 km2
  • Population: 84,07 million (2018)
  • Language: French (official), Lingala (a lingua franca trade language), Kingwana (a dialect of Swahili), Kikongo, and Tshiluba.
  • Religion: Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 20%, Kimbanguist 10%, Muslim 10%, other syncretic sects and indigenous beliefs 10%
  • Electricity: 220V/50Hz (European plug)

A Week in D.R. CONGO

Best time to visit Democratic Republic of the Congo

Whatever you have planned for your trip to the DRC—the ideal time to go there is totally up to you. The nation experiences two distinct seasons—the dry season and the rainy season—due to its tropical environment. A description of the seasons is shown here:

Dry season:
From June through September and again from December through February, the DRC experiences its dry season. The weather is dry and cool throughout this time, making it ideal for hiking, wildlife viewing, and gorilla trekking.

Rainy season:
March–May and October–November are the rainiest months in the DRC. If you want to view the waterfalls in all their glory and see a lot of birds, this is the time to go. It should be noted, too, that excessive rains can raise the danger of diseases like malaria and make it impossible to visit some places.

In general, the dry season is ideal for visiting the DRC, particularly if you are planning to trek or see gorillas in the eastern region. No matter the season, a safe and pleasurable journey requires knowledge on the regions you intend to visit and the required precautions to be taken.

Congo Travel Costs

Several factors affect how much it will cost to visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). These include the season, how long you plan to stay, the transportation you use, and the accommodations and activities you choose. To give you a ballpark, here are the roughly estimated costs:

  • Visa: A tourist visa to the DRC can cost anywhere from $100 to $200, albeit this does depend on your country of origin.
  • Flights: Flight prices to the DRC might change dramatically based on your departure airport and the time of year you book. Costs ranging from $700 to $1,500 are typical for round-trip flights from North America or Europe.
  • Accommodation: Prices for lodging in the DRC can vary greatly from one city or type of hotel to another, spanning the gamut from cheap to opulent. Nightly rates for mid-range hotels can range from $80 to $150, while those for budget hotels can be as low as $30 to $50.
  • Activities: Depending on your preferences, the cost of activities in the DRC can also differ. In comparison to the around $150 per person cost of a trip to Virunga National Park, the daily cost of a gorilla trekking permit can range from $400 to $600.
  • Transportation: Depending on your preferred form of transportation, transportation costs in the DRC might range widely. Private car rental can be more expensive than taking a taxi.

You should expect to spend anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars on your DRC vacation, depending on your tastes and the amount of luxury you desire. To make sure you have a good time and stay safe, it’s a good idea to plan ahead of time and do some research.

This is an example of a one-week travel budget to the DRC, based on moderate lodging, basic food, and inexpensive activities:

  • Accommodation: $1200 (6 nights at $200+ per night)
  • Food: $175 (3 meals a day at $25 per meal)
  • Transportation: $350 (taxis, local buses, and motorcycle taxis)
  • Activities: $800 (including a gorilla trekking permit for one day, a visit to Virunga National Park, and other local tours)

Costs may differ based on factors such as your own travel choices, the time of year you travel, and the exchange rate. This is just an approximate estimate, though. This budget does not account for airfare, travel insurance, vaccines, visa fees, or any other unforeseen costs. You should constantly set aside a little more money in case of emergencies or unforeseen costs.

Travel Tips For Democratic Republic of the Congo

To assist you have a safe and pleasurable vacation to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), here are a few travel tips:

  • Get the necessary vaccinations: It is recommended to have the following vaccines before visiting the DRC: polio, typhoid, yellow fever, hepatitis A and B, and typhoid. For advice, see your doctor or go to a travel health center.
  • Obtain a valid visa: One must possess a valid visa in order to visit the DRC. Prior to your travel, submit your visa application and ensure that you have all the required documentation on hand.
  • Use a reputable tour operator: You should choose a trustworthy tour company (Kabira Safaris & The Bespoke African Safari Co.) if you want to go gorilla trekking or see animals. Their knowledgeable guides will be there to keep you safe and fill you in on all the details.
  • Respect local customs: The Democratic Republic of the Congo is home to a wide variety of traditions and cultures. Dress modestly out of respect for local norms, especially while visiting places of worship.
  • Be cautious when traveling around: Crime and conflict have long plagued the Democratic Republic of the Congo, especially in some regions. It is not advisable to travel at night or alone. Stay in areas with good lighting and don’t bring significant amounts of money or valuables with you.
  • Be mindful of health risks: Wearing protective gear, such as mosquito nets and bug repellant, is essential in the DRC because of the prevalence of malaria there. You should also stay away from street food and drink bottled water.
  • Be prepared for power outages: Many parts of the DRC, especially more remote ones, experience frequent power outages. Along with extra batteries and a torch, you should think about bringing a portable charger for your electronics.
  • Learn some basic French: Since French is an official language in the DRC, it can be useful to know a few basic phrases in order to communicate with people.

Regions And Highlights of Democratic Republic of the Congo

It would be a shame to miss out on the many fascinating parts of the enormous Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Some of the most notable areas and things to see are as follows:

  • Kinshasa:
    Situated on the banks of the Congo River, this city serves as the capital of the DRC. The National Museum of Kinshasa, the Palace of Justice, and the bustling markets are some of the city’s highlights.
  • Goma:
    It is a city in the eastern DRC, close to the Rwandan border. Some of the best things to do in the area include trekking up the Nyiragongo volcano and visiting the neighboring Virunga National Park, which is home to the rare mountain gorillas.
  • Lubumbashi:
    It is situated in the southern part of the DRC and is the country’s second-largest metropolis. Lubumbashi National Museum, Lake Tshangalele (a local lake), and the Lubumbashi Zoo are some of the highlights.
  • Kasai:
    The traditional music and dance of this central DRC region have made it famous. The Luba-Kasai Kingdom, the Kasai River, and the local festivities are some of the highlights.
  • Ituri Forest:
    Located in the northeastern part of the DRC, this area is famous for its varied fauna and verdant jungle. The Ituri Forest is a great place to go hiking and see animals, and you can also visit the Okapi animals Reserve, where you can see the uncommon okapi.
  • Lake Kivu:
    Situated on the Rwandan border in the eastern DRC, this lake is a popular tourist destination. Bukavu, a town on the lake, hiking in Kahuzi-Biega National Park, and a lake boat cruise are among of the highlights.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is home to many more beautiful regions and tourist hotspots than these. The size and infrastructure restrictions of the DRC make travel there difficult, so be sure to prepare beforehand.

A wide range of interesting and fascinating things to do await tourists in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). When you visit the DRC, make sure you see and do the following:

  • Gorilla Trekking:
    Tourists can embark on a guided walk through the jungle in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to see the endangered mountain gorillas in their native environment. When visiting the DRC, one of the top locations to go gorilla trekking is Virunga National Park.
  • Nyiragongo Volcano Hike:
    In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, many people enjoy hiking up the Nyiragongo volcano to the peak. Although the climb is difficult, the reward is well worth it when you reach the peak and observe the crater’s bubbling lava lake.
  • Visit the Congo River:
    A significant cultural and historical element of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the Congo River, the second-longest river in Africa. The river and its tributaries can be explored on boat tours, and visitors can even go fishing.
  • Visit National Parks:
    Virunga, Kahuzi-Biega, and Garamba National Parks are just a few of the many beautiful parks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that are perfect for hiking, wildlife viewing, and general relaxation.
  • Cultural experiences:
    There are a wide variety of ethnic groups and cultural practices in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Festivals, museums, and interactions with local communities provide visitors with opportunities to learn about Congolese art, dance, and music.
  • Historical Sites:
    Sites such as the Belgian colonial-era structures in Kinshasa, the slave trade sites in Kisangani, and the Independence Monument in Lubumbashi allow tourists to delve into the DRC’s complicated and varied past.
  • Relaxation:
    Along its coastline, the DRC boasts a number of stunning beaches and resorts, such as Kivu Lake and Muanda Beach. At these spots, guests can unwind, swim, and participate in water sports.

These are but a handful of the numerous attractions in the DRC. The size and infrastructure restrictions of the DRC make travel there difficult, so be sure to prepare beforehand.

What to eat in Democratic Republic of the Congo

The many ethnic groups and countries that border the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have left their mark on the country’s delicious cuisine. When you visit the DRC, you must taste these foods:

  • Fufu:
    Boiling, pounding, and shaping cassava, yams, or plantains into a dough-like consistency produces this DRC staple dish. Soup or sauce is a common accompaniment.
  • Moambe Chicken:
    Chicken fried in a sauce made from palm nuts is a popular meal in the Congo. Rice and plantains are common accompaniments.
  • Saka Saka:
    A typical side dish in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, this vegetable is similar to spinach. Typically, it is prepared with tomatoes, onions, and garlic and accompanied by fufu.
  • Brochettes:
    Typically made with goat or beef, these skewers are grilled and seasoned with a spicy peanut sauce.
  • Beignets:
    The Democratic Republic of the Congo is known for its delicious deep-fried doughnuts. Jam, chocolate, or custard is a common filling for these.
  • Liboke:
    The meat or fish is seasoned with spices and wrapped in banana leaves before being cooked in the oven or on the grill. Rice or fufu are common accompaniments.
  • Fried Plantains:
    Sliced and fried till crispy, these are ripe plantains. As a snack or side dish, they are frequently offered.

Along with these foods, you may find a wide array of local specialties sold by street vendors and at markets all across the DRC. Picking sellers with clean and sanitary preparation methods is an excellent way to ensure that the food you eat from street vendors is safe to eat.

Where to stay in Democratic Republic of the Congo

Think about accessibility, safety, and what you want out of your first trip to the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo). Here are some suggestions for places to stay, broken down by budget, mid-range, and luxury options.

Where to stay in Kinshasa:

Kinshasa, the capital and biggest city in the DRC, is a lively and diverse metropolis with many attractions to see and do.

  • Budget: Hotel Platinum
    Guests can enjoy the basic but pleasant accommodations, easy access to the city center, and inexpensive rates at this budget hotel located in the Gombe neighborhood.
  • Mid-range: Hotel Memling
    Centrally located among important sites including the National Museum of Congo, this mid-range hotel offers modern conveniences, large rooms, and a prime location in the center of Kinshasa.
  • Luxury: Pullman Kinshasa Grand Hotel
    If you’re looking for a five-star experience in Kinshasa, this hotel has you covered with its plush rooms, fine dining, and full range of recreational amenities, such as a gym and pool.

Places to Visit in the Republic of Congo

Plan Your Congo Trip

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