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DR Congo

DR CONGO TRAVEL GUIDE

The Democratic Republic of Congo lies in the fertile river basin of the mighty Congo River, straddling the equator. Steep mountains stand sentinel in the north and west while volcanoes rumble in the lake district of Kivu. The steamy tropical rainforests in the west house a virtual treasury of rare animals and plants and if perchance, you dig deep into the earth, it yields a bounty of mineral and agricultural wealth unparalleled in the harsh and hostile African terrain. So what compulsion tears this country apart, what drives its people to destroy each other and what will make them stop? The answers have eluded Congo for the past centuries as its people continue to struggle against exploitation, bloody war and abject poverty. Sadly travel to this country is not recommended due to the level of violence by armed groups in which civilians are indiscriminately targeted.

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DR CONGO QUICK FACTS

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)

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FESTIVALS IN DR CONGO

DR Congo

BEST TIME TO VISIT DR CONGO

The best time to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) depends on your interests and activities. The country has a tropical climate, with two main seasons: the dry season and the rainy season. Here's a breakdown of the seasons:

  • Dry season: The dry season in the DRC runs from June to September, and December to February. This is the best time to visit if you're interested in gorilla trekking, wildlife viewing, and hiking, as the weather is dry and cool.
  • Rainy season: The rainy season in the DRC runs from March to May, and October to November. This is the best time to visit if you're interested in bird watching and seeing the waterfalls at their fullest. However, it's important to note that heavy rains can make some areas difficult to access and increase the risk of diseases like malaria.

Overall, the best time to visit the DRC is during the dry season, especially if you plan on visiting the eastern part of the country for gorilla trekking or hiking. But regardless of the season, it's important to research the specific areas you plan to visit and take necessary precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

DR CONGO WEATHER SYNOPSIS

Except in the high elevation areas, its latitudinal location gives the DR Congo an equatorial, hot, humid climate with minimal variation in temperature. The DR Congo is cooler and drier in the southern highlands and cool but wetter in the eastern highlands. Average temperatures in the central basin have a very narrow range between a high of 25°C and a low of 24°C, which also applies to the northeast. The southeast range has a low of 23.5°C in July to a high of 26.9°C in October. To the north of the equator, the wet season extends from April to October with two rainfall peaks in May and October, and the dry season extends from December to February. In the southeastern part of the country, the wet season is from November to March and the dry season is from April to October. The central parts of the country receive the highest precipitation with less variability. The southeast has a distinct dry season, receiving almost no rainfall during June, July, and August.

DR Congo

DR CONGO TOURIST SEASONS

Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists. 

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Peak Season

Shoulder Season

Off Peak Season

JANUARY

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COLD

MODERATE

DRY

WET

FEBRUARY

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MARCH

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COLD

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APRIL

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COLD

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WET

MAY

HOT

COLD

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JUNE

HOT

COLD

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WET

JULY

HOT

COLD

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WET

AUGUST

HOT

COLD

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WET

SEPTEMBER

HOT

COLD

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WET

OCTOBER

HOT

COLD

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NOVEMBER

HOT

COLD

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DECEMBER

HOT

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SPORT & ACTIVITIES

SNOW SPORT IN DR CONGO

HIKING & CYCLING IN DR CONGO

BEACH OPTIONS IN DR CONGO

SURFING IN DR CONGO

KITESURF IN DR CONGO

Kitesurfing spot details and weather

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TRAVEL SAFETY IN DR CONGO

Always consider the current safety risk of each destination and do not travel without travel / medical insurance

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HEALTH RISKS IN DR CONGO

Be aware of possible health risks in 

DR Congo

Yellow fever - The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no medicine to treat or cure an infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.

Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.

Malaria - Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.

Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.

For the latest travel health notices and recommended precautions click

DR CONGO TRAVEL COSTS

The cost of travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) can vary depending on several factors, including the time of year, the length of your stay, your mode of transportation, and your choice of accommodation and activities. Here are some approximate costs to give you an idea:

  • Visa: The cost of a tourist visa for the DRC varies depending on your nationality, but it generally ranges from $100 to $200.
  • Flights: The cost of flights to the DRC can vary greatly depending on where you're flying from and when you book. On average, a round-trip flight from Europe or North America can cost anywhere from $700 to $1,500.
  • Accommodation: The cost of accommodation in the DRC can range from budget to luxury, with prices varying depending on the city and the type of accommodation. On average, a budget hotel can cost around $30 to $50 per night, while a mid-range hotel can cost around $80 to $150 per night.
  • Activities: The cost of activities in the DRC can also vary, depending on what you want to do. For example, gorilla trekking permits can cost anywhere from $400 to $600 per person per day, while a visit to the Virunga National Park can cost around $150 per person.
  • Transportation: The cost of transportation in the DRC can vary depending on the mode of transport you choose. Taxis are relatively inexpensive, while private car hire can be more costly.

Overall, the cost of traveling to the DRC can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on your preferences and the level of comfort you require. It's recommended that you do some research and plan your trip in advance to ensure you have an enjoyable and safe experience.

 

Here's a sample budget for a one-week trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), based on mid-range accommodation, basic meals, and budget activities:

  • Accommodation: $400 (6 nights at $60 per night)
  • Food: $150 (3 meals a day at $7 per meal)
  • Transportation: $200 (taxis, local buses, and motorcycle taxis)
  • Activities: $500 (including a gorilla trekking permit for one day, a visit to Virunga National Park, and other local tours)

Total: $1,250

Please note that this is a rough estimate and actual costs can vary depending on your specific travel preferences, season of travel, and the exchange rate at the time. Also, keep in mind that this budget does not include flights, travel insurance, vaccinations, visa fees, or other unexpected expenses. It's always a good idea to budget extra for emergencies or unexpected expenses.

DR CONGO TRAVEL TIPS

Here are some travel tips for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that may help you have a safe and enjoyable trip:

  • Get the necessary vaccinations: Before traveling to the DRC, it's important to get vaccinated against diseases like yellow fever, hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and polio. Consult your doctor or a travel health clinic for advice.
  • Obtain a valid visa: Visitors to the DRC are required to have a valid visa. Make sure you apply for a visa well in advance of your trip and bring all necessary documents.
  • Use a reputable tour operator: If you're planning to go gorilla trekking or wildlife viewing, it's recommended that you use a reputable tour operator. They will have experienced guides who can ensure your safety and provide an informative experience.
  • Respect local customs: The DRC is a culturally diverse country with many different customs and traditions. Be respectful of local customs and dress modestly, particularly when visiting religious sites.
  • Be cautious when traveling around: The DRC has a history of conflict and crime, particularly in certain areas. Avoid traveling alone and do not travel at night. Stick to well-lit areas and avoid carrying large sums of cash or valuables.
  • Be mindful of health risks: The DRC is a malaria-endemic country, so take necessary precautions, such as using mosquito nets and insect repellent. It's also recommended that you drink bottled water and avoid street food.
  • Be prepared for power outages: Power outages are common in the DRC, particularly in rural areas. Bring a flashlight and spare batteries, and consider carrying a portable charger for your electronic devices.
  • Learn some basic French: French is one of the official languages of the DRC, so learning some basic French phrases can be helpful when communicating with locals.

By following these travel tips, you can have a safe and enjoyable trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF DR CONGO

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a vast country with many regions and attractions worth visiting. Here are some of the main regions and highlights:

  • Kinshasa: This is the capital city of the DRC and is located on the banks of the Congo River. Highlights include the lively markets, the National Museum of Kinshasa, and the Palace of Justice.

  • Goma: This is a city located in the east of the DRC, near the border with Rwanda. Highlights include visiting the nearby Virunga National Park, home to the endangered mountain gorillas, as well as hiking the Nyiragongo volcano.

  • Lubumbashi: This is the second-largest city in the DRC and is located in the south. Highlights include visiting the Lubumbashi Zoo, the nearby Lake Tshangalele, and the Lubumbashi National Museum.

  • Kisangani: This is a city located in the northeast of the DRC, on the banks of the Congo River. Highlights include visiting the Kisangani Botanical Garden, the Wagenia Falls, and the Stanley Falls.

  • Kasai: This is a region located in the center of the DRC, known for its traditional music and dance. Highlights include visiting the Luba-Kasai Kingdom, exploring the Kasai River, and participating in local festivals.

  • Ituri Forest: This is a region located in the northeast of the DRC, known for its lush rainforest and diverse wildlife. Highlights include visiting the Okapi Wildlife Reserve, home to the rare okapi, as well as hiking and wildlife watching in the Ituri Forest.

  • Lake Kivu: This is a lake located in the east of the DRC, on the border with Rwanda. Highlights include visiting the lakeside town of Bukavu, hiking in Kahuzi-Biega National Park, and taking a boat tour on the lake.

These are just a few of the many regions and attractions worth visiting in the DRC. It's important to do your research and plan your trip carefully, as travel in the DRC can be challenging due to its size and infrastructure limitations.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) offers a variety of unique and exciting activities for visitors. Here are some of the best things to see and do when visiting the DRC:

  • Gorilla Trekking: The DRC is home to the endangered mountain gorillas, and visitors can take a guided trek through the dense forest to observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Virunga National Park is one of the best places to go gorilla trekking in the DRC.
  • Nyiragongo Volcano Hike: Hiking to the summit of the Nyiragongo volcano is a popular activity in the DRC. The trek is challenging, but the views from the top are breathtaking, as you can see the bubbling lava lake at the crater.
  • Visit the Congo River: The Congo River is the second-longest river in Africa and an important part of the DRC's history and culture. Visitors can take a boat tour along the river, explore its tributaries, or even go fishing.
  • Visit National Parks: The DRC is home to several national parks, including Virunga National Park, Kahuzi-Biega National Park, and Garamba National Park, which are great places to observe wildlife, hike, and enjoy the natural beauty of the country.
  • Cultural experiences: The DRC is a culturally diverse country with many different ethnic groups and traditions. Visitors can learn about Congolese music, dance, and art by attending local festivals, visiting museums, and interacting with local communities.
  • Historical Sites: The DRC has a rich and complex history, and visitors can explore historical sites like the Belgian colonial-era buildings in Kinshasa, the slave trade sites in Kisangani, or the Independence Monument in Lubumbashi.
  • Relaxation: The DRC has several beautiful beaches and resorts along its coastline, including Muanda Beach and the Kivu Lake. Visitors can relax, swim, and enjoy water sports at these locations.

These are just a few of the many things to see and do in the DRC. It's important to do your research and plan your trip carefully, as travel in the DRC can be challenging due to its size and infrastructure limitations.

DR Congo

WHAT TO EAT IN DR CONGO

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has a rich culinary tradition influenced by its diverse ethnic groups and neighboring countries. Here are some of the must-try foods when visiting the DRC:

  • Fufu: This is a staple food in the DRC made from cassava, yams, or plantains that are boiled, pounded, and formed into a dough-like consistency. It is often served with a soup or sauce.

  • Moambe Chicken: This is a popular Congolese dish made with chicken cooked in a sauce made from palm nuts. It is often served with rice and plantains.

  • Saka Saka: This is a spinach-like vegetable that is a common side dish in the DRC. It is usually cooked with onions, garlic, and tomatoes and served with fufu.

  • Brochettes: These are skewers of grilled meat, usually beef or goat, that are marinated in spices and served with a spicy peanut sauce.

  • Beignets: These are deep-fried doughnuts that are a popular snack in the DRC. They are often filled with jam, chocolate, or custard.

  • Liboke: This is a dish of fish or meat that is marinated in spices and wrapped in banana leaves before being grilled or baked. It is often served with rice or fufu.

  • Fried Plantains: These are ripe plantains that are sliced and fried until crispy. They are often served as a side dish or snack.

In addition to these dishes, there are many street food vendors and markets throughout the DRC that offer a variety of local specialties. It's important to practice good food safety when eating street food by choosing vendors with clean and hygienic preparation practices.

LGBTQ IN DR CONGO

DR Congo

WHERE TO STAY IN DR CONGO

Choosing where to stay when visiting the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for the first time will largely depend on your travel plans and budget. Here are some options to consider:

  • Kinshasa: The capital city of Kinshasa is a good place to start your trip to the DRC. It has a range of accommodation options, from budget to luxury hotels, and is home to many of the country's cultural and historical sites.
  • Goma: This city is located in the east of the country and is a good base for exploring Virunga National Park and Nyiragongo volcano. There are several mid-range and budget hotels in Goma, as well as guesthouses and lodges.
  • Bukavu: This city is located in the east of the country, near Lake Kivu and Kahuzi-Biega National Park. It has a range of accommodation options, including budget guesthouses, mid-range hotels, and luxury lodges.
  • Virunga National Park: If you plan to go gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park, you can stay in one of the park's lodges or tented camps. This is a great option if you want to be close to the gorilla trekking trails and have an immersive wilderness experience.
  • Guesthouses and Homestays: For a more authentic experience, you can consider staying in a guesthouse or homestay with a local family. This can be a great way to learn about Congolese culture and connect with locals.

It's important to do your research and book your accommodation in advance, as availability can be limited and booking on arrival can be difficult in some parts of the country. Also, be sure to check the safety situation of the area you plan to visit and choose accommodation in a safe and secure location.

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