Africa’s second largest country is the Democratic Republic of Congo, abbreviated as D.R.C and formerly referred to as Zaire. It is one of those countries that has faced back-to-back political instabilities since it was colonized by the Belgians and later on led by Mobutu Sese Seko. It has faced frequent wars that have deteriorated its growth. However, it has managed to arise despite all these challenges as seen in the number of increased tourists visiting the country annually, it also has a big number of UNESCO heritage sites, vast rivers and lakes, beautiful volcanoes and diverse flora and fauna boosting its tourism industry.

Kinshasa its capital city is known as the second largest French speaking city on the African continent with a dense population of over 14 million people. DRC is among the three countries in the world where endangered mountain gorillas are found. One of the top attractions in the country is River Congo – the deepest river after Amazon River. Mount Nyiragongo holds the world’s largest boiling lava lake.

What to do on a safari to D.R. Congo?

Visiting the Congo River

This river is one of the most extensive river systems in the world and home to over 713 fish species, myriad of crocodiles and hippopotamuses. A boat ride across the river offers best opportunity to enjoy different features and creatures along this river.

Congo river also has over 40 power plants that supply electricity to the entire D.R.C and neighboring countries and these have been built close to the various waterfalls found along the river.

Gorilla Trekking Safaris

DR. Congo is an extraordinary country that offers both mountain gorilla trekking and Eastern lowland gorilla trekking, it is the only country in the world that contains almost all gorilla species. The mountain gorillas are found in Virunga National Park which is surrounded by active volcanoes. It is part of the Virunga Mountain range.

The Eastern lowland gorillas which are easier to trek since they live at low lying areas and are easily accessible can be found in Kahuzi-Biega National Park. Trekking of any of the two gorilla species is done at a fee of $400 per person, the cheapest price among all the three countries.

Enjoy Congolese food

Every culture in the world has delicious food that is explored by new people, Congolese food is also one of kind, the foods are inspired by French and Belgian cultures and therefore Mayonnaise is a favorite and it is accompanied by other foods like meat, chicken, salads, fish, peas and also a delicious peanut soup known as “poulet a la mwambe” Visit the various restaurants around Kinshasa to enjoy both local and international dishes.

Hiking Mount. Nyiragongo

Mount Nyiragongo is an active volcanic mountain with over 34 recorded eruptions since 1984, the latest occurred in 2011 leaving the world’s largest lava dammed lake that still produces smoke seen from as far as Rwanda in the night. A number of visitors flock this mountain each year and hike to the summit just to get close and witness the red-hot lava lake.

Nyiragongo summit offers beautiful views of Serengeti National Park and the Masai Mara. Along the hike to the peak are diverse vegetation and fauna. Visitors can spend the night at summit in comfortable cabins. This hiking activity goes for $300 per person.

Chimpanzee trekking in Virunga National Park

Virunga National Park is one of the many UNESCO sites in Congo, the tall trees and vegetation in the park are suitable for the chimpanzees stay and therefore the chimp families have been habituated to favor chimpanzee trekking. The activity starts in the mornings just like gorilla trekking and it takes about 4 hours. You get to see chimpanzees jumping from tree to tree. It costs $100 to enjoy this activity.

Visiting Lola Ya Bonobo

Bonobos are pygmy chimpanzees only found in DRC; Lola Ya Bonobo is a sanctuary that rescues orphaned bonobos. These animals are on high demand by poachers who hunt them for their meat, once the adults are killed, the young ones are abandoned and in order to conserve and protect them, they are taken to this place that cares for them.

The destination is found on a 30-acre piece of land and the environment simulates the wild therefore the animals feel at home. Volunteers and donors are warmly welcomed by the sanctuary.

Explore the Kinshasa City

The capital is a chaotic and busy area, however it is filled with energy and positive vibes, as an administrative center a lot of historical buildings are located here such as the Roman Catholic Cathedral, parliament and the National Museum.

It also has one of the busiest market places known as Marche des voleurs where most of the trading is done, here you can buy some groceries, street food and lots of art and crafts items, the city has been compared to New York.

Boat cruise on Lake Kivu

Located just along the Rwandan Congo Border, this is the sixth largest lake on the African continent, its fresh waters are good for taking a swim, fishing and also calming boat rides. Relax by the cool lake shores and also there are lots of cool resorts located within the Gisenyi area that is close to the lake.

Best time to Visit D. R. Congo

The country can be visited at any time of the year however if interested in specific activities like hiking or mountain gorilla trekking which are best experienced during certain times, then you need to visit during the best recommended seasons.

Hikes are mostly enjoyed when it is dry because then the trails are not muddy which makes navigation easy and simple.

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