The Republic of the Congo is in Central Africa. The country is also known as Congo-Brazzaville to distinguish it from its giant eastern neighbor, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa). It is bordered by Gabon, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola (the exclave of Cabinda).
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is among Africa’s most mysterious largest countries on the continent with beautiful thick rain forest vegetation, magnificent relief/ landscapes as well as waterfalls and wildlife animals. The country also includes part of Lake Kivu and has the Congo beautiful river that flows to the Northern part of the country. Today, the country is still very wild and impenetrable due to its green thick rainforest with fair infrastructural development to enable you access to any destination you want to go to from one province to another with ease. The country’s capital city-Kinshasa is located in the far western direction with exciting ventures and African cultural encounters that are so unique to the country alone around Africa.
The Republic of the Congo’s sparse population is concentrated in the southwestern portion of the country, leaving the vast areas of tropical jungle in the north virtually uninhabited. Thus, Congo is one of the most urbanized countries in Africa, with 85% of its total population living in a few urban areas, namely in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, or one of the small cities or villages lining the 332-mile (534 km) railway which connects the two cities. In rural areas, industrial and commercial activity has declined rapidly in recent years, leaving rural economies dependent on the government for support and subsistence. Before the 1997 war, about 15,000 Europeans and other non-Africans lived in Congo, most of whom were French. Presently, only about 9,500 remain.
The country has a tourist capital called Goma and this is situated along the shores of Lake Kivu in the distant eastern part of the country. It neighbors the prominent Mt. Nyiragongo Volcano which is found at the center of Virunga National Park one of the ancient National Parks on the continent inhabiting the endangered species of Mountain Gorillas. Other National parks like Kahuzi Biege National Park in Congo inhabit the Eastern Lowland Gorillas which are spotted here all over the world.
Brazzaville — the capital of the Republic of the Congo. It is separated from Kinshasa, the capital of neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo, by the Congo River. Ouésso — a transit hub in the remotest far north of the country, in a territory with many nearby Pygmy villages. Owando — one of the recently municipalized cities in the country, and is considered one of the best places to visit in the north of Republic of Congo.
Goma is very peaceful and stable today making many tourists all over the globe visit the country to experience its beautiful encounters. Before transferring to the DR Congo, ensure to look and take in the following advice so as to travel around the country peacefully and comfortably.
Ile Mbamou Island — a government-owned island that is located about one hour from Brazzaville.Lefini Reserve — the country’s best known reserve, bordering Lesio-Louna to the north. Superb for safaris.The Lesio Louna Gorilla Reserve — a park located north of Brazzaville and is dedicated to the protection of gorillas in the Congo.Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park — the largest and most remote of Congo’s national parks and reserves, located in the far north bordering the Central African Republic’s Dzanga Sangha National Reserve.
Visas are not available on arrival, and showing up without one can cause many things you will want to avoid at all costs (fines, passport confiscation, etc.) For tourist visas you need to obtain an invitation letter from Congo and print and take that with a copy of your plane tickets to the nearest Republic of Congo Embassy, with a usual processing time of 3 days for $100.
Gorilla Safaris Africa can arrange a letter and tourist visa within 1-2 days. Mikhael’s hotel in Brazzaville, Ledger Plaza Maya Maya, and other expensive but excellent 5-star hotels can also arrange an invitation letter upon booking a room.
Congo Travel Guideline
Before travelling to the exciting DR Congo ensure to pack and prepare all your valid travel documents so that you don’t experience any inconveniences while trying to access the country especially at the Immigration Offices. For example, I have heard of instances where travelers around the world have been detained or getting their passports confiscated over commercial disputes/ fake/ lack of valid documents and immigration offenses. We advise all travelling to the country to ensure to inform all their friends and family just in case anything goes wrong. These can help you in any situation at anytime.
Additionally be vigilant while driving around the streets for a robber can come and attack you without notice and in no time, all your property/ luggage will be gone. So, make sure to move with less cash on you and dress up normally not expensively for this might give the robbers the idea of you being rich hence getting attacked. While in Congo, make sure not to move alone along the streets after dark/ at night but rather, you can move along with security operatives and a skilled guide/ driver. Additionally, be keen and careful about people you meet on the way while driving for some robbers use girls as decoy to get you trapped. Others also promise cut gold and diamonds or act like police guards.
If you’re travelling around the country using road, ensure you travel with an experienced skilled guide as well as a security guard with guns to protect you from any danger in case of attack. This will enable you navigate various areas with ease so be vigilant 24/7 for anything can happen anytime without notice for there have been instances of kidnapping around the North Kivu area around Goma where foreigners/ travelers have been a target. While transferring around any destination in Congo, make it a point that all your travel documents like international driving permits are updated and valid so as to travel flexibly to any destination of your choice around the country.
The railway transport in the country is in a decrepit form so we advise whoever is traveling around the country not to use this. Earlier, the country renovated and opened the route from Kinshasha to Matadi despite the fact that the services it offered to the people was not good enough.
Air travel in the DR Congo is insufficient due to the fact that all air carriers that were certified in the DR Congo, were barred from functioning within the EU according to safety concerns.
Travelling around Congo using River and Lake-water transport is fairly okay though; the boats and ferries used along these vessels are poorly maintained and always overloaded with people and luggage. This has caused serious accidents where many have lost their dear lives.
Book with www.gorillasafarisafrica.com) to experience the best while on safari holiday vacation in DR Congo.