The DR Congo Top 18 Reasons Why You Must Visit – Interestingly in the news most of the time for the wrong reasons, DR Congo is known for its breadth of biodiversity and natural richness, which includes the largest area of primary rainforest in Africa.
A journey to the heart of DR Congo is off the trodden path somewhat, but this often results in a friendly welcome and some heart-warming interactions with the local host communities. Journeying to DR Congo has lots of potential for exploration for pioneering explorers looking for unique African holiday experiences.
Situated in the eastern DR Congo, the Albertine Rift Valley is the western arm of the Great Rift System. Its floor is deeply fissured with depressions and craters thus creating Albert, Edward, Kivu, Tanganyika, and Mweru.
Why the Democratic Republic of Congo
DR Congo perhaps isn’t for the first-time African traveler, but the country offers some amazing wildlife viewing and cultural experiences. In this part of the world, you have got access to track the only habituated lowland gorillas, wild chimpanzees, walk with the elephants, the birding experience is number one to none in Africa and a variety of other endemic forest fauna and flora make this a must-see destination.
Culturally, the Congolese have rich traditions that remain important in their modern-day world and a real sense of character and charm owing to their rich French colonial heritage. French also being the national language, though there is still a strong sense of African identity that coexists alongside this.
This cultural fusion is more evident than in the capital city of Kinshasa, where the hustle and bustle of market life splash the lively colors of the day. In DR Congo, children’s ways of playing in the streets are the norm welcoming the balmy nights that provide an atmospheric African setting for Congolese music.
The beauty of the country spans beyond the banks of the riverfront, the calmness of a lake, the misty volcanic terrains, or majestically in the density of the equatorial rain forest. DR Congo is a country where only a privileged will have had the honor of visiting as an explorer rather than a tourist. Please read more on The DR Congo Top 18 Reasons Why You Must Visit
The Democratic Republic of Congo is an intrepid destination for the well-seasoned traveler. This comes with the best chances to experience some of the most beautiful natural spots in Africa, and see some incredible wildlife arenas.
- Fascinating activities – Take a walk through the dense jungles, swim in natural pools, take boat trips down the rivers that never end, and don’t miss tracking the gorillas.
- Explore – A journey to the Democratic Republic of Congo isn’t only about the wildlife, but their habitats too. The experiences are wonderful, with a rich cultural blend to be had; explore the traditional markets, indulge in numerous ports and cities, or simply just take it easy.
- Rare wildlife – Enjoy walking safaris to see gorillas, Okapi, Bonobo, chimps, birds, monkeys, forest elephants and even night walks to see the nocturnal wildlife species.
Yes, we agree that there is so little ecotourism/tourism information out there about DR Congo but on our list, Virunga National Park, Katanga province; Mount Kabobo and the Marangu Highlands dominate as we also chill it out and experience the sandy beaches of the pristine Lake Tanganyika.
In DR Congo, this part of the country has the highest and most rugged, striking chains of mountains. One of them is the Mitumba Mountains stretch along the Western Rift Valley and rise to an elevation of 2,990 meters.
As the only country in Africa with two time zones, DR Congo, RDC, Zaire or Congo Kinshasa is rich in natural resources. Boasting the largest forest reserves in Africa; and holds about half of the hydroelectric potential of the continent without forgetting its numerous and unique biodiversity of birds, reptiles, trees, fishes, and much more.
Truly, ecotourism is part of a holistic solution to a problem that if left unchecked could result in having to restock our wildernesses in the next few years’ time. Through ecotourism in DR Congo, we’ve designed this solution to tackle poverty, protect communities, conserve nature, and effect cultural change only where it’s absolutely necessary.
For us, ensuring that we have the greatest impact has meant Oluokos creating its own signature footprint. We treasure our community; we’re dearly attached to nature as we depend on it for our lifelong income. The success of our approach requires three vital ingredients: conservation, commerce, and community. It’s only through your support that we can achieve these. Please, move forward and support us today. Explore DR Congo.
Why Visit DR Congo
- Unique Wildlife – Aside from minerals, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a nature’s Eden. It’s home of the world’s most unique and endangered wildlife, birds, reptiles and plants, The Congo is home to unique animal species such as the elusive bongo, bonobos (pygmy chimps), Congolese Peafowl, eastern lowland gorillas, and mountain gorillas, okapi, and forest elephants. Katanga Lechwe and much more.
The nation is home to everything from Africa’s big five to birds and reptiles. A primate’s trek to the country’s national parks, such as Virunga National Park offers an exhilarating experience to encounter these gentle giants.
Discover The Upemba – Upemba National Parkstraddles the River Lualabaand is accessible from the towns of Lubumbashi and Kolwezi. It includes several lakes and picturesque riverine sections inhabited by hippos, crocodiles and over 400 species of birds. Like the rest of DR Congo, Upemba National Park equally, has a dark past. Loss of its wildlife due to poachers and warlords but are slowly returning with the help of the Frankfurt Zoological Society Forgotten Parks Foundation and other partners.
- Explore the Rich Culture – Endowed with over 200 ethnic groups, and a wide range of languages spoken DR Congo has the most vibrant and captivating cultures in the whole of Africa. Their energetic s soukous music and dance, or the toned down rumba music and dance, a dozen of tribal festivals and the Congolese art are particularly noteworthy in the country, with many traditional forms still flourishing today.
DR Congo offers fantastic cultural encounters with tribes like the Mbuti pygmies. These pygmies continue to live as they did over 10,000 years ago. Spending a week among the Mbuti pygmies will give you some incredible memories and experiences.
- Discover Lubumbashi – Lubumbashi, the second-largest city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, located in the country’s southeastern most part, along the border with Zambia. Lubumbashi is the center of mining in the region, acting as a hub for many of the country’s largest mining companies. The city has a lot to offer for anyone who is interested to explore within and beyond the city’s many diverse points of interests. Learn more on Why Visit Lubumbashi.
Kimilamatonge Mine: If you’re interested in mineral and geology, then the Kimilamatonge Mine is a great place to visit for an informative tour. The mine offers guided tours where you can see how the minerals are extracted and learn about the mining process.
Kipushi Mine: Is another great place to visit if you’re interested in mining and geology. It’s located about 20 km out of Lubumbashi and offers similar informative guided tours of the mine.
Lubumbashi Zoo: For the nature lovers, the zoo is a great place to visit. Don’t get it wrong, the zoo isn’t only for keeping animals but it acts a rehabilitation zone to some animals who are victims of wildlife trafficking before they are returned to the wild. Here, you can see a variety of African wildlife, including monkeys, chimpanzees, pangolins, lions among others.
Ruashi River: This is a beautiful river that flows through the town of Ruashi, near Lubumbashi. It’s an ideal destination for a day trip where you can spend the day by the river banks, enjoying the beautiful scenery and the fresh air.
Lake Tshangalele: This lake is located about 25 km from Lubumbashi and is a popular spot for swimming and fishing. It’s a beautiful place to visit for a day trip and enjoy a picnic by the lake.
The Congo Palace: The Congo Palace is a historic building in Lubumbashi and is worth a visit if you’re interested in architecture and history. It’s a beautiful building with a rich colonial and Congolese history.
Musée National de Lubumbashi: The National Museum of Lubumbashi is a great place to learn about the history, culture, and art of the Congolese people. For anyone interested in history and culture, if your time allows this is a must-visit.
- Congolese Cuisine – Strongly impacted by the French and their Belgian colonists, country’s neighboring countries, as well as its own traditional dishes, DR Congo’s cuisine is at a different level. Popular Congolese dishes include fufu(a starchy side dish), madesu(a type of fish soup), and mbika (a stew made with cassava leaves).
Mayonnaise is a popular condiment among urban dwellers, and it may be used with peas, manioc, fish, meat, salads, and chili pepper. Beef brochette, roasted chicken, and roast goat are among more easily available dishes. Don’t miss out on capittaine or poulet à la mwambe, a locally bred chicken with a peanut source.
In Goma, Lubumbashi, Bukavu, Kisangani, and Kinshasa, there are several high-end restaurants serving both indigenous and continental cuisines.
- Kalemie – Kalemie is a town located in the southeastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is the capital of Tanganyika Province and is situated on the western shore of Lake Tanganyika, the world’s second deepest lake.
Kalemie is a must-visit destination for nature lovers, adventurers, and culture enthusiasts. The city offers visitors a chance to enjoy beautiful, scenic views, engage in outdoor activities and immerse themselves in the local culture and traditions of the lakeshore community.The following are some of the must-visit tourist attractions of Kalemie:
Lake Tanganyika: Lake Tanganyika is the world’s second-deepest lake and is located in Kalemie. The lake offers beautiful views that are breathtaking. Visitors in Kalemie can take a boat ride on the lake, go fishing or simply relax on the beaches along the coast and enjoy the scenic views.
Mount Kabobo: Mount Kabobo is one of the most stunning and impressive places to visit in Kalemie. This mountain rises 2,500 meters above sea level and is surrounded by unique flora and fauna. Visitors can enjoy hiking, primates tracking and birdwatching in the mountain’s natural setting, making it a perfect destination for people who love adventure and outdoor activities.
Kalemie Beach: Kalemie Beach is a stunning, secluded beach on the outskirts of the city. The beach is surrounded by palm trees and offers visitors an opportunity to enjoy the warm sun while relaxing in the sand or swimming in the crystal-clear waters of Lake Tanganyika.
Kalemie Museum: The Kalemie Museum is a cultural hub that displays the local history and culture of the region. It contains numerous exhibits and artifacts that give visitors an insight into the rich heritage and traditions of the local residents of the city.
Diving in Lake Tanganyika: Lake Tanganyika is a beautiful location where visitors can explore the underwater world and enjoy various aquatic activities like diving and snorkeling. The lake offers visitors a chance to swim alongside unique marine life such as crocodiles, freshwater jellyfish and endemic fish species.
- Historical Sites – Kinshasa, as the country’s seat of power and economic pillar, has numerous notable structures worth seeing. They include theKinshasa National Museum,Palais de la Nation, the legislative building, the American Baptist Missionary Society Chapel, and the Roman Catholic Cathedral. A city tour would be the best way of appreciating this beautiful city by the Congo River.
- Kundelungu National Park – The park is approximately 7,600 square kilometers, is located in Haut-Katanga Provinceand was first established in 1970. Its major attraction is the Lofoi Falls, a 340 meters high waterfall one of the highest in Central Africa.
The ecosystem is mainly grassy savannah on large steppes dotted with forest galleries, characteristics of Katanga. Fauna found in the park include antelopes, jackals, porcupines, warthogs, snakes, monkeys, buffalos, hippopotamuses and bird species including egrets, marabou storks and pelicans. It’s worth to note that Kundelungu is an important bird area and for that reason, is an IUCN Category II park.
- The Mighty Congo River – The Congo Riveris the world’s second largest river system and only ranked behind the Amazon. The Congo Riveris the world’s deepest river, with an overall volume second only to the Amazon. Its water contributes to the stunning landscape and supports a greater biodiversity in the DR Congo and beyond. The river is home to over 713 different fish species, as well as crocodiles, hippos, birds, and spectacular waterfalls.
- Kahuzi Biega National Park – Established in 1970 to safeguard theEastern Lowland Gorillas, Kahuzi Biega is a UNESCO World Heritage. This beautiful national park, named after the 3,000-metre-high Mount Kahuzi and the 2,700-metre-high Mount Biega, are located in South Kivu Province and runs from the Congo River valley to Bukavu. Kahuzi and Biega are extinct volcanoes that today provide some fantastic Eastern Lowland Gorilla tracking opportunities. Apart from the gorillas and other primates, the park has a great biological importance that include indigenous vegetation, insects, birds, elephants, chimpanzees, genets, and antelopes.
- Ecotourism in DR Congo – The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a hidden gem of a destination, with a rich culture, stunning natural beauty, and friendly people. With so much to offer, it is well worth adding to your travel itinerary. DR Congo has something for everyone, whether you’re interested in culture history, wildlife, birdwatching or slow tourism activities.
The country is committed to sustainable tourism and it already offers a number of ecotourism activities. The options are not only limited to visitors staying in eco-lodges, but visitor can go on guided nature walk and tours with the knowledgeable locals, and they may participate in conservation programs.
- Climb Mount Nyiragongo – The Nyiragongo Volcanois a major attraction in the Virunga National Park, with plumes of smoke visible from as far away as Rwanda at night. Nyiragongo is an active volcano in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with the world’s biggest lava lake. The mountain has erupted 34 times since 1984, the most recent being in 2011.
Every year, hundreds of people disregard negative publicity and security advice from their embassies in order to be among the few who have seen a lava lake up close. When paired with gorilla trekking in Virunga and a visit to the Serengeti or Masai Mara plain in Kenya and Tanzania respectively, you’ll have accomplished a dream come true African safari.
- Visit Virunga National Park – Situated along the borders of Rwanda and Uganda, Virunga National Park is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As the DR Congo’s oldest national park, it’s also the most biologically diverse national park probably in Africa.
In the Virunga National Park, you’ll find lava plains, savanna grasslands, forests, valleys, active volcanoes, swamps, and even glacier peaks in the Rwenzori Mountains.
Globally, roughly, 25% of endangered mountain gorillas call the Virunga National Park home, and in Africa, Virunga is the only park to have three of the four great apes in one place.
The Okapi, an endangered species that looks like a cross between a giraffe and a zebra, also make the park their home. You can spot hippos, lions, elephants, and a number of rare and exotic birds.
The park has three distinct areas, all worth a visit: The Rwenzori Mountains, Lake Edward area, and the Mikeno volcano sector.
Mountain Gorillas are one of the most intriguing creatures on the planet and the Virunga National Park offers the opportunity for visitors to get up-close and personal with these gorgeous creatures at a comparatively reasonable cost. Permits cost $400, and Virunga has six habituated gorilla groups. Tracking gorillas leads you deep into the forest, where you may encounter many of the park’s wildlife. It takes roughly two hours to discover the primates, but you are only allowed to spend one hour with them.
- Bird Watching in DR Congo – With a staggering list of 1189 bird species in as of 2020, the DR Congo has the biggest number of species for any African country. In the DR Congo, bird watching is most developed in the eastern part of the country where many birds can access DR Congo though Uganda and Rwanda.
However, there is a lot for bird species in other parts of the country during any DR Congo bird watching safaris. The nation contains the majority of two Endemic Bird Areas (EBAs), the Eastern DR Congo plains and the Albertine Rift Mountains. These two EBAs form the Central Refuge, which is one of Africa’s most important endemism hotspots. Of all the 43 limited range species of these two EBAs are present, with 23 of them being of worldwide conservation concern.
Additionally, two secondary EBAs are fully lie within DR Congo. These are namely, Lake Lufira and the Upemba and Kundelungu National Parks in lowlands of Katanga region. The remaining two are partially within the country, the Cabinda coast and in the western DR Congo respectively. Explore Birdwatching Options in the DR Congo.
- DR Congo’s Flora and Fauna – The country is home to a quarter of the world’s mountain Gorilla population. Trek through the Congo’s rainforests alongside experts as you go in search of Gorillas, in a plight to help aid in the care and protection of these mesmeric creatures.
Catch a ferry down on Lake Kivu, one of East Africa’s greatest lakes or a helicopter over awe-inspiring hills and plains. Hike the world’s largest volcano lake and camp around its crater, waking up to breath-taking views.
DR Congo has about 11,000 plant species, including 3,200 endemic plants, representing about 43% of the medicinal plants on the planet; 480 species of mammals; 1,189 species of birds; 1,600 species of fish; 350 species of reptiles; 220 species of amphibians and several tens of thousands of species of insects.
Many of these species are rare, present only in Congo and sometimes in specific territories, which therefore makes them fragile species. Not to mention the many (micro) plant and animal species still unknown to science to this day.
- Big Game, Culture, Gorillas and Birds
DR Congo has a vast choice of attractions for the discerning intrepid traveler. This range from the vastness of the urban Kinshasa, with its high-end hotels and restaurants, to smaller but equally attractive cities like Lubumbashi, Kisangani and Goma.
Consider the fact that much of Africa’s most popular music comes from the DR Congo, there’s plenty of proof that the DR Congo isn’t only for nature lovers but also offers an abundance of cultural experiences to immerse oneself in.
The DR Congo’s jungles, savannas, forests, swamps, rivers, the beaches on the Atlantic Ocean and the foothills of the volcanic peaks. The forests of DR Congo are famous for their primate population, including the endemic eastern lowland gorilla, as well as okapi, giraffe and elephant, lions, leopards, buffaloes, zebras and much more. The forests offer an abundance of birdlife that can’t be compared with any other country in Africa. DR Congo, is indeed a country filled with so much surprises.
- Trekking the Rwenzori Mountain – The Ruwenzori, also spelled Rwenzoriand Rwenjura, or Rwenzururuare a range of mountains in eastern equatorial Africa, located on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The highest peak of the Ruwenzori reaches 5,109 meters, and the range’s upper regions are permanently snow-capped and glaciated.
Rivers fed by mountain streams form one of the sources of the Nile. Because of this, European explorers linked the Ruwenzori with the legendary Mountains of the Moon, claimed by the Greek scholar Ptolemy as the source of the Nile. Virunga National Park in eastern DR Congo and Rwenzori Mountains National Park in southwestern Uganda are located within the range.
The Rwenzori mountains are the highest non-volcanic, non-orogenic mountains in the world. This uplift divided the paleolake Obweruka and created three of the present-day African Great Lakes: Lake Albert, Lake Edward, and Lake George.
The range is about 120 kilometers long and 65 kilometers wide. It consists of six massifs separated by deep gorges: Mount Stanley 5,109 meters, Mount Speke 4,890 meters, Mount Baker 4,843 meters, Mount Emin 4,798 meters, Mount Gessi 4,715 meters and Mount Luigi di Savoia 4,627 meters Mount Stanley has several subsidiary summits, with Margherita Peak being the highest point.
All these would leave you with a stronger urge to explore the little-known Democratic Republic of Congo. Now that you know, why don’t you explore with Oluokos Signature.
- Luxurious Accommodation – DR Congo’s hospitality is taking new shape and the good news is that, there’s no shortage of accommodation options in many parts for the DR Congo major cities and even in some well-known tourist attractions.
However, it’s not always easy to find a reasonably priced facility below $50 with the guarantee of a decent level of service and quality especially when you travel out of the major cities. In recent years, hotels have sprung up everywhere, sometimes in an anarchic fashion.
In spite of all the new developments in the DR Congo’s hospitality sector, it’s not easy to find your way around the plethora of hotels on offer online, with prices that are sometimes surprisingly low for a standard of comfort that ranges from uneven to very basic. This is the reason why you need to use Oluokos Signature expertise.
With the exception of the big names, such as the popular international hotel chains namely King Plaza Arjaan by Rotana, Novotel Kinshasa La Gombe, Fleuve Congo, Hilton Kinshasa, Accor, Pullman Lubumbashi Grand Karavia.
Away from the well-established international names, there are also smaller hotels and boutique hotels that offer a more personalized and customized experiences. However, when you move out of the city to remote destinations like national parks and game reserves, accommodation options may be limited to basic lodges and camping sites.
Some parks have lodges or campsites run by the park authority or private investors, which offer basic amenities like beds, showers, and toilets and of course some reasonably decent meals. Even with these changes, we still guarantee that you will find the best reasons for enjoying your African safari in the Democratic republic of Congo with Oluokos Signature.
Entrust our experts to plan for your DR Congo birding experiences.
Are you in DR Congo for a business meeting or one of those big conferences? Oluokos Signature team is available to take care of your accommodation within Lubumbashi, Kinshasa, Kisangani, Goma and DR Congo in general.
For any further assistance, be it photography, excursion or safaris further afield or anything else, kindly do not hesitate to get in to reach us on +254572533434 or via our website Oluokos Signature