Not to be confused with its embattled neighbour to the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo with Congo Safari offers the same magnificent wilderness, and the same mighty river, making it a far more desirable travel destination. Find out the Congo Travel Guide for more travel insights and tips!
Why Should I Go?
There is something magical about the DRC. As a visitor to the DRC, time is spent climbing to great heights for epic views, having close encounters with some of the world’s rarest creatures, and wading through thick, wet rainforests in search of adventure.
Congo Safari offers the most extraordinary experiences and, by the very essence of its splendour and variety, deserves to be seen, appreciated and protected.
Is It Actually Safe To Visit?
It’s possible to visit parts of the DRC safely. The safest and most tourist areas of the country are Goma, Virunga National Park and Bukavu in the east, and the capital Kinshasa in the west.
Where Should I Go?
There are only a couple of regions of the DRC that travellers can visit at present. One of these is the spectacular Virunga National Park, home to about a quarter of the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas. This is Africa’s oldest national park and is famed for its thick forest, towering mountain peaks and ancient swamps.
On the western side of the DRC is its capital Kinshasa: the world’s second-largest French-speaking city. It’s known as the heart of central African music, and the bars in Bandal or Matonge are worth visiting to sample the local nightlife.
Can I Go Hiking?
With its expanse of vast mountain ranges and thick rainforest, the DRC offers some top-notch hiking. There are lots of options in Virunga National Park, including various hikes to see the legendary mountain gorillas, but adventurous hikers will also want to tackle Mount Nyiragongo.
How Do I Get There And Around?
It’s difficult to obtain a visa for the DRC without having a tour booked through a reputable company. If you’re travelling independently, it’s best to book your accommodation, transport and activities in advance and use these details for your visa.
To get to Virunga, you can fly into Kigali in Rwanda and then take a three-hour taxi ride to the Goma border in the DRC where your tour company will meet you.
If you’re heading to Kinshasa, you can fly direct with reputable airlines from Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Johannesburg, Brussels and Paris.
What About Insurance?
Many insurance companies refuse to provide cover for areas under a travel warning, so if you already have a policy, check it’s valid in the DRC before you go.
There are a number of companies offering insurance for the DRC, including AMREF, which provide air ambulance evacuation services across the African continent, and Battlefield, which provide comprehensive travel and medical insurance for the region.
What About Money & Spending?
The Republic of the Congo uses the Central African Franc (CFA) as its currency but safari travellers are unlikely to encounter it. Brazzaville’s international hotels and the country’s few wilderness lodges accept US dollars, GB pounds and Euros.
The rates for our recommended accommodation include all meals and drinks (with the exception of premium wines and champagne, and premium liqueurs and spirits) as well as a laundry service (underwear is not washed due to local customs). Any extra payments or gratuities can be settled in the above foreign currencies – in cash – at check-out.
What About Tipping?
Provided the service is good, it is customary to tip lodge staff and guides in the foreign currency of your choice. The amount depends on the staff member’s role and the size of your group – enquire with one of our Africa Safari Experts for in-depth tipping guidelines; they’d be happy to share their knowledge with you.
What Is The Climate?
- Average daytime temperature: 24°C (75°F)
- Average night-time temperature: 16°C (61°F) – 21°C (70°F).
- Rainy seasons: October to December (long rains); March to April (short rains)
Travelling to Congo? Top travel insights, ideas and the best Congo Safari Packages, destinations and tours. Get the Congo Travel Guide by connecting with one of our local Congo travel experts!
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TOP DR CONGO SAFARI FAQS
Before entering Uganda, Rwanda, or DR Congo, you need to obtain a visa. In the case of Uganda, tourist visas can be bought in advance via the embassy or consulate in your country or can be purchased at the airport upon arrival. Passport photos are not required. A single entry tourist visa costs US $100 per person for a stay of up to 90 days. For Rwanda, a visa can be gotten in advance through the embassy or consulate in your country.
In Uganda and Rwanda, ATM cards and credit cards can be mostly used without any hassle. While Visa credit cards are by far the most convenient way to withdraw cash, MasterCards can be used at Barclay’s Bank, for example. Outside of Kampala and Kigali, ATM machines are scarce. Upcountry, ATMs can be found in larger towns. Your Instinct Safaris guide is further advised to temporarily help cover expenses in Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo in case you cannot withdraw cash at a given moment. We do not recommend trying to obtain cash in DR Congo at this time. Instead, we recommend bringing cash (either Uganda Shillings, Rwandan Francs, or US Dollars). Travelers cheques are not recommended in the countries we serve.
The topography of Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo covers a wide panel of terrains. Along with this array of landscapes comes a range of climates specific to these regions. All three countries are situated at a relatively high altitude compared to other east African countries. When going on safari with us, it can therefore be important to plan ahead and to know just when to encounter the best trekking and wildlife viewing conditions. While mountain gorilla tracking is recommended throughout the year and rain can come down on any day, our recommendations for the best travel times only apply to wildlife viewing and safari on the flatter plains in Uganda and Rwanda.
As mentioned before, Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo encompass a wide range of geographical features and a number of different climates. In any case, make sure to bring durable walking shoes or boots, sun glasses, and sun screen. Do not forget to pack insect repellent to fight off mosquitoes in the evenings, rain gear, and your camera. As far as clothing goes, go for comfortable boots, preferably two pairs. Shorts and long trousers and regular T-shirts or buttoned shirts are a good choice. Especially around Bwindi National Park and the Virunga volcanoes, mornings and evenings can be rather cold (down to 5 °C). Please make sure to bring appropriate clothing.