The Democratic Republic of Congo is a central African country on the Equator, with a 40km strip of Atlantic coastline. It is not to be mixed up with its neighbour, the Republic of the Congo. The two countries are separated by the Congo River. The country is often referred to as DR Congo or Congo-Kinshasa, after its capital, and isn’t considered a tourist destination due to ongoing violence.
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, is on the Congo River opposite the other Congo’s capital, Brazzaville. The city’s affluent part contrasts sharply with its poorer areas. Attractions in Kinshasa are Kinshasa Fine Arts Academy, Kinshasa Museum and the Hotel Memling’s skyscrapers. The central market offers myriad products while Commune de Matonge is the city’s chief nightlife area.
Three of the African Great Lakes: Lake Tanganyika, Lake Albert and Lake Edward are on Democratic Republic of Congo’s eastern border. The country also has great tracts of rainforest. National parks in the country are Garumba, Kahuzi-Biega, Salonga and Virunga. These parks and the Okapi Wildlife Reserve are World Heritage sites and contain many rare animals, including okapi and white rhino.
Cruises on the Congo River offer spectacular scenery. The DR Congo contains two notable waterfalls: Boyoma Falls and Livingstone Falls. Other destinations in the country include Lubumbashi, the country’s second largest city. Lubumbashi features the National Museum of Lubumbashi, a brewery and a zoo. Kisanto Botanical Gardens, in Matadi, contains trees imported from all over the world.
The best hotel options are available in the big cities. Kinshasa features a five- star hotel where room rates are reasonable. Accommodation is more basic outside the big cities, but travel can be dangerous.
The main entry point for international visitors is N’Djili International Airport. DR Congo has a rail network reaching major destinations in the country but it can be unreliable. The country has a vast network of waterways and traditionally this was the main means of transport.