Top 10 things to do in Democratic Republic of the Congo

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Huge, blessed with incredible natural wealth and beauty, culturally diverse, yet extremely unstable and dangerous.

Democratic Republic of the Congo is a country.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (/ˈkɒŋɡoʊ/; French: République démocratique du Congo French pronunciation: ​[kɔ̃ɡo]), also known as DR Congo, DRC, Congo, Congo-Kinshasa, DROC, or RDC (known as Zaïre 1971–97), is a country located in Central Africa. It borders the Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, and South Sudan to the north, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania to the East, Zambia and Angola to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world. With a population of over 75 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the most populous officially Francophone country, the fourth most populous nation in Africa and the nineteenth most populous country in the world.

The Congolese Civil Wars, beginning in 1996, brought about the end of Mobutu Sese Seko's 31 year reign, devastated the country, and ultimately involved nine African nations, multiple groups of UN peacekeepers and twenty armed groups. The wars resulted in the deaths of 5.4 million people since 1998 with more than 90% of those deaths the result of malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition, aggravated by displacement and unsanitary and over-crowded living conditions. Nearly half of the victims were children under five. As of 2013, according to the Human Development Index (HDI), DR Congo has a low level of human development, ranking 186 out of 187 countries.

DR Congo is extremely rich in natural resources but political instability, a lack of infrastructure and a culture of corruption have limited development, extraction and exploitation efforts. Besides the capital, Kinshasa, the other largest cities, Lubumbashi and Mbuji-Mayi, are both mining communities. DR Congo's largest export is raw minerals, with China accepting over 50% of DRC's exports in 2012.

Overall rating: 4.3
Country
Typical length of visit: 7 days

Top 10 things to do in Democratic Republic of the Congo

Virunga National Park

Virunga National Park
Virunga National Park (covering an area of 790,000 ha) comprises an outstanding diversity of habitats, ranging from swamps and steppes to the snowfields of Rwenzori at an altitude of over ...

Lubumbashi

Lubumbashi
Lubumbashi (formerly official names: Élisabethville (French) and  Elisabethstad (help·info) (Dutch)) in the southeastern part of Democratic Republic of the Congo, is the second-largest city in the country, after the capital Kinshasa. ...

Garamba National Park

Garamba National Park
The park's immense savannahs, grasslands and woodlands, interspersed with gallery forests along the river banks and the swampy depressions, are home to four large mammals: the elephant, giraffe, hippopotamus and ...

Salonga National Park

Salonga National Park
Salonga National Park is Africa's largest tropical rainforest reserve. Situated at the heart of the central basin of the Congo river, the park is very isolated and accessible only by ...

Mbuji-Mayi

Mbuji-Mayi
Mbuji-Mayi (formerly Bakwanga) serves as the capital of Kasai-Oriental Province in the south-central Democratic Republic of Congo. It is the third largest city in the country, following the capital Kinshasa ...

Kolwezi

Kolwezi
Kolwezi is a city in Katanga Province in the south of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, west of Likasi. It is home to an airport and a railway to ...

Okapi Wildlife Reserve

Okapi Wildlife Reserve
The Okapi Wildlife Reserve occupies about one-fifth of the Ituri forest in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Congo river basin, of which the reserve and ...

Kahuzi-Biega National Park

Kahuzi-Biega National Park
A vast area of primary tropical forest dominated by two spectacular extinct volcanoes, Kahuzi and Biega, the park has a diverse and abundant fauna. One of the last groups of ...