Democratic Republic Of The Congo Trip Planner
Know Your Trip Budget for Your Dream Vacation to Democratic Republic Of The Congo
More commonly known as the Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo has gone through many changes ever since its establishment. From 1908 to 1960, the country was named Belgian Congo and from 1971-1997, it was called Zaire. Unfortunately, the beautiful wilderness and everything amazing that this country has to offer to a tourist is now hidden behind the shackles of political indifferences and is slowly turning into quite an unsafe place to visit.
As a rule in many African countries, even Democratic Republic of Congo has a byzantine visa regime which dissuades tourism and commerce. Basically every foreigner wishing to enter for whatever purpose it maybe needs to procure a visa. Only certain African nationals are exempt from the requirement of a visa, but event that comes with terms and conditions applied. For instance, nationals of Burundi, Rwanda and Zimbabwe can enter the Democratic Republic of Congo visa-free and stay in the country for up to 90 days. On the other hand, nationals Mauritius, Tanzania and Kenya need to obtain a visa on arrival which lasts for up to 7 days.
When to go
The best time to visit Democratic Republic o Congo is during March and April. This is also a great time as you will get great deals for accommodation and travel. Some of the other months are November to February which are dry but not too hot as the summer season just ends during this time. The country is also so close to the equator that it has to suffer through worst of thunderstorms and very high precipitation as well. It is always good to make a note of the weather in the past ten days before you plan your trip to get stranded in any such situation
Destinations to cover
There are plenty of places to see and things to do in Democratic Republic of Congo. You can start by seeing the urban side of the country. Kinhasa, Bukavu, Gova, Kisangani are some of the cities to include in your Congo travel guide. There are plenty of National Parks here that are included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. Some of the aforementioned parks are- Virunga National Park, Kahuzi-Biega National Park, Garamba National Park, Salonga National Park, Okapi Wildlife Reserve and Maiko National Park.
Get in and around
The best way to get to Congo is through the Kinhasa International Airport which has not advanced much ever since it was built in the year 1953. Most African airlines operate from here. Apart from this, you can also opt for train but only if you absolutely need to as derailment cases are quite often. The railway tracks here are quite horrible. You can also enter by road or by bus. You can rent a car to get around, but it is best to take the buses as cars can be really unsafe due to the presence of armed groups throughout the country.
Hotels and Food
There are plenty of great options to stay in at Kinhasa, but apart from that everywhere else are just basic options with hardly any facilities. There are various street side cafes to eat from and you should definitely try out the local African food as it is delicious. In big cities, you will also find restaurants but there is hardly any fancy restaurant here.