Tap to book now
+(256)-414-532-162 +(256)-773-912-891 / +(256) 702 12 3064
Home » Tips When Traveling in Congo, Congo Travel Tips, Travelling to Congo Guide

Tips When Traveling in Congo, Congo Travel Tips, Travelling to Congo Guide

The Congo travel guide and tips for traveling in Congo will provide you with the best experiences on your Congo safari and it is one of the important precautions to take during your African safari. This is because DR Congo is considered a less secure location to travel to due to the on-and-off terrorism attacks that occur in the country.

This should, however, not scare you from visiting the beautiful DR Congo because there is a lot that it has offered thousands of visitors over the years.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is Africa’s second-largest country, with over 78.74 million people boasting more than half of the ecosystem in sub-Saharan Africa. It relays breathtaking vegetation natural beauty, great biodiversity, and a rich culture.

It is home to some of the most endangered species of the world, for example, the Mountain Gorillas, the Eastern Lowland Gorillas, Bonobos, Chimpanzees, and various bird species especially the Albertine Rift endemics.

The DR Congo is recognized for its enthralling Gorilla trekking adventures in Virunga National Park and Kahuzi Biega Park.

Through the best travel tips to the DR Congo that cover various sectors, let us help organize for you your incredible trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo today.

DR Congo Tourist Attractions

There is a rich number of attractions to encounter during your visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo and we look at them below.

Primates

The Republic of the Congo is famous for being one of the most renowned homes for a high number of primates, some of which are endangered and highly sought after. Below are some of the major primates to view during your DR Congo tour.

Mountain Gorillas

The DR Congo Mountain Gorillas stay in Virunga National Park and they are among the last survivors of their kind. There are about 350 Mountain Gorillas in the DR Congo out of the estimated 1,063 remaining in the world.

Tracking Mountain Gorillas in the DR Congo is the cheapest compared to the tracking costs in the countries in which they live, that is, Uganda and Rwanda. You will pay $ 400 to track Gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Eastern Lowland Gorillas

The Eastern Gorillas are another group of the endangered and they can globally be found in the Democratic Republic of Congo, thus an endangered species.

Tracking the Eastern Lowland Gorillas in the Republic of the Congo occurs at the Kahuzi Biega Park at $ 400.

Bonobos

Also known as the Pygmy Chimpanzees, Bonobos are only found in the Democratic Republic of Congo and their DNA is closer to that of humans than the common Chimpanzees.

You can see the Bonobos in the forests that are South of the DR Congo River at Lola Ya Bonobo.

Chimpanzees

Discover the endangered Chimpanzees of the Democratic Republic of Congo at Virunga National Park.

You can be guided to watch a habituated group in the forest during your tours in the DR Congo.

Wildlife Animals

The Republic of the Congo also protects a large number of wildlife animals living in the protected areas. Some of them include Okapis and other Antelope species.

Bird Species

The Republic of the Congo is likewise a rich home to the different bird species and it protects Congo biome species, Albertine Rift endemics, and other types of birds.

The DR Congo protects about 1,188 bird species that a rich place to discover the different bird species of the country.

Wildlife Flora

The flora in the Democratic Republic of Congo is unique and it is made of different vegetation types that create a unique habitat for the animals and birds.

The different rainforests in the DR Congo include the savannah grassland, savannah woodland, swamp, and alpine vegetation.

Virunga Volcanoes –Nyiragongo Crater

The Virunga Volcanoes are found in the Virunga region which spans Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and Uganda’s Mgahinga National Park.

Congo’s Virunga National Park is also home to the active Nyiragongo which has the largest crater lake in the world. The mountain has erupted about 34 times since 1882 and the last eruption took place in 2021.

You can explore Nyiragongo by hiking the mountain and it takes about 5 to 7 hours to get to the top where you will get amazing views of the lave lake.

Best Places to Visit in Congo

Congo travel guide

The Democratic Republic of Congo is a rich destination country with beautiful national parks that are home to a large extension of Africa’s ecosystem.

Virunga National Park

Virunga National Park is the most famous park in the Republic of the Congo and its great ecological system makes it a great home for various species of wildlife. Some include the endangered Mountain Gorillas thus making it a great place for Gorilla trekking.

Another amazing trip to do at the Virunga National Park is hiking the Nyiragongo Volcano which has the world’s largest lava lake boiling on its summit.

Kahuzi Biega National Park

Kahuzi Biega NP is found in the Eastern part of the Republic of the Congo, known for trekking the Eastern Lowland Gorillas.

Compared to the Mountain Gorillas, the Eastern Lowland Gorillas are larger. Most visitors who visit Kahuzi Biega NP would like to compare the lifestyle of these two primate species – Mountain Gorillas and Eastern Lowland Gorillas.

Kahuzi Biega NP will also give you the great natural beauty of its vegetation for its tours.

Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu is found in the tourist region of Goma and it is one of the best places to visit in the Republic of the Congo. Lake Kivu will provide amazing relaxation experiences for travelers during their trip to the country

Congo River

The Congo River is the second longest river in Africa after the renowned River Nile. The Congo River has many animals on its shores which present it as a great place for animal viewing.

Kinshasha City

Kinshasha is the capital city of the Republic of the Congo boasting various tourist destinations and people to visit during your tours in the country. We can help you organize a tour of Kinshasha the capital city of the country.

Things to do in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Congo travel guide

The Republic of the Congo boasts incredible safari activities for tourists as seen below.

  1. Gorilla Trekking in Congo

Two types of Gorilla trekking occur in the Republic of the Congo, and these are the Mountain Gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park and the Eastern Lowland Gorilla trekking in Kahuzi Biega NP.

The Gorilla experience will allow you to spend one hour with the primates as you take their photos and study their character.

Along the way, you will be able to watch various other animals and birds for your experience.

  1. Mount Nyiragongo Hike

The Mount Nyiragongo hike is a beautiful place to explore during your African safari in the Republic of the Congo.

  1. Nature Walks

Exploring the Republic of the Congo can also be done through nature walks which are commonly done in Virunga National Park and Kahuzi Biega NP.

Nature walks will allow you to explore the beautiful vegetation, animals, birds, the beautiful Rwenzori peaks, and Lake Kivu among others.

Your guide will lead you through designated trails in the parks for this incredible activity.

Other activities that you can explore in the Republic of the Congo include

  1. Bird Watching
  2. Mount Nyiragongo hike
  3. Batwa Cultural Tour
  4. Lake Kivu Relaxation
  5. Exploring Senkwekwe Gorilla Orphanage Center
  6. Congo River Tour

Traveling to Congo | How to Travel to Congo

Visitors to the Republic of the Congo usually pass through Rwanda or Uganda, although most entries are through Rwanda.

Traveling to the Democratic Republic of Congo occurs by air and road although road transport is most common due to the limited flights to the country.

Entering the Republic of the Congo from Kigali capital city through the Goma border by road takes about a 3-hour’ drive from Uganda. There is limited access to the country through the Bunagana border, although it is not mostly used by passengers.

Many airlines enter the country from Paris, Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Brussels and Johannesburg.

How do we Get Around in Congo?

Traveling through DR Congo is possible through public transport means like taxis and minibusses. However, it is advisable to use a tour operator who will easily transport you to the different tour destinations.

Entry, Exit, and Visa Requirements | Congo’s Current Entry Restrictions | DRC Travel Requirements

It is best to process and get an e-visa before your trip to the country to avoid any inconveniences when you reach the border.

Passport Validity

Your travel passport validity for at least be 6 months before your travel schedule and should have at least a page where your tourist visa endorsement to be stamped.

Pre -Travel Vaccines and Medications

Some diseases can be prevented before traveling for your Republic of the Congo tour. Inquire from your tour operator about the vaccines and medical treatment to take at one of the medical facilities for your safari experience.

The Yellow Fever vaccination is a compulsory necessity for anyone entering the country. However, other vaccinations to take as preventative measures include Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Measles, Meningococcal disease, Influenza, COVID-19, Malaria, Rabies, and Polio as recommended by the World Health Organization as a temporary recommendation. Visit a travel health clinic for better experiences.

Purchasing travel insurance will allow you to keep safe and avoid spending a lot in case of any illnesses. Moreover, you can have a medical evacuation to any of the neighboring countries if you need to.

Yellow Fever Certificate Requirements

A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is also required as one of Congo’s current entry restrictions. This is to prevent travelers from getting Yellow Fever and it is a necessity for every traveler entering into the Republic of the Congo.

Other Travel Documents

In case you are traveling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document, then the local laws may apply quite differently, especially for emergency services. Check with a foreign representative for your destination country about your travel documents and the local laws that apply to them.

Embassy of Canada, Kinshasa | Consular Assistance

Tourists from Canada can call the Embassy of Canada in Kinshasha in case they need any emergency consular assistance. In case they are in Canada, they can contact the Ottawa emergency watch and response center even for emergency services.

Points of Entry from Burundi, Rwanda, and Uganda

The Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi borders are possible to cross but they are sometimes affected by the activities of armed groups at the border due to the armed conflict.

Local laws/local police and security forces require that the border between the Republic of the Congo and Rwanda at Bukavu and Goma be closed from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am.

Garamba National Park and Border Areas with South Sudan and Uganda

Garamba National Park and its area region have faced violent crime activities from the Lord’s Resistance Army who have killed many civilians due to civil unrest. However, there are serious operations of the UN, South Sudan government, Congolese and Ugandan forces in the border areas.

How to Travel to and With in Democratic Republic of Congo

Road Travel | Road Safety

Most DR Congo roads have poor maintenance and thus, in the rainy season, some roads are hard to pass. It is advisable to use a four-wheel drive vehicle even though you are in some regions of Kinshasha and avoid public transport for better experiences.

Some roads are paved, although they are still poor maintenance and overcrowded, thus giving travelers a high risk of getting into an accident.

In case you reach a checkpoint with the local police, show the local authorities your documents, like the international driving permit through the window and keep the vehicle doors locked.

Boat Travel

Travelers should not fully depend on boat travel in the Republic of the Congo, as the river crossing is sometimes closed with a warning, the ferry does not operate from the late afternoon, and they are not available on Sundays.

Inquire with the local authorities or security personnel about the local law before considering to travel by boat.

Air Travel

Goma International Airport is where most people land as they fly directly into the country, but most visitors enter Rwanda by road after using the Kigali International Airport. Other transportation hubs by air in the country are not considered to carry international safety standards.

Domestic flights are rare but possible when well-planned.

Note:

  • DR Congo does not have rail services between Brazzaville and Pointe Noire. This is because there were several criminal gangs targeting travelers who were using the rail services on this route.

Medical Services and Facilities in the Democratic Republic of Congo

DR Congo does not have very good health services and the good ones are quite expensive, especially for the locals. Having travel insurance for your travel will help you save money on good medical treatment not just in DR Congo but also in other countries in case you need medical evacuation.

According to the country’s requirements, you will need to vaccinate for Yellow Fever at one of your medical facilities before your travels to the country.

Health Risks

Like any other destination, it is important to take care of other health risks in the best way possible by getting good medical treatment or prevention measures, especially through your travel insurance. You will need to also exercise caution against the following diseases.

  1. Malaria

Malaria is one of the most common diseases affecting the Republic of the Congo.  Therefore, exercise caution like taking anti-malarial tablets, using insect repellents, sleeping under a mosquito net, and closing your doors and windows before dusk.

  1. HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS should be taken seriously by tourists because it is widespread among some people. Therefore, it is important to avoid any high-risk activities that will lead you to get the virus.

  1. Ebola Virus Disease

There are Ebola outbreaks now and then in the Republic of the Congo due to the direct contact that humans may have with infected animals. Thus, avoid direct contact with animals. It is thus important to inquire from your operator if the country is safe from the outbreak at the time of your travel.

Safe Food and Water Precautions

To avoid diseases such as Typhoid, Monkeypox, and Hepatitis, stick to bottled water during your trip and avoid eating uncooked/undercooked food. This will also let you prevent getting a stomach problem on a safari to the Republic of the Congo.

Note:

  • Visit a travel health clinic at least 6 months before your travel to get travel advice about the best medical equipment services.
  • Medication can occur in another country in case of any serious illnesses.
  • In case of diseases like Covid 19, policies from the Department of Health may change on short notice.
  • In case you wish to eat street food, make sure that the stall you buy from is clean.

Travel Advice/Travel Guide for Congo Foods

There are various types of food that people eat in DR Congo ranging from local food to international cuisines.

Below are the most locally eaten foods in the Republic of the Congo.

Fufu: This is DRC’s staple food made from cassava, yam, and boiled plantains. They are pounded and a dough is made, which is usually served with a source.

Saka saka: This is a common spinach-like sauce that is mostly cooked with garlic, onions, and tomatoes and usually served with fufu.

Moambe Chicken: This is the most popular dish of the Congolese people, comprising chicken cooked in palm nut source and served with plantains and rice.

Beignets: They are a common snack in the country of deep-fried doughnuts that are made with jam chocolate or custard and it is a common street food.

Brochettes: This is grilled meat which is either beef or goat’s meat and it is sold as street food

Liboke: This is a special dish of either marinated meat or fish and then wrapped in banana leaves before grilling or baking. It is served with either fufu or rice.

General Security Information

For the best security situation experiences from local authorities, it is best to plan your safari and ensure that you have someone waiting for you at your destination upon your arrival.

Booking your trip with a tour operator will also allow you to seek professional security advice down to the local law.

Current Political Situation

Congo’s president Denis Sassou Nguesso was on 16th April 2021 elected for his third term as president of the country.

There has not been recent terrorism in the country but it is believed that armed groups still live in forests of the country, thus making some parts of the country unsafe.

The FCDO Advise Against all but Essential Travel

The Foreign, Commonwealth, & Development Office (FCDO) advice against all essential travel in DR Congo recommends that you continuously check the essential travel advice for entering the country to know of any changes.

Dual Citizenship

Note that DR Congo does not recognize dual citizenship legally. Local authorities will not provide you with Canadian Consular services once they find out you have DR Congo citizenship.

How Much Does it Cost to Travel to Congo | Cost of Congo Safari Tours | How Much Do I Need to Come on Congo Vacation?

The cost of your DR Congo safari will depend on various factors like the level of luxury, transportation means, whether or not you use a tour operator, and the season in which you visit.

A 3-day Gorilla trekking safari will cost about $ 1,200 per person during their Africa safaris. This is exclusive of flight tickets, whether international or domestic flights and visa fees.

What is the Currency of Congo?

DR Congo uses the Congolese Franc (CDF) as its currency. However, travelers can also use US Dollars, Pounds, Sterling, and Euros in a few destinations like the national parks and major hotels, especially those near the protected areas.

Travelers use the US Dollars to book the Gorilla permits. Additionally, few tourist destinations use credit cards or have ATMs, so it is best to have cash with you. $1 equals between 2000 to 2475 Congo Franc.

Can I Use My ATM or Credit Card in Congo?

Many transactions in DR Congo occur with cash but the hotels, and some services in the parks accept ATM or credit cards.

You will however need cash in the very rural areas because they do not have ATM services.

Accommodation in Congo | Where to Stay in Congo

You have a great team to help organize for you great accommodation options for your tour in the DR Congo. The country has accommodations that range from budget to midrange and budget and your travel advice will include the best options for major hotels to stay in as seen below.

  1. Mikeno Lodge
  2. Bukima Tented Camp
  3. Lac Kivu Lodge
  4. Kibumba Camp
  5. Ihusi Hotel
  6. Lulimbi Tented Camp
  7. Nyiragongo Summit Shelter

Best Time to Visit DR Congo

DR Congo has two seasons, the dry season and the rainy season, and the dry season is considered the best time for visiting the country. This is because, unlike the rainy season, the dry season makes the tracks easy to pass through thus activities like Gorilla trekking or hiking Mount Nyiragongo become easier.

However, the rainy season has fewer guests in the parks thus making the costs of some services like accommodation and sometimes the Gorilla trekking permits cheaper.

The dry season runs from June to September and December to February, while the rainy season runs from October to November and March to May.

The local media will always make you stay up to date with the weather conditions in the country for the best travel advice. Your tour operator will also help to inform you of the best travel advice about the weather conditions of your season of visit.

What is the Biggest Problem in Congo?

The biggest problem in the DR Congo is the political instability due to the frequent wars, mostly from the armed groups through whom government targets occur frequently due to armed conflict.

DR Congo has faced a lot of wars from as early as 1996 after they were also affected by armed groups from the 1994 Rwandan Genocide which killed approximately 1 million Rwandese.

Between 1998 and 2003, the Goma region near Lake Kivu was affected so much by civil unrest which killed about 3 million people. However, Goma is currently safe and free from war thus it now receives a good number of tourists every year.

On 6th May 2021, there was a “siege of state” declaration by the DR Congo government in the Eastern areas of the North Kivu province and the Ituri. The Civilian administrations in these northeast regions were replaced by the military administrations, till further notice so it is a more secure location.

The areas which mostly need you to seek professional security advice include the North Kivu province, Kasai, Ituri, Tanganyika, South Kivu and Maniema, among others.

Other than the armed groups who sometimes do armed robbery, the country has also faced problems from the active volcanoes that have erupted throughout the years. The Nyiragongo Mountain last erupted in 2021.

Seek professional security advice from your tour operator about the best security situation.

Is Congo Safe? | Is it Safe to Travel to the Congo Now? | Is Congo Safe to Visit?

DR Congo is a place with an ongoing threat to tourists because of the terrorist attacks, violent crime activities, and political tension from armed groups that stay, especially in Eastern DR Congo. There has been a frequent attack on civilians, but government targets occur frequently, causing civil unrest.

Kidnapping is a violent crime that is an ongoing threat to foreigners, probably because the kidnappers may want to ask for ransom through the local authorities after a few hours of keeping the visitors. Armed robbery is also common so it is best to follow the amazing travel advice of the security personnel in the Republic of the Congo.

South Kivu is still considered the most unsafe place to go to.

Is Congo Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

Female travelers can have a safe security situation in the DR Congo by following safety precautions for their safaris. They are advised to wear decently to respect the culture and avoid moving alone, especially in the night when you do not have a security forces permit.

However, they should avoid areas of South Kivu unless they have approval for improved safety in the region. They are also advised to walk in a group and not alone to reduce the high risk of falling into armed robbery.

How Can We Stay Safe in Congo?

  1. It is advisable to be alert, especially through the local media about the possible threats or violent crime activities in the country that may happen on short notice.
  2. Ensure to follow your safety precautions from the local authorities, tour operator, or guide to keep a safe security situation.
  3. Wear a money belt and do not allow strangers to assist you while withdrawing money from the ATM because they are con men.
  4. Avoid showing off your money to the public because it may draw attention to wrongdoers who attack at short notice.
  5. It is not allowed for travelers to take photos of government buildings so avoid it to avoid problems with the local authorities or security forces in both urban and rural areas. There are government installations of security cameras in these places, so this is one of the important travel advice to consider.
  6. In case you wish to move alone, especially to the Kasai province, you can get security forces permit.

However, you can still seek professional security advice from your tour operator before you travel to the Republic of the Congo.

What Should I Pack for Congo? | What to Pack for Your Safari | What do I Need to Know Before Going to Congo?

A tour to Rwanda will require you to pack some things and below, we look at some of the most important things to pack for your trip.

Travel Documents:

  1. Passport
  2. Yellow Fever Vaccination Card

What to Wear:

  1. Rain Poncho/Rain Jacket
  2. Long-sleeved shirts and Trousers
  3. Hiking Boots
  4. Garden Gloves
  5. Casual outfits for evenings
  6. Sunhat
  7. Sunglasses
  8. Warm Jumper
  9. Lightweight wool socks
  10. Shoes for evening wear
  11. Sandals
  12. Money Belt

Gadgets:

  1. Camera
  2. Binoculars
  3. Camera Charger
  4. Extra Batteries
  5. Electricity Plug Adapter
  6. Flashlight with Good Battery
  7. Phone or laptop

Possible Health Risks:

  1. Insect repellents for insect bite prevention
  2. Simple first-aid medical equipment kit
  3. Personal Toiletries
  4. Hand Gel
  5. Anti-Malaria Pills

Others:

  1. Small notebook and pen
  2. Day Backpack

Top Tour Companies in Congo for Your Congo Safaris

Below are the top tour operators and companies for your DR Congo safaris and they can also inform you about any travel advice that has changed on short notice or any further details.

  1. Prime Safaris and Tours Ltd
  2. Wild Gorilla Safaris
  3. Africa Safaris Tours
  4. Congo Gorilla Safaris Tours                    

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Congo Have Safari | Is Congo Tourist Friendly?

Yes, the Republic of the Congo has many safaris to offer travelers during their trip, and with the best travel advice, you will enjoy remarkable experiences. They include Gorilla trekking safaris, bird-watching tours, mountain hiking tours, and nature relaxation safaris at Lake Kivu.

What is the Best Safari Park in Congo?

Virunga National Park is the best and most famous park in the Republic of the Congo, mostly because of the Mountain Gorillas that are protected in the park and Mount Nyiragongo which has the largest lava lake in the world.

Travel advice guides also recommend Kahuzi Biega NP as it is famous for protecting the Eastern Lowland Gorillas.

In Which two National Parks in the DRC can Tourists see Gorillas?

The two parks where you can see the Gorillas in the Republic of the Congo are Virunga National Park which protects the Mountain Gorillas and Kahuzi Biega NP protects the Eastern Lowland Gorillas.

Can Tourists go to the Congo?

Tourists can go to the Democratic Republic of Congo for their Africa tours as the country offers various tourist activities for them to explore.

Why do Tourists Visit Congo? | What is so Special about Congo?

Tourists visit the Democratic Republic of Congo to experience the different attractions of the country.

Most travelers go to Rwanda to trek the Mountain Gorillas, but other activities like hiking Mount Nyiragongo and trekking the Eastern Lowland Gorillas are also major reasons why visitors go to the Republic of the Congo.

Travel advice professionals also recommend that you visit the Republic of the Congo because of its cheap costs of traveling compared to other countries.

Languages in Congo | What Language is Spoken in Congo?

The official language in the Republic of the Congo is French although the country has more than 200 local languages. The common ones are Lingala, Tshiluba, Kikongo and Kingwana.

You will find guides who are capable of speaking to you in English, French, German, and Spanish and they will give you the best travel advice during your trip adventures.

How Much Does It Cost to See Gorillas in Congo?

Gorilla trekking in the Democratic Republic of Congo costs $ 400, thus making it the cheapest place in East Africa to track Gorillas. Uganda Gorilla trekking is at $ 700 and the Rwanda Gorilla trekking is at $ 1500.

Your tour operator will give you travel advice on the best place to go Gorilla trekking during your trip.

How to Dress for a Gorilla Safari in Congo | What Colors to Wear for Gorilla Trekking?

When going for a Gorilla safari in the DR Congo, as one of the best travel advice providers we recommend that you wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers that will protect you from insect bites.

Also, ensure that at least you have eco-friendly colors to wear during your safari for example Khaki, Green, Brown, or Grey. Strong and comfortable hiking shoes are also recommended for your activities. Bright colors sometimes stress the animals.

Time in Congo | What Time is it in Congo?

DR Congo has two time zones, and these are the GMT 1 in the Western part and the GMT 2 in the Eastern part of the country. In case you are still in your country, you can check for Congo’s time through the internet or local media to stay up to date.

Does Congo Have Good Internet?

Yes, DR Congo has good internet more so in the cities and the towns while the rural areas have poor networks.

Can US Citizens Go to Congo? | Can an American go to the Congo?

Yes, US citizens can go to the DR Congo with a visa that allows them to enter the country. The tourist visa for US tourists is for two years and it costs $160, allowing multiple entry.

Is the US Friendly with Congo

With the right travel advice for safety precautions, US citizens will enjoy their safari in the Republic of the Congo.

In conclusion, the Republic of the Congo safaris are one of the most sought-after in Africa, more so the Gorilla trekking adventures. Although the country faces a security situation or high risk and an ongoing threat, there are various safety precautions and local laws to follow to keep you safe while on your tours in the DR Congo.

You will also need to consider other travel advice on possible health risks, packing lists, food, and road conditions, among others as discussed in the above article.

Contact us today to let us help in planning your DR Congo safari to get professional further details.

×