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Democratic Republic of Congo Safaris

Introducing Democratic Republic of Congo

A destination for pioneering travellers, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), offers something truly remarkable for the avid explorer. A complicated region with a huge amount to offer, exploring the eastern edge offers explorers a real life glimpse into the heart of Africa. The DRC is a complex but rewarding destination; a pocket of biodiversity, home to about a quarter of the world's remaining mountain gorillas.

Diverse to its core, DRC is knitted together in a vast array of dense jungles, volcanic peaks, raging rivers and open savannah pains. Home to the oldest national park on the African continent (Albert National Park, now Virunga National Park), DRC is one of the last bastions of ‘real Africa’, putting the modern day explorer through their paces.

As a destination, the DRC is at the forefront of pioneering conservation efforts. Huge investment has gone into the training of the park rangers, ongoing support is given to those widows that have lost their loved ones in the line of duty of protecting the park, and as a result improved security and an increase in wildlife numbers is clear. Whilst improvements have been seen, the challenge is to now expand the boundaries of the park and effect stability throughout the wider region.

Why choose Natural World Safaris for your DRC Safari?

We originally started back in 2005 as World Primate Safaris. Our CEO and Founder Will Bolsover spent many years in the jungles of Central and East Africa, working in the gorilla parks of Uganda and Rwanda, the Eastern Lowland Gorilla and Mountain Gorilla parks of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and tracking the chimpanzees of Tanzania in Mahale and Gombe. He was the first person to lead gorilla treks in Gabon working with Emmanuel de Merode who now runs Virunga National Park in DRC.

Our clients will be accompanied by experienced guides with in-depth knowledge of the region and the issues it faces. It is possible to visit the DRC safely with careful planning and travellers will be accompanied by armed park rangers at all times. Our on-the-ground contacts keep a close eye on the security situation and new, welcoming facilities offer excellent places to stay for pioneering visitors.

How much does Democratic Republic of Congo cost?

For a 7-day safari in the DRC, we recommend a starting price of $5000 per person. This will generally include accommodation at three different lodges, transfers and private guides.

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The DRC Safari Experience

Traveling in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) can be challenging due to various factors such as poor road infrastructure, limited transportation options, and security concerns in some areas. Most visitors arrive in the DRC by air, with international flights serving Kinshasa and Lubumbashi. Domestic flights are also available to some destinations, such as Goma and Kisangani. Once in the country, transportation options include buses, taxis, and private drivers. However, road conditions can be poor and unpredictable, with some areas only accessible by 4WD vehicles. In some areas, river transport is also available. It's important to note that security can be a concern in some parts of the DRC, particularly in the east.

You may wish to include the following in your DRC itinerary:

  • Lava Lakes - Spend the night at the top of Nyiragongo, sleeping on the crater edge to one of the most active lava lakes in the world.
  • Gorilla and Chimpanzee Trekking - The DRC is home to a significant population of endangered mountain gorillas and chimpanzees, which can be seen on guided treks in Virunga National Park and Kahuzi-Biega National Park.
  • Hiking - The DRC boasts stunning landscapes, including the Virunga Mountains and Nyiragongo volcano, which can be explored on hiking tours.
  • River Safaris - The Congo River is the second-longest river in Africa and offers opportunities for boat tours and wildlife viewing.
  • Cultural Tours - The DRC has a rich cultural heritage, with many traditional communities living in rural areas. Visitors can take cultural tours to learn about local customs, music, and cuisine.
  • City Tours - The capital city Kinshasa is a vibrant and bustling metropolis, with attractions such as the National Museum of Congo and the Kinkole Fish Market.

Where to stay in DRC ?

The Democratic Republic of Congo offers a range of accommodation options for travellers, from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxurious safari lodges. For those visiting Virunga National Park, Mikeno Lodge offers a luxurious and eco-friendly stay, with comfortable rooms, gourmet dining, and stunning views of the park's landscapes. Other options include Bukima Tented Camp, which is located near the gorilla trekking starting point, and offers a rustic but comfortable camping experience. In Kahuzi-Biega National Park, visitors can stay at the Orchids Safari Club, a charming and eco-friendly lodge that offers comfortable rooms, delicious food, and a peaceful atmosphere. Another option is the Lwiro Primates, a research centre and guesthouse that offers simple but comfortable accommodation, as well as the opportunity to learn about the park's wildlife and conservation efforts. In Kinshasa, visitors can choose from a range of hotels, including the luxurious Pullman Kinshasa Grand Hotel, the historic Memling Hotel, and the budget-friendly Beatrice Hotel.

Democratic Republic of Congo Safaris FAQs

Is gorilla trekking in DRC safe?

Gorilla trekking in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) does come with certain safety considerations due to the country's complex political and security situation. The eastern part of the DRC, where gorilla trekking usually takes place (particularly in Virunga National Park), has experienced various challenges, including armed conflict and instability.

While gorilla trekking can offer an incredible and unique experience, it's important to prioritise safety and be well-informed before considering such a trip. It's recommended to stay updated on travel advisories from your government, consult with reputable tour operators who have experience in the region, and follow the advice of local authorities and guides during the trek.

Keep in mind that the security situation in the DRC can change, and it's advisable to have a flexible travel plan and be prepared for unexpected changes. If you are considering gorilla trekking in the DRC, it's essential to conduct thorough research, assess the current situation, and make an informed decision based on safety considerations.

What is the currency of the DRC?

The currency of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is the Congolese Franc, abbreviated as "CDF." Please note that exchange rates and currency information may vary, so it's recommended to check with reliable sources or financial institutions for the most up-to-date information before your travel.

What languages are spoken in the DRC?

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a linguistically diverse country with a wide variety of languages spoken. French is the official language and is used for government, administration, and education. Additionally, there are numerous indigenous languages spoken across different regions and ethnic groups. Some of the major indigenous languages in the DRC include Lingala, Swahili, Kikongo, Tshiluba, and Luba-Kasai, among others. The linguistic diversity reflects the country's rich cultural heritage and the presence of various ethnic communities.

Do you need a visa for the DRC

Most visitors to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) require a visa to enter the country. The specific visa requirements can vary based on your nationality, purpose of visit, and the length of your stay. It's important to check with the nearest Congolese embassy or consulate in your country or visit their official website to get the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding visa requirements, application procedures, and any changes that may have occurred since my last update. It's advisable to start the visa application process well in advance of your planned travel dates to ensure a smooth entry into the DRC.