The Democratic Republic of Congo is the second-largest country in Africa and was formerly addressed as Zaire. She owns borders stretched as far as the South of Sudan, Burundi, The Central African Republic, Uganda, Angola, Zambia, Tanzania and the Republic of Congo. Thus the capital of Congo, Kinshasa, has the highest population of residents in Africa. The records of Kinshasa’s populace is about 14,950,000 residents.
This democratic country also stands as the second-largest French-speaking city in Africa. The Democratic Republic of Congo is laden fully with significant natural resources and exclusive wonders. Apart from diamonds, gold and oil, the Congo has more than 15 other mineral resources. Minerals aside, Congo is an eclectic paradise for wildlife and deep nature lovers. From Africa’s big five animals to reptiles and birds, the country has so much that nature has to or can offer to your privileged view.
The Congo is home to many wildlife species found nowhere else on earth, including the elusive okapi, Congolese Peafowl, bongo, bonobos which are pygmy chimpanzees, Congolese Peafowl, eastern lowland gorillas, and so much more. In Congo, tourists can track both Grauer’s gorillas, which are Eastern Lowland gorillas, and the wild mountain gorillas.
The other beautiful attractions include beautiful waterfalls and active volcanoes. There are also so much incredible cultural experiences with tribes like the extraordinarily wonderful Mbuti Pygmies. These pygmies are still living as they used to more than 10,000 years ago.
In addition, you only have to spend a week with the homely Mbuti pygmies, and you will be sure to go back home with amazing stories to tell your friends. Never forget to work with the tour guides provided by your hotel as they are genuine and intelligent. Now here are some reasons why you need to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo:
VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK:
Virunga is to date the oldest national park in Africa. Another attractive attribute is that it is one of the numerous UNESCO World heritage sites in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The park was established in 1925 and has since been located in the eastern part of the country. At first, Virunga was named the Albert National Park and had included parts of the Mgahinga Gorilla Park in Uganda and the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.
Virunga is the most visited national park of the Democratic Republic of Congo. What essentially stands out about it apart from the mountain gorillas and volcanos is the remarkable excellent biodiversity. Also, Virunga is home to leopards, lions, elephants, hippopotamus, chimpanzees and rare creatures like the okapi. Gorilla tracking is indeed the most popular activity in Virunga National Park. Furthermore, another fun activity is hiking Mount Nyiragongo.
CHIMPANZEE AND GORILLA TREKKING IN VIRUNGA:
Chimpanzee tracking is a lesser-known activity in the Congo, but it is still open to visitors in Virunga. The movement is organised close to the park headquarters, which is located in Rumangabo. Although there is only one fully habituated group with about twelve individual chimpanzees. Chimpanzee trekking usually starts at 6 am, when the probability of seeing them is pretty high. Unlike gorillas, chimpanzees love to spend time on treetops. However, they do not want to stay at a place for too long, which means you might have to follow them before getting perfect photos.
Chimpanzee permits in Virunga cost a few bucks to purchase. On the other hand, the exotic mountain gorillas are some of the most incredible creatures on earth. Also, the Virunga National Park allows tourists and returning guests to have up-close encounters with these majestic creatures at a relatively low price. However, permits are to be bought. There are about six habituated gorilla groups in Virunga. Gorilla tracking starts after an orientation briefing at 7:30 am.
However, the number of trekkers allowed to visit a gorilla group in a day is eight. The process of tracking the gorillas takes you deep in the forest, thereby giving you ample opportunities to see many of the park’s animals. It could take about 2 hours to find the glorious primates, and you are allowed at least one hour with them. After your close observations of the primates, you would need to walk another 2 hours to get back to the starting point of the trek.
MOUNT NYIRAGONGO AND MOUNT NYAMURAGIRA VOLCANOES:
The Nyiragongo Volcano is one of the primary critical attractions of the Virunga National Park in Congo. The plumes of smoke from the volcano could be seen from as far as Rwanda during the night times. Indeed, Nyiragongo is an active volcano that has the largest lava lake on earth. Since 1984, the mountain has erupted as much as 34 times, with the most recent eruption occurring in 2011.
Every year thousands of curious minds ignore the security reports and bad press from their various embassies for a rare chance to be identified as one of the few who had observed a lava lake up-front. When combined with the gorilla tracking in Virunga and visiting the Serengeti or the Masai Maraa, you would have achieved something that you can proudly talk about with pride to your folks back home. The climbing of Mount Nyiragongo takes almost two days, and you will be left in great awe at the sizzling sight of the lava lake. Also Nyiragongo hiking tickets cost is being sold there.
The Nyamuragira is also an active volcano found within the Virunga National Park. Together with the Nyiragongo volcano, they stand as the most active volcanoes in the world. The Nyamuragira also has a permanent lava lake on the summit. Although most tourists and locals usually prefer hiking mount Nyiragongo, mount Nyamuragira is a fascinating and unique natural wonder. This is one mountain you have to climb, especially if you have already conquered the great Nyiragongo.
KAHUZI BIEGA NATIONAL PARK:
This is found in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The park is near the border with Rwanda and close to Lake Kivu. The Kahuzi Biega National Park is another one of the numerously marked UNESCO World heritage sites in Congo.
The national park name was gotten from two long-extinct volcanoes that are known as Kahuzi and Biega. These two volcanos calmly painted the landscape. They are joined together by a slight stretch of forest. The Kahuzi Biega National Park generally offers travellers that complete wilderness charm and the feeling that only the Congo can provide in these days of loud hustling.
The park remains an excellent travel destination for adventurous travellers who desire to do something different or discover Africa’s last remaining true wildernesses. Aside from this pristine wilderness, the Kahuzi Biega National Park is one of the last strongholds for the Grauer’s gorilla, the largest gorilla species on earth.
On a daily about 400 individual gorillas are found in the park, with others found at the Maiko National Park and lots of other neighbouring reserves. About 5,000 Eastern low land gorillas remain on earth, and they have all been found in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Thus, aside from not having the largest population of the primates, Kahuzi Biega is the best place to watch out for the Eastern Lowland gorilla.
LOMAKO YOKOKALA FAUNAL RESERVE IN CONGO:
This faunal reserve is located alongside the Congo River. It could be found in a remote part of the country known as Mandaka. While visiting this remote reserve, you are provided with the best opportunity to observe wild pygmy chimpanzees called the “BONOBOS”. Despite spotting bonobos, the reserve is the perfect birder’s paradise.
Suppose you are accessible to a more comprehensive tour. In that case, you could be taken along the river to visit remote villages and observe the area’s indigenous people and how they are going about with their daily lives.
When you visit the Lomako Yokokala Faunal Reserve, it is recommended for those who love adventure and wish to discover the country’s natural beauty. To get to the reserve, you would need to get a domestic flight from Kinshasa to Mbandaka. You would then enjoy a three days trip by canoe along the Congo River. Once you are at any of the closest villages to the park, you will have to endure a 5-hour walk to get to the park offices, where activities begin.
Just note this, that while you are visiting Lomako Yokokala Faunal Reserve, you will have to forget about all the regular comforts of life, as you will be introduced to a more primitive pattern of going about life.
Thus, we mean learning to use buckets for bathing and pit latrines. There is no electricity supply except for generators and not many phone or internet systems. Tracking the bonobos would usually start at around 3 am or 4 am. The Rangers always try to ensure that they know their last nesting site to know where they can start their search.
CAVE EXPLORATION IN CONGO:
Adventure is never in short supply in the Great Democratic Republic of Congo. So there is every opportunity to be educated, reinforced and mind-blown from all the extravagant discoveries uncovered here. Anyone who loves cave exploration will not be disappointed while visiting the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Great Dimba Caves contains so much evidence of artefacts and human activity. These human activities and objects are said to be dating back to the stone age period.
Also, the Matupi cave in the Ituri rain forest has provides evidence of ancient human settlements about 40,000 years ago. Archaeologists have found their past hunting tools like arrows and saws within these caves.
Lastly, other mind-blowing caves worth exploring include the Thysville caves where the blind fish has been found, the amazing Kakanda malachite caves in Katanga and the peculiar cave systems within the Kahuzi Biega National Park.