Welcome to DR. Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo commonly known as the DRC or Zaire is situated in equatorial West Africa. The second largest African nation, it is also eleventh in the world overall, and within its gigantic area there’s enough to keep the Africa-enthusiast busy for a lifetime. Dominated by the planet’s second-largest rainforest, which sprawls across hundreds of thousands of miles of the Congo River Basin, with glacial mountains and savannah elsewhere, the DRC is
gigantic and supports a staggering array of wildlife and cultures. Like any other country on the planet, it’s no secret that the DRC has suffered turbulent ups and downs over the course of its long history – a history that stretches back some 80,000 years.
As was so often the case with many African states, with the coming of colonialism (in this case Belgian), the area’s wealth of resources led to conflict and systemic abuse, which, since independence in 1960, have continued to experience repercussions. Fortunately, the DRC is enjoying a period of considerable peace and stability, even in the historically volatile east, and the growth of tourism is only helping to consolidate; its economic and cultural benefits clear. And that’s great news, as the DRC really is a stunning country.
There is a vast array of locations in the DRC for the discerning traveler, ranging from the vast urban sprawl of Kinshasa, with its high-end hotels and restaurants, to smaller conurbations like Goma in the east. When you consider the fact that much of Africa’s most popular music comes from the country, there’s plenty of proof that the DRC isn’t only for nature-lovers and offers an abundance of cultural experiences to immerse one in.
The DRC’s wilds, though, are good enough reason to visit. The jungles and the foothills of the volcanic peaks are famous for their primate population, including the endemic eastern lowland gorilla, as well as okapi, giraffe and elephant, and the forests also offer an abundance of birdlife.
It is a country filled with surprise. Areas of the DRC are more of the same kind to a European Alpine landscape, particularly around the Virunga Mountains, which plays host to two national parks, both UNESCO World Heritage sites – Virunga National Park and Kahuzi-Biega.
Whether travelling by foot, boat or driving excursions, each method of transportation afford real cutting edge encounters that will provide the traveler with an array of thrilling experiences.
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