The Democratic Republic of Congo is known as ‘the Congo’ and it is situated in central-western Africa along the equator. The Democratic Republic of Congo is bordered by the Central African Republic in east and south, Cameroon in the North West, and Gabon in the west. Congo is famously known for its magical exciting history about the pygmy indigenous occupants in the early 1500 BCE until it acquired its independence.
Congo is one of the virgin Africa countries with authentic ecotourism destinations that are worth a visit to enjoy the breathtaking experience of a true African Safari Holiday. Congo tours started way back with the magical visit to the great Congo River that was anciently an important trade route for the Bantu kingdom then later the Portuguese explorers until the French colonial masters constructed the railroads that link to the Brazzaville capital city.
Besides the Odzala-kokoua national park that is famous for forest elephants and other wildlife, the democratic republic of Congo is currently famous for the Mountain Gorilla tracking experiences since Congo is the only the African country that harbors both the lowland Gorillas and Mountain Gorilla
Despite the political instability, the democratic republic of Congo is rich in a wide diversity of ecological wildlife including the world’s greatest extinct and endangered apes. Wildlife in Congo includes the forest elephants, the Bonobos, the chimpanzees, lowland gorillas, eastern lowland gorillas, the endangered mountain gorilla, cross river gorillas among others.
While on a Congo Safari, you can choose to hike the active Nyiragongo Volcano
Best time to visit Congo
The best time to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo is during the dry season when the ground of the forest National Parks is dry and roods are passable. During dry season gorilla trekking experience in Congo National Parks becomes easy since the ground is not muddy and slippery. This is during the months of December, January, and February, in these months there is little or no that destruct the Gorilla trekking experience in the jungle.
In the wet season which is during the months of March, April, May, and November safari destinations are receiving heavy rains. The roads are wet and slippery thus making movement in the safari destination quiet difficult.
Congo Safari Parks and Reserves
Virunga National Park
Virunga National Park is one of the topmost destinations in Congo that is a famous home to the endangered mountain gorillas. Virunga national park in Congo is part of Volcano massif conservation areas where it coexists with other two volcanoes such as Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda and volcanoes national park in Rwanda. The national park is home other primate’s species such as golden monkeys, the white and black colobus monkeys, the red-tailed monkeys, the bush babies, grey checked mangabey, olive baboons as well as other wildlife animals such as the forest elephants, the forest hogs, the warthogs among others.
Kahuzi Biega National Park
This National Park is situated on the border of Rwanda and Congo near Lake Kavu in Bukavu town. The park is one of the largest in the democratic republic of Congo that tropical rainforest that harbors unique wildlife mammals. Kahuzi beige is a famous destination for the endangered eastern lowland terrain gorilla populations that are known as Gorilla Grauer It is home to two dominant volcanoes which is situated at the edges of the National Parks such as Mount Biega and Mount.kahuzi.
Odzala – Kokoua National Park
This National Park is one of the famous and popular National Park situated in the remote northwest of the Republic of Congo. The park is famous for the endangered forest elephants as gorilla conservational and it is dominated by the savannah vegetation, rivers, and the tropical rainforest. The park offers breathtaking activities experience such as gorilla trekking adventure experience, wildlife viewing, boat cruise, community visit among others
Salonga National Park
This is the biggest National Park that is famous for the unique wildlife such as the pygmy chimpanzee, the forest hogs, forest elephants, and bonobo African slender-snouted, Congo peacock among others.
Nouabale Ndoki National Park
This Park is situated in the northern part of Congo that is another destination that is home to the western lowland gorillas, as well as rare wildlife species such as the forest elephants, the bongo, chimpanzees among others. The park is also a birders paradise with over 300 bird species as well as over 1000 different plant species.
Maiko National Park
This is another National Park where travelers can find the eastern lowland gorillas although the park is yet open for gorilla tourism. The park is bisected into three sections to form north Kivu, Maniema as well as province of Orientale.
Upemba National Park
Upemba National Park is situated in Katanga province and it is the largest province in the southeastern Congo. The park is dominated by savannah vegetation and it is the best destination for wildlife safaris and it has been bisected by savannah grassland as well as Lake Upemba.
Nyiragongo Volcano Hike
The Mountain Nyiragongo is an active volcano that last erupted in 2002. The hike to Nyiragongo Volcano takes you to the top of the volcano where you will spend a night at shelters and have impressive views of the red hot lava lake at the Nyiragongo Crater.
Nyiragongo volcano is one of the adventurous places one would consider themselves super brave after hiking to its summit for a view of the red glow that is produced by the boiling magma under the mountain. Standing at a height of 3,470m high, Nyiragongo is one of the 8 volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains that were formed as a result of volcanicity thousands of years ago. It lies in the Albertine rift valley, 20km from Goma town.
Mount Nyiragongo is the world’s largest lave lake, with a wide caldera of up to 2km long. It is an active volcano that has erupted 34 times since 1882 with the last one that happened in 2002 taking about 150 lives and destroying lots of property in Goma town where the lava flowed.
How to access Mount Nyiragongo
Fly to Kigali international airport in Rwanda and connect to Gisenyi town by road. Gisenyi town is at the border of Rwanda and links to DRC’s immediate border, Goma Town where you can spend a night or continue to one of the lodges in Virunga national park where the volcano is located. Organizing your travel with Great Adventure Safaris saves time because the driver receives you from the Airport and the journey to Goma starts.
Alternatively, you can use a direct flight to Goma International Airport and connect to Virunga National Park.
Virunga Travel Requirements
Just like any other country, an entry in Congo is permitted if you have a valid passport that can still serve for more than 6 months from the date of travel, valid yellow fever card-not more than 10 years, and a visa which has to be applied for 2 weeks before traveling. You’ll be confirmed to have a tourist visa to Congo after booking for a hike to Nyiragongo, Gorilla trekking permit, or accommodation at Mikeno lodge.
Wildlife and Birds in Congo
Congo is worth a visit on a holiday safari due to the fact that it harbors a wide range of rare and endangered wildlife species. There are about 400 species of mammals inclusive of the rare and endangered primate apes. Wildlife in Congo is inclusive of rare endangered Mountain Gorillas (Gorilla Beringei Beringei) which can only be spotted in Virunga National Park the eastern lowland gorilla which is as well known as Grauer Gorilla that is spotted in Kahuzi Biega National Park, the western lowland Gorillas, cross river Gorillas, the rare and endangered forest elephants, the African elephant, Chimpanzees, bonobos, forest hogs, monkeys among others.
The best to enjoy wildlife adventure in Congo is during the dry season, due to the fact most destinations are dominated by tropical rainforests that receive rainfall throughout. Therefore we advise travelers to visit the safari destinations in the dry season when there is little or no rain expected to destruct the wildlife activities like Gorilla tracking, Chimpanzee tracking among others.
Congo is a habitat to over 1139 bird species which highly concentrated in the forest destination and around the water areas such as Virunga national park, Kahuzi national park, Lake Kivu among other destinations. Some of the wildlife bird species include; Congo peafowl, Congo bay owl, river martin, Congo sunbird, Prigogine’s green bull, Rockefeller’s sunbird, yellow-billed stork, black stork, white stork, marabou stork, African openbill stork woolly-necked stork, Ciconia episcopus, marabou stork among others.
Congo Safari Lodges
There is a wide range of accommodation safari lodges in the Democratic Republic of Congo destination that range from budget alternatives, mid-range as well as luxury safari lodges. Safari tours in Congo can be customized depending on a traveler’s accommodation interest. We advise travelers to accommodation safari lodges which are near and close the safari activities for the perfect safari experiences.
Safari lodges in Virunga National Park include; Engiri game lodge, wild track lodge, Mikeno Lodge, Bukima tented camp, Tchegera island tented camp, Nyiragongo summit cabin. These offer excellent services and comfortable stay while on a Gorilla tracking safaris in the Virunga National Park.
As afar lodges in Kahuzi Biega National Park there is wide arrange of accommodation options in Kahuzi Biega national park that range from luxury, mid-range, and budget safari lodge such as orchid safari lodge, coco lodge which is a mid-range option, hotel begonias Bukavu, exodus Bukavu, lakeside hotel Bukavu among other accommodation alternatives. Other safari lodges in Congo include; Lango camp, Mboko camp, Ngaga camp among others.
Congo Weather & Climate
Congo is one of the African countries that is crossed by the equator and it receives a tropical and equatorial climate in the different regions of the country. The equatorial climate has no real dry, season, it is characterized by hot temperatures in the north while the tropical climate is characterized by hot temperatures in the day hours, dry and cool seasons in the winter in the central and south of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In the equatorial areas of the north, the average rainfall is 1500 mm to 2000mm annually while as the tropical regions the rainfall drops to 1200 mm in the south of Congo, the winter in the southern hemisphere is experienced in the months of June to August.
The sunshine in Congo regions is not so real even in the dry season in the months of October to April therefore it can rain in the morning and in the next hours it is the sun shining.
Is Congo safe for tourists?
Although the democratic republic of Congo has been threatened by the unstable political situations for a very long time, the country is one of the destinations to enjoy the true African Safaris since it is still a virgin destination in terms of tourism and gorilla trekking experiences is one of the leading safari activity that offers a lifetime adventure in the Congo National Parks of Virunga and Kahuzi Biega.
Travelers that visit Congo for a safari are safe provided they follow critically the guide’s instructions about the safety and security measure. The government of Congo has deployed a lot of forces to ensure that all travelers that Visit Congo on a safari is safe from the time they enter into the country until the end of their safari.
We advise travelers to book their safaris with the right and genuine tour operators who will offer safaris which are inclusive of safe accommodation lodges in Congo, with a driver-guide that will ensure that the travelers are safe until the end of the Congo Tours.
Congo Safaris and tours
Mountain Gorilla Tracking Tours
This will give travelers the gorilla trekking experience in Virunga National Park which is a tropical rainforest with very high altitude that favors the survival of the endangered mountain Gorillas. Gorilla trekking tours involves hiking the Virunga hills to find a gorilla family where travelers will be allowed to spend the only hour with the Gorillas.
Low Land Gorilla Trek Tours
This involves the visit to the Kahuzi Biega National Park is one of the largest reserves that harbor the endangered lowland Gorillas. It takes a maximum of three days and accommodation can be customized depending on the traveler’s interest.
Gorilla tracking and Nyiragongo Volcano hike
This gives travelers an opportunity to explore both Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo and it offers visits to Virunga National Park, Volcanoes National Park, a visit to Kigali city,. The accommodation option will depend on the traveler’s preferences and interests.