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About DRC

The Democratic Republic of Congo is a beautiful but war-ridden country in Central Africa. DRC backpacking tours are currently not advised due to the political climate and violence in the country in recent years.

DRC Budget Travel

Below is a list of DRC's top destinations, click on the link to view all details and tours.

Matadi, Virunga National Park

Fast Facts

Currency
Congolese Franc and centimes

Dialing Code
243

AIDS

DRC HIV/AIDS is a major threat that affects a large percentage of the population, with a high mortality rate mostly due to lack of treatment and healthcare, and also a lack of education and awareness in the country. Rape and sexual violence also play a large role in AIDS prevalence among women. Retrovirals are rarely available, and most patients do not survive to a high age due to such a lack of healthcare and treatment.

Airports

DRC airports are:
• Bangoka International Airport
• Kinshasa International Airport
• Lubumbashi International Airport
• Goma International Airport

Birdlife

DRC birdlife is extremely rich and diverse, with over a thousand species of bird to be found across the country. DRC's rainforests especially are extremely important habitats for a large number of bird species, and the tropical climate also brings a number of migratory species. A large number of birds however face vulnerability or extinction due to habitat loss and forest destruction.

Conservation

DRC conservation is still in very early stages, despite major efforts to increase conservation and perseveration in the country. Years of war, violence, poaching, habitat destruction and land abuse have taken their toll on the DRC, and many species of plant and animal face extinction without increased conservation in the country from a national level.

Culture

DRC cultures include the following:
• Art plays an important role in many tribal cultures
• Cuisine is an important social and family tradition
• Music plays a huge role in DRC culture
• Literature is fairly prevalent in Congolese culture

Customs

DRC customs laws allow for the following items:
• 200 cigarettes or one box of cigars or tobacco
• Women are allowed to import cigarettes only
• 1 bottle of alcohol
• 50ml perfume for personal use

Health

DRC health issues are a serious threat across the country. Malaria, polluted water, rabies, polio and many other diseases are prevalent across most regions, and it is essential to follow basic precautions when visiting the DRC to avoid illness. Medical facilities are poor and usually only found in urban areas, and healthcare options are very scarce in general.

Innoculations

The following DRC inoculations are required:
• Yellow Fever
• Hepatitis A & B
• Typhoid
• Polio
• Rabies

Languages

DRC languages include the following:
• French (official language)
• Kikongo (national language)
• Lingala (national language)
• Swahili (national language)
• Tshiluba (national language)

Malaria

DRC malaria medication includes the following:
• Mefloquine (Lariam)
• Doxycycline
• Atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone)

Money

DRC money and banking information includes the following:
• Banking hours are from Monday to Friday from 08h00 to 11h30
• Travellers cheques are generally not accepted outside of Kinshasa, and fees are very high
• Credit cards very seldom work except in major hotels in Kinshasa
• US Dollars are accepted in most cities and towns
• Domestic flight tickets can only be purchased with officially exchanged money

People

DRC people include the following groups:
• Mongo
• Luba
• Kongo
• Mangbetu-Azande

Phrase

DRC local phrases include the following:
• How are you today - Habari za leo (Swahili)
• Please - S'il vous plait (French)
• Thank you - Merci (French)
• Melesi - Thank you (Lingala)

Plants

DRC plants range from ancient prehistoric trees to lush vegetation, and a range of crops, trees and vegetation types can be found across the country's beautiful and diverse habitats, supporting a wide number of endemic birds and animals. Plant life in the DRC offers some of the greatest biodiversity in the world.

Population

A 2007 United Nations estimate puts the DRC population at 62,600,000.

Religion

DRC religion includes the following groups:
• Roman Catholic 50%
• Protestant 20%
• Kimbanguist 10%
• Islam 10%
• Indigenous 10%

Safety Tips

DRC safety tips include the following:
• Travel to the eastern and north eastern regions of DRC is not recommended at all under any circumstances
• Non-essential travel to the rest of DRC is not recommended at this time due to the high level of danger
• Crime and lawlessness is a huge problem in most areas, especially in the eastern parts
• Avoid crowds at all times, as political demonstrations are common and often turn violent
• Driving is a high-risk activity and hijackings are fairly common in most places

Transport

DRC local transport options include the following:
• Plane
• Truck
• Ferry

Travel Books

DRC recommended travel books include the following:
• Democratic Republic Of The Congo by Rita Milios
• Democratic Republic of the Congo: Cultures of the World Series by Jay Heale
• Enchantment of the World Series: Democratic Republic of the Congo by Terri Willis

Visa Requirements

DRC visa requirements include the following:
• Passport which is valid for six months at least
• ID or green card
• 2 Visa Application Forms
• 2 Passport photographs
• Copy of airline tickets or itinerary

What To Buy

What to buy for DRC safaris:
• Good quality backpack or soft-top luggage, plus moneybag
• French phrasebook and DRC travel guide
• First aid kit with basic supplies
• Bottled drinking water
• Current DRC map

What To Pack

What to pack for DRC safaris:
• Sunglasses, sunscreen and a sunhat
• Comfortable hiking boots or walking shoes as well as sandals for indoor use
• Lightweight long sleeve cotton clothing, rain jacket, warm clothing
• Camera, binoculars and spare batteries and film
• Insect repellent spray and citronella lotions

When To Go

When to go to DRC:
• The dry season is the best time to visit as conditions are a bit cooler
• In the north the dry season runs from December and February
• In the south dry season runs between April and October
• Generally the country is hot and humid all year round
• Rainy season in the north is April to October, while in the south it is November to March

Wildlife

DRC wildlife offers Africa's greatest biodiversity, and many species can be found in the DRC rainforests which are not found anywhere else in the wild. Especially rare wildlife includes chimpanzee, bonobo, mountain gorilla, okapi and white rhino, all of which face extinction through habitat loss and poaching. National parks no longer offer protection as warfare and violence erupts within park boundaries.

 

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Left quoteThe highlight of my trip had to be Gweru in Zimbabwe, it was my idea of paradise. So much to do there with the animals and the location of it was just beautiful!Right quote

Anne B (27) from Ireland

Left quoteThe trip was great! A very relaxed ride in a mokoro, followed by camping in the Okavango Delta and watching the animals on the islands was awesome!Right quote

Michael & Silke from Germany

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JoJo E (61) from Switzerland

Left quoteFinally home and had a great time…. I loved the shark diving, Sossusvlei and Himba people. Saw Lions, a Leopard, Elephants, Giraffes, everything really! Thanks for…Right quote

John E from Canada

Left quoteI did not believe in god till i visited Chobe National Park.Right quote

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