Frequently Asked Questions About Travel in Congo: Who hasn’t fantasized about visiting that mysterious jungle-clad country in Central Africa? The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is largely off-limits to visitors. Virunga National Park, on the other hand, reopened to visitors more than ten years ago after a long period of inactivity.
The name of the game here is gorilla trekking and climbing the Nyiragongo volcano. Mountain gorilla tracking is quickly becoming one of the world’s most popular wildlife experiences. And Virunga National Park, with its first-rate facilities, knowledgeable guides, and low visitor numbers, is perhaps the most tranquil setting for such a transformative experience while on Congo Safaris Tours.
What are the main tourist attractions in the Democratic Republic of Congo?
The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of only three countries where mountain gorillas can be found. The number one tourist attraction in the country is tracking these gentle giants on the slopes of the Virunga Mountains. The vast Virunga National Park is one of Africa’s most bio diverse conservation areas, and other iconic activities, such as climbing the Nyiragongo volcano, are available in addition to gorilla trekking. Looking over the rim into the world’s largest lava lake at night is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Finish your DRC trip with some relaxation on Lake Kivu’s beautiful Tchegera Island.
Kahuzi-Biega National Park, which protects one of the last groups of eastern lowland gorillas, is also worth a visit. Lowland gorilla tracking is just as rewarding as the well-publicized mountain gorilla experience. Getting here usually entails a boat ride on the scenic Lake Kivu on the border of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”
Is Congo Safe for Tourists?
It is safe to visit Virunga National Park and Kahuzi-Biega National Park in the Eastern province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The country has a long history of political upheaval and unrest, making the DRC an unsuitable tourist destination in general. However, as DR Congo attempts to attract visitors to Virunga National Park and, to a lesser extent, Kahuzi-Biega National Park, security measures have been put in place to make a return visit from Rwanda simple and secure. However, things can change, so always check with your operator before making a reservation, Frequently Asked Questions About Travel in Congo.
How does gorilla trekking in DR Congo compare to Rwanda and Uganda?
The gorilla trekking experience in Virunga National Park is very similar to that offered in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The same one-hour time limit applies to spending time with the gorillas. However, because visitor numbers in DRC remain extremely low, the experience feels more exclusive and the setting more remote. There are only four permits available per gorilla group for smaller gorilla groups and six for larger gorilla groups. This is less than the eight permits granted to each group in Uganda and Rwanda.
An overnight stay at the magnificently located Bukima Tented Camp prior to your early morning trek will enhance the experience. You will be separated from the other visitors and will begin your journey from camp. Last but not least, there is the price difference. A gorilla trek in the DRC costs $400 USD per person (sometimes less in the low season). This is significantly less than the cost in Uganda at $700 per person or Rwanda at $1500 per person.
Can I combine an East African Safari with a trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo?
Most people do not travel to the DRC in isolation. Instead, it is an excellent addition to a traditional safari in Kenya or Tanzania. Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city, is only a short flight away. It’s a short drive to the DRC border and then to Virunga National Park from there. The next day, you’ll be tracking gorillas, Frequently Asked Questions About Travel in Congo.
A gorilla trek in the Democratic Republic of the Congo can also be combined with a stay in Rwanda’s Big Five destination of Akagera National Park and chimp trekking in Nyungwe Forest National Park. The wildlife density in Akagera National Park is not comparable to that of East Africa’s most famous reserves, but this off-the-beaten-path destination is incredibly scenic and rewarding in its own right.
What is the best time to travel to Congo?
The dry season, which lasts from June to September, is the best time to visit the DRC. Eastern DRC, and particularly Virunga National Park, has a very wet climate. It is possible for it to rain at any time. However, from June to September, there is less rain and the forest trails are less slick.
The short and long rains are at their heaviest from March to April and October to November. You’ll find great deals on lodges during this time, and gorilla trekking fees may be reduced as well. However, bring plenty of waterproof clothing and be prepared to get wet a few times. The dry period between the long and short rains, from December to February, is also ideal for travel.