The Democratic Republic of the Congo, sometimes referred to as DR Congo, Congo-Kinshasa or the DRC, is located in Central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world. With a population of over 75 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the nineteenth most populous nation in the world, and the fourth most populous nation in Africa. It borders the Central African Republic and South Sudan to the north; Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi in the east; Zambia and Angola to the south; the Republic of the Congo, the Angolan exclave of Cabinda, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west; and is separated from Tanzania by Lake Tanganyika in the east. The country has access to the ocean through a 25 mi stretch of Atlantic coastline at Muanda and the roughly 4 mile wide mouth of the Congo River which opens into the Gulf of Guinea.
- Visa required for all US Passport Holders, If you are not a US Passport holder, please consult the embassy in your region.
- Proof of Immunization (Yellow Fever)
Permanent Mission of the Republic of DR Congo to the United Nations
UN site with some information about DR Congo.
US Embassy in DR Congo
Official website of the US embassy.
Ambassade de France en République de DR Congo
French Embassy DR Congo (in French).
Weather: DR Congo Weather
Communications: Dial 011 followed by country code 243
Warm Season: February to May Average daily high temperature of 88°F and low of 74°F
Cold Season: June to August; Average daily high temperature of 83°F and low of 68°F
Language: French is the official language and English is widely spoken
Places of Interest
Garamba National Park
Established in 1938, Garamba National Park is one of the Africa’s oldest national parks and was primarily formed in order to protect the dwindling population of the northern white rhinoceros. The lands included in the Garamba National Park were the home of the world’s last known wild population of these rhinos. Garamba National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980. The park is composed of savannahs, woodlands, grasslands, gallery forests, rivers, and swamps. Four large mammals, the elephant, hippopotamus, giraffe, and the white rhinoceros, call this land their home. People visit Garamba National Park to witness these animals in their natural habitat, most especially the white rhinoceros. It is much larger than the black rhinoceros but it is harmless and rarer to find, as it is closer to extinction. The UNESCO site reports that there are thirty remaining white rhinoceros but the common consensus is that the animal is feared to be extinct.
Kahuzi-Biega National Park
The Kahuzi-Biega National Park is located in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is around 50 kilometers west of Bukavu town in the Kivu region, adjacent to the western side of Lake Kivu and the Rwandan border. It was created to primarily protect the last remaining population of the Eastern Lowland gorilla or Gorilla beringei graueri. The park is one of the few last refuges of this rare sub-species of Eastern gorilla. The famous Diane Fossey, protégé of the equally famous Dr Louis Leakey, originally did her studies here before moving on to Rwanda.
Okapi Wildlife Reserve
At 1,372,625 hectares, the Okapi Wildlife Reserve covers around one-fifth of the Ituri forest in the northeastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The reserve was established to protect the high diversity of species, especially those endemic to the Ituri forest. The reserve was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. The Okapi Wildlife Reserve is also home to around 4,000 elephants, 2,000 leopards, 300 species of birds, thirteen species of primates including chimpanzees, three species of crocodile, and other animals of the rainforest like the forest buffalo, water chevrotain, forest elephants, insects, and antelope. It is in fact also one of the important sites in mainland Africa dedicated to bird conservation. Its human inhabitants belong to the Mbuti and Efe pygmies who are considered to be one the few remaining “forest people” of the world.
Virunga National Park
The Virunga National Park is located in the Virunga Mountains in the eastern side of the Congo Democratic Republic. It shares its borders with the Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda, and the Rwenzori Mountains National Park of Uganda. It was established in 1925, making it Africa’s first national park. The park is managed by the Congolese National Park Authorities. Covering an area of 790,000 square hectares, diverse habitats such as swamps, steppes, snowfields, lava plains, grasslands, and savannahs can be found here. Africa’s two most active volcanoes are also part of the Virunga National Park. Inhabitants include mountain gorillas and hippopotamuses, as well as birds that fly in from Siberia during the winter months. Other animals that are sighted in the park are elephants, chimpanzees, giraffes, and buffaloes. In 1979 UNESCO classified Virunga National Park as a World Heritage Site.