The Democratic Republic of the Congo (French: République Démocratique du Congo (or RDC); often shortened to DRC or D.R. Congo) is the largest and most populous country in Central Africa. It straddles the Equator and is surrounded by Angola to the southwest; Angola’s Cabinda exclave and the Republic of the Congo to the northwest; the Central African Republic to the north; South Sudan to the northeast; Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania in the east from north to south; and Zambia to the southeast.

Know before you go

As you plan your trip, and before you travel, we recommend that you check the latest Foreign Office advice on the places that you’re going to, regardless of where you are traveling to or how you are traveling.

We urge you to do this, as we recommend that all our travelers keep themselves up to date with the current foreign office advice on their destination countries.

History of the DRC

The Belgium Congo became an independent country in 1960. For the next five years, there were plenty of political crises.  From 1971, the government was run by Mobutu, who was supported by the U.S. government for his staunch opposition to Communism.  Although relative peace and stability were achieved, Mobutu’s government was guilty of severe human rights violations, political repression, a cult of personality and corruption.

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union U.S. relations with Mobutu cooled, as he was no longer deemed necessary as a Cold War ally. Opponents within Zaire stepped up demands for reform. This atmosphere contributed to Mobutu’s declaring the Third Republic in 1990, whose constitution was supposed to pave the way for democratic reform. The reforms turned out to be largely cosmetic. Mobutu continued in power until armed forces forced him to flee Zaire, in 1997.

Since that time, there have been many conflicts involving DRC’s neighbors trying to take control of the mineral rich country. At present, there is still political strife and the government is still fighting rebel armies.

Time Zones in the DRC

There is no time difference between winter and summer months in the DRC.  On the east side of the country, it is Central Africa time zone which is always two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2).  In the west part of the country, the time zone is West Africa which is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+1).

Currency

The Congolese Franc is the currency of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is subdivided into 100 centimes.

International Dialing Code

The international dialing code for the DRC is +243

Food in DRC

Less than two percent of the land is cultivated, and most of this is used for subsistence farming. Congo’s farmland is the source of a wide variety of crops. These include maizericecassava (manioc), sweet potatoesyamtaroplantaintomatoespumpkin and varieties of peas and nuts. These foods are eaten throughout the country, but there are also regional dishes. The most important crops for export are coffee and palm oil.

Congolese meals often consist of a starchy ingredient, along with vegetables and meat in the form of a stew. The starch can come in the form of a paste or mash made of cassava or corn flour, called fufu or ugali. When eaten, the fufu is rolled into golf ball-sized balls and dipped into the spicy stew—often an indentation is made with the thumb in order to bring up a thimbleful of sauce.

Traveling in the DRC

The Mane Tours has a fleet of safari vehicles to transport you comfortably for your safari.

Health

The hospitals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo include the General Hospital of Kinshasa. DRC has the world’s second-highest rate of infant mortality (after Chad). In April 2011, through aid from Global Alliance for Vaccines, a new vaccine to prevent pneumococcal disease was introduced around Kinshasa.

In 2012, it was estimated that about 1.1% of adults aged 15–49 were living with HIV/AIDS. Malaria is also a problem and yellow fever also affects DRC.

Maternal health is poor in DRC. According to 2010 estimates, DRC has the 17th highest maternal mortality rate in the world.According to UNICEF, 43.5% of children under five are stunted.

That said, it’s vital that you always check the latest recommendations with your own doctor or travel clinic before you travel.

Languages in DRC

French is the official language of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.Approximately 242 languages are spoken in the country, but only four have the status of national languages: Lingala, Kituba, Swahili, and Tshluba.

Visa for DRC

Visitors requiring a visa need to submit a legal letter of invitation from a DRC person or organization. For tourists, a hotel booking confirmation is accepted in case the traveler has no contact in the DRC.

it is possible to arrange a tourist visa for visiting the Virunga National Park (on the Eastern Border) through the park itself.

Weather and Climate in DRC

The Democratic Republic of the Congo lies on the Equator, with one-third of the country to the north and two-thirds to the south. The climate is hot and humid in the river basin and cool and dry in the southern highlands, with a cold, alpine climate in the Rwenzori Mountains

Congo’s climate is classified as tropical. In winter, there is much less rainfall than in summer. The average annual temperature in Congo is 24.6 °C (76 F). The average rainfall is 1686 mm (66”).