The Democratic Republic of the Congo (also known as DRC, DR Congo or Zaire) is the second-largest country in the African continent. DRC is rich in natural resources like oil, minerals and metals, yet it is one of the least developed countries in the world. Ever since it gained independence from Belgium in 1960, the country has been plagued by wars and internal conflicts. Following the government’s advisory before travelling to DRC is strongly suggested.
Capital Kinshasa, located on the banks of the Congo River is a great place to experience Congolese life. From here you can visit Lola ya Bonobo – the world’s only sanctuary for orphaned bonobos.
Located in eastern DRC along the borders with Uganda and Rwanda, is the UNESCO world heritage listed Virunga National Park. This was Africa’s first national park and is home to endangered mountain gorillas and chimpanzees. Along with its rich wildlife, the park has the popular Mount Nyiragongo stratovolcano, where you can hike to the top for a rewarding view of molten lava of the world’s largest lava lake. In 2002, an eruption from Nyiragongo devastated the nearby town of Goma, whose lava fields stand till date as a reminder of that unfortunate event. The country also has two other national parks – Kahuzi-Biega, a gorilla habitat and Garamba which shelters elephants, giraffes and rhinos.
Virunga National Park is home to mountain gorillas and Mount Nyiragongo stratovolcano.