• The Democratic Republic of Congo,
    © iStockphoto.com / Uso
  • The Democratic Republic of Congo,
    ©Sergei Uriadnikov / 123RF
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The Democratic Republic of Congo

By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile

FCO Travel Update: The FCO advises against all travel to The Democratic Republic of Congo's eastern and north eastern region of Goma. This includes entering DRC from Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda. The only exception to this is within the town of Bukavu, where the FCO currently advise against all but essential travel. The FCO advises against all but essential travel to Kinshasa and the rest of DRC because of continuing tension and insecurity. The situation can deteriorate at very short notice. Be aware that in the event of escalating tension and unrest, commercial flights may be suspended and/or borders closed severely restricting your ability to leave the DRC. (31 July 2012)

It used to be called Belgian Congo, then Zaire, and now it's the Democratic Republic of Congo and Africa's third largest country. The territory is crossed by Africa's second largest river, the Congo, which acts as the country's backbone. Its land is covered in varied types of landscape: from mountain ridges in the west to lakes and volcanoes in the east. Since the equator runs across the country, everyone will be able to find the climate that suits them, whether it be equatorial or tropical.

Our Editorial team's advice

Considering the persisting context of civil war in the country, Congo is not, for the time being, a tourist destination.

pros

  • +The landscape is very varied.
  • +The richness and variety of the handicraft.

cons

  • -Safety is not guaranteed outside of the towns.
  • -The civil war is still going on despite the fact that agreements were signed in 1999.

Food

There are good restaurants in Kinshasa and Lubumbashi, they are expensive and frequented by businessmen, but the cuisine is international: French and Belgian. Small restaurants and snack bars offer Chinese, Tunisian and Greek meals, but you shouldn't miss the opportunity of tasting the Zairian national dish ?moambe' (chicken cooked in palm oil with rice and spinach).

Souvenirs

Local handicraft consists of bracelets, ebony statuettes and traditional paintings. The city markets are rich in all sorts of goods, from food and basketry to sculpting, etc. Shop opening times: from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday to Saturday.