The Democratic Republic of Congo or Congo-Kinshasa, is the second largest country in Africa after Algeria. It is traversed by the second largest river in Africa, the Congo, and the equator also runs through it. As a result of these two geographical occurrences, the Congo has its own topographic identity characterised by a variety of landscapes and nature that has barely been touched.
The Congo River and its tributaries have carved out a vast basin from the north to the south of the country. The coastal plain shaped by the Congo is a narrow straight (25 miles). Lofty mountain chains rise proudly in the west. In the east, you will find many lakes and volcanoes created by plate tectonics. The land in the north is covered by a vast equatorial forest that is home to a large number of animal species. In the south, the wooded savannas, where buffalo, elephants, antelopes and large carnivores reign in the endless mist, stretch out as far as the eye can see.
Lucky are those who will have the opportunity to admire the okapi, an endemic species of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This mix of zebra and giraffe is on the Red List of Threatened Species and is particularly sought after by poachers. Located in the north-east, Virunga National Park is the oldest one in the country and is home to most of the animal species found here, including lions, elephants and hippos. The country's varied relief is conducive to the proliferation of certain species. While the forest may be home to rare mountain gorillas, the banks of the river shelter crocodiles and pythons.
As is the case in many Sub-Saharan African countries, sculpture is the dominant art form in Congolese culture. In addition to this, the Congo has a rich musical tradition which the different ethnic groups have been able to develop over the ages without losing any of its original authenticity.
The Luba people are famous for their wooden sculptures representing very moving feminine characters. The Nyam-Nyam or Zande people have made ivory and wooden sculptures their speciality. Metal and ceramic pieces are also very important.
The culture in Congo is as rich and varied as the country's ethnic groups. Literature, music, theatre, cinema, sculpture, comics and stamp collecting are all part of the cultural makeup of Congo. However, the traditional arts, such as dance, music, artisanry and sculpture, are those with which the general public is most familiar.