Not to be confused with the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was formerly known as Zaïre. The second-largest country in Africa, it is the most populated francophone nation on the continent, with 75 million residents; more than 200 ethnic groups comprise the population, and approximately 240 languages are spoken there.
Travellers are attracted to the DRC for its lush rainforests, beautiful rivers and volcanoes, making it one of the best countries in which to experience an African adventure.
Travel information for the DRC
To enter the country, all Canadian travellers must show a passport that is valid for at least six months past their anticipated departure date. Tourist, business, student and transit visas are required and must be obtained before arrival. There is a departure tax, which you must pay before you can board your flight.
Taking photographs in public is prohibited, and an international driving permit is recommended. The currency is the Congolese franc (CDF). The US dollar is also commonly accepted, but credit cards are usually not. ABMs are not available. French is the official language, but other languages are also spoken, including Lingala, Kituba, Swahili and Tshiluba.
Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are common. Pay attention to local news reports when you’re in the country, and contact the Canadian embassy in Kinshasa in case of an emergency.
Top travel experiences in the DRC
The DRC is known for its biodiversity. In fact, it is the most biodiverse country in Africa. Travellers come here to see rare plant and animal species in the country’s beautiful national parks – Virunga National Park, Garamba National Park, Kahuzi-Biéga National Park, Salonga National Park and Okapi Wildlife Reserve. Each one is a World Heritage site.
The DRC is also the centre of popular African music. If you have the opportunity, visit a local disco and experience some of the soukous music live. In addition, the Académie des Beaux-Arts is a great local art gallery, where you can meet local artists and experience some of the country’s local treasures.
Other places worth visiting include the Congo River, one of the longest rivers in central Africa; Mount Nyiragongo, a volcano with a lava lake; Musée National; Kisantu Botanical Garden; Laurent Kabila’s tomb; and the Kinkole Fish Market.
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|Population (2012):||65,705,093||34,754,312 (2012)|
|Diesel (2012):||1.48||1.23 (2012)|
|Gasoline (2012):||1.48||1.23 (2013)|