Official name: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Currency: Congolese franc (CDF)
Official languages: French
Area (km2): 2,344,858
GDP per capita (PPP) (US$): 774
Time zone: WAT, CAT (UTC+1 to +2)
Drives on the: right
ISO 3166 code: CD
Calling code: +243
Established as a Belgian colony in 1908, the then-Republic of the Congo gained its independence in 1960, but its early years were marred by political and social instability. Col. Joseph MOBUTU seized power and declared himself president in a November 1965 coup. He subsequently changed his name – to MOBUTU Sese Seko – as well as that of the country – to Zaire. MOBUTU retained his position for 32 years through several sham elections, as well as through brutal force. Ethnic strife and civil war, touched off by a massive inflow of refugees in 1994 from fighting in Rwanda and Burundi, led in May 1997 to the toppling of the MOBUTU regime by a rebellion backed by Rwanda and Uganda and fronted by Laurent KABILA. He renamed the country the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), but in August 1998 his regime was itself challenged by a second insurrection again backed by Rwanda and Uganda. Troops from Angola, Chad, Namibia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe intervened to support KABILA’s regime.
A cease-fire was signed in July 1999 by the DRC, Congolese armed rebel groups, Angola, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zimbabwe but sporadic fighting continued. Laurent KABILA was assassinated in January 2001 and his son, Joseph KABILA, was named head of state. In October 2002, the new president was successful in negotiating the withdrawal of Rwandan forces occupying eastern Congo; two months later, the Pretoria Accord was signed by all remaining warring parties to end the fighting and establish a government of national unity. A transitional government was set up in July 2003. Joseph KABILA as president and four vice presidents represented the former government, former rebel groups, the political opposition, and civil society. The transitional government held a successful constitutional referendum in December 2005 and elections for the presidency, National Assembly, and provincial legislatures in 2006. The National Assembly was installed in September 2006 and KABILA was inaugurated president in December 2006. Provincial assemblies were constituted in early 2007, and elected governors and national senators in January 2007. The next national elections are scheduled for November 2011.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (French: République démocratique du Congo) is a state located in Central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world. With a population of nearly 71 million, DR Congo is the eighteenth most populous nation in the world, and the fourth most populous nation in Africa, as well as the most populous officially Francophone country.
The country is often referred to as Congo. However, in order to distinguish it from the neighbouring Republic of the Congo to the west, it is sometimes referred to as DR Congo, DRC, or RDC (from its French abbreviation), or is called Congo-Kinshasa after the capital of Kinshasa (in contrast to Congo-Brazzaville for its neighbour). It also borders the Central African Republic and South Sudan to the north; Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi in the east; Zambia and Angola to the south; the Atlantic Ocean to the west; and is separated from Tanzania by Lake Tanganyika in the east. The country has access to the ocean through a 40-km stretch of Atlantic coastline at Muanda and the roughly 9 km wide mouth of the Congo River which opens into the Gulf of Guinea.
A Lot Awaits You in Congo
Have you ever been to the Democratic republic of Congo (DRC) for any safari? If not then add this country to your safari bucket list, because the moment you set foot into this riveting destination, you will just fall in love with the interesting attractions it offers. This country homes several wildlife species that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, the popular ones being the Eastern lowland gorillas that are found only in the tropical rain forests of Eastern DRC. The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the best countries to visit in the gorilla land. This country protects three of the four known gorilla species!
Congo protects the Virunga National Park, the very first place to be open for gorilla tourism in Africa.
Gorilla Trekking in DR Congo
A trek to a gorilla group in the jungles of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of the rarest and rewarding travel experiences of a life time. To track mountain gorillas in DRC is only possible in one area; the Virunga National Park that lies north of Kivu province and West of Goma Town.
The park covers about 7800 square kilometers which also inhabits a chain of Virunga Mountains that are shared between DRC, Rwanda and Uganda. Gorilla tracking in the Virunga National Park, DRC is still unexploited which means travelers have higher chances to experience the authentic African adventures. The Virunga national park is acknowledged for its eight habituated gorilla groups where tourists go to see mountain gorillas in the wild. Gorilla tracking is one way that travelers can explore the daily behaviors of these intelligent, humble, giant, impressive and spectacular primates in the wild.
Around the world, mountain gorillas are estimated to be less than 900 of which over 200 of them found refuge within the jungles Congo’s tropical rain forest. Much as the country is just recovering from political instabilities, Virunga national park is open for gorilla trekking and the permits are purchased at $450 per visitor! The permits are accessible officially and directly from Virunga’s website “www.visitvirunga.org that works hand in hand with Congolese Institute for Wildlife and Nature Conservation. Staring at mountain gorillas in their natural habitat is one of the most craved experiences that come once in a life time. Despite the fact that the park can be visited at any time of the year, travelers ought to distinguish between the dry season and wet season so as to have a fascinating safari in life.