Top Ten Democratic Republic of the Congo Attractions

Top Ten Democratic Republic of the Congo Attractions

       The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a state located in Central Africa. It is the 2nd largest country in Africa by area and the 11th largest in the world. With a population of nearly 71 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the 18th most populous nation in the world and the 4th most populous nation in Africa, as well as the most populous officially Francophone country. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is often referred to as Congo. However, in order to distinguish it from the neighboring Republic of the Congo to the west, the Democratic Republic of the Congo 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 neighbor). It also borders the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia, Angola, the Atlantic Ocean and is separated from Tanzania by Lake Tanganyika. The country has access to the ocean through a 40 km (25 mi) stretch of Atlantic coastline at Muanda and the roughly 9 km wide mouth of the Congo River which opens into the Gulf of Guinea. The Second Congo War, beginning in 1998, devastated the country, involved seven foreign armies and is sometimes referred to as the “African World War.” Despite the signing of peace accords in 2003, fighting continues in the east of the country. In eastern Congo, the prevalence of rape and other sexual violence is described as the worst in the world. The war is the world’s deadliest conflict since WWII, killing 5.4 million people since 1998. The vast majority died from malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition. The Democratic Republic of the Congo was formerly, in chronological order, the Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Congo-Léopoldville, Congo-Kinshasa and Zaire.

  1. Garamba National Park

    Garamba National Park, located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa, was established in 1938. One of Africa’s oldest National parks, it is (or at least was) the home to the world’s last known wild population of Northern White Rhinoceros. Due to poaching of the rhinos within the park, it was added to the list of World Heritage in Danger in 1996. The park is also well known for its African elephant domestication program started in the 1960’s, which managed to train tourist-rideable animals from the naturally wild beasts.
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten African National Parks, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garamba_National_Park,
  2. Kahuzi-Biéga National Park

    Kahuzi-Biéga National Park is in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, 50 km west of the town of Bukavu in the Kivu Region, near to the western side of Lake Kivu and the Rwandan border. The park is one of the last refuges of the rare Eastern Lowland Gorilla. Prior to conflicts which have plagued this part of Africa since the 1990’s, only an estimated 600 gorillas remained throughout the range. It is likely that recent war in the region has taken a terrible toll on their numbers. One recent estimate in 2005 has suggested that as many as 60% of the population of nearly 300 recorded in Kahuzi-Biéga in 1990 may have perished. The ongoing fighting in the Congo has moved within the boundaries of the park causing looting, burning of the forest, and poaching of the animals. The Park is named after two extinct volcanoes, Mount Kahuzi (3,308 m) and Mount Biéga (2,790 m). Mount Kahuzi is the highest in this part of Kivu.
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten African National Parks, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kahuzi-Biega_National_Park,
  3. Okapi Wildlife Reserve


    The Okapi Wildlife Reserve is a World Heritage Site in the Ituri Forest in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, near the borders with Sudan and Uganda. At approximately 14,000 km², it covers approximately one fifth of the area of the forest.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okapi_Wildlife_Reserve,
  4. Salonga National Park


    Salonga National Park is a national park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo located in the Congo River basin. It is Africa’s largest tropical rainforest reserve covering about 36,000 km². Animals in the park include bonobos, Salonga monkeys, Tshuapa red colobus, Zaire peacocks, forest elephants, and African slender-snouted crocodiles. It was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. Due to the civil war in the eastern half of the country, it was added to the list of World Heritage in Danger in 1999.
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten African National Parks, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salonga_National_Park,
  5. Virunga National Park


    The Virunga National Park, formerly named Albert National Park, is a 7,800 square km National Park that stretches from the Virunga Mountains in the South, to the Rwenzori Mountains in the North, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, bordering Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Rwenzori Mountains National Park and Queen Elisabeth National Park in Uganda. The park has become known for its mountain gorillas, although poaching and the Congo Civil War have seriously damaged its wildlife population.
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten African National Parks, Top Ten Volcanoes, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virunga_National_Park,
  6. Kinshasa


    Kinshasa (formerly French: Léopoldville, and Dutch: Leopoldstad) is the capital and largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, located on the Congo River. Once a site of fishing villages, Kinshasa is now an urban area with a population of over 8.4 million inhabitants. The city of Brazzaville (about 1.2 million inhabitants in 2007), capital of the Republic of the Congo, lies just across the Congo River from Kinshasa. Because the administrative boundaries cover such a vast area, over 60% of the city’s land is rural in nature, and the urban area only occupies a small section in the far western end of the province. Kinshasa holds the status of the 2nd largest city in sub-Saharan Africa and the 3rd largest in the whole continent after Lagos and Cairo. Although it has no significant native French speaking population, it is often considered the 2nd largest officially francophone city in the world after Paris, inasmuch as French is the language of government and commerce, and is used as a lingua franca. If current demographic trends continue, Kinshasa will surpass Paris in population before 2020. Residents of Kinshasa are known as Kinois (French) or Kinshasans (English).
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinshasa,
  7. Brazzaville

    Brazzaville is the capital and largest city of the Republic of the Congo and is located on the Congo River. As of the 2001 census, it has a population of 1,018,541 in the city proper, and about 1.5 million in total when including the suburbs located in the Pool Region. The populous city of Kinshasa (more than 10 million inhabitants in 2009), capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, lies just across the Congo River from Brazzaville. Together with Kinshasa, the combined conurbation of Kinshasa-Brazzaville has thus nearly 12 million inhabitants. Over a third of the population of the Republic of Congo lives in the capital, and it is home to 40% of non-agricultural employment. It is also a financial and administrative capital.
    Links: Top 100 Stamps, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazzaville,
  8. Links: Attractions, African Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_Republic_of_the_Congo,