The towering status of Kinshasa makes many visitors think of Democratic Republic of Congo solely through the eyes of Kinshasa. Of course being the third largest city in Africa and the way it has set the tune in central Africa makes the city a force to reckon with, however, not many people will easily pick the city for a holiday because it is energetic, chaotic and demanding. This is why most tour companies usually recommend the countryside.
If you want flamboyant dressing, grand hotels, interesting nightlife and big entertainment scene, then you might want to stay in Kinshasa, home of the Sapeurs.
However, for a feel of towering mountains with peaks garnished with a wisp of mist and rainforests where giant primates such as the lowland gorillas roam, you’ll do well to visit the countryside of DRC.
It’s at the countryside that visitors spend time climbing great height for epic views and watch some of the world’s rarest creatures swing from vines as they munch juicy leaves and play in the dirt.
While DRC does not enjoy good nationwide safety rating, this does not mean it is wholly unsafe. Kinshasa, Goma, Virunga National Park and Bukavu are all safe places for visitors. The truth, however, is that lone travel or backpacking is not highly recommended.
Interested visitors will do well to book with tour companies. Why? Because there is sparse information about the country and only these companies know the country inside out and can give reasonably up-to-date assurances. Besides, they often work with the security set up to provide further security assurances for visitors.
Virunga National Park is home to about a quarter of the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas. This is Africa’s oldest national park and is famed for its thick forest, towering mountain peaks and ancient swamps.
Goma, on the other hand, is a jump off destination to the Mount Nyiragongo, a towering green cone that is crowned with the world’s largest lava lake. The volcano tower emits an eerie red glow from its bubbling lava lake as darkness sets each night. It is a popular hiking site.
In Bakavu, you may want to visit the central market in the city centre. It’s such a huge market with so many people buying and selling a huge variety of goods.
As for Kinshasa, think of it as the heart of central African music, with nice bars where you can sample the local nightlife.
But if you need a quick escape from the chaos of Kinshasa, a popular stop off is the crescent shaped Tchegera Island in Lake Kivu – perfect for a couple of days relaxing or kayaking on the lake.
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