Traveling tips for Dr Congo – what you should know before a trip to Dr Congo

Are you planning a trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and wondering what to expect? With its rich cultural heritage, breathtaking natural beauty, and vibrant cities, the DRC is a destination for adventurous travelers. From exploring the Congo River to trekking through lush rainforests, there’s no shortage of exciting experiences to be had. But before you embark on your journey, it’s essential to know what to expect and how to prepare.

Knowing the eligibility criteria, regional traditions, and cultural standards can help you navigate this extraordinary nation as a traveler. There are several things to take into account, ranging from getting the appropriate visa to knowing the local food. In addition, one must approach the DRC with consideration and respect due to its complicated history and political environment. You can make the most of your vacation and generate treasured experiences if you prepare ahead of time and are aware of your surroundings.

The essential tips and details you should be aware of before visiting the DRC are included in this article. We’ll cover everything, from helpful tips on packing and traveling to fascinating insights into the habits and culture of the area. This travel guide will assist you in navigating the nuances of traveling in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and making the most of your vacation, regardless of your level of experience traveling abroad. Now let’s get going!

Are there any things I should know before visiting the Congo?

Traveling to the Congo requires careful planning and preparation. Here are some things you might need to know:

  1. Visa Requirements: Check the visa requirements for your nationality. Most travelers need a visa to enter the Congo.
  2. Health Precautions: Certain vaccinations may be required, such as yellow fever. Malaria is also a risk in the Congo, so antimalarial medication might be recommended.
  3. Safety: Parts of the Congo can be volatile due to political instability. It’s important to check travel advisories from your government and have a clear understanding of the current situation.
  4. Language: French is the official language in the Congo. Although English might be understood in some places, learning a few basic phrases in French could be helpful.
  5. Currency: The official currency is the Congolese franc. Credit cards are not widely accepted outside major cities, and ATMs might be scarce, so carrying some cash is advisable.
  6. Climate: The Congo has a tropical climate. It’s hot and humid in the rainy season and cooler in the dry season. Pack clothing suitable for tropical weather.
  7. Cultural Etiquette: Congolese people are generally friendly and welcoming. Understanding local customs and traditions can enhance your travel experience.

Navigating Entry And Visa Requirements

Here are the entry and visa requirements for the Congo:

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC):

  • Visa: You must have a visa to visit DRC. Apply for a visa through the DRC Embassy in the UK. Allow at least 2 to 3 weeks for application processing.
  • Passport: Your passport must have an ‘expiry date’ at least 6 months after the date you arrive in DRC.
  • COVID-19 rules: There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travelers entering the DRC.
  • Vaccination: You may need a yellow fever vaccination certificate and a polio vaccination certificate.

10 interesting facts about Congo

Here are some interesting facts about the Republic of the Congo:

  1. The Republic of Congo is located in Central Africa and is bordered by five countries: Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, DR Congo, and Gabon.
  2. The Republic of Congo is often referred to as Congo-Brazzaville or just Congo to distinguish it from its neighbor, the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  3. The Republic of Congo takes its name from the Congo River, which makes up a significant portion of the country’s eastern border.
  4. At 2,900mi (4,700 km), the Congo River is Africa’s second-longest river after the Nile and is also the world’s deepest river.
  5. The Republic of Congo was officially a colony of France from 1891 known as the French Congo and then later French Equatorial Africa.
  6. In 1960, following a 1958 referendum on autonomy, the Republic of the Congo became completely independent with Fulbert Youlou as its first president.
  7. The Republic of the Congo flag incorporates pan-African colors (red, yellow, and green) with green symbolizing agriculture and forests and yellow for the friendship and nobility of the people.
  8. The region of the Republic of the Congo has been inhabited since between 100,000 and 40,000 BC.
  9. Between 1921 and 1934, the French forced Congolese laborers to build the Congo-Ocean Railway from Pointe-Noire to Brazzaville. The construction project caused between 15,000 and 20,000 Africans dead and is considered the most costly ever in terms of African lives.
  10. The country’s capital city, Brazzaville, is named after the French explorer, Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza.

What should I pack for the Congo?

When packing for a trip to the Congo, you should consider the following items:

Health and Safety Items:

  • Prescription medicines
  • Travelers’ diarrhea antibiotic
  • Suture/syringe kit (for use by local health care provider)
  • Altitude sickness medicine
  • Medicine to prevent malaria
  • Medical supplies (Glasses, Contact lenses, Needles or syringes, Diabetes testing supplies, Insulin, Inhalers, Epinephrine auto-injectors)
  • Over-the-counter medicines (Antacid, Diarrhea medicine, Antihistamine, Motion sickness medicine, Cough drops, Medicine for pain and fever, Mild laxative, Mild sedative or other sleep aid)
  • Hand sanitizer or wipes
  • Water purification tablets
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen (SPF 15 or greater) with UVA and UVB protection
  • First-aid kit (1% hydrocortisone cream, Antifungal ointments, Antibacterial ointments, Antiseptic wound cleanser, Aloe gel for sunburns, Insect bite treatment, Anti-itch gel or cream, Bandages, Moleskin or mole foam for blisters, Elastic/compression bandage wrap for sprains and strains, Disposable gloves, Digital thermometer)

Clothing and Personal Items:

  • Lightweight clothing that can be layered
  • Long-sleeved shirts
  • Sweaters or fleece jackets (for cold weather destinations)
  • T-shirts and tank tops (take a couple that have sleeves to be respectful of the culture you are visiting)
  • Travel Pants and/or shorts
  • Dresses and/or skirts
  • A pair of jeans (good for travel days/airports and planes)
  • Sunglasses and a hat for sun protection. A wide-brim hat is preferred.

What do you need for a DR Congo visa?

To apply for a visa to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo), you generally need the following:

  1. A valid passport with at least six months of remaining validity and at least two blank pages.
  2. Proof of the purpose of the visit, such as a letter of invitation, hotel reservations, or flight itinerary.
  3. Evidence of sufficient financial means to cover your stay in DR Congo.
  4. For business and work visas, you may need letters from sponsoring organizations or employers in DR Congo.

You can apply for a visa through the DRC Embassy in your country. Allow at least 2 to 3 weeks for application processing. The DR Congo also offers an e-Visa, which is an electronic travel authorization that you can apply for online. Once approved, your eVisa will be sent to your email within the specified processing time.

How can I go to the Congo from Nigeria?

Traveling from Nigeria to the Congo involves several steps:

Visa: Nigerian citizens must obtain a visa before entry into Congo. You can reach out to the Congo embassy or consulate for instructions on how to apply for the visa.

Passport: Your passport must be valid for 6 months on leaving the destination.

Travel Options: There are several ways to travel from Nigeria to Congo:

  • Fly to Kinshasa: This journey takes approximately 22 hours and 45 minutes.
  • Fly to Pointe-Noire: This journey takes around 8 hours.
  • Drive: You can also drive from Lagos to Brazzaville, which is a distance of 2879 km and takes about 46 hours.

Safety: Congo has a current risk level of 2.70 (out of 5). It’s advised to use some caution when traveling to Congo.

How can we stay safe in the Congo?

Staying safe in the Congo involves being aware of your surroundings and taking certain precautions. Here are some tips:

  1. Avoid Large Crowds: Large crowds can be unpredictable and may increase the risk of petty crime.
  2. Vary Routes and Times: Avoid being predictable in your daily routines.
  3. Avoid Walking Alone: Especially avoid walking in the streets after dark.
  4. Secure Your Belongings: Do not carry large amounts of cash or valuables. Petty crime is more common in large crowds, so keep your belongings safe or totally out of sight to avoid theft.
  5. Avoid Isolated Areas: This includes beaches, especially at night.
  6. Vehicle Safety: Lock doors and keep windows closed when driving. Avoid driving away from main routes, and always park in a secure location.
  7. Respect Local Customs and laws. Always carry some form of identification. Be aware of local customs and laws to avoid offenses.
  8. Health Precautions: Follow basic safety tips like wearing a seatbelt at all times, sitting in the back seat of cars and taxis, and wearing a helmet when on motorbikes or bicycles

Is Congo tourist-friendly?

The Republic of the Congo, also known as Congo-Brazzaville, is considered relatively safe for tourists. However, it’s important to note that it’s a developing nation with limited tourist infrastructure. Here are some key points:

  • Safety: The Republic of the Congo is one of the safest countries in Africa. However, petty street crime does occur, especially in large cities like the capital, Brazzaville. It’s recommended to keep your belongings safe or totally out of sight to avoid theft.
  • LGBTQ+ Travelers: While there are no laws against homosexuality in the Republic of the Congo, many local and visiting LGBTQ+ travelers have faced discrimination and harassment. It’s advised to keep public displays of affection to a minimum and avoid discussing sexual orientation to prevent causing offense.
  • Transportation: Roads in Brazzaville are relatively well maintained. However, road and train travel from Brazzaville to Pointe Noire is not recommended due to safety concerns.
  • Natural Disasters: The Republic of the Congo experiences two rainy seasons, the first from February–May and again from September–December. This can affect travel plans, especially for those planning to venture outside the capital

What is the best thing to buy in the Congo?

The Congo offers a variety of unique items that you can buy as souvenirs or gifts. Here are some of the best things to buy:

  1. African Art: The Marche Plateau Ville market in Brazzaville is known for its beautiful traditional pieces, including the famous Teke masks. You can find stylish African-inspired furniture, sculptures, masks, and handbags.
  2. Healing Crystals: Malachite, clear quartz, jasper, and other healing stones are available at the market. These stones are sold as is, or made into beautiful items of jewelry.
  3. Locally-Printed T-Shirts: These are a great way to remember your trip.
  4. Handcrafted Bags: Fashion fanatics will be charmed by the beautiful, handmade bags crafted out of crocodile skin or leather.
  5. Liboke: This is a traditional dish generally composed of boiled fish with tomato, salt, and chili and wrapped in banana leaves.

What is the best time to visit Congo?

The best time to visit Congo is during the long dry season, which lasts from May to September. This period is considered the best for activities like gorilla trekking. However, planning a Congo safari is all dependent on the weather, as the Congo experiences an equatorial climate, which means that humidity levels are high all year round.

Here’s a month-by-month guide for traveling to Congo:

  • January & February: These months form part of Congo’s short dry season and can be extremely humid. Most of the Congo is covered in a thick layer of grey cloud throughout these months, but the drier conditions do bring the gorillas out of the far reaches of the rainforests.
  • March & April: These months form part of Congo’s short rainy season, and there is a chance of rain almost every day throughout these months. Despite the rain, these months are generally extremely hot.
  • May to July: May is the first month of the long dry season, and this is considered the best time to visit Congo for soul-stirring gorilla encounters, in perfect trekking conditions.
  • August to October: August is the peak season in Congo and falls within the dry season period. It stays relatively cool during this period.


How do people dress in the DRC?

People in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have a rich and diverse clothing tradition. Here are some key aspects:

  1. Liputa: This is the national dress of the DRC, representing the unique and diverse cultural identities of its people. Liputa is a beautifully crafted garment made from vibrant, colorful fabrics. It typically consists of a loose-fitting top, known as a blouse or shirt, and a matching wraparound skirt
  2. Regional Variations: Liputa displays regional variations that reflect the diverse ethnic groups within the country. Each region incorporates its unique patterns, colors, and styles into the dress
  3. Traditional Clothing: Traditionally, men and women in the Congo wore clothes made of raffia. This is only used today though, in special ceremonies
  4. Modern Clothing: It is much more common to see women wearing long skirts and tops with bold patterns and colors. Headwraps and hats are also popular as fashion and sun protection. Men wear a dashiki-style long shirt, or a button-down shirt and long pants
  5. Western Influence: Despite the influence of Western fashion trends, Liputa has managed to retain its significance in modern times
  6. Respect and Status: The quality of one’s clothes can often reflect their social status, as the traditional system where the amount of respect a person receives depends on the quality of their clothes still applies

Thanks for reading! If you’re planning a trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, bookmark our website for more travel tips and resources. Still have questions? Leave a comment below, and we’ll do our best to help. Share this article with fellow travelers and friends who might be interested in exploring this incredible country.

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