The Democratic Rep of Congo is located on the Equator in the centre of Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, is a vast country of rainforests, mountains, active volcanoes and 15,000km of waterways, of which the most notable are the mighty Congo river and Lake Tanganyika on the country’s border with Tanzania and Burundi. Transport infrastructure is almost non-existent and one of the main modes of transport is with dug-out canoes, called ‘pirogues’, which is the best way to see this lush African country.
During the rainy season roads and bridges are for the most part impassable. The DRC, with its untamed natural beauty and undeveloped tourism, provides a truly wild experience for the adventurous traveller, who may even come across primitive pygmies. It is unfortunate that the country’s political instability and the fighting in the areas north and east of the Congo River, have made travel, unless on essential business to Kinshasa, Lubumbashi and Matadi, inadvisable.
The Democratic Rep of Congo is warm and humid. The best time to visit the area north of the equator or travel along the Congo River is Nov-Mar (dry season). The best time to visit areas south of the equator is Jun-Sep (dry season).
1 Franc Congo = 100 centimes. This is a mostly cash economy, but credit cards are accepted at a few major hotels, restaurants and car rental firms (Amex is most widely accepted). Cash advances cannot be obtained from banks. Traveller’s cheques can only be cashed at commercial banks. Some travellers have complained about high fees, delays and unavailability of cash at commercial banks for traveller’s cheques. Possession of any foreign currency is illegal.
Visitors have three business days to deposit their foreign currency in bank-run exchange houses. These institutions will buy foreign currency deposited by travellers upon their arrival. However, it’s unclear whether or not they will sell foreign currency to travellers upon their departure. Local currency must be used for all commercial transactions, and there are criminal sanctions for non-compliance.