Destinations

Republic of the Congo

Go wild in Congo and trek lowland gorilla, discover the rainforest and kayak past unique wildlife.

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Republic of the Congo

The Republic of the Congo, also known as the Congo, and not to be confused with neighbouring DRC, is a hidden green land of hot and steamy equatorial forest. Part of the larger Congo Basin, the rainforest is the second largest in the world, and 1000 bird species, 10,000 plant species as well as forest elephant, buffalo and rare bongo shelter among its ferns. But the biggest draw is the western lowland gorilla, and intrepid travellers who make the journey are rewarded with the most thrilling of sightings. Still not convinced? Well, what if we told you that the Congo is a calm, ever-stabilising nation that is truly on the cusp of becoming one of the finest ecotourism destinations in Africa?


Why you'll love it

The western lowland gorilla groups are undoubtedly the highlight, but a Congo safari offers so much more: swim in crystal-clear rivers or navigate the waterways in a pirogue, discover wildlife on game drives and walks, and spend time with the heartwarmingly friendly locals.


Off the beaten track

Don’t skip the quaint French capital city, Brazzaville – you could be in for a surprise! The clean streets are filled with market stalls, art and flowers, there’s a wonderful museum, and you can even munch on fresh baguettes at lunch.


Something to think about

It’s important to be in the right mindset for a Congo safari. Camps and lodges are tough to get to, and drives can be long and bumpy with more than a few methods of transport required. But the rewards at the end more than make up for all that effort.

When to go

January

Season: Dry

February

Season: Dry

March

Season: Wet

April

Season: Wet

May

Season: Wet

June

Season: Dry

July

Season: Dry

August

Season: Dry

September

Season: Dry

October

Season: Wet

November

Season: Wet

December

Season: Wet

Need to know

What to pack

Climate:
The Republic of the Congo produces a hot and humid climate with minimal temperature fluctuations throughout the year. There are two rainy seasons in the country – late-February to early-May (long rains) and the period from late-October to late-December (the lighter short rains). Rwanda can be visited at most times of the year, but the climate can become quite unpredictable at the peak of the wet season.

Dress Code:
Generally speaking, light layers of clothing in neutral safari colours of green, khaki and beige are the best items to bring with you. Dark colours such as navy or black can attract tsetse flies and are best avoided, as are bright colours like yellow, red and purple if you are going on safari. A lightweight waterproof jacket is also a must, with high humidity leading to occasional showers.

What to Pack:
Layers - long and short sleeve shirts and trousers
A warm fleece or jumper
A lightweight waterproof jacket
Comfortable but sturdy shoes
Leather gloves (there are stinging nettles in the parks)
Gaiters
Flip-flops
Swimming costume
A hat or baseball cap
Sunglasses
Sunscreen – a must!
Toiletries – most camps will provide shampoo, shower gel and soap
A small torch
Spare batteries, plug adaptors and charging equipment
A good pair of Binoculars
Books or a fully loaded Kindle / iPad for siesta time

Luggage:
Many international airlines have a baggage allowance of 20 kgs or more per person, but please check this with your individual airline. Please be advised that on domestic flights, luggage is limited to one soft sided bag per person with a maximum weight of 15kg. No hardshell bags are permitted.

Money:
The currency in the Congo in the Central African Franc (CFA). You can convert money to Francs at a bank or Forex Bureau, or withdraw from an ATM, all found in the larger airports and towns, please check with your bank for charges and advice when using international ATMs. Major credit cards are widely accepted in most hotels and establishments, however there may be a surcharge levied. It is advisable to have some cash for smaller shops and stalls. Major banks are available in most towns in Rwanda. They operate business hours of 9am – 3pm, Monday to Friday.

Grilla Trekking Guide Lines:
No spitting in the park
No littering in the park
No coughing in the direction of the gorillas
Only speak in whispers
Do not point at the gorillas
Movements around the gorillas must be unthreatening
No venturing behind thick shrubs. You may surprise a gorilla.
If a nettle stings you, do not cry out, scream, shout-out loud or make any sudden moves
If a gorilla charges or vocalizes, do not look directly at it. Stand perfectly still unless the guide asks
you to crouch or move back.
Keep a minimum distance of 7 meters from the Gorillas

Tipping:
We must stress that tipping is not compulsory or expected; rather it is an extra reward for excellent service. If you are pleased with the service you receive you are more than welcome to tip your guide or the staff in the various lodges and camps. As a guideline for tipping your guide and the staff , you can leave between USD 10 to 15 per traveller per day. Tipping is usually done at the end of your safari and most lodges and camps have a tip box in the main area. You may tip the staff individually, place a tip for all the staff in the box or do both. Tips can be made in Central African Francs or US Dollars.

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