Keep in mind that these sights can only be visited when it is safe to do so.
DR Congo sights
Garamba National Park
Kahuzi Biega National Park
Grauer’s Gorillas / Lowland Gorillas
Grauer’s gorilla, also known as the eastern lowland gorilla, lives exclusively in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, which has endured more than a decade of warfare and instability. This subspecies is closely related to the mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei), but Grauer’s gorilla tends to inhabit forests at lower elevations and eats more fruit.
Gorillas are the largest primates in the world, and Grauer’s is the largest of the four gorilla types. Males can weigh more than 500 pounds. As large forest mammals that feed predominantly on vegetation, they are an important influence on the natural composition of plant communities.
Scientific Name: Gorilla beringei graueri Grauer’s gorillas live in roving groups of from 5 to 30 members, led by an experienced “silverback” male (sexually mature male gorillas have an expanse of glossy, silver fur on their backs. A single animal may consume as much 40 pounds of food per day. Noted WCS conservationist George Schaller was part of a team that conducted the first survey of Grauer’s gorilla in 1959.
Challenges Grauer’s gorilla is listed as endangered on IUCN’s Red List and may now number fewer than 8,000. In 1995, the overall population of Grauer’s gorillas was estimated at 17,000 animals. However, shortly thereafter, political conflict spread over the gorillas’ entire range, and many local gorilla populations disappeared.
In eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, agricultural activities are causing massive loss and fragmentation of forest habitat. Widespread illegal gold and coltan mining activities in the forests increase levels of subsistence hunting for bushmeat, and illegal capture of infants (during which other group members are often killed) is also a concern. Ongoing political unrest and military activity, including occupation of national parks, compound the problems. As parts of the country emerge from civil war, new concessions for timber, minerals, and possibly petroleum may also pose conservation challenges. WCS Responds Since 1996, the frequent presence of armed rebels in the species’ range has limited research into its habits and numbers. However, WCS field conservationists have made use of periods of calm to gain insights. They recently discovered evidence of this gorilla’s presence in the Itombwe region of DRC, an important center of biodiversity 30 miles south of the previous known range, as well as in Kahuzi-Biega National Park. The discovery has provided new hope for the species’ survival and impetus to protect its habitat in Africa’s Albertine Rift area.
WCS conservationists are monitoring the populations to determine their status and needs. Establishing where gorillas occur, how abundant they are, the degree of connectivity between populations, the factors that influence their distribution, and the threats to their survival is essential to developing a realistic management strategy.
Kundelungu National Park
Maiko National Park
Okapi Classification and Evolution The Okapi is an elusive herbivore that is found in a small pocket of tropical mountain forest in central Africa. Despite it's Deer-like appearance the Okapi is actually one of the last remaining ancestors of the Giraffe, which is the tallest animalon Earth. Along with having a relatively long neck compared to it's body size, the most striking feature of the Okapi is the horizontal stripes that are particularly visible on their behinds and give this animal an almost Zebra-like appearance. The Okapi is very shy and secretive, so much so in fact that they were not recognised as a distinct species by western science until the earth 20th century. Although they are seldom seen by people, the Okapi is not an endangered species as they are thought to be fairly common in their remote habitats.
Okapi Anatomy and Appearance Like it's distant and much larger ancestor, the Okapi has a long neck which not only helps it to reach leaves that are higher up, but also provides the Okapi with a tool to both defend itself and it's territory. The Okapi has a red-brown coloured coat of fur with horizontal, white striped markings that are found on their hind quarters and at the tops of their legs, and provide the Okapi with excellent camouflage in the dense jungle. They have white ankles with a dark spot above each hoof and very thick skin to help protect them from injury. The Okapi has a long head and dark muzzle with large set-back ears which enable the Okapi to detect approaching predators easily. The Okapi also has an impressively long tongue, which is not only black in colour but it is also prehensile meaning that it is able to grab hold of leaves from the branches above.
Okapi Conservation Status and Life Today Although they are thought to be fairly common throughout their naturally isolated range, the Okapi has been listed by the IUCN as an animal that is Near Threatened from extinction in it's natural environment. This is due to the increase of deforestation in parts of their natural habitat along with the fact that they are becoming increasingly caught on snares and other traps that are set by locals to catch other animals. The Okapi has been protected by law in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formally Zaire) since 1933, and the IUCN last estimated that there were between 10,000 and 35,000 individuals left in the wild.
Salonga National Park
This is a tropical rainforest national park and is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List as well. In this immense rainforest, you will see the antics of the dwarf chimpanzee and be amazed of the Congo peacock. This is also made more famous because of the African slender-snouted crocodile or what is also called a false crocodile.Total area: 36 000 km2, Key species: dwarf chimpanzee or Bonobo, Peacock Congolese forest elephant, Established: 1970, Location: Province of Ecuador, Bandundu and the two Kasai Provinces.
The bonobo (/bəˈnoʊboʊ/ or /ˈbɒnəboʊ/) (Pan paniscus), formerly called the pygmy chimpanzee and less often, the dwarf or gracile chimpanzee, is an endangered great ape and one of the two species making up the genus Pan; the other is Pan troglodytes, or the common chimpanzee. Although the name "chimpanzee" is sometimes used to refer to both species together, it is usually understood as referring to the common chimpanzee, whereas Pan paniscus is usually referred to as the bonobo.
The bonobo is distinguished by relatively long legs, pink lips, dark face and tail-tuft through adulthood, and parted long hair on its head. The bonobo is found in a 500,000 km2 (190,000 sq mi) area of the Congo Basin in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central Africa. The species is omnivorous and inhabits primaryand secondary forests, including seasonally inundated swamp forests. Political instability in the region and the timidity of bonobos has meant there has been relatively little field work done observing the species in its natural habitat.
Along with the common chimpanzee, the bonobo is the closest extant relative to humans. Because the two species are not proficient swimmers, the formation of the Congo River 1.5–2 million years ago possibly led to the speciation of the bonobo. Bonobos live south of the river, and thereby were separated from the ancestors of the common chimpanzee, which live north of the river. There is no concrete data on population numbers, but the estimate is between 29,500 and 50,000 individuals. The species is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List and is threatened by habitat destruction and human population growth and movement, though commercial poaching is the most prominent threat. They typically live 40 years in captivity, though their lifespan in the wild is unknown.
Social behavior Bonobos are very social Bonobo searching for termites Most studies indicate that females have a higher social status in bonobo society. Aggressive encounters between males and females are rare, and males are tolerant of infants and juveniles. A male derives his status from the status of his mother. The mother–son bond often stays strong and continues throughout life. While social hierarchies do exist, rank plays a less prominent role than in other primate societies.
Because of the promiscuous mating behavior of female bonobos, there is a great deal of paternal uncertainty. If a male cannot be sure which offspring are his, he is less likely to invest any time or energy caring for them. It is because of this lack of certainty that the entirety of parental care in bonobos is assumed by the mothers.
Bonobo party size tends to vary because the groups exhibit a fission–fusion pattern. A community of approximately 100 will split into small groups during the day while looking for food, and then will come back together to sleep. They sleep in nests that they construct in trees.
Upemba National Park
Virunga National Park
The mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) is one of the two subspecies of the eastern gorilla. There are two populations. One is found in the Virunga volcanic mountains of Central Africa, within three National Parks: Mgahinga, in south-west Uganda; Volcanoes, in north-west Rwanda; and Virunga in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The other is found in Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Some primatologists consider the Bwindi population in Uganda may be a separate subspecies, though no description has been finished. As of November 2012, the estimated total number of mountain gorillas is around 880.
Aggression Although strong and powerful, gorillas are generally gentle and shy. Severe aggression is rare in stable groups, but when two mountain gorilla groups meet, the two silverbacks can sometimes engage in a fight to the death, using their canines to cause deep, gaping injuries. The entire sequence has nine steps: (1) progressively quickening hooting, (2) symbolic feeding, (3) rising bipedally, (4) throwing vegetation, (5) chest-beating with cupped hands, (6) one leg kick, (7) sideways running, two-legged to four-legged, (8) slapping and tearing vegetation, and (9) thumping the ground with palms to end display.
Mangrove Marine Park
Okapi Wildlife Reserve
Also listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List, this reserve is popular for the variety of birds and primates that it has. It also gives anybody who visits this place a true sense of what the beauty of nature is about as they gaze at the waterfalls. Be amazed at the wonderful scenery Ituri and Epulu Rivers offer.Total area: 13,730 km2, Key species: Okapi, Forest Elephants, Chimpanzee with clear face, Creation: 1992, Location: Eastern Province.
Area Luama Kivu
Another beautiful tourist destination, this volcano is a must-see in Congo. Here, you will marvel at the sight of the lava lake. But remember, this magnificent sight posts danger to the people living near it.
This is the capital city of Congo. Here, you can stay at budget hotels like Al Dar and La Bloque. If you want a nightlife, go to Matonge at night because this is where you can find most of the bars as well as restaurant and popular night clubs.
Falls of Zongo
This is also a great place to go to if you are a nature lover. Here, you will surely love the splendid view of the Zongo Falls and admire the beauty of the nature that surrounds it. You can also stay the night here as you can camp here in a tent or you can rent a bungalow for a night's stay.
Bombo Lumene Game Park
This is a wonderful place to spend some quality time with our loved ones. You can spend a quiet and peaceful time in the many small gazebos located here. Or you can take a short nature walk along its trails and rest on a quaint bamboo bench if your legs get tired from all the walking.
This is a city in Congo that you can also visit. Here, you will be given a scenic view of Kivu Lake. From here, you can visit the gorillas in Kahuzi-Biega National Park.
The Congo River
The Congo River (also known as the Zaire River; French: (le) fleuve Congo / Zaïre; Portuguese: rio Congo / Zaire) is a river in Africa and the world's deepest river with measured depths in excess of 220 m (720 ft). It is the second largest river in the world by discharge (after the Amazon). The Congo-Chambeshi river has an overall length of 4,700 km (2,920 mi), which makes it the ninth longest river (in terms of discharge, the Chambeshi is a tributary of the Lualaba River, Lualaba being the name of the Congo River upstream of the Boyoma Falls, extending for 1,800 km). Measured along the Lualaba, the Congo River has a total length of 4,370 km (2,715 mi), The Congo Basin has a total area of about 4 million km², or 13% of the entire African landmass.
The Congo river got its name from the Kingdom of Kongo which was situated on the left banks of the river estuary. The kingdom is in turn named for its Bantu population, in the 17th century reported as Esikongo. South of the Kongo kingdom proper lay the similarly named Kakongo kingdom, mentioned in 1535. Abraham Ortelius in his world map of 1564 labels as Manicongo the city at the mouth of the river. The tribal names in kongo possibly derive from a word for a public gathering or tribal assembly.
The name Zaire is from a Portuguese adaptation of a Kikongo word nzere ("river"), a truncation of nzadi o nzere ("river swallowing rivers"), The river was known as Zaire during the 16th and 17th centuries; Congo seems to have replaced Zaire gradually in English usage during the 18th century, and Congo is the preferred English name in 19th-century literature, although references to Zahir or Zaire as the name used by the natives (i.e. derived from Portuguese usage) remained common.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo are named after it, as was their predecessor state, the Republic of the Congo (Léopoldville), which had gained independence in 1960 from the Belgian Congo. The state of Zaire during 1971–1997 was also named for the river, after its French (and Portuguese) name.