The lengthy dry season, which lasts from May to September, is the ideal time to visit the DR Congo. Of the dry season, June and July are the driest months. During these months, the temperature also slightly declines. There is a short dry season between January and February.
Everyone must take out travel and health insurance before leaving for DR Congo. Whether DR Congo is covered by your policy differs per insurance policy. In most cases this will not be a problem. At CultureRoad we recommend: IATI Travel Insurance, a reliable company that has different insurance options that fits your personal needs. Book now to get a 5% discount!
Most nationalities do need a visa to travel to DR Congo. If you are only visiting the eastern part of the country (around Bukavu, Goma, Kahuzi-Biega N.P.) you can opt for a special tourist visa that’s valid only around this specific area. It’s possible to get this visa with the use for a local operator, costs for this visa are around $100.
If you wish to explore deeper inside DR Congo, you have to apply for a full visa. The DR Congo is infamous for being hard to get and takes a lot of time. The government launched an evisa website, but that’s often a hit or miss if whether it’s working or not and therefore quite unreliable. The most straightforward way is to apply at the nearest embassy or to go for a tour which includes the invitations and permits, so you’d only have to pay the visa fee upon arrival.
DR Congo uses the time zones UCT+1 and UCT +2.
DR Congo has no difference between summer and winter time.
Congolese pay with the Congolese Francs. ATMs are not always available or reliable and we therefore recommend that you bring enough Euros or USD for the trip. You can exchange money with the guide at a similar rate that you see at the bank. For the most recent exchange rate, visit www.xchange.com.
Of course it mainly depends on yourself how much you actually spend, but as a guideline we advise about € 50 per day, with which you should be able to save. However, if you would like to buy souvenirs, it is best to bring some extra. Soda is generally around € 1. For a meal you pay between € 5 and € 15.
Tipping local guides is always encouraged. They don’t earn much in this part of the world and it often makes a big difference to them. Of course this is according to your own preference.
We are always available to advise you when booking a flight. However, most customers prefer to book the flight themselves. Often this is cheaper in terms of price and you can pick your own preferences.
The complete electricity supply in DR Congo is 220 Volt / 50 Hz. DR Congo, therefore, uses the same plugs and sockets as in Western Europe. However, you may occasionally need adapter plugs, so we recommend bringing a universal plug. There are also regular power outages, so make sure to charge everything as soon as there is power in your hotel.
Internet is available at most accommodations (if it works). However, don’t expect a fast and stable connection. There is mobile coverage around the towns and cities that we visit. You can choose to buy a local SIM card. If you wish, the guide will be happy to assist.
DR Congo is generally an open and accessible country. In terms of customs, there are few differences with Western countries. Most of the people are Christian and faith plays a major role in their lives.A few rules to keep in mind:
– Wear simple clothes (t-shirt with pants / skirt).
– Don’t just drink alcohol in public.
– Show dignity and respect when you visit the tribes in DR Congo.
– Many Congolese are not used to seeing tourists, which sometimes gives some suspicious looks but are meant well.
Some parts in DR Congo are safe and some parts are not. Corruption is still a big problem in the country. The areas in DR Congo that we visit are places where we feel comfortable and where we feel are safe to bring people. If the situation changes, we will also respond immediately. We therefore ask for a certain flexibility from our travellers. Some measures that we do pass on to our travellers;
– If you want to set off by yourself in the big cities, discuss this with the guide first.
– Don’t show off your most beautiful jewelry and watches, leave them at home.
– We do not discuss the itinerary or the name of the hotel with anyone. While it will of course only be out of curiosity that someone asks, we don’t share this information with others purely as a precaution.
In general, you can take photos freely. However, there are a few things to keep in mind.– Always ask permission before taking a photo of a person.
– Do not take pictures of military personnel, military installations, police officers or government buildings.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo has a distinctive cuisine that reflect the diet of the local indigenous populations. Potatoes, cassava, rice, fufu, plantains, and other basic foods are typically served with different side dishes. Meals in the Congo are frequently stews made of meat, vegetables, and a starchy element. The starch can be found as fufu or ugali, a paste or mash consisting of maize or cassava flour. When eating, the fufu is rolled into balls about the size of golf balls and dipped into the hot stew.
DR Congo is not an easy country for vegetarians. There are vegetarian options and the guide will certainly help you with it. Alcohol is readily available in DR Congo.
Since we mainly deal with warm temperatures, we recommend that you bring comfortable clothes. During the rainy season, we advise you to also bring rain gear (or clothes that may get wet). It is also useful to bring good walking shoes, as many roads are unpaved. In most hotels in the big cities you will be able to do laundry if there is time.
DR Congo is a developing country with a very turbulent recent history. Healthcare is therefore very limited. Also in terms of hygiene, the standard is much lower than in the Western world. Make sure you have enough disinfection gel, sunscreen and insect repellent.
We advise you always to the last (health) risk programs for the region where you’re going to visit. Check with your own government for the latest info about your destination.