Is Congo safe for tourism? The Democratic Republic of Congo has for many suffered the negative impacts of civil wars until the 2000’s. With the continued insecurity in the country, it’s even termed as the “heart of darkness”.
Worldwide, tourism is extensively expanding to Africa. Travelers from the first world countries are vastly putting on their travel shoes to hit the most virgin countries in Africa. Those countries that are less visited yet with rewarding wilderness as well as some of the world’s most beautiful creatures.
Despite D.R. Congo being a very untainted destination, it has not been a classic tourist destination due to the world war of Africa. The insecurity in the country has cut off assorted travelers wishing to explore the natural beauty that explodes in Congo.
D.R. Congo is one of the proud prime homes of gorillas in the world. Not only mountain gorillas that are common in Uganda and Rwanda, but Congo also hosts both the mountain and the lowland gorillas. Part of the famous Lake Kivu lies in Congo, River Congo, Idjwi island, the Virunga chained mountains including the world’s most active volcano Nyiragongo all boost Congo’s tourism.
However, before visiting the Democratic Republic of Congo, travelers always ask one common question, Is Congo safe for tourism? This is a broad question, but lets try to narrow it down in terms of security and health.
When it gets to security, DR Congo is a highly troubled country facing continuous waves of violence and wars. Rebels running through the thick impenetrable forests in the Virunga ranges, all making the country an unsuitable destination for tourism in Africa.
Nevertheless, some few regions are peaceful under United Nations protection. The safest places in Congo are the ones that have embraced tourism and working hard to protect the country’s rich and varied landscape as well as the amazing wildlife.
Even if the forests are not so safe, yet they host most thrilling activity; gorilla trekking, trekkers are always accompanied with two armed rangers to ensure their safety in case of any attack. More security personnel have been trained in order to tighten the security in the newly drafted security policies by the Congo government. So while trekking the gorillas in Virunga national park, there is nothing to worry.
At the lodge, any of your choice in Congo, the security is super fine. Due to the previous insecurities and attacks in the country, hotel managers have learnt to tight mark their territories. A good number of armed security guards has been deployed to ensure safety of both the clients and the staff.
About transportation, streets in the tourist towns like Goma are relatively safe. However, note that it would be safer if travelers walked with a local tour guide or ranger because they know all the places including the safe and the impassable ones. It’s advisable not to use public means, the fact that you are new to the place, you could bump into rebels. Only rely on your tour guide and a private car.
Health and medical guidelines in D.R. Congo
Health wise, DR Congo is not very safe. Ebola is still an issue in the country, several people are dying of Ebola. However, UN, WHO together with the Congo government are working tirelessly to cub this problem. Tourists to the country are vaccinated against Ebola so as to prevent this infection. The infected people have been isolated and the non-infected ones are also vaccinated to ensure a safe environment for everyone.
Apart from Ebola (outbreaks occasionally), Congo is a free country from other diseases if the tourists care for themselves very well. Just like in any other country, travelers should travel with anti-malarial medication, insect repellents and other simple pain killers.
For food, ensure that you don’t eat everywhere. It’s not that every food is safe in Congo. Endeavor to eat in clean and hygienic places and only those recommended by your tour guide to prevent stomach complications. Note that, the safety talked about in this piece is just in the eastern part of Congo, the region that neighbors Uganda and Rwanda. The other regions of D.R. Congo are not recommended to visit for tourism.
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