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Zaire was renamed Democratic Republic of the Congo, in May 1997; when the forces of Laurent Desire Kabila brought Mobutu's 32 year reign to an end.
The Democratic Republic of Congo offers visitors a chance to see wildlife reserves, indigenous cultures, and geological wonders not available anywhere else.
Belgian Congo and Mobuto
Formerly the Belgian Congo, Mobutu changed the country's name from the Republic of the Congo to the Republic of Zaire, in 1971, and the following year ordered all Zairians to replace their Western names with African ones.
Mobutu showed the way by changing his given name of Joseph Desire Mobutu to Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu waza Banga.
If that's a mouthful in African, in English it means: 'The all-powerful warrior who because of his endurance and inflexible will to win will go from conquest to conquest leaving fire in his wake'.
The country gained independence from Belgium in 1960 and has experienced a series of political and social upheavals since then.
The most recent conflict began in the late 1990s and involved several African nations and armed groups vying for control of the country's vast mineral wealth.
Congo, also known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), is a country located in Central Africa.
It is the second-largest country in Africa, after Algeria, and the eleventh-largest in the world by land area.
The DRC is a country with a rich history, culture, and natural resources, but it has also been plagued by conflict and instability for many years.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo shares borders with nine other countries in Africa; Central African Republic to the north, South Sudan to the north-east, Uganda to the east, Rwanda to the south-east, Burundi to the south, Tanzania to the south-east, Zambia to the south, Angola to the south-west, and Republic of the Congo to the west.
These neighbouring countries play important roles in the political, economic, and social landscape of the DRC. They also provide important trade and transportation links for the country.
Despite its many challenges, the DRC has a rich cultural heritage, with a vibrant music and arts scene and a strong tradition of oral storytelling.
The country is also known for its colourful traditional dress and its cuisine, which features a mix of African, European, and Asian influences.
The DRC is a country of great natural beauty, with vast rainforests, savannas, and mountains.
It is also home to some of the world's most iconic wildlife, including gorillas, chimpanzees, and elephants.
The country's natural resources have also been a source of conflict, as they have been exploited by foreign powers and armed groups for their own benefit.
The official languages are French and Lingala, but many other languages are also spoken, including Swahili, Tshiluba, and Kikongo.
The DRC is home to a diverse population of more than 90 million people, with over 200 ethnic groups and numerous languages spoken throughout the country.
The DRC is one of the poorest countries in the world, with a low human development index and high levels of poverty, malnutrition, and disease.
The country's healthcare system is severely underfunded, and access to basic services such as clean water and sanitation is limited in many areas.
Congo has a rich cultural heritage, and it's essential to respect local customs and traditions.
Dress modestly, particularly in rural areas, and avoid taking photographs without permission.
Congo has a high risk of infectious diseases, including malaria, yellow fever, and Ebola.
Make sure to consult your doctor before your trip to obtain the necessary vaccinations and medications.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is known for its political instability and armed conflict, particularly in the eastern regions.
It's crucial to be aware of the current situation in the areas you plan to visit and take the necessary precautions.
Consult official government websites for up-to-date information on travel requirements, safety, and other important details.
The roads in Congo are generally in poor condition, so it's recommended to travel by air or water.
The country has several airports, and there are also regular boat services on the Congo River.
Most foreign visitors need a visa to enter DRC.
It's essential to check the visa requirements and procedures for your country before you make travel arrangements.
You can obtain a visa from a Congolese embassy or consulate in your home country before you travel.
Where to Stay: There are various accommodation options in Congo, ranging from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxurious hotels. You can use online booking platforms to find and book suitable accommodation options.
The locals refer to their country as Congo-Kinshasa.
The railway provides important connections within the country, as well as with the port of Benguela in Angola, and other points in eastern and southern Africa.
Most of the roads are not in good repair.
Inland waterways are used extensively. There are schedules for river steamers, but they are not always reliable.
Airports and Airlines:
The country has five international airports. Air Zaire is the national airline; providing domestic and international services.
The capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo is on the southern bank of the River Congo; opposite Brazzaville, Congo.
The Congo is not navigable between here and the sea because of a series of cataracts, so passengers and freight have to continue by rail to the Atlantic Ocean port of Matadi.
Sir Henry Stanley, an Anglo-American explorer, founded it in 1881 as a Congo River trading post, and called it Leopoldville; after the Belgian King, Leopold II.
The railway to Matadi was completed in 1898, bringing in a period of rapid growth for the transhipment port of the Belgian Congo.
Leopoldville replaced Boma as the capital of the Belgian Congo in the late 1920s.
Fleuve Congo Hotel:
119 Boulevard Colonel Tshatshi , Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Centrally located in Kinshasa, the Fleuve Congo Hotel is convenient to Palais du Peuple and Brazzaville Cathedral.
Guests at the Fleuve Congo Hotel liked the luxurious rooms, great breakfast buffet, and nice swimming pool; calling it the best hotel in Kinshasa.
A violent black-nationalist uprising in 1959 caused most of the Europeans to leave the Belgian Congo.
The country became independent in 1960, and Leopoldville was renamed Kinshasa in 1966; after a 19th-century village.
Most of the country comprises the rain forested basin of the River Congo.
The Congo is the second longest river in Africa, and one of the longest in the world. The total length of navigable routes on the Congo and its tributaries is about 14,500 km.
Languages in DR Congo
The official language of the Democratic Republic of Congo is French, although four local languages are widely spoken and considered as national languages too:
Swahili in the east, Kikongo in the western regions, Tshiluba in the south, and Lingala in and around Kinshasa, and along the Congo.
In all there could be as many as 200 languages spoken throughout the country.
Maps and Travel Guides
Weather in Africa:
Local weather forecasts for destinations around Africa.
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