The Democratic Republic of Congo, also known as Congo-Kinshasa or – more simply – D.R. Congo, is home to Africa’s oldest and biggest conservation area, Pac National des Virunga and shelter to an amazing population of endangered primates, including mountain gorillas, western lowland gorillas, chimpanzees, Mangabeys, bonobos and mammals like forest elephants, hundreds of bird species.
The Virunga conservation area in the east of the country is the richest in natural resources most notably tourism destinations; bordering Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi and a point where the three share a huge conservation area, Virunga massif where the popular gorillas dwell, as well as 8 volcanoes.
But regardless of this region being rich with tourism resources, it has faced the most turbulent past than any other part of the country; ranging from militia attacks, to poachers, Ebola epidemic and Nyiragongo volcanic eruptions which has led to reduction in the population of resident animals and destruction of the ecosystem; but nevertheless, the region has continued to thrive and now it boasts over 200 mountain gorillas in Virunga national park and more than 2000 lowland gorillas in Kahuzi-Biega national park.
D.R. Congo has come a horrible long way, but today’s visitors to the country will appreciate that truly the country is now trouble free, fully open to tourists for exploration.
Trekking Mountain Gorillas in Virunga national park Known as Pac National des Virunga, it was the first national park to be created in Africa in 1925, covering total area of 790,000 ha making it one of the largest parks in Africa. These huge chunks of land comprised of wetlands, lava plains, high altitude mountain slopes and savannah plains inhabit millions of different species, ranging from primates, birds, over 20,000 hippos, mammals and predators.
Virunga national park is a refuge to 1/3 of world population of the mountain gorillas, but most notably 22 species of primates with 3 of the great apes; namely – eastern plain gorillas (Gorilla beringeigraueri), Mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringeiberingei) and eastern chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthi).
Away from primates, Virunga is a shelter to 218 species of mammals, 109, species of reptiles, 78 amphibian species and 706 bird species, and the savannah plains contain a great deal of ungulates including the endangered okapi (Okapi johnstoni) unique only to the Democratic Republic of Congo and the red forest duiker which is endemic the Rwenzori mountains.
The Virunga massif is home to 8 volcanoes and of these include two active mountains all located in D.R. Congo; which include Mount. Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira. The two volcanoes account for 2/5 of all volcanic eruptions to ever have happened in Africa.
gongo is an activity of world importance as you view a boiling lava lake filled with alkaline and empties periodically with a dangerous eruption that causes destruction in the neighboring town of Goma and other communities.
Kahuzi – Biega is a famous national park in southern Kivu region, a renowned refugee to the famous lowland gorillas (Gorilla beringeigraueri), but also 136 mammal species and an array of primates including eastern chimpanzees, Olive baboon (Papioanubis), Owl-Faced monkeysand the colobine.
Other than primates, Kahuzi-Biega national park is home to more endangered species, including African forest elephants, Mount Kahuzi climbing mouse, Maclaud's horseshoe bat, Albertine owlet, Lowland bongo, Ruwenzori otter shrew, Leopard, Hippopotamus, and so much more which can be viewed on a visit to Kahuzi-Biega national park.
Many people tend to confuse the two countries, seemingly because of similarity in their names, but here is the difference; while the Democratic Republic of Congo is often code named after its capital and called Congo – Kinshasa, while republic of the Congo is often called Congo – Brazzaville.
D.R. Congo is way bigger (in physical size) than Congo – Brazzaville as it is the world’s biggest country, and it was a Belgian while the latter is French colony, therefore both countries are francophone. But it should also be noted that the two countries share a great deal in common; ranging from dense misty forests, Congo river and the endangered gorilla species.