Congo Travel Tips and Information
Congo is famously known as an asylum for both lowland and highland gorillas in Virunga National park. Although even up to today the Congo still has plenty of unrest in different areas of the country. But with Armed park rangers, it’s now possible to enjoy Hiking Nyiragongo and also tracking the gorillas in Virunga National park.
To obtain a Visa to Congo, one must have purchased a mountain gorilla trek permit, or Nyiragongo hiking permit, or paid for accommodation at the Mikeno Lodge. However, permits and accommodation linked with the purchase of a tourist visa through Virunga National Park are non-refundable.
Once a booking has been made and confirmation of your payment sent, an order number is sent to you through an email. Continue to the online visa application where an order number is entered at the top of the complete form, then click submit. Always remember that the Congo Visa should be independent of the East African Visa, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya Visas. The Grand Barrière border is open to all crossing from 7:30 am to 7:00 pm daily. Always remember that it’s not allowed to cross past 5PM into Congo.
However, for all booking a safari through us – we will also arrange your tourism visa to Congo.
Tourist Visa in Review:
- Only available online through www.visitvirunga.org or via Escape To Africa
- Only valid in combination with a paid-in-full park permit or accommodation
- Requires two weeks to process and fees are non-refundable
- Single entry and valid for 14 days from day of entry
- On the application, please list the address as Virunga National Park and city as Kibati, and where you will be staying
- Carry along a printed copy park permit /accommodation and visa order confirmations
- Email a scanned copy of your passport to email@example.com upon completion of the visa application.
- Proof of Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is required for access into the country
Congo lies on the Equator with one-third to the north and two-thirds to the south. South of the Equator, the rainy season lasts from October to May and from April to November in the north of the Equator. The rain season is a good season for Lowland Gorillas as they tend to be closer to the park headquarters than in the dry season. Temperature drops in the Virunga national park and Mt Nyiragongo in the evening due to the high elevation.
The Congolese Franc and the American dollar is the official currency of Congo. All accommodation prices are set in US dollars while outside of lodges in the craft shops, souvenirs are priced in Congolese Francs. But most items can be paid for in US dollars as well.
When exchanging US dollars those printed before 2004, damaged or written on are not accepted in the country.
Cards can also be used (Master, Credit, Visa & Debit) are only accepted at some lodges. But you will incur an extra charge of 5 to 10% of the total bill. Please note that Traveller Cheques are not allowed in Congo.
Before traveling to Congo please contact your doctor at least 8 weeks before your trip to confirm that all vaccinations and any other shots you might need are up to date. Remember to get travel health insurance for medical emergencies while on a safari as this is not covered by Escape To Africa. We highly recommend for you to get a good travel insurance that covers all the safari countries you’re travelling too.
Always travel with a soft-shell that is easy to carry even for porters. Also limit the total KGs to 15kgs in each softshell while in the jungle – each porter carries are maximum of 15 kgs per person. A packing list is provided to guide you on what to pack.
Charging and Network Coverage
Lodges do have charging systems or provisions either in the rooms or at the reception. In DR Congo, European style plugs: 240 V, 50 Hz are very common. For one with multiple items to charge, for safety reasons carry an adaptor with extra outlets since the number of outlets are often limited at the lodges. Also carry extra batteries for your camera, since some hotels have power shortages and the Solar system is only limited to lightings. If one is lucky, they can find internet WIFI at the lodge but very slow. Internet resources are very rare in this country and non-existed. Apart from the Internet, cellar network is also very poor and hardly available in most parts of Congo. But if you’re lucky the country cord is 00243 or + 243
Despite the fact that some African countries have come out and spoken about Homosexuality. Nothing has been heard from Congo against homosexuality, therefore it’s safe to travel to Congo.
Safety and Risks
The whole World has a negative travel advice when traveling to Congo/ DRC. Escape To Africa is only responsible for arranging the safari itself. Therefore, before traveling to Congo, please check the safety status from your own embassy and found out if this will affect the authentication of your travel insurance. You might be required to take additional measures in regards to insurance and any other coverage.
Bear in mind that traveling to Congo against the travel advice of your country will therefore be on your own risk and Escape to Africa as a company is not reliable!
Unlike most countries in Africa, in DR Congo, it’s customary and very much expected to tip guides, rangers, and drivers. A common tip of US$ 10 – 15 per day for the guide and with rangers you tip the head ranger.
Attitude to travel with
This country still remains a destination for the African experienced hard-core as its one of the least developing countries in Africa. When in Congo most rangers and guides don’t speak English and the services at the lodge are still being improved.
But for those with a Brave heart, you’re in the surprise of your life!
Contact Escape to Africa Ltd
Contact us on the below contacts and also take note of the 24/7 emergency operating number. Kindly be respectful and only use the emergency numbers when it’s a real emergency.