Eastern DR Congo: Beautifully Chaotic & Captivating

We finally took our first guests to Congo — we found two brave Scandinavians who decided to include it in their tour! Six years after we started to work towards integrating the eastern DRC into the Gorilla Highlands region and had our first Congolese participant at the Bootcamp, this very man, Espoir, led us through Kahuzi-Biega NP, Lwiro and Bukavu.

Young Grauer’s gorilla in Kahuzi-Biega NP; photo by Frederik Jensen
Kahuzi-Biega park accommodation; photo by Miha Logar
Lwiro corridors; photo by Miha Logar
Primate sanctuary moment; photo by Frederik Jensen

We saw the unique Grauer’s gorillas, a primate sanctuary near an impressive natural science centre, and the rough but lively “Naples of Africa” as our clients would say. In fact, their words will speak loudest:

Panorama Hotel in Bukavu; photo by Miha Logar

It was beautifully chaotic, colourful and captivating and felt much safer than we expected. If you just came straight from Copenhagen it would have been too much but with four African countries as a warmup, it felt like entering the pulsating heart of Africa! — Jana Opsahl

Bukavu walking tour; photo by Miha Logar

Congo lived up to most expectations but the roads were the worst I had ever seen! I was surprised by how secure we were walking on the streets and how little begging there was. The Congolese seem to be very friendly people who need to take care of themselves so they are always looking for a chance to earn a buck — Frederik Jensen

… And let’s add what our team observed:

Kahuzi-Biega landscapes; photo by Jana Opsahl

I expected Congo to be very dangerous because I had so many people telling me I would get cut into pieces because I look too Rwandan. I expected it to be very urbanised because of its natural resources but instead it looked underdeveloped and its landscapes were beautiful. Now I can say that it’s very safe — with the exception of some areas that locals warn you about — and will tell others about it. — Allen

Chicken with fufu, chips and more; photo by Miha Logar

After I left Congo as a young Rwandan refugee I never thought I would come back. To visit it as a tour driver was a special opportunity! I anticipated destruction and people sleeping on the streets but once we crossed the border there were big, neat buildings and even traffic jams — instead of wars that we hear about. I wanted to stay longer, explore more and get to know those friendly and helpful locals better. It was also my first time to try fufu and it was really delicious. Mobile internet is a problem though … — Olivier

Olivier, Frederik, Espoir, Jana and Allen on the border bridge; photo by Miha Logar

featured photo by Miha Logar