Explore Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa

Democratic Republic of the Congo
Country Guide

Map of the area of  in

Democratic Republic of the Congo with its capital Kinshasa is located in Africa (Central Africa, northeast of Angola). It covers some 2,345,411 square kilometres (slightly less than one-fourth the size of the US) with 60,085,004 citizens. French, Lingala and Kongo are some of the languages used by the majority in Democratic Republic of the Congo (consider regional differences). Tanzania, Central African Republic, Sudan, Rwanda, Zambia, Burundi, Uganda, Republic of the Congo and Angola are bordering countries.

Parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are not safe for independent travel or sightseeing. Those visiting for business, research, or international aid purposes should consult with their organization and seek expert guidance before planning a trip. Kinshasa has a high crime rate similar to Lagos or Abidjan.

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Landscape, climate and basic hints for travelling

The terrain offers vast central basin being a low-lying plateau having mountains in east. The average density of population is about 26 per km². The climate in Democratic Republic of the Congo can be described as tropical with hot and humid in equatorial river basin, cooler and drier in southern highlands, cooler and wetter in eastern highlands, north of Equator - wet season (April to October), dry season (December to February), south of Equator - wet season (November to March), dry season (April to October). Possible natural disasters include periodic droughts in south or Congo River floods (seasonal) or in the east, in the Great Rift Valley, there are active volcanoes.

To reach someone in Democratic Republic of the Congo dial +243 prior to a number. There are 40,000 installed telephones. And there are 10,163,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks operate on frequencies of 900 Mhz. Websites typically end with the top level domain ".cd". If you want to bring electric appliances (e.g. battery charger), keep in mind the local 220V - 50Hz.

Learn more on our Congolese Facts page.

Description of the flag of Democratic Republic of the Congo

Sky blue field divided diagonally from the lower hoist corner to upper fly corner by a red stripe bordered by two narrow yellow stripes; a yellow, five-pointed star appears in the upper hoist corner; blue represents peace and hope, red the blood of the country's martyrs, and yellow the country's wealth and prosperity; the star symbolizes unity and the brilliant future for the country.

National administrative regions of Democratic Republic of the Congo

Historical background information

Established as a Belgian colony in 1908, the then-Republic of the Congo gained its independence in 1960, but its early years were marred by political and social instability. Col. Joseph MOBUTU seized power and declared himself president in a November 1965 coup. He subsequently changed his name - to MOBUTU Sese Seko - as well as that of the country - to Zaire. MOBUTU retained his position for 32 years through several sham elections, as well as through brutal force. Ethnic strife and civil war, touched off by a massive inflow of refugees in 1994 from fighting in Rwanda and Burundi, led in May 1997 to the toppling of the MOBUTU regime by a rebellion backed by Rwanda and Uganda and fronted by Laurent KABILA. He renamed the country the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), but in August 1998 his regime was itself challenged by a second insurrection again backed by Rwanda and Uganda. Troops from Angola, Chad, Namibia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe intervened to support KABILA's regime. In January 2001, KABILA was assassinated and his son, Joseph KABILA, was named head of state. In October 2002, the new president was successful in negotiating the withdrawal of Rwandan forces occupying the eastern DRC; two months later, the Pretoria Accord was signed by all remaining warring parties to end the fighting and establish a government of national unity. A transitional government was set up in July 2003; it held a successful constitutional referendum in December 2005 and elections for the presidency, National Assembly, and provincial legislatures took place in 2006. In 2009, following a resurgence of conflict in the eastern DRC, the government signed a peace agreement with the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), a primarily Tutsi rebel group. An attempt to integrate CNDP members into the Congolese military failed, prompting their defection in 2012 and the formation of the M23 armed group - named after the 23 March 2009 peace agreements. Renewed conflict has lead to the displacement of large numbers of persons and significant human rights abuses. As of February 2013, peace talks between the Congolese government and the M23 were on-going. In addition, the DRC continues to experience violence committed by other armed groups including the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda and Mai Mai groups. In the most recent national elections, held in November 2011, disputed results allowed Joseph KABILA to be reelected to the presidency .

Learn more on our Congolese Facts page.

Based on the content from wikitravel.org. The original article can be found here based on the work of these users. Geography information is based on the data provided by geonames.org, CIA world facts book Edition 2010 and 2013, Unesco, DBpedia, wikipedia and others.