While real stability remains many years away, the cautious development of DRC’s enormous untapped mineral wealth and the presence of the world’s largest UN peacekeeping force have bred optimism among its tormented but resilient population. At the same time, a small but fast-growing tourism industry, centred on the incredible Parc National des Virunga, has seen travellers return to what is easily one of Africa’s most thrilling and challenging destinations.
Lola Ya Bonobo Sanctuary
- Ninety minutes west of Kinshasa, just beyond the city’s sprawl, this excellent project provides a home for orphaned bonobos. Long thought to be chimpanzees, bonobos are actually a separate species known for being much more peaceful than their cousins. They’re also endangered, with only around 50,000 surviving in the wild. Trails here lead around the large, forested enclosures, but the playful bonobos often hang out right at the front, especially in the morning.
Parc National des Virunga
People generally visit Goma en route to tracking mountain gorillas, climbing Nyiragongo or trekking the Rwenzori Mountains. The city itself has no proper attractions, but it’s a great pre- and post-Virunga hang out, with some excellent sleeping and eating options.