• DRC: The new tourist destination in Africa
  • DRC: The new tourist destination in Africa
  • DRC: The new tourist destination in Africa

DRC: The new tourist destination in Africa

While the DR Congo is known worldwide for its mining resources, the country has other jewels. First, its nine national parks, including the Virunga National Park, which has been declared a world heritage site for its special biodiversity and ranked 19th in the world by the New York Times. Second, the falls of the Lofoi waterfalls, the second highest in the world, or its large lakes … In total, more than 900 sites are being upgraded. But the challenges are important to make DR Congo an African tourist destination. The image of the country should first and foremost be changed…

 

By Lilia Ayari

 

1951, Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart enter the history of cinema with a film, The Odyssey of the African Queen. A classic shot in natural scenery in Biondo, Democratic Republic of Congo, known as Belgian Congo. More than half a century later, the site, in the course of rehabilitation, has retained all its authenticity. Like the 964 tourist sites listed by the Ministry of Tourism of DR Congo. These include 585 natural, 108 historical, 195 socio-cultural and 76 industrial sites, a special biodiversity reservoir.

Five Unesco World Heritage Parks

Okapi, bonobo, mountain gorilla, lowland gorilla, Congolese peacock … The country’s nine national parks, five of which are Unesco World Heritage sites, as well as sixty-three reserves and natural areas, have any endemic species, an extremely rare and rich fauna, a flora also. With landscapes of great diversity, of great beauty, composed of savannas, deep forests, mountains, mangroves and rivers … DR Congo is also a country of superlative, with the Lofoi waterfalls, or the Kaloba waterfalls located in the Kundelungu National Park, in the former province of Katanga. With 384 meters of height, of which 347 in direct fall, the Lofoi waterfalls are the highest in Africa and the second in the world! Another Congolese worder, the Virunga National Park, in the east of the country; It is not only the oldest national park in Africa but also the most diversified protected area in the continent from a biological point of view, with 7,800 km2 of forests, savannas, swamps … and the frozen summits of the Rwenzori mountains. The Park is the refuge of species threatened with extinction, mountain gorillas, okapi, forest and savannah elephants … as well as a particularly rich cultural heritage and peopled by the hundreds of ethnic groups recorded throughout the country, testimonies of the history of the country through the centuries and of the populations who crossed it. A true general view of Africa. All these assets vindicate the tourism potential in the DR Congo.

An booming tourist park

After a comprehensive assessment, the Ministry of Tourism undertook to rehabilitate the national tourist sites. An ongoing process, with the ambition to make DR Congo one of the main tourist destinations in the continent, and generally in the world! In the area of ​​business tourism, Kinshasa, which has seen its hotel park grow with the establishment of new hotels including the Pullman-Grand Hotel, already hosts important pan-African and international events. Another niche is being developed, given the special the local tourist landscape: ecotourism, an activity in which the local populations are fully associated, as well as the experts of a sector in a professionalization process, which clearly shows participation in the national economic diversification, still based on mining activity, and beyond a changing image of a country marked by years of wars and conflicts … but today totally engaged in peace and reconstruction to become an emerging country in the coming decades. In the meantime, DR Congo will be among the world’s tourist destinations.


 

Author: Lilia Ayari // Photos: views of Kinshasa and the Congolese nature including the famous Lofoi waterfalls © DR

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