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The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

The second-largest country on the continent, the DRC covers the greater part of Central Africa. Although still politically unstable, the country is starting to emerge as a wonderful tourist destination.

The DRC experiences the highest frequency of thunderstorms in the world, as a result of its equatorial location. These high levels of rainfall sustain the Congo Rainforest – the second-largest forest in the world after the Amazon. Jungle covers most of the low-lying central Congo River basin, whilst plateaus and savannahs can be found in the south, mountainous terraces in the west, grasslands in the east and the towering Rwenzori Mountains in the east.

Established in 1925, the Virunga National Park in the Virunga chain of volcanoes is Africa’s oldest national park and a World Heritage Site. Although primarily established to protect mountain gorillas, the park has an outstanding variety of fauna and flora – being home to half of all the biodiversity in sub-Saharan Africa. The gorilla and chimpanzee treks are undoubtedly the star attraction, during which you may also come across other primates, antelope and birds.

Opportunities also exist to hike up to the active Nyiragongo volcanic lava lake, a spectacle to behold, particularly when the lava glows bright red at night.