Pack Your Bags: If you want to explore a place that is wild, untamed and full of adventure, than Congo may be your ticket. Vast rainforests and active volcanoes give tourists plenty of opportunities to indulge their inner Indiana Jones. There are also mountain gorillas, giraffes and rare white rhinos. Congolese are warm and hospitable and the country boasts some of the best music in Africa. If you like souvenir shopping, head to the markets and look for stunning wooden masks and statues.
Rain Check: Congo has been ravaged by violence for years and it has escalated to considerably higher than usual levels as of the end of 2008. Five years after civil war officially ended, the death rate is still alarmingly high. Many countries advise their citizens simply not to visit. Poor or non-existent roads make getting around the country a challenge in itself. And despite a massive U.N. peacekeeping presence, many areas remain impossible to visit.
Tourist Blurb: "The most common question was, "What are you doing here?" My reply of, "Je suis un tourist," was met with baffled looks followed by unnerving laughter," wrote one man on the Lonely Planet Guide's Democratic Republic of Congo page.
by Patrice Poltzer