CONGO, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE

CONGO, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE

CONGO, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE

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CONSULAR CLOSURES
THE EMBASSY OF THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO IN LONDON IS CLOSED:
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Name: Lola ya Bonobo
Location: Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Founded by Claudine Andre in 1994, Lola ya Bonobo is the world's only sanctuary for orphaned bonobos. Since 2002, the sanctuary has been located just south of the suburb of Kimwenza at the Petites Chutes de la Lukaya, Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2012, Lola ya Bonobo was home to 60 bonobos who live in 30 hectares of primary forest.

Typically, bonobos arrive as young infants. The bushmeat trade in Congo sees hundreds of bonobos killed each year for meat and the infants are sold as pets. When confiscated, these infant bonobos are taken to Lola ya Bonobo. They begin life at the sanctuary with close care from a substitute human mother, but are usually quickly ready to be integrated into a peer group, and shortly afterwards into one of the large mixed-age social groups.

Although the bonobos are captive, they live in an environment similar to the wild. They can forage among dozens of edible plants and fruiting trees, compete for mating opportunities, and learn to avoid dangers such as stepping on venomous snakes just as they would in the wild.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lola_ya_Bonobo
Name: Virunga National Park
Location: Albertine Rift Valley, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Virunga National Park is a national park in the Albertine Rift Valley in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was created in 1925 and is among the first protected areas in Africa. In altitude, it ranges from 680 m (2,230 ft) in the Semliki River valley to 5,109 m (16,762 ft) in the Rwenzori Mountains. From north to south it extends about 300 km (190 mi), largely along the international borders with Uganda and Rwanda in the east. It covers an area of 8,090 km2 (3,120 sq mi) and is listed in the List of World Heritage in Danger since 1994.

Two active volcanoes are located in the park, Mount Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira. They significantly shaped the national park's diverse habitats and wildlife. More than 3,000 faunal and floral species were recorded, of which more than 300 are endemic to the Albertine Rift including eastern gorilla (Gorilla beringei) and golden monkey (Cercopithecus kandti).

Virunga National Park's faunal species include 196 mammals, 706 bird species, 109 reptiles and 65 amphibians as of 2012.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virunga_National_Park
Name: Okapi Wildlife Reserve
Location: Ituri Forest, Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Okapi Wildlife Reserve is a World Heritage Site in the Ituri Forest in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, near the borders with South Sudan and Uganda. At approximately 14,000 km², it covers approximately one-fifth of the area of the forest.

The Nepoko, Ituri, and Epulu rivers flow through the reserve. The imposing Mbiya Mountain overlooks the Epulu village. The reserve is home to about 5,000 okapis, 4,000 elephants, 2,000 leopards, chimpanzees, and crocodiles. Other Ituri rain forest animals include forest buffalo and water chevrotain. The reserve has over 300 species of bird, and is one of the most important sites for bird conservation in mainland Africa. Nomadic Mbuti pygmies and indigenous Bantu farmers also live within the reserve.

The Okapi Wildlife Reserve was added to the list of World Heritage Sites in danger in 1997. The main threats to the reserve are deforestation, primarily caused by slash and burn agriculture, and commercial hunting for the sale of bush meat. Gold mining has also been problematic to the Reserve.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okapi_Wildlife_Reserve
FLIGHT TIMES / MAJOR CITIES
PLEASE SEE BELOW MAJOR CITIES IN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO / CLICK OR TOGGLE BELOW FOR FASTEST AVERAGE FLIGHT TIMES FROM USA.

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COUNTRY INFORMATION GUIDE
PLEASE SEE BELOW FACTS, USEFUL US GOVERNMENT TRAVEL LINKS AND BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES, FOR TRAVEL TO DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO.
FACTS:
Official Languages: French
Currency: Congo Franc (CDF)
Time zone: WAT (UTC+1) and CAT (UTC+2)
Drives on the right
Calling code: +243
Local / up-to-date weather in Kinshasa (and other regions): BBC global weather – click here
US GOVT TRAVEL LINKS:

For more useful information on safety & security, local laws / customs, health and more, please see the below official US travel.state.gov web link for DRC travel advice. NB: Entry requirements herein listed are for US nationals only, unless stated otherwise.

You can also find recommended information on vaccinations, malaria and other more detailed health considerations for travel to DRC, at the below official US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) weblink.

BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES*:
Activities you may undertake on a business visa / as a business visitor:
PERMISSIBLE
ATTENDING MEETINGS / DISCUSSIONS: TBC
ATTENDING A CONFERENCE: TBC
RECEIVING TRAINING (CLASSROOM-BASED): TBC
NON-PERMISSIBLE
AUDIT WORK: TBC
PROVIDING TRAINING: TBC
PROJECT WORK: TBC
*This information does not constitute legal advice and is not an exhaustive list. For a full legal assessment on business visitor activities, please revert to your internal company legal team / counsel.
TRAVEL INFORMATION**
It is highly recommenced that you access the above official US travel.state.gov web link and read all safety & security information prior to making your travel arrangements / planning your trip.
PLEASE CLICK / TOGGLE BELOW FOR USEFUL TRAVEL INFORMATION TO DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO.

The local currency is the Congolese franc, sometimes abbreviated FC and sometimes just with a capital F placed after the amount (ISO international currency code: CDF). The currency is freely convertible (but impossible to get rid of outside the country).

Banknotes are issued in denominations of FC50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000, 5,000, 10,000 and 20,000. The only Congolese bank notes in circulation in most places are the 50, 100, 200 and 500 franc notes. They are almost worthless, as the highest valued banknote (the 500 franc note) is worth only about US$0.55.

US dollars in denominations above US$2 are much preferred to francs. In contrast, US coins and one and two US dollar bills are considered worthless. If you pay in dollars, you will get change in francs. Though francs may sometimes come in bills so old they feel like fabric, US dollar bills must be crisp (less than 3 folds) and be printed in or after 2003, or they will not be accepted.

In some shops, the symbol FF is used to mean 1,000 francs.

MasterCard/Maestro ATMs are available now in Kinshasa at the “Rawbank” on boulevard du 30 Juin (Gombe District), and in Grand Hotel. It spits out US dollars. Visa card is also usable with “Procredit” bank ATMs in Kinshasa, avenue des Aviateurs, or outside in front of Grand Hotel (only US$20 and US$100 bills).

You can withdraw money with a Mastercard or Visa card at all Ecobank or Equity banks ATMs in DRC.

BY PLANE:

Due to the immense size of the country, the terrible state of the roads and the poor security situation, the only way to get around the country quickly is by plane. This is not to say that it’s safe — Congolese planes crash with depressing regularity, with eight recorded crashes in 2007 alone — but it’s still a better alternative to travelling overland or by boat.

The largest and longest-operating carrier is Compagnie Africain d’Aviation, with service to Goma, Kananga, Kindu, Kinshasa-N’djili, Kisangani, Lubumbashi, Mbandaka, Mbuji-Maya, & Entebbe(Kampala), Uganda.

Formed in 2011, Stellar Airlines operates one Airbus A320 plane between Kinshasa-N’djili and Goma and Lubumbashi.

FlyCongo was formed in 2012 from the remnants of former national airline Hewa Bora, operating from Kinshasa-N’djili to Gemena, Goma, Kisangani, Lubumbashi, & Mbandaka.

Air Kasaï operates from Kinshasa-N’Dolo to Beni, Bunia, Goma, & Lubumbashi.

Congo Express was formed in 2010 and flies only between Lubumbashi and Kinshasa.

Wimbi Dira Airways was once the second-largest carrier, but does not appear to be operating as of June 2012. Others that may or may not be operating are: Air Tropiques, Filair, Free Airlines, and Malift Air all operating out of Kinshasa-N’Dolo airport.

BY TRUCK:

As smaller vehicles are unable to negotiate what remains of the roads, a lot of travel in the Congo is done by truck. If you go to a truck park, normally near the market, you should be able to find a truck driver to take you where ever you want, conflict zones aside. You travel on top of the load with a large number of others. If you pick a truck carrying bags of something soft like peanuts it can be quite comfortable. Beer trucks are not. If the trip takes days then comfort can be vital, especially if the truck goes all night. It helps to sit along the back, as the driver will not stop just because you want the toilet. The cost has to be negotiated so ask hotel staff first and try not to pay more than twice the local rate. Sometimes the inside seat is available. Food can be bought from the driver, though they normally stop at roadside stalls every 5/6 hours. Departure time are normally at the start or end of the day, though time is very flexible. It helps to make arrangements the day before. It is best to travel with a few others. Women should never ever travel alone. Some roads have major bandit problems so check carefully before going.

At army checkpoints locals are often hassled for bribes. Foreigners are normally left alone, but prepare some kind of bribe just in case. By the middle of the afternoon the soldiers can be drunk so be very careful and very polite. Never lose your temper.

BY FERRY:

A ferry on the Congo River operates, if security permits, from Kinshasa to Kisangani, every week or two. You can pick it up at a few stops en route, though you have to rush as it doesn’t wait. A suitable bribe to the ferry boss secures a four bunk cabin and cafeteria food. The ferry consists of 4 or so barges are tied around a central ferry, with the barges used as a floating market. As the ferry proceeds wood canoes paddled by locals appear from the surrounding jungle with local produce – vegetables, pigs, monkeys, etc. – which are traded for industrial goods like medicine or clothes. You sit on the roof watching as wonderful African music booms out. Of course it is not clean, comfortable or safe. It is however one of the world’s great adventures.

BY TRAIN:

The few trains which still operate in the DRC are in very poor condition and run on tracks laid by the Belgian colonial government over a half century ago. The rolling stock is very old and dilapidated. You are lucky to get a hard seat and even luckier if your train has a dining car (which probably has limited options that run out halfway through the trip). Expect the car to be overcrowded with many sitting on the roof. Trains in the DRC operate on an erratic schedule due to lack of funds or fuel and repairs/breakdowns that are frequent. On many lines, there can be 2–3 weeks between trains. If there’s any upside, there haven’t been too many deaths due to derailments (probably less than have died in airplane crashes in the DRC). There’s really no way to book a train ride in advance; simply show up at the station and ask the stationmaster when the next train will run and buy a ticket on the day it leaves. The Chinese government in return for mining rights has agreed to construct US$9 billion in railroads and highways, but there is little to show for this as of 2012.

As of 2019, the following lines are in operation…but as mentioned above, that doesn’t imply frequent service:

  • Kinshasa-Matadi — The busiest and best equipped route in the whole country. As of 2019 there is one “express” service per week in each direction. Trains are semi-modern and has both a first-class carriages and a dining car. The railway line was first built in the 1890s and is infamous for the enormous human cost, where thousands of the forced laborers perished.
  • Lubumbashi-Ilebo — Possible weekly service, with the journey taking 6–8 days. In 2007, the Chinese agreed to extend the line to Kinshasa, but current progress in unknown. Ilebo lies at the end of the navigable portion of the Kasai River, allowing travellers to transfer to ferry to reach Western DRC.
  • Kamina-Kindu — Unusable after the war, this line has been rehabilitated. The line connects with the Lubumbashi-Ilebo line, so there may be trains running from Lubumbashi-Kindu.
  • Kisangani-Ubundu — A portage line to bypass the Stanley Falls on the Congo, service only runs when there is freight to carry when a boat arrives at either end which may be once every 1–2 months. There are no passenger ferries from Ubundu to Kindu, but you may be able to catch a ride on a cargo boat.
  • Bumba-Isiro — An isolated, narrow-gauge line in the northern jungles, service has restarted on a small western section from Bumba-Aketi (and possibly Buta). There were reports of trains running in the eastern section in 2008, but this part is most likely abandoned.

Lines that are most likely inoperable or very degraded/abandoned are:

  • A branch of the Lubumbashi-Ilebo line that runs to the Angolan border. It once connected with Angola’s Benguela railway and ran to the Atlantic until the 1970s when the Angolan side was destroyed by a civil war. The western half of the Benguela railway, in Angola has been rehabilitated and trains run up to the border with DRC.
  • The Kabalo-Kalemie line runs from the Kamina-Kindu line at Kabalo to Kalemie on Lake Tanganyika. The easternmost section has been abandoned. Although unlikely, there may be service on the western half of the line.

EAT:

Congo has one national dish: moambe. It’s made of eight ingredients (moambe is the Lingala word for eight): palm nuts, chicken, fish, peanuts, rice, cassave leaves, bananas and hot pepper sauce.

DRINK:

The usual soft drinks (called sucré in Congo) such as Coke, Pepsi and Mirinda are available in most places and are safe to drink. Local drinks like Vitalo are amazing. Traditional drinks like ginger are also common.

The local beer is based on rice, and tastes quite good. It comes in 75 cl bottles. Primus, Skol, Castel are the most common brands. Tembo, Doppel are the local dark beers.

In rural areas, you may try the local palm wine, an alcoholic beverage from the sap of the palm tree. It is tapped right from the tree, and begins fermenting immediately after collection. After two hours, fermentation yields an aromatic wine of up to 4% alcohol content, mildly intoxicating and sweet. The wine may be allowed to ferment longer, up to a day, to yield a stronger, more sour and acidic taste, which some people prefer.

Beware of the local gin. Sometimes unscrupulous vendors mix in methanol which is toxic and can cause blindness. Some people believe that the methanol is a by product of regular fermentation. This is not the case as regular fermentation can not yield methanol in toxic amounts.

There are more and more hotels in Kinshasa, with smaller hotels available in Gombe and Ngaliema area. In many small towns the local church or monastery may have beds available. You may also encounter the occasional decaying colonial hotel. Not all are safe.

**All travel information has been sourced from wikivoyage. However like wikipedia, wikivoyage is an open platform editable by any member of the public. Therefore, although very useful, all above information IS INDICATIVE ONLY and must be verified prior to personal use. Moreover, if you wish to see more information please visit: https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Democratic_Republic_of_the_Congo
TOP ATTRACTIONS
PLEASE CLICK / HOVER ON THE IMAGES BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Name: Lola ya Bonobo
Location: Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Founded by Claudine Andre in 1994, Lola ya Bonobo is the world's only sanctuary for orphaned bonobos. Since 2002, the sanctuary has been located just south of the suburb of Kimwenza at the Petites Chutes de la Lukaya, Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2012, Lola ya Bonobo was home to 60 bonobos who live in 30 hectares of primary forest.

Typically, bonobos arrive as young infants. The bushmeat trade in Congo sees hundreds of bonobos killed each year for meat and the infants are sold as pets. When confiscated, these infant bonobos are taken to Lola ya Bonobo. They begin life at the sanctuary with close care from a substitute human mother, but are usually quickly ready to be integrated into a peer group, and shortly afterwards into one of the large mixed-age social groups.

Although the bonobos are captive, they live in an environment similar to the wild. They can forage among dozens of edible plants and fruiting trees, compete for mating opportunities, and learn to avoid dangers such as stepping on venomous snakes just as they would in the wild.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lola_ya_Bonobo
Name: Virunga National Park
Location: Albertine Rift Valley, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Virunga National Park is a national park in the Albertine Rift Valley in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was created in 1925 and is among the first protected areas in Africa. In altitude, it ranges from 680 m (2,230 ft) in the Semliki River valley to 5,109 m (16,762 ft) in the Rwenzori Mountains. From north to south it extends about 300 km (190 mi), largely along the international borders with Uganda and Rwanda in the east. It covers an area of 8,090 km2 (3,120 sq mi) and is listed in the List of World Heritage in Danger since 1994.

Two active volcanoes are located in the park, Mount Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira. They significantly shaped the national park's diverse habitats and wildlife. More than 3,000 faunal and floral species were recorded, of which more than 300 are endemic to the Albertine Rift including eastern gorilla (Gorilla beringei) and golden monkey (Cercopithecus kandti).

Virunga National Park's faunal species include 196 mammals, 706 bird species, 109 reptiles and 65 amphibians as of 2012.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virunga_National_Park
Name: Okapi Wildlife Reserve
Location: Ituri Forest, Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Okapi Wildlife Reserve is a World Heritage Site in the Ituri Forest in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, near the borders with South Sudan and Uganda. At approximately 14,000 km², it covers approximately one-fifth of the area of the forest.

The Nepoko, Ituri, and Epulu rivers flow through the reserve. The imposing Mbiya Mountain overlooks the Epulu village. The reserve is home to about 5,000 okapis, 4,000 elephants, 2,000 leopards, chimpanzees, and crocodiles. Other Ituri rain forest animals include forest buffalo and water chevrotain. The reserve has over 300 species of bird, and is one of the most important sites for bird conservation in mainland Africa. Nomadic Mbuti pygmies and indigenous Bantu farmers also live within the reserve.

The Okapi Wildlife Reserve was added to the list of World Heritage Sites in danger in 1997. The main threats to the reserve are deforestation, primarily caused by slash and burn agriculture, and commercial hunting for the sale of bush meat. Gold mining has also been problematic to the Reserve.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okapi_Wildlife_Reserve
FLIGHT TIMES / MAJOR CITIES
PLEASE SEE BELOW MAJOR CITIES IN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO / CLICK OR TOGGLE BELOW FOR FASTEST AVERAGE FLIGHT TIMES FROM USA.

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...WHO ARE WE?

...WHO ARE WE?

…WHO ARE WE?
…WHO ARE WE?

My name is Manny and I would like to personally welcome you to Global Visas.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluable.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluableI have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects...

I have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects.

Please do also view our introductory video at the following web link:

https://usglobalvisas.com/personal/more/about-us

We look forward to working with you and meeting all your expectations.

Global Immigration Leader, Big 4

“Manny. You have really gone the extra mile in supporting the US Business Visitor Service. You have demonstrated real commitment and energy, working a late shift night while we try and find others to fill the position. I know that the other night you stayed until 4am. You are always so positive and your cheerful disposition and attention to detail has resulted in excellent client feedback. On Monday the key client came to London and she was effusive about the service. This is largely due the cover you provide.”

Internal stakeholder, Big 4

“Manny is a big reason why the move from (external provider) to the UK firm’s passport and visa provision has been so smooth. He’s an extremely likeable honest hard working guy who takes his role very seriously. We’re very fortunate to have him leading our dedicated team”

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“Most of my contact was with Manpreet Singh Johal. He did the best job someone could imagine. Extraordinary service from his side.”

Team member, Big 4

“Working on two priority accounts is naturally pressurised especially where he has also been responsible for billing on both accounts; yet Manny delivers every time and this I believe is an exceptional quality.”

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