DR Congo
Congo River Expedition

DR Congo – Congo River Expedition

28 day Small Group Tour from £6225 per person.

16 day Small Group Tour from £4195 per person.


Holiday in DRC? It’s not an obvious choice and certainly not Africa for beginners. In fact, this is Africa for the very experienced.

The turbulent, surging flow of the Congo reflects the country which currently shares its name. Indeed, the journey from Kinshasa, now a larger French-speaking city than Paris, to Kisangani must surely be the world’s most adventurous river cruise.

Of course, take a copy of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, read its record of 19th century brutal colonial exploitation, but day by day record your own experiences. Africa’s rivers all have stories, the Congo has inspired more than most.

The ultimate Congo experience – a voyage on the mighty Congo River from the city of Lisala to Kisangani. The expedition takes in remote villages, some of the country’s important historical sights, rain forests and of course a chance to meet the local people.

Experience the different sights and sounds of the real Africa as you travel through a land so few travellers have yet discovered. We travel using our river cruiser, an 18-meter long, wooden boat, equipped with two powerful outboard engines. The boat is further equipped with safety equipment, sanitary installation, a generator, lighting and freezers. It is operated by a licensed and experienced captain, a mechanic and a sailor. A cook and a tourist guide are present throughout. Evenings and nights are spent ashore, enabling cultural exchanges with the local population.

This is an incredible journey through one of the world’s least explored areas – for us this is the very essence of adventure, and we are proud to offer this iconic trip to our clients.

Tour ratings.

  • Fitness
  • Off the beaten track 
  • Culture
  • History
  • Wildlife

Tour Pace

Relaxed

Tour style

Pioneer

Relaxed Pace

Relaxed tours are easy paced with plenty of leisure time built in. The tour will in all probability still be off the beaten track, with the occasional early start and there may still be occasional long drives. In general on a relaxed pace tour you can enjoy easy-going activities and experiences with opportunities to absorb the sights and immerse yourself in the local surroundings.

Moderate Pace

Moderate pace tours are ideal if you want a tour experience that combines activities and experiences with some time to relax. Typically you will be active and busy for part of the day but then also have time to rest and recharge your batteries. In general on a moderate paced tour there may be some long journeys involved but the tour is not an expedition or a road trip. On a moderate paced tour it will be necessary to have some early starts.

Busy Pace

A busy paced tour means that you can expect to be doing, seeing or experiencing something new almost every day, and moving on from place to place to pack in as much as possible. There may be early starts, long journeys and tiring days along the way, but you’ll return home feeling you’ve really experienced as much as you possibly could.

Pioneer Class Tours

On our Pioneer tours, you will be amongst an elite group of intrepid travellers and some of the first to explore a country that few have been privileged enough to discover. Of course, exploring such areas of the world will come with its challenges; it may mean several nights camping, long journeys by 4WD and the need to maintain a degree of flexibility for when carefully laid plans change. These are challenging tours in countries and areas that may have poor infrastructure, high levels of poverty and illiteracy. This can translate in to low standards in hotels, bad roads and poor driving standards among other issues. We try and smooth out as much of these issues as we can but you should be prepared to experience the bad with the good.

Traveller Class Tours

Our Traveller itineraries are at the core of our programme. These journeys are designed for travellers who still want to discover a land away from the tourist crowds but expect minimum standards. Accommodation will be primarily hotel based, although you could still find yourself camping, or the guest of a local family. Depending on the destination and itinerary, you’ll likely be travelling in a private vehicle, with occasional use of public transport. This is adventure travel with some of the rough edges smoothed out.

Itinerary.

Arrive in Kinshasa, capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and transfer to hotel accommodation. Overnight Hotel Invest or similar.

After breakfast visit the wonderful Lola Ya Bonobo chimpanzee project, just beyond Kinshasa’s southern suburbs. Later, in Kinshasa we explore the districts, markets and buildings that characterise one of Africa’s most fascinating megacities. Formerly referred to as ‘Kin La Belle’ – meaning ‘Beautiful Kinshasa’, many years of turmoil have tarnished the city’s image. However, slowly Kinshasa is striving to regain its splendour. Overnight Hotel Invest or similar. (B)

Today we fly to Mbandaka, capital of DRC’s Equateur Province and the starting point for our Congo river expedition. We camp overnight in the city, ready to embark in the early morning on our voyage to Lisala. Overnight tented camp. (BLD)

The first part of our voyage, upriver from Mbandaka to Lisala, is expected to take 10-nights. We travel through a vast area, without roads or airports. The river is a vital lifeline for the communities we visit en route. We will observe how they go about their everyday lives, buying and selling produce from small boats that criss-cross the Congo. The people we meet have little, if any, contact with the outside world, and certainly no concept of tourism. Genuinely spontaneous encounters make this pioneering journey a must for intrepid travellers. There are increasingly few places on the planet where this kind of experience is possible. (BLD)

Our vessel is a 34m wooden boat, equipped with two powerful outboard engines. Although traditional in design, it is of course equipped with full safety equipment, toilet facilities, a generator, lighting and freezers for food and drinks. A cook and an English-speaking guide accompany the voyage throughout.

Each night is spent ashore or close to a village where we buy fresh produce, prepare dinner and set-up our tented camp. Walk-in tents are large and comfortable, and equipped with a self-inflating mattress, cotton mattress covers and pillows. Travellers should bring their own sleeping bag, sleeping sheet, as well as towels and toiletries.

Today we expect to arrive in Lisala, the hometown of Mobuto Sese Seko, President of Zaire from 1965 to 1997. Much can be written about the cruelty and excess of Mobuto’s despotic rule. Lisala is also the halfway point between Mbandaka to Kisangani. Some passengers will be returning to Kinshasa, taking a plane back to the capital tomorrow. At the same time, others will be joining the boat, flying from Kinshasa to Lisala, in order to travel on to Kisangani. Overnight tented camp a few kilometres outside Lisala. (BLD)

The second part of our voyage takes us upriver from Lisala to our final destination, the city of Kisangani. The journey is expected to take 10-nights and, as with the voyage to Lisala, each night will be spent ashore at or close to a village where we can buy fresh produce, prepare dinner and set-up our tented camp. Highlights include Bumba, where the Congo is at its widest, some 20 kilometres across, and covered with water hyacinths. Closer to Kisangani we travel through Yangambi, an important Biosphere Reserve which hosts 32,000 tree species. Wildlife in the reserve includes elephants, river hogs and monkeys. (BLD)

Founded, as Stanleyville, by journalist and adventurer, Henry Morton Stanley in 1877, Kisangani is the farthest navigable point upstream on the Congo River – over 2,000km from its mouth on the Atlantic coast. Within the last fifty years the city has seen more than its fair share of troubles, being seized by Simba rebels during the Congo crisis in the 1960s and witnessing the war that gripped the DRC in the 1990s. Today Kisangani’s half a million inhabitants are edging their way towards recovery. A visit here is not only fascinating but integral to gaining a greater understanding of DRC. After exploring the town, we visit Tshopo River Falls, and the village of Wagenia, whose fishermen maintain a unique system of bamboo fish traps set among the Congo’s rapids. Overnight Hotel Triangle or similar (BLD)

Today, after almost a month, the end of the journey may be hard to reconcile. Transfer to Kisangani’s airport for a scheduled flight back to Kinshasa. Overnight Hotel Invest or similar. (B)

After breakfast the tour ends with transfers to the airport for onward flights. (B)

Dates & Price.

Please call us to book the DR Congo River Expedition (All Provisional Dates)

Full Tour

28 Day Tour – 6 Aug 2021 to 2 Sep 2021 – £6375 per person

28 Day Tour – 5 Aug 2022 to 1 Sep 2022 – £6820 per person

Part 1

16 Day Tour – Mbandaka to Lisala – 6 Aug 2021 to 21 Aug 2021 – £4345 per person

16 Day Tour – Mbandaka to Lisala – 5 Aug 2022 to 20 Aug 2022 – £4650 per person

Part 2

16 Day Tour – Lisala to Kisangani – 18 Aug 2021 to 2 Sep 2021 – £5025 per person

16 Day Tour – Lisala to Kisangani – 17 Aug 2022 to 1 Sep 2022 – £5375 per person

Tour Notes

2021 and 2022 dates are provisional, and could change +/- 3 days depending on flight schedules.

Please do not book flights to Kinshasa until advised to do so by Undiscovered Destinations.

The DR Congo River Expedition can be taken in two seperate parts. The first part is a 16 day tour from where you are on the river from Mbandaka to Lisala.

This costs from £4195 per person. Contact us for further details or download the tour dossier below.

Congo River Journey – (Part 1) Mbandaka to Lisala Tour Dossier

The DR Congo River Expedition can be taken in two seperate parts. The second part is a 16 day tour from where you are on the river from Lisala to Kisangani.

This costs from £4875 per person. Contact us for further details or download the tour dossier below.

Congo River Journey – (Part 2) Lisala to Kisangani Tour Dossier

This group tour operates subject to a minimum group size of 3 travellers.

No Single Supplement Applicable.

Return flights from London to Kinshasa start at £800. Contact us for a quotation.

Mapped itinerary.

Want to see details of your itinerary on a map?

Download PDF.

Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.

DR Congo - Congo River Expedition Tour Map

For expert advice get in touch now with our passionate,
well-travelled team.

+44(0) 191 296 2674 from THE UK
1-800-614-2967 from THE US & CANADA
1-300-956-415 from AUSTRALIA

Tour inclusions.

  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Domestic flights
  • All accommodation
  • Services of English speaking guide / tour leader
  • Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
  • Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary

Tour exclusions.

  • International flights
  • Any airport taxes
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas
  • Drinks

Back in Norway after an incredible tour to DR-Congo and the Congo river exp. It was a trip of a lifetime. Everything went after the plan and the local guides and drivers did a wonderful job. Onboard the boat the crew also was very nice and did everything for us. I could not think of a better crew to travel together with.

 

Jon Atle and Lars Magne, Norway