DR Congo
Congo River Expedition

DR Congo – Congo River Expedition. A 29, 17 or 16 day Small Group Tour.

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


Tour style


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.


Arrive in Kinshasa and transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day is left at leisure. Overnight Hotel Invest or similar. No meals nor guided arrangements are included today.

Fly to Mbandaka, capital of the Equator Province, and the starting point of river expedition. We stay  2 nights in the city, ready to leave shortly on our 11-day voyage bound for Lisala. Overnight tented camp or basic hotel in Mbandaka. (BLD)

The first leg of our voyage, upriver from Mbandaka to Lisala is expected to take 9 nights. We will be travelling through a vast area, without roads or airports. The river is a vital-life line for the communities we visit en-route. We will see how they go about their everyday lives, buying and selling produce from small boats that criss-cross the river. The people we meet have little, if any contact with the outside world, and certainly no concept of tourism. It is the genuinely spontaneous encounters which makes the trip so pioneering and a must for intrepid travellers. There are few places left on earth where such encounters are possible. It is a special experience shared by only an elite group of travellers a year. (BLD)


Each night will be spent ashore or close to a village where we can buy fresh produce, prepare dinner and set-up our tented camp for the night. Tents are large and comfortable, 2m in height. Each tent is equipped with self-inflating mattress and cotton mattress covers and pillows. Travellers should bring their sleeping bag or sleeping sheet, as well as a towel and toiletries.


Our transport is aboard a 18m long wooden boat, equipped with two powerful outboard engines. Although a traditional boat 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 trip throughout.

We expect to arrive in Lisala today. Lisala is the home town of the former President Mobutu and the half way point between Mbandaka to Kisangani. Some of your fellow travellers will be returning to Kinshasa, taking a plane back to the capital the following day. At the same time other travellers will fly from Kinshasa to Lisala, in order to travel on the second leg of the expedition to Kisangani. Overnight tented camp a few miles on from Lisala. (BLD)

The second leg of our voyage will take us further up river from Lisala, to our final destination, the city of Kisangani. The trip is expected to take 10 nights and as with the first leg, 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 for the night. Highlights of the second leg of the expedition include Bumba, where the river is at its widest, some 20 kilometres across and covered with water hyacinths. Closer to Kisangani we will travel through Yangambi, an important Biosphere Reserve which hosts 32,000 tree species. Wildlife in the reserve includes elephant, river hog 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)

Transfer to Kisangani’s airport for a scheduled flight back to Kinshasa. Overnight Hotel Invest or similar. (B)

After breakfast visit the wonderful Lola Ya Bonobo project outside of Kinshasa. Later in Kinshasa we explore some of the markets and buildings that make this such a fascinating city. Formerly referred to as ‘Kin La Belle’ – meaning ‘Beautiful Kinshasa’, the many years of turmoil has tarnished this image. But slowly, Kinshasa is regaining its splendour. Overnight Hotel Invest or similar. (B)

Tour ends with transfer to airport. (B)


Dates & Price.

Please call us to book the DR Congo River Expedition

2023 Dates

Full Tour (29 Days) – 4th Aug to 1st Sep 2023 – £8245 per person

Part 1 – Mbandaka to Lisala (17 Days) – 4th Aug – 20th Aug 2023 – £6395 per person

Part 2 – Lisala to Kisangani (16 Days) – 17th Aug – 1st Sep 2023 – £6595 per person

2024 Dates – Provisional

Full Tour (29 Days) – 2 Aug to 30 Aug 2024 – £9070 per person

Part 1 – Mbandaka to Lisala (17 Days) – 2 Aug –  18 Aug 2024 – £7035 per person

Part 2 – Lisala to Kisangani (16 Days) – 15 Aug – 30 Aug 2024 – £7255 per person

Tour Notes

2024 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 £6395 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 £6595 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 4 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
  • Tips (Discretionary)
  • Items of personal nature

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