Congo River Journey - Mbandaka to Lisala
Congo River Journey - Mbandaka to Lisala
Foreign Government Travel Warnings
Before booking your tour please familiarise yourself with the country specific information provided by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice. This includes important information such as latest immigration requirements, and details of any travel advisories.
At the time of writing the British Foreign Office (FCO) currently advises against all travel to most north eastern and eastern areas of the Congo, although these are not areas visited on this tour.
Furthermore, it is the clients’ responsibility to ensure that they hold full travel insurance which includes medical repatriation.
You should check the validity of your insurance with your provider, given the travel warnings in place. We can however, help you organise insurance which will continue to be valid.
It should be noted that this information applies to British citizens. Other nationals are asked to check the current position of their respective government.
Non UK nationals should check with their own government, as the information and advice may differ to that provided by British authorities.
Accommodation and Meals
At Undiscovered Destinations we know our travellers prefer to stay in comfortable, mid-range accommodation which meets our own exacting standards. With a few exceptions you can expect rooms to be en-suite, with private bathroom and when necessary air-conditioning will be provided. In general you will find your hotel has a restaurant and/or bar.
We welcome solo travellers and single rooms will be allocated subject to the applicable tour supplement. Please note that on occasions you may not always be allocated a double or twin room, as some hotels have designated single rooms. These may be smaller in size. However, the supplement payable takes this into consideration.
Food & Drink
On our tours in the Congo you will be accompanied by a cook. Breakfast is usually continental style, including sliced bread and rolls with butter, cheese, ham/salami and jam. Lunch and dinner consist mainly of local specialties. Fresh fruit and local snack foods are served as lunch on board. The main course of dinner normally consists of meat, poultry, fish or pasta with vegetables, rice, potatoes or 'Foufou', a local side dish made from the manioc plant.
If you have any special dietary requirements you must notify us at the time of booking. While we will make every effort to cater for you, we cannot guarantee that this will be possible.
Budgeting for your Tour
You will need some extra money to cover meals and drinks not included in the tour price, any optional sightseeing, souvenirs and items of a personal nature such as laundry.
The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.
The prices for drinks can vary greatly depending upon location and the prices detailed below are an average guide. In general you would expect that drinks purchased in a supermarket or local bar to be less expensive, whilst drinks in an upmarket bar or restaurant may be more expensive.
Bottle of Beer £1
Tipping – Guide and Drivers
Tipping is common practise in Africa. If your local guide has been helpful then you could think about tipping. This amount can obviously be left to you. When tipping a driver, a guide or hotel staff a few dollars will always be gratefully received.
ATM Availability: ATMs which accept Visa cards are available in Kinshasa and Mbandaka only but may be unreliable. For other cards please check with the issuer
Credit and Debit Card Acceptance: The use of cards is limited to the top hotels in Kinshasa
Local Currency: Franc Congolais
Recommended Currency for Exchange: US Dollars
Where to Exchange: Exchange facilities are available at Kinshasa’s airport and the capital’s major banks. Outside of Kinshasa facilities will be limited
Joining your Tour
Our advertised prices do not include the cost of international flights. Please contact us if you would like a quotation to book a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
Joining Tour Abroad
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a free airport transfer, both on arrival and departure. In order that the transfer can be arranged please ensure that you advise us of your flight information once available. Please advise the date, time and flight number for your arrival/departure. If we have not been advised of this information at least 2 weeks before travel, then you will be required to make your own way to the hotel on Day 1 of your tour.
It is a condition of booking with Undiscovered Destinations that you have adequate valid travel insurance, the cost of which is not included in the price of the tour. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip.
Most nationals will require a visa to visit the DR Congo. Congolese Embassies or Consulates can be found in major cities around the world including London and Washington. At the time of writing the visa costs £60 in London. You will be required to produce a ‘notarised’ Letter of Authority. In addition the London embassy and possibly others will require an ‘Engagement de Prise en Charge’ document authorised by the country’s Interior Ministry. These documents will be provided by Undiscovered Destinations and should be requested at the time you make your balance payment. Please allow 2 weeks for these documents to be issued. You may also be asked to produce a letter from your employer and possibly a recent bank statement as proof of sufficient funds. A valid Yellow Fever certificate will also be required to obtain your visa.
Regulations do frequently change though, so we advise that you check the current requirements with your nearest embassy or visa agency.
Please be aware that visa information is subject to change, therefore please refer to your nearest embassy for up to date advice. Please note that the price of your tour does not include visa costs.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, valid for at least six months after the date of return to the UK.
We strongly advise that your passport contains a minimum of two blank pages, as this may be a requirement of the local immigration authorities. In addition certain countries will stipulate that the two blank pages are opposite each other. If you are unable to meet these requirements you may be refused boarding by your airline or denied entry by the immigration authorities.
For specific information about the requirements for your destination please check with the country’s embassy or consulate. Alternatively UK citizens can visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
Vaccinations & Protection
As with travel to most parts of Africa, we strongly recommend that you contact your doctor’s surgery or a specialist travel clinic for up-to-date information, advice and the necessary vaccinations. For a visit of less than one month, almost certainly you will be advised to have immunisations against the following: Diphtheria and Tetanus, Hepatitis A and B, Polio and Typhoid. In addition you must hold a valid Yellow Fever Certificate and this will be required to support your visa application.
Preparing for your tour
Apart from high altitude areas, most of the country is hot the year round, lingering around 30°C during the day, with some relief at night. Rainfall is scant along the tiny coastline and increases further inland. A dry period affects most of the country between June and September.
As a general guide the best time to visit is December to February for north of the equator and April to October when travelling south of the equator.
When it comes to clothing it is usually recommended that lighter clothes are worn through the day, and warmer ones at night. A hat is also advised to be worn through the day to protect from the sun, along with at least one piece of waterproof clothing for any days that the weather may be wet or windy.
Sun cream/sunblock is a must. When out on tour, it is important to have sun cream with you, as there will not be any services nearby in which to provide it. Insect repellent, including a bite spray will be useful to have. As our tours in the Congo involve camping, a torch (flashlight) is essential.
Footwear is a main priority on this tour. Comfortable walking shoes/boots are recommended.
Luggage on tour
Your luggage should not exceed 20kgs (44lbs). One large rucksack, and one small hand luggage rucksack is acceptable. We advise you to travel with a rucksack or soft bag rather than a suitcase.
Electric Supply & Plugs
Generally electrical supply is 220-240V AC (50 Hz) and uses European two circular pin style plugs.
Tour Itinerary Versions
Please ensure that you have an up-to-date copy of these tour notes immediately before you travel, as from time to time our itineraries may be amended, either for operational reasons or in response to feedback from customers. You will be informed of any major changes to your tour but small changes may just be added to these tour notes. These tour notes were prepared on 17/05/16