Democratic Republic of Congo – 133rd Country. To see where I have been so far, check out my map as I count down the final 93 countries on the road to all 193 UN countries. Democratic Republic of Congo is my 133rd country.
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Democratic Republic of Congo is the second largest country in Africa and is overflowing with 80 million people and can be found in Central Africa. King Leopold II of Belgium annexed what was known at that time as the Congo Free State. The local populace was forced into labor to produce rubber with millions dying under horrific conditions. In 1960, Congo won its independence from Belgium. Mobutu Sese Seko ruled the country as a strongman from 1965 – 1997 while being a player in the Cold War. DRC is extremely rich in resources but has been plagued by poverty, disease, civil war, and violence.
I flew to Kamebe, which is in the southwest corner of Rwanda and crossed overland into the DRC. Over the border is the Congolese town of Bukavu, a hectic city of nearly one million. Bukavu is overrun with NGOs and white Toyota Land Cruisers. I bedded down here for two nights since this was my launching pad to trek gorillas in the Kahuzi-Biega National Park. It is a good 90 minute drive over bad roads to get here, but well worth the journey.
Democratic Republic of Congo – 133rd Country