If you’re preparing for a tourist experience in the Democratic Republic of The Congo, also prepare to have an amazing time! But in addition to that, it’s important that when traveling to any other country, you take some time to learn about the culture and country in order to be a responsible tourist.
In this blog, Amahoro Tours will be providing some information on the culture of The Democratic Republic of The Congo and some tips you can utilize to be a responsible tourist while you’re there.
Truthfully, there isn’t much you have to worry about when touring the Democratic Republic of The Congo; however, this blog is intended to give you insight as to things you can do or prepare with that will allow for minimal culture shock, and make your temporary transition into the vibrant culture of the Democratic Republic of The Congo seamless!
When interacting with the locals of the Democratic Republic of The Congo, don’t be shy! Locals will likely be more than happy to partake in small talk. It’s recommended that you start by saying “Hello Sir” or “Hello Madame” and providing your name (this is always a great place to start, regardless of the country).
Beyond that, communication is largely the same! Small talk is a great place to start (i.e. what they do for work, where they’re from, etc.) and as you build a relationship with locals, they may ask you (or you can ask them) about their family and life! Feel free to compliment and joke around, however excessive praise can cause discomfort.
The only other communication difference to note surrounds eye contact. Where most of us are used to holding sustained eye contact during conversations, in the Democratic Republic of The Congo it can be seen as inappropriate. Instead, look at their face periodically during a conversation, as this shows that you’re engaged and respectful.
When it comes to clothing, the general rule is to be tasteful and practical. Dressing for the weather is a great way to go, however it’s relevant to note that for women, the norm is to wear longer dresses, skirts, or longer shorts. The rules around clothing differ when meeting with superiors or high-status individuals, so if that’s an aspect of your tourism experience, bring some comfortable, but formal clothing for these kinds of interactions.
The culture of the Democratic Republic of The Congo is beautiful, vibrant, and exciting. Honestly, it’s one of our biggest drawing factors to the country (aside from the incredible nature, of course). First and foremost, we have to mention the music. Congolese music is a huge pride point in the Democratic Republic of The Congo.
The Congolese people love it, and we’re sure you will too. While you’re visiting, make sure to see a music performance and to engage with the locals about the music you see. Not only will they be ecstatic that you’re interested in the music, but it’s also a great way to create some bonds!
Another interesting aspect of the Congolese culture is their love of mayonnaise. Initially introduced by Belgian colonizers, the condiment has become a staple of Congolese cuisine. In fact, a common practice is to blend mayonnaise with the Democratic Republic of The Congo’s famous hot pepper, Piri Piri. Definitely give this combination a try!
The next talking point revolves around weapons. It’s commonplace to see a lot of weapons when traveling in the Democratic Republic of The Congo. From military checkpoints with soldiers who are equipped with assault rifles, to locals with guns, to even children who sport a machete for their day-to-day work, weapons are simply an extension of daily life. While this can be intimidating for those who are not used to it, there is no need to worry. You’ll be perfectly safe!
Finally, the nature that the Democratic Republic of The Congo has to offer is unparalleled. From the Congo River to Virunga National Park, you’ll be surrounded by awe-inspiring scenery. In all honesty, we could write pages and pages just mentioning the incredible nature experiences that you can enjoy. Instead, we implore you to join us for one of our tours. That way, you’ll be able to witness the magic for yourself.
At Amahoro Tours, we’re dedicated to responsible tourism that introduces people to all of the amazing things that Africa has to offer. We offer tours of the Democratic Republic of The Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda. Whether you’re looking to tour the National Parks or you’re seeking out gorillas in these amazing ecosystems, we have a tour for everyone!