If you have ever thought of a destination with intense biodiversity then the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) should be a must in your travel plan. DR Congo is remarkably one of the very few diverse countries in the world when it comes to natural attractions making it one of the most sought after safari destinations in Africa. It features as Africa’s second largest country and offers refuge to variety of wildlife and vegetation is distributed in most of its extensive parts. However, there is still challenge with conservation of floral and faunal species in this country a fact that it is still recovering from political instabilities. Because of this, most of its floral and faunal species are highly endangered.
Below is a list of ecological sites in the DR Congo
- Angolan Miombo woodlands
These are classified under the tropical and sub tropical grasslands, shrub lands, savanna biome. This ecological area extends via the Central Angola to the DR Congo. Angolan Miombo Woodlands derived its name from the Miombo trees scientifically brachystegia which depict the area. This region experiences a tropical type of climate with mean rainfall amount ranging from 800 to 1400 mm. It offers refuge to a number of wildlife species most especially giraffes, cheetahs, lions, buffaloes, rhinos and many others. For long, this area is still virgin a fact that the soil here doesn’t support any farming and thus limited human settlement.
- Ruwenzori Virunga Montane moorlands
This falls under the shrub lands, montane grasslands biome. Ruwenzori Virunga Montane Moorlands covers higher altitude in the Rwenzori in Uganda and the Virunga Massifs in the DR Congo. The area features a number of Lakes in various elevations, swampy deltas, peat bogs, snow fields and glaciers. The montane grasslands and areas of scrubs are seen in this area. Plant species which are commonly seen here include the lobelias and the giant groundsels. The Ruwenzori Virunga Montane moorlands offers refuge to rare mountain gorillas and most parts of this area remain untouched though fire and grazing pose a negative environmental effect.
- Albertine rift montane forests
This forms part of the tropical and sub tropical grasslands, shrub lands and savanna biome. This ecological region features a network of mountain massifs which extend from Uganda, DR Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi. The escarpments and valleys are visible in the area and receive rainfall amount of about 1200 and 2200mm and the cool climate which supports variety of floral and faunal species. The montane rainforest features as the dominant vegetation together with the Guineo Congolian rain forest. It consists of over 1200 endemic species of flora, 32 endemic species of amphibians especially the reed frogs, River frogs and many others. The region offers refuge to variety of avian species, 30 of which are endemic. The Albertine rift montane forests are famous for mountain gorilla safaris and it inhabits some of the rare mountain gorillas that are also the most threatened primates in Africa. There are also owl faced monkeys, chimpanzees that move within the forest, however, deforestation features as a main threat to this eco area. More efforts have been invested save the floral and faunal in the Virunga National Park and the Kahuzi Biega National Park.
- The Western Congolian Swamp Forests
This ecological area is classified under the sub tropical and tropical moist broad leaf forest biome. The Western Congolian Swamp Forests is a seasonally flooded forest with intense undergrowth and a high canopy. The area is largely flat and experiences the average rainfall of about 2000 mm per year. The main water bodies within this region include Lake Tumba, Lake Ntomba and Lomami system. Most of the human settlement within the area is concentrated around the banks of the River systems. The floral species in the area features mainly the Raphia palm together with the Manilkara. Accessing the western Congolian swamp forest still stands as main challenge and this makes it one of the touched areas as its faunal are freely roam around. The notable wildlife species for you to sight at this region include Bonobos, pygmy chimpanzee, lowlands gorillas and forest elephants.
In conclusion, each ecological region in the Democratic Republic of Congo features a number of distinct attractions that are worth exploring while on your safari in Africa.