Five of the DR Congo’s National Parks are listed by UNESCO as sites of world importance for their outstanding natural habitats. Find out more about these parks, as well as some of DR Congo’s key towns and cities, such as the capital of Kinshasa.

Poverty

Across the rest of the world, absolute poverty has halved over recent decades, but in Africa it has barely fallen.

About two-fifths of the population of sub-Saharan Africa survive week by week on what someone in the UK earns from just one hour's work on the minimum wage.

Congo, Lualaba Rivers

The River Congo is Africa’s second longest river. Its sources are rivers and lakes in the highlands of the southeast, such as Lake Tanganyika and Lake Mweru, which feed the Lualaba River/Upper Congo.  Following an upturned horseshoe shape round the country, the Lualaba becomes the Congo after Boyomo Falls (formerly Stanley Falls) near Kisangani. The river then widens – it is 15 miles wide between Kinshasa and Brazzaville (the capital of neighbouring Republic of Congo) – and is one of the most impressive sites of Central Africa as it flows through to the Atlantic.

Games & Sport

Africa is home to arguably the oldest-recorded games and sports. While some are only known through archaeology, modern-day games and sports such as Mancala/Mankala and Nubian wrestling are very much alive today.

Of course, new sports have come along to claim the attention of Africans. You may have heard of one - it's called football.

Kenya Map

Explore Kenya

Kenya is a popular tourist destination because of its many national parks and game reserves. Discover a little more about some of these.

The map also has a few of Kenya's key towns and cities. As well as being a hub for business, the capital Nairobi, has one of the largest slums in Africa, Kibera.

Development

‘People are the real wealth of a nation.’ This is the belief of the United Nations, whose Millenium Development Goals provide a framework for improving the lives of millions.

It helps when nations are peaceful, stable and growing economically. But where even the poorest countries focus on health, education and creating fairer societies, more Africans have the chance of a better life.

Agriculture & Famine

A quarter of the population of sub-Saharan Africa is undernourished and famines can impact whole regions.

Land is available to grow more food locally, but investment is needed in  technologies such as irrigation for land to be used effectively. Farmers must also adapt to climate change if they are to feed the continent's rising population.

Angola map

Explore Angola

Explore the map of Angola and discover more about some of the key places and features of interest.

Zambia Map

Explore Zambia

Find out about some key places in Zambia, such as Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

Foods

Africa has some of the most distinctive cuisines and flavours in the world. Food varies widely, but there are commonalities across regions. Depending on what's grown locally, dishes are also influenced by the traders, immigrants and rulers who settled across the continent. Arab, Asian and European elements blend in with traditional African cooking.

Malawi map

Explore Malawi

Discover some of Malawi’s most important places and features, such as Lake Malawi, which runs almost the entire length of the country.

Climate

Africa is a massive continent, with a range of climates. Some regions are hot and dry, like the Sahara, Kalahari and Namib deserts. Other parts are wet or covered in tropical rainforest. Conditions also vary by altitude, from the dry salt pans of the Danakil Depression (one of the lowest points on earth) to the snowcaps (at certain times) of the highest mountains. Weather-wise, Africa has it all!

History

The first humans are thought to have lived in Africa and powerful African empires formed from the medieval age onwards.

However, today's African nations were shaped by the European powers who colonised this vast continent. Having gained their independence, many African countries are still coming to terms with the legacy left by their colonisers.

Cameroon map

Explore Cameroon

Explore some of the towns and cities of Cameroon, as well as its most popular national parks.

Health

Africa has a high number of communicable diseases, which place a huge burden on healthcare systems. The vast majority of malaria cases and HIV/AIDS-related deaths occur in Africa; these two diseases currently represent the greatest threats.

With low investment in healthcare and a severe shortage of medical staff, many countries struggle to meet the health needs of their people.

Lubumbashi

Created as a mining town by the Belgians during colonial times, Lubumbashi is known for its clean wide streets and modern amenities. Today, roads and facilities are financed by the mining wealth of the Katanga region, which makes Lubumbashi a key economic centre in the DR Congo. Once linked via the Benguela railway (read more by clicking on Angola) to the copper mining areas of neighbouring Zambia, the town bears witness to an Anglophone influence, with some English speakers to be found here.

Rwanda map

Explore Rwanda

Discover some of Rwanda’s key attractions, cities and places of interest. Kigali is the capital city and is currently undergoing a lot of redevelopment. Rwanda boasts some amazing wildlife reserves including the Volcanoes National Park. Here you can see mountain gorillas among many other animals.

Uganda Map

Explore Uganda

Have a look and explore some of Uganda’s main attractions, cities and the country’s plentiful wildlife and national parks.

Garamba National Park

Close to the border with South Sudan and Uganda, Garamba National Park has suffered from various incursions of refugees and fighting groups, including an attack on the Park’s headquarters by the Lord’s Resistance Army (in 2009). Despite the deaths of rangers and wardens, the conservation work continues, run by the African Parks Network and the ICCN (Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature). The park has a wide range of flora and fauna, including large populations of elephants, giraffes, buffaloes and hippos across its grass- and woodlands.

Goma

Situated on the banks of Lake Kivu near the border with Rwanda, Goma acts as a base for visitors to the Lake, the Virunga National Park and the dramatic volcanic activity of the region – see Tourism & Communications. In 2002, lava from one of the area’s volcanoes destroyed large parts of the city. Since then, new buildings have been constructed on top of the lava and the second levels of old buildings have become the ground floors of now single storey properties.

Kahuzi-Biega National Park

In an area dominated by two extinct volcanoes, the tropical forests of the Kahuzi-Biega Park contain a diverse range of plants and animals. But the park is best known as home to the Grauer’s gorilla (formerly called the Eastern Lowland). These majestic animals are larger than their mountain or western cousins and the park’s endangered groups are protected by soldiers and rangers.

Tanzania map

Explore Tanzania

Explore some interesting places in Tanzania, including the capital and four of the country’s 40 national parks and game reserves.

Kinshasa

Home to nearly 9 million people, Kinshasa is the third largest city in Africa (after Cairo, Egypt and Lagos, Nigeria). Swelled by the influx of refugees and migrants, the capital is a melting pot of different groups. Its streets are crowded with people and traffic, and some buildings still show the scars of war. At night, music and dancing are popular pastimes across the city’s clubs.

Kisangani

Kisangani is the centre point of the northern region. Historically, it has long been a trading centre, with boats travelling here along the Congo; the town is the furthest point which can be reached before encountering rapids. The famous film ‘The African Queen’ (starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn) was filmed near here. But today, Kisangani is better known for its diamond trade and as one of the bases for the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) – see History & Politics.

Lake Tanganyika

Lake Tanganyika runs down the south-eastern border with Tanzania. After Lake Victoria in Uganda, it is the second largest freshwater lake in Africa. With its deep waters, the lake is home to over 350 species of fish. Local fishermen use traditional methods to make their catches and at night, the lights of their oil lamps can be seen dotted over the lake. But the waters aren’t always calm! Sometimes called an ‘inland sea’ because of its size, ferocious storms can create waves up to 6 metres high.

Children

Around one in six children born in sub-Saharan Africa don't live to see their fifth birthday and life can be tough for those who do.

What are the common challenges facing African children and how do their lives compare with those of children in the UK?

Virunga National Park

The Virunga National Park covers a whole range of different habitats, from swamps and grasslands to the snowfields of the high Rwenzori mountains (over 5,000 metres) and plains of volcanic lava. However, the park is perhaps best known for its lush mountain forests, which are home to groups of the endangered mountain gorilla.

Salonga National Park

Lying within the central basin of the Congo river, the Salonga National Park is Africa’s largest tropical rainforest reserve (at over 36,000km square). Criss-crossed by rivers and with large stretches of wetlands and marshes, much of the forest area can only be reached by boat. This inaccessibility has meant the rainforest here is one of the most untouched on the continent. It is home to some incredibly rare species, such as the dwarf chimpanzee, the slender-snouted crocodile and the Congo peafowl.

Mozambique map

Explore Mozambique

Visitors to Mozambique often stay along the country’s coastline, which boasts some of the country’s key attractions. But you’ll see from the map there are also many places of interest inland.

Geography & Wildlife

With its varied geography and diverse habits, the African continent is home to a wide range of flora and fauna. Though famous for its 'big game' animals, Africa has huge numbers of fish, mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian and insect species, as well as many tree, plant and flower species.

Women

A woman’s status varies by country and region across Africa. In many parts, women struggle against inequality in laws, education, pay and domestic responsibilities.

Women’s health is also at risk from traditional practices such as early marriage. But with better education, girls can make more informed choices, leading to the greater development of African nations.

Okapi Wildlife Reserve

This reserve is named after one of the animals protected in its habitat – the okapi (Okapia johnstoni). This herbivore is a relative of the giraffe. But with stripes on its rear and much shorter neck and legs (Okapis are around 170cm tall), it looks more like a zebra. Thousands of native okapi live in the reserve, which covers around one-fifth of the Ituri forest. The area is home to a large elephant population, as well as many species of duiker and several hundred species of birds.

DR Congo MapKinshasaKisanganiLubumbashiGomaKahuzi-Biega National ParkVirunga National ParkGaramba National ParkOkapi Wildlife ReserveSalonga National ParkCongo, Lualaba RiversLake TanganyikaCameroon mapAngola mapAngola mapZambia MapMalawi mapRwanda mapUganda MapKenya MapKenya MapMozambique mapTanzania map