R.D. Congo: Culture, Okapi, Pygmies
There are an estimation population of about 66 million, comprising of 242 ethnic groups speaking some 450 local dialects, out of these, only four have the status of national languages:- Kiswahili, Lingala, Tshiluba and Kikongo.
French is the official language. It has a small lengh of Atlantic coastline. The country covers an area of 2 345 410 km². Kinshasa is the capital city, formaly known as Léopoldville. The D.R. Congo is situated at the heart of the west-central portion of sub-saharan Africa. The country borders clock wise from southwest by Angola, Republic of Congo-Brazzaville, Central African Republic, Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Zambia across lake Tanganyika. The country straddles the Equator, with one-third to the north and two-third to the south.
The D.R. Congo sustains the second largest rain forest in the world, after the Amazon, which covers more than half of the country. This massive expanse of lush jungle covers most of the vast, low-lying central basin of the river, which slopes toward the Atlantic ocean in the west. Its area is surrounded by plateaus, merging into savannas in the south and southwest, and by mountainous terraces in the west, and dense grasslands extending beyond the Congo river in the north. High, glaciated Rwenzori mountains and the Albertine Rift montane forests are found in the extreme eastern region. In the impressive Virunga mountain range, there are eight volcanoes, of which two the “Nyiracongo and Nyamulagira” are still active. The D.R. Congo experiences the largest amounts of precipitation 2 032 mm (80 inches) and has the highest frequency of thunderstorms in the world. The geologic activity of the Great Rift Valley created the famous African great lakes: Tanganyika, Edward and Albert which lie on the eastern frontier. The country has enormous amount of mineral wealth: cobalt, copper, gold, silver, diamonds, zinc, manganese, uranium, radium, bauxite, coal, iron ore, cadmium, tin. Agriculturally rich in: coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber, wood products etc.
The rainforests of D.R. Congo contain great biodiversity including many rare and endemic species. It is the only country in the world inhabited by two distinct species of chimpanzee in the wild; the common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) and the bonobo also known as pygmy chimpanzee (Pan paniscus), along with gorillas, as well the okapi are the native species classified as endangered by World Conservation Union. Five of the D.R.Congo national parks are listed by UNESCO as the World Heritage sites: Garamba, Kahuzi-Biega, Salonga, Maiko and Virunga national parks and the Okapis wildlife sanctuary in Epulu.