Big and Little Congo
When looking at a map of Africa you may have at some point wondered why there are two countries with the name Congo. On the surface the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Republic of the Congo seem similar enough: they both have French as their national language, they both share many of the same cultural, ethnic, and geographical features, and they both have a similar history. In fact, even the capital cities of Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo and Kinshasa in the DRC are connected, being the closest two capitals in the world at only five kilometers apart.
The division in the two countries is mostly just a matter of recent history from the 19th century, when it was determined that they should become different territories under European colonialism. From the late 19th century until 1960, the Belgians ruled what is now the DRC and the French controlled what is now the Republic of Congo. It was at this time in the early 1960’s when the colonial occupation ended, as each country declared independence from their colonial rulers, and two new African countries were born (and reborn again and again under different names, but that’s another story).
The DRC is exponentially bigger than the Republic of Congo, being nearly 10x the size of its neighbor. To give an idea of just how large it is, the area is bigger than Spain, France, Germany, Norway and Sweden put together! While the Republic of Congo isn’t quite as immense, it is still 56x the size of The Netherlands.
Nature and wildlife
Both countries are full of incredible wildlife such as apes, bears, chimpanzees, and lions, and the preserved natural state throughout the region makes it an explorers dream come true. Travelers can experience dramatic mountains and beautiful beaches in the DRC and in the Republic of Congo there are immense rainforests and dramatic sights such as the Loufoulakari Falls. Both countries provide an essentially endless amount of outdoor places to enjoy.
Expat and Western life
While both the Republic of Congo and Congo DRC are embraced by nature lovers, there are not so many expats to be found living within these countries on a more permanent basis. Most of the small community of international expats work within the petrol industry and live isolated away from the cities, and western style places to shop and eat are few and far between. Although a classic baguette can still be found in the locally owned French bakeries dotted throughout the major cities in each country and a few western style grocery stories do exist.
There is one western comfort to be enjoyed, a positive holdover from the Belgian colonial days, and that is Simba Beer. It’s not only considered a tasty brew, noted for its rich yeasty flavor, but it is nearly twice the size of a standard sized beer from the west. Not a bad drink to enjoy on a hot, humid day in these two fascinating countries located in the heart of Africa.
How can we assist you?
There is much to know and discover in Congo , and AMS can help you in your relocation from start to finish. AMS now has an office in The Republic of Congo and can service Pointe Noire and Brazzaville. AMS also has an office in Kinshasa and can service the DRC.
Contact us to see the many ways we can help guide your relocation to the DRC or the Republic of Congo or contact us to learn more.