The Republic of the Congo is, historically, not one of the most stable countries in the area. Civil wars and uprisings play a painful part in this country’s history. Nearly half of the country lives in poverty even though they are a major producer of oil. It is this oil production that keeps the economy strong. Other areas of the economy include forestry, small farming areas and craft work. In 2010, the parliament brought in a new law to protect the rights of the indigenous people of the nation. This was the first ruling of its kind and will hopefully spread through the continent.
The Congo has some very impressive landscapes including the massive Congo River, huge mountainscapes, and over 150 km of coastal beaches. This combined with large swathes of rainforest means that it is very hard to access much of the country, and so tourism is not a major industry here and most of the population live in the cities and along the coast.
Approximately a sixth of the country is protected. This is excellent for the forests, savannahs and plateaux which have plentiful amounts of gorillas, elephants, rhinos and wild dogs. There is also a large amount of bird life which makes the Congo a 'must visit' destination for keen twitchers.
There is a lot of traditional heritage in the Congo such as ritual objects, masks and statue work. This differs from region to region within all the ethnic groups that are within the nation. There are also a number of colonial buildings and architecture that are being well looked after within the country, especially in the capital city Brazzaville.
As with many of the Western African countries, sport plays a large part in the nation’s identity. Football is by far and away the most popular.