The Congo is a veritable wildlife cornucopia with such iconic endemics as Bonobo, Grauer's Gorilla, Okapi and Congo Peacock all surviving in the planet's second largest rainforest.
For the last quarter of a century naturalists and adventurers could really only look longingly in from afar - as a combination of political instability, a lack of infrastructure, deep-rooted corruption and centuries of commercial and colonial exploitation limited holistic development.
Happily, we now appear to be on the cusp of a real change and while a visit to this incredible country remains challenging, it is no longer impossible - you can see a sample trip here.
Variously known as the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, DR Congo, Congo-Kinshasa, or simply the Congo - this is the second largest country in Africa (after Algeria) and previous incarnations include the Congo Free State, the Belgian Congo and Zaire.
Several National Parks have survived the turmolt and are currently enjoying a new lease of life, foremost among them is the Virunga National Park, due to a combination of improved civil security and increased international interest.