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10 Best Documentaries About The Congo (DRC)

These documentaries about the Congo (DRC) offer poignant insights into its complex history, socio-political challenges, and the resilience of its people.

From the lingering echoes of colonialism to the ongoing struggles with armed conflicts, resource exploitation, and environmental conservation, these films capture the multifaceted nature of the Congo.

Documentaries About The Congo

Whether delving into the heart of its jungles to protect endangered species or unravelling the intricate web of political turmoil, these documentaries about the Congo provide a lens through which you can gain a deeper understanding of the country’s past and present.

Some of these documentaries are paid to watch on online streaming platforms, like Amazon, whereas others are free to watch on YouTube.

Virunga (2014)

Virunga takes you deep into the heart of Virunga National Park, located in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The park is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site but is also home to a significant population of mountain gorillas.

The documentary primarily focuses on the conservation efforts led by a dedicated team of park rangers who are determined to protect the park’s wildlife, particularly the endangered mountain gorillas, from poachers and armed militias. It showcases the challenges faced by these rangers, who risk their lives to preserve the natural beauty and biodiversity of Virunga.

“Virunga” goes beyond wildlife conservation, delving into the complex socio-political landscape of the region. The film highlights the exploitation of natural resources, particularly oil, and the resulting conflicts that threaten not only the park and its inhabitants but also the stability of the entire region.

The intertwining narratives of conservation, corporate interests, and armed conflicts make “Virunga” a powerful and thought-provoking documentary that raises important questions about the intersection of conservation, economic interests, and human rights.

This is my favourite one to watch out of all these documentaries about the Congo.

Watch the full documentary on NetFlix here:


Congo: A Journey to The Heart of Africa (2019)

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a vast, mineral-rich country the size of Western Europe. Alastair Leithead takes an epic journey from the Atlantic Ocean to the far reaches of the Congo River to explore how history has shaped the Congo of today and uncover the lesser-told stories of this beautiful if troubled country.

In the largest rainforest outside of the Amazon, he comes face to face with its gorillas and hunts with pygmies, he travels into the heart of the Ebola outbreak with United Nations peacekeepers and explores the cobalt mines which will drive our electric cars of the future.

This Is Congo (2017)

This Is Congo provides a comprehensive and immersive look into the complex and tumultuous situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Through the lens of various individuals, the documentary captures the multifaceted aspects of life in the country, including its ongoing conflicts, political challenges, and the resilience of its people.

The documentary follows several characters, offering a diverse perspective on the realities faced by the Congolese people. Among the individuals featured are a military commander, a tailor, and a whistleblower, each representing different facets of Congolese society.

The film provides an intimate portrayal of their daily lives, struggles, and aspirations, offering a more nuanced understanding of the human experience amid political and social upheaval.

“This Is Congo” doesn’t shy away from addressing the historical context of the region, including the aftermath of colonialism, the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, and the persistent violence and instability.

Watch This is Congo on Amazon here:


When Elephants Fight (2015)

When Elephants Fight delves into the complex issues surrounding resource-driven conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The title of the film is derived from an African proverb that emphasizes the destructive nature of conflicts involving powerful entities, likening it to the devastation caused when elephants, symbolic of strength and power, engage in a struggle.

The documentary primarily focuses on the exploitation of natural resources in the DRC, particularly the mining of minerals such as coltan, tin, and tungsten. These minerals are essential components in the production of electronic devices, and the film explores the ethical implications of their extraction, as well as the environmental and human rights consequences.

“When Elephants Fight” highlights the link between the demand for these minerals, their extraction in the Congo, and the ensuing violence and social upheaval. The film underscores how the profits from the resource trade often fuel armed conflicts and contribute to human rights abuses in the region.

Through interviews with experts, activists, and individuals directly affected by the conflict, the documentary aims to raise awareness about the interconnected global supply chain and the ethical responsibilities of consumers. It advocates for transparency, responsible sourcing, and international efforts to address the root causes of the conflicts in the DRC.

Watch on Amazon:


City of Joy (2016)

City of Joy is set in the eastern part of the Congo and focuses on the lives of women in the war-torn region, particularly those who have survived sexual violence.

The City of Joy is a centre that provides support and empowerment for women who have experienced trauma. The film follows the stories of several women who find solace, healing, and a sense of community in the City of Joy.

Despite the hardships they have faced, the documentary showcases their resilience and the transformative impact of the centre on their lives.

Watch on NetFlix:


King Leopold’s Ghost (2006)

King Leopold’s Ghost is narrated by actor Don Cheadle and is based on the book by Adam Hochschild. It explores the dark history of King Leopold II’s exploitation of the Congo Free State during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

In the documentary, Don Cheadle narrates the events and provides a voice to the historical accounts presented. The film delves into the atrocities committed during the colonial era, including forced labour, mutilation, and genocide, and highlights the role of individuals and nations in exposing and opposing these crimes.

If you’re interested in learning more about this important historical period, watching the documentary and reading the book will provide valuable insights into the complex and troubling history of the Congo under King Leopold II’s rule.

This is one of the best documentaries about the Congo that explores the violent colonial past in the country.

Watch on Amazon:


Wild Congo (2014)

If you want to learn about wildlife and nature in the Congo then this 2-part documentary series is one of the best ones.

It explores the mighty Congo River and the wildlife along and in it, including wild mountain gorillas in the forest.

You can watch both episodes for free on YouTube:

Wild Congo | Part 1: River of Monsters

Wild Congo | Part 2: King Kong’s Lair 

Congo: The Last Train in Katanga

As the roads in the Congo are mostly unpassable or simply don’t exist, taking the train is a good option.

But the train is also hard and this documentary explores train travel in the country and its means as a lifeline to many smaller communities.

Congo: Jungle Fever

Congo: Jungle Fever is one of the best documentaries about the Congo to watch in that it takes you up close and personal with many normal Congolese people as they try to transport and buy goods on one of the most dangerous road journeys in the Congo.

Congo’s Extravagant Millionaires

The Congo has some of the highest proportion of millionaires despite being one of the poorest countries in the world. 0% of the population lives on an average of a dollar a day, while 6% are millionaires.

Many have made fortunes in chaos and in the capital, of Kinshasa, these wealthy few live in the heart of secure and luxurious enclaves, while elsewhere, children work several hours a day tens of meters underground extracting coltan.

The wealth disparity in the country is huge and this documentary takes a look at this problem.

The Congo

Documentaries about the Congo serve as windows into a nation marked by both adversity and hope.

Through the lens of filmmakers, these narratives bring attention to the enduring strength of the Congolese people, the challenges they face, and the global interconnectedness of these issues.

For more on the region have a look at the 10 best documentaries about Rwanda.

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