Finding a tour company to take you inside the Congo can be a tricky undertaking, especially if you're going to eastern Congo. Months in advance, I contacted a tour company based in Goma (that I will not name here). Upon Laurent Nkunda's threatened takeover of Goma in the summer of 2008, this tour company simply closed shop and disappeared (I would eventually learn that the owner fled to Kisangani). Looking at my only other option for a Congo-based company, I contacted Go Congo to help me out.
Go Congo was nothing but helpful. They presented me with all the options I had for what I wanted to do, and never said it would be impossible even with all the fighting in eastern Congo. The owner, a Belgian man living in Kinshasa for decades, has intimate knowledge of the country, and he hires great local people to run his business in Kinshasa and Goma.
Go Congo offers a variety of tours on their website, including multi-week long trips down the Congo River. However, I simply wanted to hire them for a guide/interpreter. In return, they provided me with Jacques Sherty (email@example.com), a man local to Goma who runs the Goma office, and who was just as eager to see more of his country as I was (my trip involved areas he had not yet been to).
At one point during my trip, I was confronted by a supposed government official adamant on me paying a bribe to him. Jacques helped me as much as he could during the argument. But, when that didn't work, we called the owner of Go Congo to help us out. I felt good knowing I was with a company that was willing to do anything to make sure my trip went smoothly.
Rates for a Jacques were $30/day, plus food, lodging, and transportation costs. As Jacques only seemed to eat once a day, and was willing to sleep in my hotel rooms, he was a very inexpensive guide. Jacques met me upon my arrival in Kigali, Rwanda, then helped me make my way through Rwanda and Uganda to the Congo border at Kasindi. Once inside the Congo, he was by my side at all times to assist in anything and everything throughout my trip. I can easily recommend Jacques as a guide for anyone in eastern Congo.
For more information on Go Congo, and to see their tours, visit their website: http://www.gocongo.com/