If Cancun is your kind of vacation, you can stop reading now and close this page.
I recently made a trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo where I was able to get out and meet the people in the villages.
After a lot of research and dead ends, I contacted Go Congo and they were able to set up a week long dugout canoe trip out of Mbandaka. It was one of the best experinces of my life. Michel, (the company owner) was my tour guide and he did a fantastic job setting everything up and interfacing with the local authorties and village head-men.
At one point I told Michel the story of how my family was affraid that I would be harmed or killed in the DRC. He relayed the story to some villagers in Bakote and Ikoko and they all errupted in laughter like it was the funniest joke they had ever heard. I always felt safe and the locals (Pygmy and Bantu) always made us feel like we were part of the village. I met some amazing people that I will never forget.
If you want to see what Central Africa is really about, put down the headlines that are designed to sell and go take a look for yourself. I would also recommend Go Congo to help you navigate the country.
Note: Give yourself at least two months to set everything up.