flag Democratic Republic of Congo Democratic Republic of Congo: Travelling

In this page: Entry Requirements | Organising Your Trip | Visiting | Living Conditions | Eating | Paying | Speaking | Useful Resources

 

Entry Requirements

Passport and Visa Service
General Directorate for Migration
For Further Information
Diplomatic Missions of DRC
 
Check IATA Travel Website for visa requirements and health advices.
 

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Organising Your Trip

Means of Transport Recommended in Town

Recommendation
There is no proper public transport service in Kinshasa or in the rest of the country, hence the best way for getting around is via taxi. Travellers shall be aware that even this means of transport can be dangerous and that taxis often pick up several passengers at a time. In most cases it is better to hire a driver that has been suggested by your hotel or other reliable sources.
Maps of Urban Networks
Kinshasa map

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Transportation From Airport to City Centre:


Airport

Distance

Taxi

Bus

Train

Car Rental
Kinshasa - N'Djili Intl, DR of Congo (FIH) 27 km / 16.5 miles 40 minutes - USD 40 Available N/a Available

Means of Transport Recommended in the Rest of the Country

Recommendation
Ground transport in the Democratic Republic of Congo has always been difficult due to the vastity of the country and the poor quality of infrastructures. It is not advisable to take local long-distance bus services as they are often overcrowded, uncomfortable, and prone to delay and breakdown. Similarly, trains in the DRC are slow and unreliable (with the exception of the rail link that connects Kinshasa to Matadi). Getting a plane can often be the quickest and more reliable option to travel across the country. A ferry on the Congo River operates from Kinshasa to Kisangani every week or two, if security conditions permit.

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Airlines

Name Type Domestic Flights International Flights
Compagnie Africaine d'Aviation Charter Yes No
Air Kasaï Charter Yes No
South African Airways Charter Yes No

You Can Consult The EU Air Safety List. Look Also at the rating of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

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Travelling By Yourself

Recommendation
Driving in the Democratic Republic of Congo can be very dangerous due to the poor conditions roads (among the worse in Africa) and to the risk of hijackings and robberies. Furthermore, distances are very long due to country's large size. Therefore, it is highly recommended not to travel by yourself. Normally, when renting a vehicle, a driver service is also provided. In any case, a 4WD car is a must.Traffic drives on the right.
Road Maps
Detailed Map of DRC
Road network map
Ezilon road network
Find an Itinerary
Via Michelin - DRC

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Visiting

Different Forms of Tourism

Historical
Kinshasa, the capital, does not have many sights of historic interest, but for visitors interested in the past should not miss the prehistoric and ethnological museums at Kinshasa University, an ensemble of light, rectangular, well laid-out buildings standing on a hillside. The tomb of the former president Laurent Kabila, in Kinshasa, is also a tourist attraction. Archaeological monument can be found in the Ituri rainforest.
Cultural
The most important museums are the National Museum and the Academy of Fine Arts, both in Kinshasa. The DRC is also famous for its music.
Nature
The DRC has several wildlife reserves, like the Virunga national park, the Lola Ya Bonobo Sanctuary, the Zongo falls and the Nyiragongo volcano. Covering an area of 12,000 km² (4633 sq miles), the Virunga national park comprises an immense plain bounded by two jagged mountain ranges that serve as a natural enclosure for the animals which roam in liberty in this huge natural reserve. Game includes numerous lions, elephants, buffaloes, warthogs, antelopes, hippos and colourful aquatic birds. In this park, near Goma, it is possible to climb the still active volcanoes of Nyamuragira, 3,055m (10,022ft), and Nyiragongo, 3,470m (11,385ft).
In the south, the Upemba National Park straddles the River Lualaba, northeast of Bugama, and includes several lakes inhabited by hippos, crocodiles and numerous aquatic birds. Here too are fishermen, cattle farmers and peasants, as well as a number of mining communities.
Religious
The most important religious landmark it the Kisantu Catholic Cathedral.
Thermal
Natural hot springs can be found in certain national parks (like the Virunga one), however there are no SPA centres.
Beach
The DRC has a small part of its territory that accesses to the Atlantic ocean. This is the Tchegera crescent-shaped island in Lake Kivu and offers several beaches for swimming.
Winter Sports
The climate of the Democratic Republic of Congo is not suitable for winter sports.
Outdoor Activities
Trekking is common in the DRC's national parks, which is also rich in wildlife (like gorillas, bonobos, elephants, etc.). In most of the country's lakes it is possible to go on fishing excursions.
Shopping
Cities and larger towns have both modern shopping centers and traditional marketplaces (like the Marché Gambela, Kinshasa's biggest market). Traditional products include paintings, ebony carvings and bracelets, copper masks, ivory pendants. Prices can be bargained in informal shops.
Tourism Organisations
Tourisme RD Congo

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Living Conditions

Health and Safety

Health Precautions
There are no specific vaccination requirements to enter DRC (except for vaccine against yellow fever, which is required for arriving travelers from all countries if travelers is younger than 9 months of age). Nevertheless, WHO and foreign ministries of various countries recommend the following vaccines before entering the country: Hepatitis A, Polio, Malaria, Typhoid, Hepatitis B, and Rabies.
For Further Information on Sanitary Conditions
CDC - Health Information for Travelers to DRC
For Further Information on Safety Conditions
U.S. Department of State - DRC Travel Information
Government of Canada - DRC Travel Advice
OSAC - DRC Crime and Safety Report
 

Emergency Numbers

Police 112
Ambulance 118
 

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Time Difference and Climate

Time and Time Difference
It is %T:%M %A In Kinshasa (GMT+1)
It is %T:%M %A In Lubumbashi (GMT+2)
Summer Time Period
None
 

Map of the Time Zone

Time zone

Type of Climate
The DRC spans a vast territory, and has two main kinds of climate: equatorial (in the central area crossed by the equator), here, it is hot and humid all year round with no dry season, and this region is occupied by the second vastest rain forest in the world after the Amazon; tropical (in the areas below and above the equator), in these areas it is also hot all year round, but with a short dry season whose period changes according to the location: from December to February (boreal winter) north of the equator, and from June to September (austral winter) south of the equator.
For Further Information
AccuWeather
 

Average Annual Temperatures and Rainfall

Climate

 

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Eating

Food Specialties
The cuisine of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is quite varied, reflecting the ethnic diversity of the population. The main dishes include:
- moambe: fish or chicken with cassava leaves, rice, bananas and pepper sauce
- chikwanga: cassava, cooked and stored in banana leaves
- pili pili: very hot pepper, served with a variety of condiments
- fufu: sticky dough-like dish made of cassava flour
- satori: tilapia fillets fried with pumpkin seeds, garlic and plantains.
Drinks
Traditional drinks include:
- palm wine: alcoholic beverage made from the sap of a wild palm tree and fermented by natural yeasts
- linguila wine: made from fermented sugar cane
- white elephant: made with rum, coconut and milk.
Dietary Restrictions
Food taboos vary widely from a tribe to another, or from one village to the other. If a family has a totem, it cannot eat that animal, which is considered a spiritual protector.
The drinking age for alcohol is 18.

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Paying

Domestic Currency
Congolese Franc
ISO Code
CDF
To Obtain Domestic Currency
There are several ATMs to withdraw USD in Kinshasa. Currency exchange services and Western Union are available in major cities and at the airport. Currency can be also exchanged in major hotels and in most banks.
Possible Means of Payment
The country is highly dollarized, and U.S. dollars are accepted as cash alongside the CDF for virtually all transactions. Some credit cards are accepted in Kinshasa.

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Speaking

Official Language
French
Other Languages Spoken
It is estimated that a total of 242 languages are spoken in the country. Four indigenous languages have the status of national language: Kituba (also referred to as "Kikongo"), Lingala, Swahili and Tshiluba.
Business Language
English
Getting Some Knowledge
Please visit the website of Omniglot for an introduction to the Lingala and Kituba languages.
Free Translation Tools
Lingala to English dictionary :
Lingala phrasebook :
Babel Fish : Free French-English-French traduction of texts and web pages

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Useful Resources

To Find an Apartment
IM Congo
ADS Immo

To Find a Job
Glassdoor DRC
Indeed DRC
Jobnet Africa

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Latest Update: November 2022