Kinshasa travel guide

Kinshasa Tourism | Kinshasa Guide

You're Going to Love Kinshasa

At a population of over 10 million, Kinshasa is the largest French-speaking city in the world, and is a bustling city under renovation, with remnants of colonial architecture amid the new structures. It is one of the busiest ports on the Congo River, and is full of music and art, with street vendors on every busy street, and an irrepressible energy to explore.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Kinshasa

1. Outdoor Adventure

You can explore the area's lush countryside through parks like the Symphonies Naturelles, also a concert venue, or the Cercle de Kinshasa, along with the many wildlife discovery and adventure sports opportunities nearby.

2. The Music

You must spend at least one sweaty night on the town dancing to kwassa kwassa, soukous, or other local varieties of hip-shaking music.

3. Local Shopping Adventures

Look for bargains on local goods like textiles, woodwork, ceramic, bronze sculptures, and more at Marché Central and Marché Gambela, where you can find anything from clothes to furniture and hardware.

4. Lively Local Arts

Kinshasa is a city of art, home to a large arts school and everything from street artists to posh galleries to discover.

5. Food and Drink

The city's cuisine is a delicious mix of traditional Congolese foods, along with Indian, Chinese, French, and other European influences. There is also a thriving local brewery scene.

What to do in Kinshasa

1. A Taste Of The Wild

The beauty of the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo), in general, is its penchant for preserving and celebrating the natural world. And access to nature is something Kinshasa has in spades. The Kahuzi-Biéga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site which draws nature lovers for the diversity of its hikes as well as its biospheres. Both Mount Kahuzi (approximately 10,000 feet) and Mount Biéga (9,000 feet) stand tall, watching over the majestic and exotic animals throughout the park: Familiar African creatures such as the eastern lowland gorillas, African elephants, chimps, genets, antelope, and serval.

2. Engage With Local Artists And Bite Into A Congolese Delicacy

With its nearly 10 million residents and tons of great festivals, downtown Kinshasa itself is a place to explore. It offers great access to the Congo River, where locals and visitors can enjoy a relaxing afternoon just cruising on a boat. Or you can head to the Marché des Voleurs, a small but thriving craft market dedicated to African crafts and souvenirs. The market is set up in open-air kiosk style, so make sure to wear your walking shoes and polish up your haggling skills. Once you've found some worthy wares, head to any of the small cafes on 30 Juin Boulevard to unpack your goodies, engage with local artists and bite into a Congolese delicacy.

3. Active And Awake

At 11,380 feet tall, this stratovolcano is just one part of the mysterious beauty of the Virunga mountain range in the DRC. The Nyiragongo Volcano has the world's largest lava lake, active through 2016. Photographers and travelers alike scale the summit as far as they dare, since excess lava overflows from its crater even today. New vents frequently crack through the volcano's crater terrace and plumes of smoke are constantly watched and monitored. Even if it's an active day in this volcano's itinerary, there's no reason why travelers can't take in her beauty from a safe distance.

4. The Drc's "Grand Bazaar"

Move over, Istanbul: Kinshasa's Grand Marché might just give you a run for your money. Located east of the city's botanical gardens, the largest open-air market in Kinshasa packs a punch, offering visitors everything from clothing and textiles to household electronic goods, car INSERT IGNOREment parts, spices, snacks, jewelry and crafts.

5. Bonobos And Lakes

There's no end to the activities awaiting you at the Chutes de Lukaya - which is why this gem of Kinshasa requires a day trip. This beautiful area offers visitors a chance to view the Bonobo sanctuary and orphanage nearby. After frolicking with these sweet creatures, take a tranquil boat ride or even a dip in the lake and end your afternoon with delicious and authentic local cuisine at its restaurant. The area also offers a swimming pool and bike rentals. Finish your day with a view of the falls.

1. A Taste Of The Wild

The beauty of the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo), in general, is its penchant for preserving and celebrating the natural world. And access to nature is something Kinshasa has in spades. The Kahuzi-Biéga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site which draws nature lovers for the diversity of its hikes as well as its biospheres. Both Mount Kahuzi (approximately 10,000 feet) and Mount Biéga (9,000 feet) stand tall, watching over the majestic and exotic animals throughout the park: Familiar African creatures such as the eastern lowland gorillas, African elephants, chimps, genets, antelope, and serval.

2. Engage With Local Artists And Bite Into A Congolese Delicacy

With its nearly 10 million residents and tons of great festivals, downtown Kinshasa itself is a place to explore. It offers great access to the Congo River, where locals and visitors can enjoy a relaxing afternoon just cruising on a boat. Or you can head to the Marché des Voleurs, a small but thriving craft market dedicated to African crafts and souvenirs. The market is set up in open-air kiosk style, so make sure to wear your walking shoes and polish up your haggling skills. Once you've found some worthy wares, head to any of the small cafes on 30 Juin Boulevard to unpack your goodies, engage with local artists and bite into a Congolese delicacy.

3. Active And Awake

At 11,380 feet tall, this stratovolcano is just one part of the mysterious beauty of the Virunga mountain range in the DRC. The Nyiragongo Volcano has the world's largest lava lake, active through 2016. Photographers and travelers alike scale the summit as far as they dare, since excess lava overflows from its crater even today. New vents frequently crack through the volcano's crater terrace and plumes of smoke are constantly watched and monitored. Even if it's an active day in this volcano's itinerary, there's no reason why travelers can't take in her beauty from a safe distance.

4. The Drc's "Grand Bazaar"

Move over, Istanbul: Kinshasa's Grand Marché might just give you a run for your money. Located east of the city's botanical gardens, the largest open-air market in Kinshasa packs a punch, offering visitors everything from clothing and textiles to household electronic goods, car INSERT IGNOREment parts, spices, snacks, jewelry and crafts.

5. Bonobos And Lakes

There's no end to the activities awaiting you at the Chutes de Lukaya - which is why this gem of Kinshasa requires a day trip. This beautiful area offers visitors a chance to view the Bonobo sanctuary and orphanage nearby. After frolicking with these sweet creatures, take a tranquil boat ride or even a dip in the lake and end your afternoon with delicious and authentic local cuisine at its restaurant. The area also offers a swimming pool and bike rentals. Finish your day with a view of the falls.

Top activities & attractions in Kinshasa

Where to Eat in Kinshasa

Eat local with a huge menu of Congolese favorites that start at FC15,850 at Chez Flore, where locals love to dine. For a creative menu of Indian/Chinese/European fusion cuisine, look to stylish Fusion, where main dishes begin at about FC19,800.

When to visit Kinshasa

Kinshasa in June
Estimated hotel price
$105
1 night at 3-star hotel
Kinshasa in June
Estimated hotel price
$105
1 night at 3-star hotel

With daytime temperatures ranging between 81 and 89 degrees year round, most visitors arrive during the dry season between May and September.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Fahrenheit (°F)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Kinshasa

Plane

Kinshasa (N'djili) International Airport (FIH) lies just over 22 miles from the city center. A taxi to the city is the safest and most reliable way to get there, and should cost about FC40,000-60,000.

Train

The Matadi-Kinshasa Railway connects Kinshasa with Matadi, with one trip available weekly. Boat travel is more common, with service available to Brazzaville and other centers in the DRC.

Car

Roads outside the city are generally unpaved, so your only viable connection by car on a paved road is to take the N1 is to Matadi.

Bus

Most of the country's roadways are not paved, making bus travel an adventurous experience for visitors, and is not recommended.

Airports near Kinshasa

Airlines serving Kinshasa

United Airlines
Good (2,620 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (1,734 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (4,070 reviews)
KLM
Good (317 reviews)
Air France
Good (355 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,169 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (2,813 reviews)
SWISS
Good (407 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (967 reviews)
Brussels Airlines
Good (83 reviews)
Ethiopian Air
Good (135 reviews)
Egypt Air
Good (121 reviews)
Royal Air Maroc
Good (105 reviews)
Kenya Airways
Excellent (29 reviews)
South African
Excellent (3 reviews)
RwandAir
Good (1 reviews)
TAAG
Good (2 reviews)
ASKY
Good (31 reviews)
Air Côte d’Ivoire
Excellent (3 reviews)
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Where to stay in Kinshasa

Matonge - aka Zone de Matonge, this neighborhood in the Kalamu commune is where you'll find much of the city's music and arts, including a lively nightclub scene and some of Kinshasa's recording studios.

Popular Neighborhoods in Kinshasa

Mont Amba - this modern district is where you'll find the University of Kinshasa, hospital, and other institutions, along with art galleries in the Limete quarter.

Gombe - this modern area is part residential and part home to the city's business and commercial district.

Where to stay in popular areas of Kinshasa

Most booked hotels in Kinshasa

Pullman Kinshasa Grand Hotel
Good (7.2, 164 reviews)
$188+
Leon Hôtel
Poor (0, 0 reviews)
$117+
Hôtel Sultani
Poor (0, 0 reviews)
$38+
Beatrice Hotel
Poor (0, 0 reviews)
$152+
Hotel Pour Vous
Poor (0, 0 reviews)
$62+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Kinshasa

Public Transportation

There are several private companies running bus service in the city. Urban commuter trains are operated by ONATRA, with service available to the airport and various stations throughout the city, with fares that vary by distance. A monthly pass is FC57, 486.

Taxi

There are many taxis in the tourists and commercial areas of Kinshasa. Fares start at FC3,960.

Car

Solar-powered robots are used as traffic police in Kinshasa, and you should consider carefully whether you want to venture into the perpetually jammed streets of the city. Car rentals are in scarce supply and often cost a premium rate; vehicles from the Avis location at Brazzaville airport start at FC91,000.

The Cost of Living in Kinshasa

Shopping Streets

Avenue Lt. Colonel Lukusa is where you'll find Le Premier Shopping Mall and modern boutiques. There are markets and other shopping opportunities along Avenue des Entreprises.

Groceries and Other

The City Market and Hasson et Frères offer well-stocked shelves. A quart of milk costs about FC2,560, and a dozen eggs costs roughly FC3,540.

Cheap meal
$8.00
A pair of jeans
$125.00
Single public transport ticket
$0.50
Cappuccino
$7.25