Democratic Republic of the Congo is a country in Africa according to franciscogardening. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has numerous beautiful landscapes, lakes, forests, waterfalls and remarkable wildlife. However, it is a vast country with no infrastructure or transportation to speak of, and a troubled, complicated past. The 1998-2003 civil war claimed around three million lives, not only from the fighting itself, but also from starvation and disease. Joseph Kabila, the son of assassinated former President Laurent Kabila, took over the leadership of the country in 2001 and was formally elected in a historic 2006 presidential election. He now faces the enormous challenge of rebuilding the Democratic Republic of the Congo, not least because the danger of another civil war has not yet been averted. Before traveling to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, you should find out about the current travel and safety information.
Arriving by plane
There are no non-stop flights to the Democratic Republic of the Congo from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Air France (AF) via Paris and Turkish Airlines (TK) via Istanbul fly to Kinshasa from Frankfurt/M., Vienna and Zurich. In cooperation with the national airlines, Brussels Airlines (SN) connects Frankfurt/M., Vienna and Zurich with Kinshasa via Brussels.
Frankfurt/M./Vienna/Zurich – Kinshasa: each 11 hours 15 minutes (with a stopover).
A fee of approximately €50 (US$55) is payable on departure.
Arrival by car
Relatively well paved roads lead from Zambia to the Katanga region and from Angola to Kinshasa via Matadi. Road connections also exist from Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. Most border areas throughout the region are very dangerous. Driving at night is generally discouraged. Tolls: There is a toll booth on the road connecting Matamba in Kasai province to the Angola border post, Kalamba-Mbuji. Fees are collected locally by CREC 7, a Congolese branch of China Railway Group Ltd. Documents: In addition to the national driver’s license, the international driver’s license is required.
Arrival by train
Travelers from Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa reach the Democratic Republic of the Congo by train via Zambia. A Rovos Rail luxury train travels from Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania via Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Lobito in Angola.
Arrival by ship
Matadi on the Congo River is the only international port.
The VIP Express Congo River Ferry connects Brazzaville (Republic of the Congo) with the Democratic Republic of the Congo at Kinshasa; the necessary formalities at the immigration department are taken care of when traveling with the VIP Express ferry. In addition, in peacetime, ferries from the Central African Republic operate across the Ubangi.
Travel within the country is only possible to a very limited extent. There is a particular warning against traveling to the Kasai and Lomami provinces. Visits to national parks in the region are also associated with high risks, as there are repeated attacks and kidnappings by armed groups. You should also refrain from traveling to other parts of the country, including Kinshasa, that is not absolutely necessary. A “laissez-passer special” from the Minister of the Interior is no longer officially required for travel outside of the province of Kinshasa; however, it is possible that this new regulation will not be implemented everywhere.
Traveling by plane
From N’Djili Airport in Kinshasa there are flight connections to a variety of locations in the country. Domestic flights are operated by Compagnie Africaine d’Aviation (BU) to Goma, Lubumbashi, Mbandaka, Mbuji-Mayi, Kananga, Kindu, Kisangani, Beni, Bunia, Bukavu and Kalemie, among others. Air Kasai operates charter flights. Small planes can also be chartered. The country’s airports and planes do not meet international standards in any respect.
Traveling by car/bus
The entire road network has a length of approx. 150,000 km; only about 3,000 km are paved. Tolls: There is a toll booth on the road connecting Matamba in Kasai province to the Angola border post, Kalamba-Mbuji. The fees are to be paid on site. Petrol stations mostly consist of roadside stalls selling petrol in plastic bottles.
Right-hand traffic/left-hand traffic
Condition of the roads
Due to poor maintenance, the roads are in extremely poor condition and are only passable in the catchment areas of larger cities and in urban areas. The few roads can only be used by four-wheel drive vehicles and are often completely impassable during the rainy season.
The road network consists of national roads marked with the letter N and a number and regional roads beginning with the letter R.
Rental cars are available in the larger cities, also with chauffeur.
Taxi buses and shared taxis operate in the cities.
Buses connect the larger cities but are often overcrowded.
Traffic regulations: – Alcohol limit: 0.1 ‰.
The ADAC foreign emergency call offers ADAC members and holders of ADAC foreign health and accident insurance comprehensive assistance in the event of vehicle breakdowns, traffic accidents, loss of documents and money, and medical emergencies. The emergency number is available around the clock; in the event of damage to the vehicle: Tel. +49 (0)89 22 22 22, in the event of illness: +49 (0)89 76 76 76. In the event of breakdowns or accidents with the rental car, the car rental company should be contacted first.
In addition to the national driver’s license, the international driver’s license must be carried.
Traveling in the city
The hardly developed local transport network in the greater Kinshasa region (26 cities with approx. 10 million inhabitants) consists of an S-Bahn, which runs once a day between Ostbahnhof and the airport, as well as taxi buses and shared taxis. There are usually no fixed stops or timetables.
Locally on the way by train
The main line runs between Lubumbashi and Ilebo (journey time: approx. 4 days), with branch lines to Kalemie and Kindu. Trains run once a week between Kinshasa and Matadi (journey time: 7 hrs 30 mins). The trains generally offer little comfort, only luxury and 1st class compartments correspond – if available – to European standards. Train service is unreliable and unsafe; there are always glitches.
Traveling by ship
The Congo is navigable for 1,600 km. Ferries operate between Kinshasa and the upstream ports of Kisangani and Ilebo. However, due to the tense political situation and fuel shortages, ferry connections are very unreliable.