Ah, Kinshasa La Belle, as we say in French. an explosive city in one of the biggest countries in Africa, Democratic Republic of Kongo. It’s a lively city that I was born in. If you haven’t read my story yet, you can find it here.
Kinshasa is a big city with a population of over 11 million people, now that’s a whole lot of people! As you walk down the streets you feel that they are crowded yet you feel completely free. With a large number of cars driving around, mixed with music playing from everywhere, Kinshasa will feel like a completely different world. A world you’re not used to yet brings you so much joy. Kinshasa is different but it’s also beautiful!
For people looking to visit the country for the first time, here are a few tips to help you along the way.
Flight – My family and I flew with Brussels Airlines from Stockholm to Kinshasa with a layover in Brussels. Our flight tickets were bought five months in advance and it cost us £450/each.
Accommodation – We stayed with family and didn’t spend money on accommodation, however, there are many nice rooms and whole apartments in central Kinshasa that can be found on Airbnb.
WiFi – Considering our great use of the Internet, it might be difficult when you get to a country where WiFi is very restricted. Unfortunately, Congo is one of those nations where the government is controlling the people by minimizing the signals. As a result, the access to the outside world is not as accessible as in the west. However, you will find places such as certain restaurants/bars in that will offer free WiFi.
Transport – Almost everyone travels around Kinshasa by bus or taxi, which are both super cheap, however, a great number of men and women uses motorcycles to get around. As exciting as that may sound, Kinshasa’s traffic is ridiculous as they operate under different rules, which in my opinion makes it chaotic. Although I rode on a motorcycle in Congo, I wouldn’t advise it, as I was super scared. But hey, if you’re the adventures type, go for it!
Food – There is so much good food in Congo, especially because a lot of it is fresh. Having fresh fish is not something I get to eat every often here in Europe, however, for the locals, having fresh fish is an obvious option. Some popular foods are Thompson (Makril), Pondu Cassava Leafs, Kwanga (Root of Cassava Tree), Fufu (Semolina powder), and mikate (traditional African snack similar to a doughnut). Food is also very cheap as ar drinks.
Weather – It is very warm in Kinshasa often reaching 30+ degree, yet you will find some locals covered with a lot of clothes. However for us not getting that level of heat on a daily basis, wearing something simple as jeans will feel like too much. Avoid bringing thick materials and many pairs of jeans, as you will not have use of it. As for shoes, sandals will be more than enough, as well as flip-flops and light shoes.
Congo was absolutely amazing and I can’t wait to go back! I’ve always wanted to travel to many nations in Africa but I always said, if I haven’t been to Congo first I’m not going anywhere else. I’m now ready to take on Africa! On that note, it feels like South Arica is calling my name..can you hear it?