What You Need To Know

Kinshasa is the capital and the largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is located on the Congo River.

Once a site of fishing villages, Kinshasa is now an urban area with a 2014 population of over 11 million. It faces the capital of the neighbouring Republic of Congo, Brazzaville, which can be seen in the distance across the wide Congo River. The city of Kinshasa is also one of the DRC’s 11 provinces. Because the administrative boundaries of the city-province cover a vast area, over 90 of the city-province’s land is rural in nature, and the urban area only occupies a small section in the far western end of the city-province.

Kinshasa is the third largest urban area in Africa after Cairo and Lagos. It is also the second largest “francophone” urban area in the world after Paris

Area: 3,848 mi²
Population:10.12 million (2014)


  • Congolese franc is the official currency of DRC
  • you can find Atm’s in big cities and all atm’s issue U.S dollars only, U.S dollars and Euro are used almost in every supermarket and you can easily change them inside banks, hotels.
  • Some establishments in kinshasa might not accept your credit card it’s always wise to have some cash or ask before buying if your credit card will be accepted.


The climate is tropical in Kinshasa. The summers here have a good deal of rainfall, while the winters have very little. This climate is considered to be Aw according to the Köppen-Geiger climate classification. The temperature here averages 25.5 °C. In a year, the average rainfall is 1368 mm.


The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a multilingual country where an estimated total of 242 languages are spoken. Ethnologue lists 215 living languages. The official language, inherited from the colonial period, is French. Four indigenous languages have the status of national language: Kituba (called “Kikongo”), Lingala, Swahili and Tshiluba.

Health and security

  • Fewer than a quarter of people have proper sanitation facilities and fewer than half access to clean water.
    This means water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea, bilharzia/schistosomiasis (see Health, Diseases) and cholera are common. However, the greatest threat to health is malaria. In 2009, there were over 6.7 million cases of malaria. Two out of every five deaths among young children are caused by malaria (WHO).
    With families struggling to survive and the high number of orphans created by war and disease (an estimated 4 million), there are many street children in the DR Congo. The capital, Kinshasa, contains around 20-25,000 children who sleep rough and survive by begging.
  • The problem of street children has been worsened in recent years by the belief in witchcraft, called ‘kindoki’. Youngsters can be accused of being ‘witch children’ by local leaders, priests or relatives and if an exorcism cannot be afforded, the child is frequently abandoned.
  • Most hospitals and health centres across the DR Congo are poorly staffed and equipped. This is because the healthcare system collapsed during the years of conflict.
    Health professionals have not received a wage from the government for many years. This means they have either gone private, emigrated or become an employee of one of the foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) providing healthcare support.The WHO and medical NGOs are doing their best to deal with a number of public health challenges. For example, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has been running immunization programmes against measles and polio.
  • Travelers who do decide to go to Kinshasa should be extra aware of the political situation at the time of travel. They should stay up to date on the news while they are there.
    Both inside and outside Kinshasa, security forces have been known to set up spontaneous roadblocks, especially after dark, at which they conduct vehicle searches and check passengers for identity papers. They may also solicit bribes. If confronted with such a situation, remain courteous and calm and remain inside your vehicle with doors locked and open the driver’s side window slightly in order to communicate.


  • Don’t walk alone at night. especially for a woman, it is not safe to be walking around during the night, don’t drink with strangers and keep an eye on your glass
  • always keep your car locked at all the time.


  • A legacy of the Belgian colonial period is the overwhelming preference for huge blobs of mayonnaise on almost everything :meat, fish, fried plantains, manioc, peas and salad are just a few examples.
    Many choose to mix it with the extremely potent local chili pepper sauce known as piri piri, or pepper pepper in Swahili. This tones down the fieriness of the pepper and adds flavor to the mayo a delicious combination.