Democratic Republic of the Congo Capital City, About Kinshasa Tourism and Travel

(Democratic Republic of the Congo - DRC, CD, Central Africa)

Kinshasa cityscape pictureKinshasa sits alongside the meandering Congo River, facing Brazzaville, the capital city of neighbouring Congo. Despite political upheaval in recent years, Kinshasa retains its reputation as a lively and vibrant city.

Many tourists visiting the Democratic Republic of the Congo may disregard Kinshasa because of its lack of obvious attractions and the air of insecurity that still pervades parts of the city. Nonetheless, those who venture there won't be disappointed by this city of contrasts.

Picture of downtown Kinshasa

Tourism and General Information

Formerly know as Léopoldville, the city was founded as a trading post by the explorer Henry Morton Stanley in the late 19th century. Kinshasa changed its name when the Democratic Republic of the Congo achieved independence from Belgium in the 1960s. Once a prosperous city, Kinshasa suffered a great deal during the unrest and instability of the 1990s. It remains the largest city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and indeed the third largest in the African continent.

Kinshasa is situated on the southern bank of the River Congo. The city centre is dominated by its central boulevard, Boulevard du 30 Juin, which runs from the train station in the north-east to Kinshasa's suburbs in the west. The central district of Gombe is the home of the Democratic Republic of the Congo's parliament, courts and other government offices, as well as some of the city's wealthiest inhabitants.

Image of the University of KinshasaIn the region of eight million inhabitants live in Kinshasa, with the majority living in the overcrowded Cité district. The Cité district lies south of this central boulevard. As the main residential neighbourhood of Kinshasa, it is not surprisingly a lively place with plenty going on both during the day and at nighttime.

Kinshasa's suburbs include Ndjili in the south. N'Djili Airport is located here, so for many visitors this will be their first sight of Kinshasa. The palace of the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is situated in the modern neighbourhood known as the Cité de l'OUA, being created in 1967 to house delegates at an African summit held in the city. The exclusive suburb of Binza overlooks the city from the hills in the west.

As you'd expect of a bustling African city, Kinshasa's main attractions are its restaurants, shops and markets, all of which offer plenty in the way of entertainment for visitors. The most popular places of interest in Kinshasa include the city's Grand Marché and the Academie des Beaux Arts.