Getting Around, Democratic Republic of the Congo Travel, Transport and Car Rental
(Democratic Republic of the Congo - DRC, CD, Central Africa)
The Democratic Republic of the Congo does not have an extensive transport network - nor does it have a good paved road system. In Kinshasa
and other towns and cities, taxis are often the best way to travel between the sights.
If you wish to quickly cover large distances, then road transport is not really an option, and one of the 200+ airports spread around the Democratic Republic of the Congo may better suit your travel needs. These airports vary greatly in size and the planes are usually very much on the small side, making your journey cozy, intimate, typically African and certainly memorable.
Kinshasa N'Djili Airport (FIH) / Arriving by Air
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is most easily accessed by air. International airlines operates services from several European airports, including London Heathrow
, to Kinshasa N'Djili Airport.
Flights from within Africa
link Kinshasa with some 40 internal airports, as well as other African countries, including South Africa
, Cote d'Ivoire, Burundi, Cameroon, Nigeria, Angola, Gabon and Kenya. It may also be possible to charter small planes. However, visitors planning to use air services operated by Democratic Republic of the Congo-owned airlines should be aware that the enforcement of aviation regulations is haphazard, leading to a chequered safety record. Other important airports in this country are located in the Congolese cities and towns of Bandundu, Basankusu, Boma, Bukavu, Bunia, Gbadolite, Gemena, Goma, Ilebo, Inongo, Isiro, Kalemie, Kananga, Kikwit, Kindu, Kinshasa, Kisangani, Kolwezi, Lodja, Lubumbashi, Luena, Matadi, Mbandaka, Mbuji Mayi, Moanda, Muanda, Tshikapa and Tshombe.
Travel by road in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is somewhat limited because of the poor state of the roads. In many cases, roads are unpaved and are impassable during the rainy season. Connecting roads link the Democratic Republic of the Congo with neighbouring countries, such as Uganda and Zambia. However, as many land borders may be closed, it is generally worth checking in advance before you depart.
Buses and Coaches
In Kinshasa, bus services can be very crowded and even a little chaotic at times, although some tourists simply consider this to be a part of the overall African experience. Many visitors prefer to opt for taxi-minibuses instead. Outside of Kinshasa, there is little in the way of public transport.
A network of trains operates between several towns, including Kinshasa, Matadi, Lubumbashi, Ilebo and Kalemie. Main services may include dining facilities and onboard accommodation. However, visitors should be aware that train timetables are not always adhered to and should be prepared for unexpected delays.
Taxi-minibuses are a good way of getting around cities like Kinshasa. However, if you prefer to pay for a better standard of travel, then sharing a standard taxi is another option and still quite affordable.
Boats and Ferries
A ferry service takes visitors from Kinshasa to Brazzaville in neighbouring Congo. Other river steamer services also operate, although visitors should be aware that services may be sporadic and not always run according to the timetable, and so a little patience may be necessary at times.