Things To Do In Kinshasa
Kinshasa is a lively and progressive capital city of Congo, and one of the major things to do is to just soak up the tropical climate; delight in the Congolese local cuisine like; a good bowl of ”Liboke” (fish with manioc ingredients) and various stewed dishes incorporating the use of meat, cassava, sweet potatoes, and peanuts.
Listen to the renowned “Soukus” music, dance to the moves of the hip Afro –Caribbean genre or immerse oneself into the Congolese lifestyle. Go fishing, strolling, or rent a Hydro cycle (water bike) and unwind in the comforts of the serene Lac de Ma Vallee. Take a tour of the vast Congo River with a glass of refreshing palm wine in one hand while admiring the great animals of the wild that inhabit its riverbanks.
When To Go:
The overall climate of Congo is sprawled into the four seasons that might be utilized as a reference aid when planning your holiday. If you are heading to the territory in and around the city of Kinshasa and the southern parts of the nation the best time is in the long dry season, which occurs in the middle of May up to September, while the northern part is best toured in the short dry season of January and February.
The atmosphere is by and large equatorial and steady; however, there are a few varieties between the northern and southern areas to manage as a primary concern. In the city of Kinshasa, the daily temperatures may change anytime of the day like somewhere around 20 and 30°c, in spite of the fact that it does have a tendency to be marginally cooler in the long dry season in the mid - year, making it the fitting and peak season to travel and go around the city.
Take a tour of these interesting sights and experience a variety of things to do when in the city of Kinshasa.
Lola Ya Bonobo (Bonobo Sanctuary)
This is an absolute must see place in Kinshasa. Before planning an excursion, call up their main office to schedule a tour. The reserve center usually closes early at 4:00pm every Saturday. Take the awareness tour and bring drinking water once you have arranged for the climb. To do the whole circuit and see the majority of the territories, you need to stroll up a steep valley leading to a clean park where they take great consideration for the last group of the surviving Bonobos that exist in the world. You can enjoy a pleasant walk and visit the nursery.
It would be a huge crime to be anyplace near Kinshasa and to pass up on a visit to the Lola Ya Bonobo. It is not just the main shelter for the orphaned animals on the planet; it is also a relaxing approach to spend the rest of the day. Most guests here spend a day just to watch and participate in the activities involved in taking care of the Bonobos.
They are captivating and the staff let you feed them with their assistance. It is well organized and charges an entrance fee of $5 (adult/kids) where a part of the proceeds are allocated to a fund for the upkeep of the place and the well-being of the Bonobos.
It has several restaurants inside that serve the best Congo food and beer. You can additionally utilize their BBQ pits if you plan to bring your family or friends for a fun picnic. The reserve is about 40 to 50 minute drive away from Gombe, the central area of Kinshasa city. For a convenient travel, rent a robust 4x4 vehicle because the road is quite rough, but the rewards of what you will see inside the conservation center is great. Get there early in the morning, the exact time when they are freed from their sleeping quarters. Be amused as they all turn out and climb into their natural habitat. What’s more, you will be impressed at how dedicated the friendly caretakers here are when it comes to the general welfare and preservation of the Bonobos.
Musee National de Kinshasa (National Museum of Kinshasa)
Nestled in the busy Congolese capital, specifically in the Avenue du 24 Novembre is the Musée National de Kinshasa or the National Museum of Kinshasa. The Musée hosts a world-class collection of archaeological and ethnological exhibits. The visitors get here an interesting insight into the traditional Congolese arts and crafts and local works of numerous artists that can be admired. The National Museum is one of the cultural highlights of the city and is a popular destination for local and international guests.
However, the museum is open only on certain days of the week. Most of the time it is closed and scheduled tours must be arranged in advance at their office. A separate exhibit room is dedicated to the Musical instruments and the cultural history of Congo, while another room highlights an extensive gallery that is focused on the different masks and sculptures from every tribe across the nation. Brochures, audio guide, and guide maps are not provided and the no camera rule is strictly enforced inside and outside its proximity. If you need to understand all about Zaire art and have a glimpse of their interesting cultural history this place is the perfect destination.
Cathédrale Notre-Dame Du Congo
The Cathedrale Notre Dame du Congo is an ancient Roman Catholic cathedral and one of the religious attractions in the Congolese capital of Kinshasa. The cathedral was completed in 1914 and is one of the historic buildings of the African Metropolis. For the devoted locals, it is widely regarded as the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Congo.
Besides being situated in the capital, it also includes the left bank of the Congo to the Kasai, an approximately 2153 km long river that compliments the charm of the majestic church. It is open daily and you can visit it anytime of the day (entrance gate closes at 6:00 pm) or hear a holy mass on Sundays where there are scheduled services from morning until afternoon.
Lac de Ma Vallee
The Lac de Ma Valle or the Ma Vallée Lake is another highlight of Kinshasa that is located about 30 km outside the city center (outskirts) and encompassed by a large number of university building. This tranquil lake is surrounded by the lush vegetation of the tropical rainforest; the Ma Vallée See is a comforting natural paradise and a haven of relaxation. The lake is a popular destination for foreign visitors as well as for the inhabitants of Kinshasa.The fantastic scenery and interesting wildlife can be explored either on foot (hiking trails) or water (pedal boats).
It's a beautiful lake in an excellent setting, with a row of little restaurant/café on its premises. Although it is not a long way from Kinshasa you need to bring a map or a guide because along the way there are no sign posts leading to the actual location of this secluded lake attraction. It is an oasis of peace amidst the chaos of a busy capital. Ideally, it is best to arrive in a 4x4 and not ideal for an ordinary sedan because of the bumpy road leading to this lake. There's a 6 km trail around the lake lined with fine dining restaurants with a host of different culinary options aside from the regular fish and chips, BBQ, paired with a glass of cold beer.
The Zongo Falls are fabulous and one of the 3 top attractions to visit when in Congo (Goma Volcano, the Bonobos, and this falls.) After a tour of the museums, lake and the sacred places, an escape to Zongo Falls is an unquestionable requirement. It is accessible via 3-8 hours of rough road driving (contingent upon the weather and traffic situation in the city) from the city center. If you are planning on a weekend getaway and it is not raining, it is a simple 3-hour stress free drive from Gombe to Zongo.
The falls is a unique natural spectacle embedded in a fascinating landscape. Once there, the falls are not difficult to reach, but it offers a bit of strenuous climbing, however, nothing is truly terrible and the attraction is very accessible from all points with about 20 minutes of strolling required to get to any of the surrounding sights. If you wish to spend an overnight stay, you can rent private villas at $200 - $300 a night. Most of the hotels here have balconies situated right over the river with magnificent views.
Cercle de Kinshasa
The best time to visit is early morning when the integrated tennis and golf club of Cercle de Kinshasa is still empty of players and guests. This amusement center and urban garden contain more than 5,000 trees that are well maintained by a committed landscaping company. A pleasant walk with a cool breeze emanating from the surrounding thick emerald view is the most ideal approach to begin a day in this part of DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo).
And for a bit of social interaction, simply go in the afternoon and meet the resident players in golf and tennis that play and practice in this well sprawled recreational area in Kinshasa. All in all it is very good, a refreshing deviation from the usual cultural spots to visit and equipped with a perfect environment. The golf course has well manicured neat lawns and if you are lucky enough, you can have the chance to meet the owner of the Cercle who is a very friendly and serious man.
Kinshasa University (Lovanium)
Kinshasa is not only the political and economic center of the Republic it is also the cultural and educational center of the country. For those interested in history, a visit to the Musée de l' Université de Kinshasa is recommended. In the museums of the Kinshasa University you can find a huge number of ethnographic and prehistoric exhibits that can be admired and take photographs with.
Some educational institutions within the city are impressive by their appearance (architectural design) and also serve as one of the attractions to see in Congo such as; the Académie des Beaux –Arts, the University of Cardinal Maloula, and the Institut Supérieur des Techniques Appliquées.
The Kinshasa University is an enormous state funded college of Kinshasa situated on a sprawling sloping range. A few parts date from the 50’s and 60’s, but still exude an archeological appeal and deep sense of history. There are some parts that are really quiet and provide a great view of the scenic city.
Les Serpent du Congo
The Les Serpent du Congo is an off the beaten path adventure that families with kids will definitely love. The facilities are lovely and equipped with well rained snake handlers that are knowledgeable and fabulous with children. The snake park is spotted along the same street leading to the Lac de Ma Vallée and the conservation center of the Bonobos. The area is neat and along the way you can stop and shop for souvenirs and sweets at the nearby public market.
It's best to avail of the tour guide services of the resident French-talking guide so you can comprehend all the important info about snakes and the positive side of preserving the venom shared by its French handlers.
The snake center is located in a farm called the “Sogenak”. It also maintains and protects under their care the upkeep of big turtles, and crocodiles. A photo opportunity with a snake comes with a fee. It is closed on Mondays and operates from 9 am to 6 pm. No prior arrangement is required to visit this place. Aside from the regular entrance fee of $10, a small donation is asked at the entrance lobby before you leave for the care and upkeep of the animals and the animal facility.
Eglise of the CBFC – Gombe
The Eglise of the CBFC / Gombe is one of the local Churches that make up the Congo River Community Baptistedu (CBFC). This is the result of missionary work initiated in the Democratic Republic of Congo by the Baptist Missionary Society (BMS). The hard working efforts of the missionaries and the locals helped establish this church which was founded in January 23, 1878. The two pioneer missionaries assigned to bring this project to completion were under the supervision of the Reverend George Grenfell and Thomas Comber. It is one of the first places of worship built within the city that still stands and revered until today by its faithful followers.
Mercato Delle Stoffe Africane
The Mercato Delle Stoffe Africane is a famous African fabric market in Kinshasa that is worth a visit. It is located in the harbor area, along the Wagenia Avenue and Avenue des Enterprises. The market is colorful, crowded with African fabrics and a multitude of women, all dressed in local clothes selling typical African textiles and clothes. It is a small market where for a few dollars you can buy fabric for a tablecloth, curtains, rugs, and other household goods.
It is advisable to wear comfortable shoes and hat, because generally, the outdoor temperature and humidity are extremely high. Negotiated prices and haggling is expected and a little knowledge of the French language is advantageous because the sellers speak more French than English. Enjoy the eccentric atmosphere and don’t forget to make good choices when buying souvenirs and crafts from this colorful market in Kinshasa.
The Congloisirs is a perfect event place for private parties, outdoor weddings, corporate seminars, trade fairs and conferences. It is an exceptionally sheltered & quiet garden where children can play, folks can talk, have a great time, drink ordinary Congolese wine, and taste exquisite French dishes too as provided by the YAYO Restaurant located on its territory.
On summer vacations, Friday evenings are special occasions to celebrate the family. A mini theater / film showing are set up outdoors complete with popcorns, delicacies, chips, and drinks. The park becomes lively and the environment is quite festive. Access to free Wi-Fi connection can also be enjoyed while inside this family park.
The Symphonies Naturelles in Kinshasa is one of the last remaining primary forests with beautiful vegetation. Fishing is possible (and easy) and the place always undergoes renovation and upgrade to keep up with the changing times. It is located in the Ngaliema neighborhood situated by about 20 minutes from the downtown area of Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly called Zaire). This huge recreational space of around 200 hectares is generally called the "Zamba ya Nda-Ngye" (the woods of Nda-Ngye) and owned by a wealthy Congolese family.
It is well preserved and the gardens are well maintained by a team of good landscape artists. The managers and workers are keen to develop the site which is a truly marvelous effort. You can take home what you fished from their waters provided you pay for their affordable value (you pay per kilo). There is also a good opportunity to enjoy a good drink and eat homemade meals offered at its local restaurant. It is also the best way to soak up the Congolese atmosphere and be in one with the tropical and natural beauty of Kinshasa.