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Democratic Republic of Congo

Getting there & away

Air France is the only airline with direct flights into Kinshasa (it flies from Paris to Kinshasa once or twice a week). KLM flies from Amsterdam to Kinshasa via Nairobi once or twice a week, and SN Brussels Airlines flies from Brussels to Kinshasa, usually via Douala, three times a week..

From within Africa, South African Airways flies between Kinshasa and Johannesburg about three times a week, and Ethiopian Airlines flies between Kinshasa and Addis Ababa around three times a week; you can also fly in from Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), Bujumbura (Burundi), Douala (Cameroon), Lagos (Nigeria), Luanda (Angola), Libreville (Gabon) and Nairobi (Kenya). Although planes now fly from Kinshasa to the east of DRC, the east is more easily accessed via Kigali in Rwanda.

Most airlines have offices at Kinshasa’s N’djili Airport. Carriers include Kenya Airways (1221465; Hotel Memling, Ave Tchad, Gombé) and SN Brussels Airlines (081-897 5003; Blvd 30 Juin, Gombé). In Gombé, Kinshasa, you can contact Air France (081-884 5548; Hotel Memling, Ave Tchad, Gombé; 8am-3.30pm Mon-Sat) and South African Airways (081-700 5908; 6147, Blvd 30 Juin, Gombé).

A regular ferry links Kinshasa with Brazzaville in Congo. It costs US$25.

Technically, you can catch a train from Lubumbashi to Johannesburg or Dar es Salaam but, due to railway underinvestment, schedules aren’t reliable. Entry by plane is invariably a better bet.

The land border with Angola is open via the town of Matadi but crossing here is rarely attempted by foreigners and you could be faced with reams of bureaucracy and a whole lot of hassle (make sure you have pre-arranged your Angolan visa). Unless you’re a truly intrepid overlander avoid at all costs.