Kinshasa has legendary nightlife, as you'd expect from the capital of one of Africa's major musical centres. The bad news is that without knowing the city well much of the nightlife scene is inaccessible. Non-locals will often find themselves the target of attention from hustlers, prostitutes and other scammers in clubs and bars – go out in groups and engage a driver for the night.

Where to Go Out

Given Kinshasa's size, just deciding on an area to go out in can be quite a challenge. Nightlife tends to break down into three main areas of the city, however.

Gombe This is the heart of downtown Kin, where the expats are concentrated. Here you can count on paying more than elsewhere for cocktails and beers, but you'll get an upmarket crowd, more sophisticated venues and safety is rarely an issue – although as with anywhere in Kin, only travel by car after dark.

Matonge While it's certainly a fairly sketchy area at night, Matonge is a sight worth seeing as it's famously the home of Kinshasa's music scene. Expect raucous and superloud bars and to be the only foreigner in a chaotic sea of locals.

Bon-Marché Centred on the area where Ave Kabasele Tshamala and Ave de Kabambare meet, Bon-Marché is popular destination for kinois (Kinshasa residents) who want to dance. It looks like a Congolese version of Las Vegas: brash, glowing with neon, hedonistic and always packed.