Getting your head around Kinshasa can be tough, but the city centre, Gombe – laid out sort of on a grid running west from the train station – is easy enough. Blvd du 30 Juin, a six-lane behemoth (eight if you're a taxi driver) runs through the heart of it and continues west through the diplomatic district and beyond (still covered by the name Gombe).
To the south are far more residential neighbourhoods such as Matonge, a major transport hub where most budget travellers stay, and the less convenient but generally more relaxed Bandalungwa (usually just called Bandal). Both are flush with cheap food and beer and stay lively deep into the night.
N'Djili Airport, for international flights, is 20km southeast of the centre.