The 10 places to absolutely visit in Kinshasa
Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is full of several sites of interest and entertainment, many curiosities and riches, often unsuspected, and is an excellent introduction to exploring the city.
Kinshasa offers natural and leisure sites on the outskirts: beaches along the river, rapids and waterfalls, forests, hiking, river walks, nautical activities, historical sites, botanical gardens:
- My valley lake
Ma Vallée Lake is an artificial lake located in Mont Ngafula, in the Kimwenza district, known since colonial times as a place of leisure, sport and relaxation, surrounded by nature with beautiful air. My valley is a very pleasant place to spend relaxing moments with family, friends or colleagues.
- The Bonobos Sanctuary
Lola ya bonobo, “the paradise of bonobos”, is a sanctuary created by Claudine André with the aim of collecting and saving baby bonobos who are victims of poaching, and eventually reintroducing them into a nature reserve.
Lola ya Bonobo is a tourist site located in the commune of Mont-Ngafula (Kinshasa) in a natural area; it is home to monkeys called “Bonobos” (so close to humans), living only in the Democratic Republic of Congo and protected.
- National Museum of the Democratic Republic of Congo
The National Museum of the Democratic Republic of Congo is a museum located on the triumphal boulevard between the Immeuble de la Territoriale and the Protestant cathedral of Kinshasa. It is dedicated to the cultural history of the many ethnic groups and historical eras of the country.
Open to the public since June 2019, the museum stands out with its exterior made up of diamond-shaped patterns that refer to the traditional royal palaces of the Kuba, a confederation that included several ethnic groups and which flourished in the 17th century. The building includes three exhibition halls of 6,000 square meters where statues, masks, musical instruments, ethnographic objects are exhibited.
- N’sele Valley Park
Animal park located about forty kilometers from the city center in the municipality of Maluku, it is easily accessible by vehicle. It is by far the largest natural park in Kinshasa with 18,000 hectares, it includes several species of animals (Lions, donkeys, zebras, buffaloes, horses …), an artificial lake of crocodiles. The park also offers a space dedicated to entertainment of all kinds (hiking, kayaking, walking, horse riding, mountain biking, swimming pool…
- Mount Mangengenge
Mount Mangengenge is located in the commune of Nsele, about ten kilometers south of the international airport of Ndjili, in the hills region. It is visible from afar from the road that leaves the city of Kinshasa to the east thanks to the large white plumb lines near its summit. Overlooking the Pool Malebo plain, it reaches an altitude of 718 meters, making it the highest point in the capital.
The place can be reached from the locality of the parish of Sainte Angèle de Mérici, along a difficult track; the ascent takes about 45 minutes. The path is marked by a Stations of the Cross with 14 stations and the summit is crowned with a large Christian cross. To descend, it is possible either to take the same path, or to take the path of the ridges, less steep and greener, but longer. This descent takes between two and three hours.
- The Interchange Tower
The Limete Exchanger tower is a 210-meter high reinforced concrete tower located in Kinshasa, in the municipality of Limete. Its official address is Limete, crossing boulevard Lumumba and avenue By-Pass.
Built by the Franco-Tunisian architect Olivier-Clément Cacoub and a Yugoslav construction company, this monument was intended to become the symbol of the Congolese nation and a leading tourist site, like the Eiffel Tower in Paris. or the Statue of Liberty in New York.
Work began in 1970 under the initiative of Mobutu Sese Seko. They ended in 1974. In the base, there is a museum which is open every day of the week, in the morning. The entrance fee is 1,000 francs for Congolese (0.60 US cents) and 10 dollars for foreigners.
- The Texaf Bilembo Gallery
Art gallery located in Gombe in the former textile factory until 2007, the space is dedicated to art and culture, the cultural center houses art exhibitions, concerts, educational and creative workshops . Texaf Bilembo has a small permanent exhibition on the cultural heritage of the DRC, in particular on the masks, and on the natural resources of the country, including the ecological challenges that it will have to face in a few years.
The combination of Congolese history with contemporary art is something worth seeing, there is a mix of many diverse activities, such as educational lessons on ecology for schools. There is also a café, a restaurant and a small library. The restaurant is only open for brunch on the first Sunday of each month. It is one of the best places to buy “Made in Kinshasa” gifts to bring back for family and friends.
- The Arts Market
Also called “Artists’ Market”, “Wenze ya Bikeko”, or “Thieves’ Market”, referring to vendors who drive up prices with foreign tourists. This is the main arts and crafts market, where you can find all kinds of handicrafts, jewelry, paintings, sculptures, at unbeatable prices. Contemporary creations for the most part, even if there are also some old medals, coins, old masks… A visit is essential at the end of the trip, for gifts and souvenirs.
- The Kinshasa Botanical Garden
The Kinshasa Botanical Garden is a garden with an area of 7 hectares located in the heart of the city of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo and has around a hundred different tree species. You can see baobabs, mango trees, banana trees, papaya trees, coffee trees… The park was created in 1933 under the name of Fernand De Boeck (from the name of the district commissioner of Moyen-Congo at the time ) in the capital of the Belgian Congo. Abandoned for several decades, the garden, which has more than 100 species of trees, was rehabilitated in the early 2000s thanks to a French project.
- Bizou Bizou Gallery
This is absolutely the place to go for the purchase of African loincloths and fabrics in town. Located on avenue du Commerce in Kinshasa’s Central Market, the gallery is super popular, exotic and noisy, it’s crowded in all circumstances.
Large choice of models, You can find almost everything there, from wax loincloths, bazin and also bed sheets, net curtains, curtains. We also find in the gallery shops of all kinds, restaurants, banks, laundry, a public toilet, a medical center… So, if you are in the gallery, you will find everything you need to buy or you restore.