Things to do around Kinshasa

So you’re in Kinshasa. What can you do outside the city?

Off the top of my head, here are some of the things around Kinshasa:

  • Lola Ya Bonobo, a bonobo great ape sanctuary 2 hours outside the city. It’s best to leave early morning. You’ll most likely hit traffic on the way back.
  • Pair that trip with a visit of a man-made lake from colonial times called Lac Mavallée. There’s a restaurant and a great long walk around the lake. The water isn’t safe to swim in (Bilharzia). There are canoes 🛶 and a zip line.
  • Mt Manguengenge. A religious pilgrimage for most Congolese, you should go early morning to avoid the heat. You’ll meet many people doing the way of the cross with many stops along the way for people to pray. You’ll get asked for some money- 1 to 2 usd to climb the mountain. It’s after the airport and a somewhat hard hike with a nice descent at the back of the mountain. It’s around 45 min to climb and then 2 to 3 hours to descend. Make sure you get a local kid to guide you down and tip them at the end. It’s a little hard to find the starting point of the hike. Ask around or go with someone who has gone before. Location
  • After the hike, there’s a natural water spring you can swim in and cool down that offers a simple buffet and drinks 30 min from the mountain: Au Pied Dans L’eau but written as O pied Dans L’o :
  • A boat ride and pic nic on a sand bank for 30-40$ if you’re a group of 8-10 people. Go to the Nautic club, they should have boats to rent. Sundays are best.
  • Go for a Graffiti walk on a Sunday with some artists.
  • Play a round of golf or tennis at the Cercle de Kinshasa
  • Go to Kisantu Botanical garden (3-4 hours away) to see the flowers and garden. Have lunch and stay a night at Mbuela Lodge.
  • Sleep a night or two in the nature reserve Bombo Lumene, it is 3-4 hours outside of Kinshasa.
  • Go to the Maluku, Le Petit Paradis restaurant on the edge of the Congo river by car or boat for the day. Houses are all owned and cannot be rented out. You can go for the day. It’s a 1 hour boat ride from Kinshasa or a 2 hours drive.
  • Drive to Matadi, Muanda or even Luanda if you have a few days (See the mangroves in Muanda).
  • Drive to Lusanga and see the white cube, an outdoor African art museum on an old plantation.
  • Go to Luki reserve and stay in a biosphere in the middle of the forest. It’s after Matadi (1 day drive from Kinshasa).
  • Take a trip upriver and see a Bonobo releasing center. It takes 10 to 12 hours to get there. You’ll get a 5-6 hour boat ride, a car ride and stay in the middle of a forest and hike several hours over two days to see Bonobo’s in the wild. See the below PDF file. It will be planned by the WWF.
  • See giraffes 🦒, lions 🦁, hippopotamuses 🦛, zebras 🦓, and other animals at the Parc de la vallée de la N’Sele. It was started by the ex-president Joseph Kabila. There are other activities like kayaking, a pool, a huge zip line, a pool table, cycling 🚴‍♀️ . There are also lodges in you want to spend the night. The place is after the airport, around 2 hours outside the city.
  • See Zongo falls and stay for the night. It’s 5-6 hours outside Kinshasa without traffic. Can be 10 hours to return.

What have you done? What else do you recommend?

Zongo pictures

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