Democratic Republic of Congo Travel Information
Travel advice has been issued for DR Congo. The
country, especially the capital Kinshasa and other major
cities, is characterized by political and social
tensions, widespread corruption and economic downturns.
At the same time, the presidential elections, which were
held at the end of 2018, have resulted in a considerable
political situation. The country is now characterized by
cautious hope and some improvement in security matters
related to the political situation, although this may
The presidential and parliamentary elections held at
the end of 2018 with Felix Tshisekedi as the winner led
President Joseph Kabila to resign under calm
circumstances. This has mitigated the risk of political
unrest. At the same time, opposition candidate Martin
Fayulu and his supporters have continued to urge
protests against the election results. These protests
have been allowed without too much government
restrictions. Some of the country's many armed groups,
especially in the Kasai provinces where the new
president comes from, but also in the east, have
voluntarily laid down their weapons and asked for
amnesty. This could in principle mean a reduced risk of
violence in these areas. At the same time, increased
security risk could develop rapidly if these groups are
not properly disarmed.
The situation during and after the elections has been
relatively peaceful both in Kinshasa and the rest of the
country. At the same time, there are ongoing unrest in
eastern Congo, where armed groups are still active.
Countryaah: Kinshasa is the capital
of Democratic Republic of the Congo. Check to find information of population, geography, history,
and economy about the capital city.
Despite a somewhat improved security situation, it is
recommended that people staying in the country exercise
extreme caution and avoid political gatherings,
demonstrations and large crowds. Although political
demonstrations have been allowed in recent times,
security forces will still be able to quickly and
hard-down on demonstrations and other forms of action.
Political actions will usually be planned, but can also
occur spontaneously. Violent clashes between security
forces and activists can occur without warning,
especially in Kinshasa and other major cities.
The security situation in Eastern Congo is
characterized by the presence of over a hundred armed
groups, and continues to be very unclear and tense.
Kidnapping of humanitarian actors occurs. The Ebola
epidemic in North Kivu and Ituri provinces is still not
under control, and health workers linked to the Ebola
response have been attacked. Lately, local ethnic and
armed conflicts have flared up elsewhere in the country.
This includes the city of Yumbi in Mai-Ndombe province,
as well as Kasai provinces, Tanganyika and Bas-Congo.
The UN has deployed a peacekeeping force (Monusco) with
extended offensive mandate in the country, which mainly
has its involvement in the East.
The risk to travelers is primarily related to
everyday crime and accidents. The risk of terror is
The Gombe district of Kinshasa, which houses larger
hotels, shops, offices and diplomatic missions, is
considered a relatively safe area to travel in. Many
foreigners use the area along the Congo River at Hotel
du Fleuve for walking and running. However, visitors are
asked to be aware of the possibility of theft, as well
as people who claim to be police or security forces.
They typically present themselves with fake identity
cards and ask a companion to enter their car for
"identification" with the intent to commit robbery. When
requesting "identification", including by roadblocks,
visitors are encouraged to stay in the car and present
the documents through closed car windows.
The crime in Goma and Bukavu in North and South Kivi
is generally considered somewhat less than in Kinshasa,
but increasing crime is reported against the
international community in these cities, especially
robbery after dark.
Western foreigners are not usually targets for
kidnappings and abductions, but it is reported as an
increase in kidnappings by humanitarian actors in
eastern Congo, especially in Northern Kivu.
Norwegians are advised to carry a copy of passports
and visas, as well as limit the storage and exposure of
valuables when moving outdoors. Movements on foot are
not recommended after dark. During the day, transfers on
foot should be carefully considered and not done alone.
By car, it is recommended to keep windows closed and
doors locked, as well as to stick to main roads and park
in monitored areas. Driving outside the big cities is
not recommended after dark. At times, especially in
eastern Congo, transfers in major cities will not be
recommended even by car. Check the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs travel advice and listen to the advice of local
authorities, locals and international organizations in
the area. Be careful, do not seek out larger crowds of
Traffic and transport: There is a
right-hand drive in DR Congo and Norwegians need an
international driver's license to drive a car in the
country. Travelers are advised that persons who are
within sight of an official flag are expected to stop in
connection with hoisting and firing of the flag (around
07:30 and 18:00).
The standard of the road network and the car park is
generally very low and deteriorates during the rainy
season (September-May). Traffic accidents and other
dangerous traffic situations often occur. The risk
includes not only being exposed to an accident, but also
being involved in an accident that can attract large
crowds. There are cases of harassment by police and
military at roadblocks. Driving after dark is not
recommended, especially outside the center of the big
cities. It is recommended to group at least two cars
outside Kinshasa. There is no rescue service that can be
called if the accident is out and it is difficult to get
the necessary help if needed.
Public transport by bus, train, taxi and boat is not
recommended, with the exception of taxi service
organized through the larger hotels. Accidents occur
regularly due to poor maintenance and overcrowded means
of transport. On rivers and lakes, strong currents and
changing sandbanks also cause accidents. Visitors are
encouraged to arrange airport pick-up in advance upon
arrival. It is not recommended to fly with DR
Congo-certified flight operators.
Land mines will still be located in eastern Congo.
Most cities and surrounding areas are cleared of mines,
but the areas are not completely cleared. Visitors are
encouraged to stick to main roads.
Political unrest and demonstrations:
Periods of increasing unrest cannot be ruled out,
especially in the larger cities. The country is now in a
very precarious political period with a high risk of
politically motivated turmoil. Western foreigners are
usually not targets during demonstrations and protests.
However, these can quickly turn into violent and
threaten people who happen to be in the area.
It is recommended to avoid all types of
demonstrations and gatherings. In case of turmoil, it is
also recommended to limit transfers and be especially
careful when transporting through the populous areas on
the road from Gombe to the N'djili International Airport
Women's security: Women are
generally low in DR Congo and reports of rape and other
violations of women's rights are regularly reported.
Western women are not usually targets of abuse, but
cases have occurred.
Special considerations for clothing beyond normal
western standards are not normally required.
Sexual orientation: Homosexuality is
not illegal in DR Congo, but prejudice against gays is
widespread and homosexuality is still a cultural taboo.
Cases of prosecution and harassment by security forces
are reported by people who have publicly disclosed their
Natural disasters: DR Congo's
tropical climate brings heavy rainfall, and lightning
strikes can cause damage to both humans and material.
The danger of landslides and floods is high in exposed
The volcanoes Mount Nyiragongo and Mount Nyamulagira,
both in the Northern Kivu Province, are active. Local
authorities, the UN and civil society organizations
monitor the activity. Check status with local
The volcanoes can also produce deadly CO2 gases. The
gas pockets will usually stay close to the ground. As a
result, deaths have been reported around Lake Kivu.
Norwegian citizens are encouraged to have valid
Due to large distances and limited infrastructure in
DR Congo, it may take time before the embassy can follow
up consular matters that may occur outside of central
Please note that entry regulations may change. The
Foreign Service is not responsible if the following
information on entry regulations or visa requirements is
changed at short notice. It is the responsibility of the
traveler to ensure that travel documents are valid for
entry and to familiarize themselves with the current
entry rules for each country.
Norwegian citizens need a visa when entering DR
Congo. It is the traveler's responsibility to ensure
that travel documents, visas and vaccination cards are
A visa is obtained from the DR Congo's embassy in
Stockholm and must be arranged before departure from
Norway. It is not possible to obtain a visa upon arrival
at DR Congo airports. A written invitation from a
contact unit in DR Congo is usually required to obtain a
visa. New visa rules from March 2015 mean that some type
of visa applications must be sent to Kinshasa for
decision. Stamping the invitation letter from the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kinshasa in advance will
help to speed up the processing of the application. The
processing of first-time visas may take several weeks.
For the latest updated information on entry rules to
the country, travelers are encouraged to check with the
country's nearest embassy.
The passport must be valid for at least six months
from the time of entry into DR Congo. DR Congo does not
recognize dual citizenship.
Valid yellow fever vaccine is required for anyone
over one year upon entry into the country. In the
absence of this, you risk being vaccinated at the
Luggage receipt from the airline is controlled by
Congolese authorities when delivering luggage at the
airport. Flight tax is required and paid at the airport
upon departure from DR Congo.
Travelers to mining areas need permission at the
government level. Application is made to the responsible
ministry or authority well in advance of departure to
Coronavirus (Covid-19): Coronavirus
has been detected in DR Congo. Norwegian travelers
should keep abreast of how the virus is developing. Feel
free to follow local authorities' advice, guidance and
instructions on how to deal with the situation.
A coronavirus emergency number has been created on
the following national telephone lines: +243 818 130
199, +243 815 060 554, +243 841 363 176 or +243 852 002
458. Tests are conducted under the auspices of the
Institut National de Recherche Biomedical (INRB):
As of March 20, restrictions on travel in and out of
DRC have been introduced including to and from Norway
due to coronavirus. It is recommended to contact the
Kinshasa Embassy office for updated information if
travel to the DRC is planned: [email protected]
You can find more information and guidance from the
Norwegian health authorities on the website of the
Norwegian Institute of Public Health. See also UD's
answers to frequently asked questions about travel and
Congolese authorities declared a new outbreak of the
Ebola virus in DR Congo on August 1, 2018. The outbreak
is mainly limited to the provinces of North Kivu and
Ituri, north-east of DR Congo, but there have also been
a few cases in neighboring Uganda. In total, around
2,500 cases have been registered during the first year
of the epidemic. The work to deal with the outbreak is
made difficult by a very challenging security situation
in the core areas of the outbreak.
In July 2019, a first case of infection was reported
in the city of Goma, a million town which is a hub for
travelers to neighboring countries. July 17, the World
Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of the
Ebola as an international public health crisis. The risk
of spreading nationally and regionally is considered
Congolese health authorities and WHO coordinate the
outbreak management and follow-up measures have been
implemented in cooperation with national and
international partners. The World Health Organization
regularly updates its websites with information on
developments. The public health website's websites are
also regularly updated with information about the
This is the tenth Ebola outbreak in DR Congo since
The health service in DR Congo generally maintains a
low standard. Public health services in the country have
come a long way from collapsing, and the infrastructure
has worn down. In Kinshasa and several other major
cities, there are private clinics and health centers
that hold a certain standard. Outside of these, health
care is largely very limited. For visitors, private
offers will be the only real alternative. Evacuation to
Europe or South Africa in case of serious accidents,
surgeries and births is common. A comprehensive and good
health insurance is therefore necessary. Norwegians are
strongly recommended to take out insurance that also
In Kinshasa, Center Prive d'Urgence (CPU) offers
emergency assistance and stabilization of a patient
exposed to accidents. The CPU is affiliated with the
Center Medial de Kinshasa (CMK).
Center for Private
Cruise Bas-Congo and Commerce,
Gombe, Kinshasa Tel: +243 898950305/+243 898950302/+ 243
Access to medicines is limited. It is recommended to
bring well-marked medication upon entry if taking the
The biggest health challenge for visitors is
considered traffic accidents and malaria. There is also
extensive incidence of diseases such as cholera,
typhoid, hepatitis A, TBC, jaundice and dengue.
Epidemics can easily occur as a result of the tropical
climate and poor sanitary conditions. The air pollution
in Kinshasa comes primarily from the combustion of
charcoal, but is not perceived as troublesome.
Water should not be drunk directly from the tap, but
filtered and boiled, or purchased in bottles.
Travelers to DR Congo are advised to consult a
physician well in advance of their departure (around
eight weeks) to have enough time to complete any
recommended vaccination program.
Valid yellow fever vaccine is required for anyone
over one year upon entry into DR Congo.
Malaria prophylaxis is recommended for short-term
travelers to DR Congo. For long-term residents, practice
For official health professional travel advice and
health professional guidance for Norwegians when
traveling abroad, see the Public Health Institute travel
advice and vaccination.
For updates on disease outbreaks etc. in DR Congo,
see the World Health Organization's country pages for DR
Kinshasa and Mbandaka are one hour after Norway
summer time, and are at the same time winter time.
Lubumbashi, Kisangani and Goma are at the same time
as Norway summer time, and one hour before winter time.
Power voltage: 220 V. Sockets such as those used in
Norway are most prevalent in DR Congo, but Belgian type
also occurs. Due to frequent power outages, VPS (power
stabilizer) should be connected to PCs, TVs, stereos
There is GSM coverage in the largest cities in DR
Congo. The telephone network is relatively stable.
National phone code is: +243
The local currency is Congolese Franc (COF), but the
use of US dollars (USD) is very widespread. The dollar
bills must be issued after 2006 and in good condition in
order to be accepted as payment. It is illegal to export
ATMs where you can withdraw USD are available in
Kinshasa and in most major cities. The largest hotels,
restaurants and shops with international clientele
accept credit cards (Visa, Mastercard). Western Union
and other money transfer operators are found in most
Opening hours for public offices are usually
09.00-16.00, for banks 10.00-15.00 and for shops
09.00-18.00. Some supermarkets are open until 5 p.m. 10
pm and on Sundays.
National holidays: Nouvel an (1 January), Martyrs de
l'ind¨¦pendance (4 January), Journ¨¦e du h¨¦ros national
Laurent Desire Kabila (16 January), Journ¨¦e du h¨¦ros
national Patrice Lumumba (17 January), F¨ºte du travail
(May 1), Journ¨¦e de la Revolution et des forces armies
(May 17), Anniversaire de l 'l'ind¨¦pendance (June 30),
F¨ºte des parents (August 1) and F¨ºte de Noel (December
French is the official language of DR Congo. Other
national languages are lingala, kikongo, tshiluba and
Useful radio stations: BBC (English): 92, 6 FM in
Kinshasa and 92 FM in Kisangani and Lubumbashi. Radio
Okapi (French): 103, 5 FM.
In case of crisis, the Belgian embassy in Kinshasa
will send information in French over its own radio
system: FM 98.8.
It is illegal to photograph government buildings,
military installations and other important
infrastructure, such as airports, on or near the Congo
River and at border crossings. Journalists and
photographers must obtain local permission from the
Kinshasa Department of Information to conduct interviews
and/or photograph. Improper photography can lead to
detention. In general, photography of people is not
recommended without their consent.