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Kinshasa
Ville de Kinshasa
formerly Léopoldville or Leopoldstad
—  Ville-province (City-province)  —
Kinshasa with Congo river in background

Flag

Seal
Nickname(s): Kin la belle
(French: Kin the beautiful)
DRC, highlighting the city-province of Kinshasa
Kinshasa is located in Democratic Republic of the Congo
Kinshasa
DRC, highlighting the city-province of Kinshasa
Coordinates: 4°19′30″S 15°19′20″E / 4.325°S 15.32222°E / -4.325; 15.32222
Country  Democratic Republic of the Congo
Province Kinshasa
Administrative HQ La Gombe
Communes
Government
 - Governor André Kimbuta Yango
Area [1]
 - City-province 9,965 km2 (3,847.5 sq mi)
Elevation 240 m (787 ft)
Population (2009)[1]
 - City-province 10,076,099
 Density 955/km2 (2,473.4/sq mi)
 - Language French
Website http://www.kinshasa.cd

Kinshasa (formerly French: Léopoldville, and Dutch: About this sound Leopoldstad ) is the capital and largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, known as Zaire from 1971 to 1997. The city is located on the Congo River.

Once a site of fishing villages, Kinshasa is now an urban area with a population of 10,076,099 inhabitants in 2009. The city of Brazzaville (about 1.5 million inhabitants in 2007 with its suburbs),[2] capital of the Republic of the Congo, lies just across the Congo River from Kinshasa. Together with Brazzaville, the combined conurbation of Kinshasa-Brazzaville has thus nearly 12 million inhabitants. Because the administrative boundaries cover such a vast area, over 60% of the city's land is rural in nature, and the urban area only occupies a small section in the far western end of the province.[3][4]

Kinshasa ties with Johannesburg for the status of the second largest city in sub-Saharan Africa and the third largest in the whole continent after Lagos and Cairo. It is often considered the second largest francophone city in the world after Paris. If current demographic trends continue, Kinshasa will surpass Paris in population before 2020.[5][6]

Residents of Kinshasa are known as Kinois (French) or Kinshasans (English).

Contents

History

The La Gombe district, off of the Boulevard du 30 Juin in Kinshasa.

The city was founded as a trading post by Henry Morton Stanley in 1881 and named Léopoldville in honor of King Leopold II of Belgium, who controlled the vast territory that is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, not as a colony but as a private property. The post flourished as the first navigable port on the Congo River above Livingstone Falls, a series of rapids over 300 kilometres (190 mi) below Leopoldville. At first, all goods arriving by sea or being sent by sea had to be carried by porters between Léopoldville and Matadi, the port below the rapids and 150 km (93 mi) from the coast. The completion of the Matadi-Kinshasa portage railway in 1898 provided a faster and more efficient alternative route around the rapids and sparked the rapid development of Léopoldville. By 1920, the city was elevated to capital of the Belgian Congo, replacing the town of Boma in the Congo estuary.

When the Belgian Congo became independent of Belgium in 1960, Dutch was dropped as an official language.[citation needed] In 1965 Mobutu Sese Seko seized power in the Congo in his second coup and initiated a policy of "Africanizing" the names of people and places in the country. In 1966, Léopoldville was renamed Kinshasa for a village named Kinchassa that once stood near the site. The city grew rapidly under Mobutu, drawing people from across the country who came in search of their fortunes or to escape ethnic strife elsewhere. This inevitably brought about a change to the city's ethnic and linguistic composition as well. Although it is situated in territory that traditionally belongs to the Bateke and Bahumbu people, the lingua franca in Kinshasa today is Lingala.

In 1974, Kinshasa hosted the 'Rumble in the Jungle' boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, in which Ali defeated Foreman to regain the World Heavyweight title.

Kinshasa suffered greatly due to Mobutu's excesses, mass corruption, nepotism and the civil war that led to his downfall. Nevertheless, it is still a major cultural and intellectual center for Central Africa, with a flourishing community of musicians and artists. It is also the country's major industrial center, processing many of the natural products brought from the interior. The city has recently had to fend off rioting soldiers who were protesting the government's inability to pay them.

Kinshasa had the earliest documented HIV-1 infection, which dates from 1959 and was discovered in the preserved blood sample of a local man (see AIDS origin).

Administration

Kinshasa is both a city (ville in French) and a province (province in French), one of the 11 provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Its status is thus similar to Paris which is both a city and one of the 100 departments of France.

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Administrative divisions

The city-commune (ville-province) of Kinshasa is divided 4 district which are further divided into 24 communes (municipalities).[4] The commercial and administrative heart of Kinshasa is the commune of La Gombe. The commune of Kinshasa gave its name to the whole city, but it is neither the commercial nor the administrative heart of the metropolis.

Funa District

  • Bandalungwa
  • Bumbu
  • Kalamu
  • Kasa-Vubu
  • Makala
  • Ngiri-Ngiri
  • Selembao

Lukunga District

  • Barumbu
  • Gombe
  • Kinshasa
  • Kintambo
  • Lingwala
  • Mont-Ngafula
  • Ngaliema

Mont Amba District

  • Kisenso
  • Lemba
  • Limete
  • Matete
  • Ngaba

Tshangu District

  • Kimbanseke
  • Maluku
  • Masina
  • N’Djili
  • N’Sele
The 24 communes of Kinshasa
Flag of Kinshasa
Abbreviations : Kal. (Kalamu), Kin. (Kinshasa), K.-V. (Kasa-Vubu), Ling. (Lingwala), Ng.-Ng. (Ngiri-Ngiri)

Geography

Kinshasa is a city of pointy contrasts, with affluent residential and commercial areas and three universities coexisting side by side with sprawling slums.

It is located along the south bank of the Congo River, directly opposite the city of Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of the Congo. This is the only place in the world where two national capital cities are facing one another and in sight of each other on opposite banks of a river.

The Congo river is the second longest river in Africa after the Nile, and is the largest in terms of discharge. As a waterway it provides a means of transport for much of the Congo basin, being navigable for large river barges between Kinshasa and Kisangani, and many of its tributaries are navigable too. The river is an important source of hydroelectric power, and downstream of Kinshasa it has the potential to generate power equivalent to the usage by the whole continent.[citation needed]

Climate

Under the Koppen climate classification, Kinshasa has a Tropical wet and dry climate. It features a lengthy rainy season which spans from October through May and a relatively short dry season which runs between June and September. Due to fact that Kinshasa lies south of the equator, its dry season begins around its "winter" solstice, which is in June. This is in contrast to African cities further north featuring this climate where the dry season typically begins around January. Kinshasa's dry season is slightly cooler than its wet season, though temperatures remain relatively constant throughout the year.

Climate data for Kinshasa
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 36
(97)
36
(97)
36
(97)
36
(97)
35
(95)
34
(93)
32
(90)
35
(95)
36
(97)
36
(97)
34
(93)
36
(97)
36
(97)
Average high °C (°F) 31
(88)
31
(88)
32
(90)
32
(90)
31
(88)
29
(84)
27
(81)
29
(84)
31
(88)
31
(88)
31
(88)
30
(86)
30
(86)
Average low °C (°F) 21
(70)
22
(72)
22
(72)
22
(72)
22
(72)
19
(66)
18
(64)
18
(64)
20
(68)
21
(70)
22
(72)
21
(70)
21
(70)
Record low °C (°F) 18
(64)
18
(64)
18
(64)
19
(66)
18
(64)
15
(59)
14
(57)
14
(57)
16
(61)
15
(59)
17
(63)
17
(63)
14
(57)
Precipitation mm (inches) 135
(5.31)
145
(5.71)
196
(7.72)
196
(7.72)
159
(6.26)
8
(0.31)
3
(0.12)
3
(0.12)
30
(1.18)
119
(4.69)
222
(8.74)
142
(5.59)
1,358
(53.46)
Source: BBC Weather [7] 2008-08-18

Buildings and institutions

Major areas of the city include the Cité de l'OUA, home to the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Commune de Matonge, known regionally for its nightlife, L'ONATRA, the impressive building of the Ministry of Transport and the residential area of Gombe.

Notable features of the city include the SOZACOM Building and Hotel Memling skyscrapers, the central market, the Kinshasa Museum and the Kinshasa Fine Arts Academy. The Boulevard du 30 Juin (Boulevard of the 30th June) links the main areas of the city. Kinshasa is home to the country's national stadium, the Stade des Martyrs (Stadium of the Martyrs).

Industries

Marsavco Sarl Biggest FMCG Manufacturing Company located in center of town (Gombe) in Kinshasa.

There are so many other Industries like Nova Products,CongoFuture,AngelCosmetics,Cobra,Ghandour Industries Congo,African Food & Bewerage, Shalina Group, Beltexco, Graphics System, Femco, Sajico and BCDC Bank, TMB Bank located in the heart of the city area.

Crime

In 2004, Kinshasa was rated as one of Africa's most dangerous cities in terms of crime. Since the Second Congo War, the city has been striving to recover from disorder, with many gangs hailing from Kinshasa's slums. With roughly 112.3 homicides per 100,000 residents, muggings, robberies, rape, kidnapping and gang violence are common.

Education

Kinshasa is home to several higher-level education institutes, covering a wide range of specialities, from civil engineering to nursing and journalism. The city is also home to three large universities and an arts school:

  • Prins van Luik School / Lycée Prince de Liège
  • University of Kinshasa
  • Congo Protestant University
  • National Pedagogy University
  • Allhadeff School
  • Centre for Health Training (CEFA)[1]

Medicine

There are twenty hospitals in Kinshasa, plus various medical centres and polyclinics.[8] In 1997, Dikembe Mutombo built a 300-bed hospital near his home town of Kinshasa. Since 1991, Monkole Hospital is working as a non-for profit health institution collaborating with the Health Department as district hospital in Kinshasa. Directed by Dr Léon Tshilolo, paediatrician and haematologist, Monkole Hospital is opening a new 150-bed building in 2011 with improved clinical services as laboratory, diagnostic radiology, intensive care, neonatal unit, family medicine, emergencies unit and a larger surgical area.

Media

Kinshasa is home to a large number of radio and TV stations. The National TV is housed in the city. Its two channels reach more or less the entire country.[citation needed] In addition to these stations, there are nearly a dozen terrestrial stations reaching the environs of the city, and sometimes a bit beyond. Most of the media uses French and Lingala to a large extent; very few use the other national languages.

Language

The official language of The Democratic Republic of the Congo, of which Kinshasa is the capital, is French. Kinshasa is the second largest Francophone city in the world[9] [10], although Lingala is widely used as a spoken language. French is the language of street signs, posters, newspapers, government documents, schools; it dominates plays, television, and the press, and it is used in vertical relationships among people of uneven rank; people of equal rank, however, speak the Zairian languages (Kikongo, Lingala, Tshiluba or Swahili) among themselves.[11] Thus, while the culture is dominated by the Francophonie, a complex multi-lingualism is present in Kinshasa.

Transport

The Boulevard du 30 Juin, in downtown Kinshasa.
The boulevard Lumumba in Masina.

Internal transport

Several private companies whose Urban Transport Company (STUC) and the Public City train (12 cars in 2002) serves the city. The bus lines are:

  • Gare centrale – Kingasani (municipality of Kimbanseke, reopened in September 2005);
  • Kingasani– Marché central
  • Matete –Royale (reopened in June 2006);
  • Matete–UPN (reopened in June 2006);
  • Rond-point Ngaba –UPN (reopened in June 2006).
  • Rond-point Victoire –clinique Ngliema (opened in March 2007)

Other companies also provide public transport: Urbaco, Tshatu Trans, Socogetra, Gesac and MB Sprl. The city bus carries a maximum of 67000 passengers per day. Several companies operate taxis and taxi-buses. The majority (95.8%) of transport is provided by individuals.

The city is considering the creation of a tramway in collaboration with public transport in Brussels (STIB), whose work could start in 2009 and would be completed around 2012-2015. The issue of electricity remains suspended.[12][13]

The ONATRA operates three lines of urban railways linking the town centre device, which goes to Bas-Congo.[14].

  • The main line linking the Central Station to the Kinshasa International Airport has 9 stations: Central Station, Ndolo, Amicongo, Uzam, Masina / Petro-Congo, Masina wireless Masina / Mapela, Masina / Neighborhood III, Masina / Siforco Camp Badara and Ndjili airport.
  • The second line connects the Central Station in Kasangulu in Bas-Congo, through Matete, Riflart and Kimwenza.
  • The third line at the Central Station Kinsuka-pumping in the town of Ngaliema.

External transport

Kinshasa is the major river port of the Congo. The port, called 'Le Beach Ngobila' extends for about 7 km (4 mi) along the river, comprising scores of quays and jetties with hundreds of boats and barges tied up. Ferries cross the river to Brazzaville, a distance of about 4 km (2 mi). River transport also connects to dozens of ports upstream, such as Kisangani and Bangui.

There are road and rail links to Matadi, the sea port in the Congo estuary 150 km (93 mi) from the Atlantic Ocean.

There are no rail links from Kinshasa further inland, and road connections to much of the rest of the country are few and in poor condition.

The city has two airports, N'Djili International Airport with connections to other African countries as well as to Brussels, Paris, and Madrid; and N'Dolo Airport.

Notable Kinshasans

Sister cities

Trivia

Kinshasa is officially nicknamed “Kin la Belle” (Kinshasa the Beautiful), but since the collapse of public services and neglect some of its residents have ironically changed the nickname into “Kin la Poubelle” (Kinshasa the Trash Can).[15]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b (French) "Monographie de la Ville de Kinshasa" (SWF). Unité de Pilotage du Processus d'Elaboration et de mise œuvre de la Stratégie pour la Réduction de la Pauvreté (UPPE-SRP). http://www.dsrp-rdc.org/documents/Monographies_Provinciales/Monographie%20de%20la%20Province%20de%20Kinshasa.swf. Retrieved 2007-01-19. 
  2. ^ (French) "Répartition de la population par Départements et Communes en 1984 et projetée de 2000 à 2015". Centre National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques (CNSEE). http://www.cnsee.org/Donnees/structurelle/Démographie/RepartPop.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-30. 
  3. ^ Programme du Gouvernement, Provincial de Kinshasa, 2007 - 2011
  4. ^ a b Géographie de Kinshasa, Ville de Kinshasa website, accessed 13 November 2009
  5. ^ "Demographia World Urban Areas Projections 2007 & 2020" (PDF). Demographia. http://www.demographia.com/db-worldua2015.pdf. Retrieved 2007-06-30. 
  6. ^ "World Urbanization Prospects: The 2005 Revision Population Database". United Nations Population Division. http://esa.un.org/unup/index.asp?panel=2. Retrieved 2007-06-30. 
  7. ^ "Average Conditions Kinshasa, Congo Democratic Republic". BBC Weather. http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/world/city_guides/results.shtml?tt=TT000770. Retrieved August 18, 2008. 
  8. ^ "Provincial Health Division of Kinshasa" African Development Information Services
  9. ^ Nadeau, Jean-Benoit (2006). The Story of French. St. Martin's Press. p. 301. ISBN 0312341830, 9780312341831.  The world's second-largest francophone city is not Montreal, Dakar, or Algiers, as most people would assume, but Kinshasa, capital of the former Zaire.
  10. ^ Trefon, Theodore (2004). Reinventing Order in the Congo: How People Respond to State Failure in Kinshasa. London and New York: Zed Books. p. 7. ISBN 1842774913, 9781842774915. http://books.google.com/books?id=5VAAHi93y0sC&pg=PA7&dq=Kinshasa+second+largest+French+city&ei=PeQiSt-yAojCyQSWqfijDw. Retrieved 2009-05-31.  A third factor is simply a demographic one. At least one in ten Congolese live in Kinshasa. With its 6-7 million inhabitants, it is the second largest city in sub-Saharan Africa (after Lagos). It is also the second largest French-speaking city in the world, according to Paris (even though only a small percentage of Kinois speak French correctly).
  11. ^ Manning, Patrick (1998). Francophone sub-Saharan Africa: Democracy and Dependence, 1985-1995. London and New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 189. ISBN 0521645190, 9780521645195. http://books.google.com/books?id=LwzFF2FnbzMC&pg=PA189&dq=Kinshasa+second+largest+francophone+city&lr=&ei=T-0iSpzsEYOIzQTSl_XRBw. Retrieved 2009-05-31.  The apostles of francophonie in the 1980s labelled Zaire as the second-largest francophone country, and Kinshasa as the second-largest francophone city. Yet Zaire seemed unlikely to escape a complex multilingualism. Lingala was the language of music, of presidential addresses, of daily life in government and in Kinshasa. But if Lingala was the spoken language of Kinshasa, it made little progress as a written language. French was the written language of the city -- as seen in street signs, posters, newspapers and in government documents. French dominated plays and television as well as the press; French was the language of the national anthem and even for the doctrine of authenticity. Zairian researchers found French to be used in vertical relationsihps among people of uneven rank; people of equal rank, no matter how high, tended to speak Zairian languages among themselves. Given these limits, French might have lost its place to another of the leading languages of Zaire -- Lingala, Tshiluba, or Swahili -- except that teach of these languages also suffered from limitations on its growth.
  12. ^ (French) La Stib à Kinshasa ?, La Dernière Heure, May 24, 2007.
  13. ^ (Dutch) Werkt MIVB mee aan uitbouw tramnetwerk Kinshasa?
  14. ^ (French) L’enfer des chemins de fer urbains kinois, Le Potentiel, 25 juillet 2005.
  15. ^ Patrice Chitera, "Kinshasa begins clean-up", BBC News, 11 November 2004

External links

Maps


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Kinshasa
Kinshasa

Kinshasa is the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Understand

This once modern African city has suffered from the decay and stagnation caused during the conflict in the country. Modern buildings such as the CCIC (Centre Commercial International Congolais) lay unused and abandoned. The private sector is making progress. Much of the city is now in the grips of another war, this time a commercial war between the mobile phone companies. Billboards, flags and even entire buildings are adorned with the slogans of the different operators.

Kinshasa's infrastructure is largely dysfunctional; electricity is reliable only in Gombe (the city center where most expats live) with other parts of the city experiencing power outages several times weekly. Running water can be found in many parts of the city, although Gombe is again the only area that enjoys a fairly consistent level of service. While certain central roads are paved, most neighborhood roads are dirt only. None of the roads are well maintained.

Get in

By plane

South African Airways, Kenyan Airways and Ethiopian airlines and Royal air Maroc each have a number of flights per week from their hubs in Johannesburg, Nairobi, Addis Ababa and Casablanca.

Connections to Europe can be made with Air France from Paris, France and SN Brussels from Brussels in Belgium. Hewa Bora also offered flights to and from Europe until they were placed upon the EU's no-fly blacklist.

The Kinshasa airport used to have a terrible reputation for corrupt officials asking for bribes. They have improved things recently and it is quite manageable. Just follow everyone else and try not to look like a tourist! A yellow fever vaccination certificate is essential. Watch out for being mobbed by volunteer 'helpers' once you are outside the airport, who will want to carry your bags in return for tips. You will also probably asked to give a bribe in order to through police and customs in all other cities.

Keep in mind that when returning to the airport to leave you can not drive your car or take a cab onto the airport property without paying for parking / access $5 or $10.

A taxi into town will probably cost you $30-$50 (usually without air conditioning!). It is an hour's drive into the centre of Kinshasa. Best is to get a shuttle offered by one of the travel companies on the right outside the arrivals door

By train

The railroad of Congo once covered the entire country during colonial times, but has fallen in to heavy disuse. While there is a central train station in Kinshasa, train service is erratic at best and does not run to many destinations for tourists. Tickets are usually only able to be bought the day of travel shortly before the train arrives and can prove to be difficult to get.

By car

Apart from the road Matadi to Kinshasa a car is no means for overland travel. You might be successful with a 4x4 in the upper northern region (Bangassou - Nia Nia - Isiro) and maybe the axis Kinshasa - Lumumbashi. All other towns are accessible only by air transport or boat.

By boat

You can arrive by boat from Brazzaville, if you have a visa. There are speed boats that go quickly for a limited number of people, or you can take the barge with local merchants if you have time. Ask to go to "the Beach", which is the ferry terminal.

Get around

Officially there is a city bus and it has been bolstered recently by some older buses from Belgium being gifted to Kinshasa to improve the routes. This system pales in comparison to the "taxi" system that has risen organically to serve the needs of the people of Kinshasa.

Essentially, these taxis are small buses. They run set routes between embarkation points that are the "stops". The cost between these various points is usually around 250 Francs. If one's destination is through multiple points, different taxis will need to be boarded to complete the route, making the system take a good deal of time during busy traffic hours. People waiting at the stops will move their hands in a variety of gestures to signal which direction they are going. A taxi will then stop and pick up someone if they are going in the same direction and have space in the taxi.

This system works well for the locals. For visitors and foreigners, it can be quite difficult as one needs to know the hand signs, have knowledge of the routes, be ready to sit in cramped, hot vehicles with many other people, and deal with the potential dangers of these vehicles as many are barely road-worthy. Traveling through this manner absolutely requires local help for those unfamiliar with the system. One will also have to speak French or Lingala as the drivers do not speak English.

There are also traditional taxis for hire. They are available for single runs or can be hired by the day. This can be a tricky business and should be handled with care (especially at the airport) as there are those will take people to remote locations and rob them. Again, help from a local is best or using drivers that others in the area have past experience with and trust. Rates for these taxis vary widely and if one does not appear to be of African descent, there will also be an automatic premium added.

See

Go see the bonobos by Lac de ma Vallée, Chutes de Zongo in Bas Congo and Bombo Lumene on the road to Kikwit. A BBQ on a sandbank on the Congo River is definitely also a must. Renting a boat for a day with a driver and all the gear (tables, chairs, a suntent and a BBQ) will set you back around 150$ at the Yacht Club Kinshasa. The boat can take 8 people, so if you share the cost it is quite affordable. A truly unforgettable experience if you don't forget the meat and the Primus! You can contact Mr. Nsimba (+243 81 3634273) at the Yacht Club to reserve a boat.

Don't forget to get some arts in Le marché des valeurs, sometimes called marché des voleurs... the first calling means market of value, the second in changing only one letter means market of thieves. Be prepared to haggle and don't pay the initial asking price that will be at least 60-75% of the final price if not more. For some more upscale art you can go to the Academie des Beaux Arts on Avenue Pierre Mulele (formerly Avenue 24 Novembre) or to Symphonie des Arts: towards Kintambo on the Boulevard du 30 Juin, turn right after the elephant when you see the barrier on your right... then it's on your left hand accross from the big colonial villa. A more time consuming but far more interesting and personal way to get to know the artists of the country would be to visit their private studios. Prices are high even there for paintings of Lema Kusa, Henri Kalama or Nshole, but worth every penny considering the quality of their works and their international career.

A more relax and fun way to buy street art is to have a beer at Surcouf: it's on the street off the boulevard 30 Juin towards Justice off the INSS building. Sit at a table and have a drink (Primus is recommended) and the artists will come and show all kinds of artworks all the time. The same rule on negotiating applies as at Marché des valeurs.

Kinkole

Kinkole is a small village in the eastern part of the city's rural area. It's on the RN1 (Boulevard Lumumba), further than the airport. It has a nice restaurant area where you can enjoy all the local food on a terrace. A lot of people come here to relax so there's a lot of people trying to get you into their business. If you go closer to the river there's a fisherman market where food from the river is brought. Be careful if you want to take pictures, you'll probably have to pay someone first as this is considered the international border.

Jardin d'Eden

Jardin d'Eden is a restaurant and music bar by the shores of the Nsele river, in the eastern part of the city's rural area. It is further than Kinkole, after the airport. There is a really relaxing athmosphere there. You can eat, listen to the live band playing Congolese classiscs or even take a boat on the river Nsele. The food and drinks are affordable for middle class.

Do

Plenty of cyber cafes exist, so don't worry about staying connected.

The Association Belgo-Congolais (ABC) rents out videos (VHS and DVD).

Go for a walk/jog along the river in front of the British /German embassies.

Go to church on a Sunday morning like most of the locals do.

Learn

Lingala is the local language spoken in this region beyond French. Learning a bit goes a long way to befriending locals.

Buy

The good supermarkets are the following: Peloustore located on the boulevard (big orange/yellow building with green letters). Good vegetables and all dry goods that you can find in Belgium. Expresse located on the boulevard, a little off from Peloustore. Here you can find good vegetables and the best "charcuterie", cold cutt meat? City Market If you turn on the corner of Expresse you will see this large supermarket on your left hand. It has the best bread in town. Alternatively across from it you will find excellent bread (and more) in Patisserie Nouvelle, which also has good lunch possibilities. Hasson et Freres located just off the roundabout near the central station: the street just before turning on the boulevard: this is definitly the best place to get your meat: the "filet pur" is the best meat you can get!

Eat

Lots of restaurants for 'expats' exist, where you can pay in dollars but it is very expensive. Don't be surprised to pay up to $20 for a pizza (and $40 at the hotel for one).

  • Al Dar, near the hotel Memling. A Lebanese restaurant in the center of town. A shwarma sandwich runs about $1.50, and they have taboule, hummus and desserts as well.

Many cheap roadside stalls exist, primarily outside of downtown's Gombe.

  • La Bloque, Bandalungwa. One of the better known being roadside stalls.
  • Mama Colonel, Bandal. An excellent restaurant. The menu has only 4 items - chicken, fish, fries and plantain - but they are barbecued to perfection.

Mid-range

The freshwater prawns from the Congo river are incredible - called Cossa Cossa on menus (as distinct from imported saltwater prawns which are Gambas) - generally served with a garlic and chili (pili-pili) butter sauce. A plate of these will set you back around $25-$40 dollars depending where you eat.

  • 3615, on the main Boulevard (next door to the Peloustore supermarket). Has an outdoor area as well as an airconditioned indoor area; and excellent food - from pizza to steaks and fish. Average price for a main dish plus drink costs around US$20.
  • Association Belgo-Congolaise (ABC). Serves meals for about $10 in a nice outdoor terrace, though sometimes the quality of meals is questionable and the kitchen can close early. The menu includes traditional dishes such as river fish and fried plantains, or international fare like cheeseburgers and spaghetti. You can also get real coffee (espresso), if you're tired of Nescafe.
  • Marie Kabuang – A bit difficult to find on the first floor of the Sultani Hotel (Avenue de la Justice), but totally renewed restaurant. Very stylisch and modern. Breakfast and lunch (international food) for only 15 USD, guarantee for a fast service, excellent taste.
  • Cercle Elaeis/ La Paillotte. Traditional and international food. Outdoor dining with view on the pool.
  • Chez Gaby. Portuguese-style. At the upper end of the mid-range - the food is varied and excellent and if you want to splash out, you can also order imported items like foie gras and european wines.
  • Chez Philo. Offers a number of Congolese dishes on the menu as well as the standard belgian-style fare.
  • La Piscine. Outdoor tables arranged around a swimming pool-great settings and good food in the $20-$30 range if you choose restrainedly.
  • Girassol (just off the Boulevard), turn across from Sonas, on the corner where Icare travel is located; take the most right street; it's on your right. The best cossa cossa in town!
  • Le Roi du Cossa 220 Ave Mpolo (just off the Boulevard), Gombe. A Portuguese restaurant is always a good bet for seafood, and this is no exception.
  • Pizerria Extreme: reasonably cheap pizza's and other dishes. Turn off the boulevard at the Express supermarket corner... it will be on your left hand
  • Pizerria Opoeta and Greg's bar: on the road towards the golf course: closest thing to an international pub. Good pizza's as well.
  • Taj: the best Indian restaurant in town, on top of the oldest highrise of Kinshasa: you will find it just of rond point forestcom.
  • Au plein vent: traditional fondue restaurant with a spectacular view. It is located at the top of a building on the road along the port.

Splurge

The more expensive restaurants are in Gombe.

  • Caf-Conc. The most expensive restaurant in the DRC, allegedly!
  • Ciboulette. Second most expensive.. it's in the Elais compound on your right hand
  • Chez Nicolas
  • Golf Club
  • Grand Hotel - very ordinary and overpriced hotel food. $25 for very good breakfast buffet. Food and service at the poolside bar have been improved recently and are not too bad.

Drink

Local beer - Turbo King is a darker beer, regular lagers are Primus (which is the best local beer, brewed by the local Heineken brewery) and Skol. European Mutzig comes in smaller bottles ! Lots of expensive French and South African wine available in restaurants and supermarkets.

Kinshasa becomes alive most nights when residents head to Matonge, a place filled with dancing bars, restaurants and night clubs. Lately Bandal and Bonmarche are the more popular "quartiers" to visit the local bars and "discotheques". Go to a local nightclub and learn how to dance Congolese rhythms. Get ready to shake your booty! For those that prefer to stay in Gombe, the following offer good possibilities:

  • Ibiza Bar Jazz bar for live music. Dancing starts around midnight. Small, smokey atmosphere, a really proper old-fashioned jazz bar.
  • Chez Ntemba. A hopping place after midnight.
  • Mambo
  • Standing - small western-style bar and disco.
  • VIP Bar - larger western-style disco - mirror and disco-ball on the ceiling ! On the main boulevard close to 3615
  • 3615 vibey but sleazy nightclub on the boulevard. Banned to UN personnel because it is full of prostitutes.
  • Savanana on the boulevard in the Gecamines/Sozacom building, the highest building in Kinshasa, close to the central station. Definitely an interesting experience for those that dare confront the local girls.
  • Bar of Sultani Hotel – The style bar of the Sultani Hotel has been changed and is now providing a comfortable feeling and (jazz) partys every Friday, live music, no ticket to pay. Prices for drinks start at about 8 USD for cocktails.

Water

Do not drink from the tap. Bottled water is readily available.

  • Hotel de La Gombe
  • CAP (Centre d'accueil protestant)
  • Hotel Phenix (Barumbu district) Rooms cost $20/10,000F. Power is intermittant and water brought in buckets. Get a room that opens up to the outside. Everyone knows this large building on the main road.
  • Hotel Fontana Inn. A well-run and well-located place frequented by NGOs and UN types. Rooms range about 60 USD.
  • Residence Marika. A simple 3-star hotel just off the main Boulevard, with swimming pool.
  • Hotel Memling, tel. +243 817001111, [1]. Probably the best and second most expensive hotel in town. Wireless Internet throughout, nice pool, bar and restaurants. Expect to pay $285/night plus $30 for breakfast and $30 for 24 hour access to Internet ($75 for week). Hertz car rental are at the hotel, along with mobile phone companies, gift shops and the usual souvenirs.
  • Grand Hotel, [2]. - The Grand Hotel is the other fancy hotel in town - well located near the river, embassies and the Presidential residence; it is frequented by locals as well as internationals assisting with the DRC's transition. It claims to be DRC's only 5* hotel, but the only 5* feature is the price ($300+/night plus tax). Extremely expensive and not particularly good food, with slow service. The are two accommodation blocks. The old one is now being completely refurbished. Slow wireless internet is available for $70/week.
  • Sultani Hotel, [3] - The Sultani Hotel is a new hotel in the city center of Kinshasa, close to the River Congo. There is wireless Internet included in the price and provided throughout the hotel. Prices start at $175 for a room. The price/quality ratio is very attractive compared to the other hotels. The hotel offers a business lunch for $15 which is quite rare to get in the very expensive city Kinshasa. The team is motivated and speaks English, French, German, and Chinese. Tel: +243 89 816 6000 or +243 81 885 3318 – E-mail: info@sultanihotel.com

A new insider tip for business people is the Sultani Hotel – [4] – where good qualtiy service is offered for a reasonable price. The service is nice, employees speak French, English, German and Chinese.

  • Hotel Pyramide, [5]. Hotel Pyramide is a small, but luxury hotel, about 5 km out of the center of Kinshasa. All rooms have a bathroom with Jacuzzi, warm water, hairdryer and a Fridge. In march 2008 however, there was only cold water available and in insufficient quantities to take a proper shower or bath. Most rooms are very spacious (some are like a small apartment) and dispose of flatscreen TVs and one or two air-conditioning units. The hotel has no fax. Internet was said to be available but was this not tested (there was a PC at the reception desk with internet connection, but not for residents). The hotel also has an e-mail address, but the on-duty receptionist was unable to access it ...
  • Faden House tel +243 81 99 43 331 or email faden.house@yahoo.fr. A small guesthouse which offers a welcome contrast to the awful Grand Hotel, across the street. Great location in Gombe, a block away from the River Congo (great walking/jogging route) and many of the European embassies. About the same price as the Grand Hotel, but here the price includes free wifi in all the rooms, and no harassment from drunk foreign soldiers or local prostitutes. A calm oasis in Kinshasa. Some English spoken. Only 9 rooms (avoid rooms 1 and room 3). Also a well-used conference facility, and the quality of service deteriorates when staff are occupied with a function there. There are small fridges in the rooms, but no safe deposit facility; and only a couple of French/Congolese TV channels.
  • Le Voyageur definitely the best hotel in town, located next to Elais; unfortunately it tends to be fully booked well in advance. All Elais amenities can be used.

Stay healthy

Don't drink the local water. Bottled water seems to be cheap enough but sometimes hard to find for a good price. The best way is if you are staying in a upscale hotel that provides it with the room just tip the housekeeping staff to get extra bottles put in your room (usually if you tell them while giving them the money that works the best, and after the first 2 days of asking for the water you usually don't have to worry about telling them anymore, just give them the $5 a day).

Make sure you have all required vaccinations - i.e. yellow fever, typhoid, etc..

Mosquitoes can be a problem in the entire city. Malaria medication should be taken.

Stay safe

It is highly recommended that you have someone with you at all times that is a local (besides while being in your hotel). Cab drivers will usually stay with you too when going to local shops and making quick stops and will serve as your translator if you get a good one. Be careful with any equipment you have with you such as digital cameras and video equipment. Be careful also of what you take pictures of. Even if they say no photos only at the airport and of government buildings, a lot of times the police and UN people will get upset if you are taking videos at other places where technically it is supposed to be ok to do. Just be sure to have plenty of locals with you that know what they are doing and can provide security and a way out if you get stuck or in trouble. Follow their advice and pay attention when out and about. When in doubt about taking a photo of something don't until you get very clear instructions that it is ok. Don't keep cameras in open view unless you've been cleared to take a photo (which is just like taking a photo to them it seems). Also be prepared for hostility and positive reactions when taking photos.

If you are approached by people claiming to be police, be wary. If they are not in uniform, they are probably not police but are most likely hoping to relieve you of your money and valuables. A common tactic is for a group of men in a car to show a fake police identity card and ask you to go with them to the police station. Do not get in the car; just walk away. Be prepared to run. Never lose your temper, but keep negociating in a friendly way; in the end, they will give up.

Recent road scams have included a group of fake police officers in an unmarked 4x4 vehicle that will pull over unsuspecting people driving alone in cars, then forcibly take them in to their vehicle, drive them out to the country, rob them of everything and leave them stranded. While the main targets have been UN staff in obvious white UN vehicles, all foreigners driving should be wary of this group or others operating like them. For general safety, people should never drive alone in vehicles, especially after dark.

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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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Contents

English

Pronunciation

Proper noun

Kinshasa

  1. The capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Synonyms

  • Leopoldville (obsolete)

Translations

  • Greek: Κινσάσα
  • Japanese: キンシャサ (Kinshasa)

Simple English

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Kinshasa is the capital city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (once called Zaire). It is the third largest city in the continent of Africa (after Lagos and Cairo). [1] Seven and a half million people live there. Kinshasa is also a province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The city of Kinshasa is located in it.

Henry Morton Stanley founded (started) the town in 1881 and called it Léopoldville (after King Léopold II of Belgium), next to a village called Nshasa or Kinshasa. The city of Léopoldville changed its name to Kinshasa in 1966.

Kinshasa is on one side of the Congo river, and Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo, is on the other side. Kinshasa and Brazzaville are the nearest country capitals in the world.

History

Henry Morton Stanley founded (started) the town in 1881 and called it Léopoldville (after King Léopold II of Belgium, who controlled the large territory that is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), next to a village called Nshasa or Kinshasa. [2] The city was originally private property (not public). The city of Léopoldville changed its name to Kinshasa in 1966. The post developed successfully as the first navigable port on the Congo River above Livingstone Falls, a series of rapids over 300 kilometres (190 mi) below Leopoldville. At first, all goods arriving by sea or being sent by sea had to be carried by porters between Léopoldville and Matad.

References


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