North Africa

Democratic Republic of the Congo Sightseeing Places

Current visa requirements for the DR Congo

Military clashes occur repeatedly in the east and northeast of the Democratic Republic. The entry requirements and security conditions in the Congo can therefore change at short notice. You can get more information from the embassies (see Congo – important addresses).

Passport: is generally required for travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months upon entry.

Visa: also generally required. Visas are not issued at the border or at the airport.

Documents: tourist Visa: passport that is still valid for at least 12 months when applying for a visa – 2 application forms – 2 biometric passport photos – international vaccination passport with proof of a valid yellow fever vaccination – travel booking confirmation for return flights – confirmation of a hotel booking or accommodation (Certificat d ‘ Hérbergement) – fee (crossed check or postal order).

G eschäftsvisum: an additional letter of his own company on the intended purpose, the expected duration and cost over certificate – invitation of the Congolese business partner

If the visa is requested by post, a stamped and addressed return envelope and proof of payment for the necessary visa fee should be attached. Depending on the purpose of the trip, the Congolese authorities may request additional documents. Required documents must be translated in French.

Visa fees: Since the Congolese embassies abroad are financed, among other things, from visa and fee income, these are relatively expensive:

One month, single entry: 84.00 euros

One month, multiple entries: EUR 123.00

Two months, single entry: 148.00 euros

Two months, multiple entries: 174.00 euros

Three months, single entry: 202.00 euros

Three months, multiple entries: 212.00 euros

Six months, single entry: EUR 250.00

Six months, multiple entries: 327.00 euros

Processing time: about a week, shorter express processing is possible for an additional fee

Obligation to register in the Congo: The “Direction Générale de Migration” (DGM) is responsible for compliance with entry and residence regulations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The authority controls all migration movements in the country. After each change of location, the DGM must be visited for registration.

The address of the DGM in Kinshasa is:

Direction Générale de Migration
65, Boulevard du 30 Juin
Commune de Gombe
Kinshasa

Visa extension: Entry visas can be extended in Kinshasa.

Residence permit: In order to pursue a professional or business activity in the DR Congo, it is necessary to acquire a “Visa d’Etablissement”.

Entry with children:

Germany: Children need their own passport (children’s passport or electronic passport) or a German children’s ID with photo to enter the DR Congo.
Austria: own passport for children.
Switzerland: own passport for children.

The same visa requirements apply to children as to their parents.

Minors traveling alone require an “authorization parental”, a parental written approval and a “prize en charge” from the airline used. This is not necessary when accompanied by only one parent.

Democratic Republic of the Congo Sightseeing Places

Congo: money and currency

National currency: 1 Franc Congolais corresponds to 100 centimes. In addition to the Franc Congolais, payment in foreign currency (US dollars or euros) has been permitted since 2001/2002, the most common being the US dollar, although older US dollar notes are often not accepted!

Currency abbreviation: FC, CDF. – ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG

Banknotes are in circulation in the nominal values ​​of 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1 FC.

Currency exchange: The exchange of foreign currency in Franc Congolais is possible without any problems. The US dollar is the only stable currency in the country, the exchange rate to the euro is determined by the US dollar and is somewhat less favorable. The exchange of foreign currency outside of the official exchange offices is not permitted.

Congo Franc Exchange rate:

Currency converter at OANDA

Credit Cards: The use of credit cards (Eurocard, MasterCard, Visa) is limited to a few places in the larger cities in the country (large hotels, offices of some airlines, possibly supermarkets).

Traveler’s checks: Traveler’s checks are practically never accepted anywhere in the country.

ATMs: do not exist.

Foreign Exchange Regulations: The import of local currency and foreign exchange is allowed without limitation, with a declaration requirement starting from an equivalent value of US $ 10,000.

The export of foreign exchange is only permitted up to $ 10,000 (this restriction does not officially apply to business travelers) and is subject to declaration. Sums over $ 10,000 must be sent out of the country via bank transfer.

Franc Congolais may not be exported.

Bank opening times: Mon – Fri 8 a.m. – 11.30 a.m.

Health while traveling in the country

Vaccination against yellow fever is mandatory for everyone over the age of 1 and also medically indicated. It is mandatory to have an international vaccination passport upon arrival. It is recommended to carry the vaccination certificate with you during the entire trip.

The health service of the Foreign Office recommends also a vaccination against tetanus, diphtheria, poliomyelitis (polio) and hepatitis A. For stays over 4 weeks or special exposure, vaccinations against hepatitis B, rabies, meningococcal meningitis and typhoid are also recommended. The standard vaccinations according to the current vaccination calendar of the Robert Koch Institute for children and adults should be checked and completed during a trip

Malaria:There is a very high risk for the almost exclusively occurring malaria tropica throughout the year and throughout the country. The transmission takes place through the bite of blood-sucking, predominantly nocturnal Anopheles mosquitoes. If left untreated, it is often fatal to non-immune Europeans. The disease can break out weeks to months after your stay. If fever occurs during this time, an indication to the doctor in charge of staying in a malaria area is necessary. Prophylaxis against malaria is strongly recommended. Various prescription medications (e.g. malarone, doxycycline, Lariam) are available on the market for malaria prophylaxis in Germany. The selection and personal adjustment as well as side effects or Incompatibilities with other medications should be discussed with a tropical or travel doctor before taking chemoprophylaxis. Due to the mosquito-borne infection risks, all travelers are advised to sign up protect against mosquitoes and other insects:

  • wear body-covering (light) clothing (long trousers, long shirts),
  • Repeatedly apply insect repellent to all free parts of the body in the evening and at night
  • to sleep under a mosquito net if possible

HIV / AIDS: Sexual contact, drug use (dirty syringes or cannulas) and blood transfusion patients generally pose a high risk. Condom use is always recommended, especially on the occasion of acquaintances.

Diarrheal diseases and cholera: Appropriate food and drinking water hygiene can prevent most diarrheal diseases and especially cholera. This occurs again and again, especially in the rainy season. Vaccination can be useful for special exposure (working in slums, caring for the sick and in refugee camps). Some basic rules are: only drink water of safe origin, e.g. bottled water, never tap water. In case of emergency, use filtered, disinfected or boiled water. Use drinking water for washing dishes and brushing your teeth. The following applies to food: cooking, peeling or disinfecting. Be sure to keep flies away from your food. Wash your hands with soap as often as possible, but always after bowel movements and always before food preparation and before eating. Hand disinfection, where appropriate, use disposable towels.

Other infectious diseases

Pest:Since May 2006 there has been a regional outbreak of pest in the north-east of the DR Congo (Ituri, province of Oriental), a well-known natural pest that has hardly been visited due to the current security situation. Mainly the lung plague, but also bubonic plague occurs. The primary lung plague is transmitted from person to person by droplet infection and leads to a life-threatening clinical picture with fever, shortness of breath and severe pneumonia within one to three days. Antibiotic treatment within 24 hours after the onset of symptoms or prophylactically after exposure is necessary and life-saving. The disease, especially the primary bubonic plague, is favored by poor hygienic conditions, contact with rodents (the carrier is the rat flea) and sick people.

Schistosomiasis: The risk of transmission of schistosomiasis is bathing in fresh waters. Bathing there should therefore be avoided in the DR Congo.

Before you travel, get advice from a tropical medicine advice center, a tropical doctor or a travel doctor.

Medical care in the DR Congo cannot be compared with European standards, it is often technically and apparatus-poor, the hygienic standards are generally inadequate, and inland is catastrophic. Well-trained and English-speaking doctors are often missing. An individual first- aid kit should always be carried and protected from tropical temperatures on the way. Individual advice from a tropical doctor or travel doctor is also advisable here.

Most medicines are available in the capital, Kinshasa, but they are very expensive – supply shortages cannot be ruled out. The Center Médical de Kinshasa (CMK), Avenue de Wagenia 168, BP 95 86 Kinshasa, Tel.: 00243-89 50 300 offers reasonable treatment options for acute diseases. This health center also has an emergency room, the “Center Privé d ‘ Urgence “(CPU).

All treatments, including emergencies, must always be paid in cash in advance. It is therefore strongly recommended that you take out travel health insurance with the possibility of returning.

As a useful vaccine protection for travel in the Central African Republic is recommended: protection against tetanus, diphtheria, polio, hepatitis A and hepatitis B, typhoid and meningitis. With special exposure (such as a stay in the country, hunting or jogging), vaccination against rabies can also be very useful. A valid yellow fever vaccination is mandatory for entry, sometimes proof of a valid cholera vaccination must be brought in upon entry. A malaria prophylaxis is highly recommended.

In addition to my general disclaimer, please note the following important note:

A guarantee for the correctness and completeness of the medical information as well as a liability for possible damage cannot be assumed. You stay responsible for your healthy.

Travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Due to the lack of security, traveling in the DR Congo is very limited and only possible in a few regions.

Tours to the southeastern mining areas require a special permit, which must be approved by the Congolese Ministry of the Interior or the Immigration Service prior to departure (ma can be expected to take several days to process and cost approximately $ 250).

Officially, foreigners no longer need a “Laissez-Passer Special” from the Congolese Interior Ministry when they leave Kinshasa Province. However, local authorities or control posts may still insist on this document or an “ordre de mission”. If regions outside the province of Kinshasa are visited, it is therefore still recommended to contact the DR Congo Ministry of the Interior and to apply for approval from the “Direction Générale de Migration” (DGM) before the trip.

For travelers, only trips to the capital Kinshasa and the neighboring provinces of Bandundu and Bas-Congo are currently possible without safety concerns. However, there is no tourist infrastructure here either. Due to the ongoing fighting in several regions, tourist trips to the Democratic Republic of the Congo are not recommended. It expressly warns against trips to the east and northeast of the DR Congo.

The German embassy recommends all citizens of Germany who are in the DR Congo – even for a short time – to be entered on the list of Germans kept by the embassy. In consular and other emergencies, this makes consular support easier.

Airplane: Due to the almost lack of infrastructure in many regions of the country, airplanes are an important means of transportation within the country. However, the numerous airlines in the Congo do not meet European safety standards. That is why all Congolese airlines (the only exception: Hewa Bora Airways) have been blacklisted by the EU Commission.

The airports in the Democratic Republic of the Congo also do not comply with international security regulations. Smaller airports in the interior of the country often only have one runway with no technical equipment.

Ship: The Congo River is navigable for about 1,600 km, ferries run between Kinshasa and Kisangani. In contrast to the ferry traffic between Kinshasa and Brazzaville (Republic of the Congo), the ships on this connection only travel very irregularly, get on sandbars or have general technical problems.

Rail: The country’s main rail routes run from Lubumbashi in the south to Ilebo and from Kinshasa to Matadi. There may be derailments on the (theoretically) Kinshasa – Matadi line, which runs twice a week. The lines inside the Congo can be threatened or interrupted by rebel groups. Trains in the Congo are not very comfortable and only run irregularly. Train accidents occur again and again.

Cars: The streets in the Congo are in very poor condition and can only be driven in and near larger cities. Only 2,794 km (2004) of the roads across the country are paved. Many roads and slopes can only be driven by off-road vehicles. In the rainy season, roads are often difficult or impossible to cross. Be sure to observe roadblocks and checkpoints!

Buses and minibuses travel between the larger cities, but are always very full, timetables are not adhered to. Rental cars can be rented from Avis at the Hotel Intercontinental in Kinshasa. Alternatively, it is possible to rent so-called “taxi express” with driver in Kinshasa on a daily or shorter basis. Documents: an international driver’s license is required.

There are no official taxis in Kinshasa but a lot of unofficial “taxi express”. Many other cities in the DR Congo have little or no public transport.

Attractions in the DR Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is currently not a country that is particularly suitable for travel, there is no tourist infrastructure in large regions of the country.

Once called Kin la belle (beautiful Kinshasa), Kinshasa suffered a lot from the years of civil war. Africa’s third largest city (after Cairo and Lagos) doesn’t have many sights to offer. The Central Marché Matongé and Marché de Valeur markets are worth seeing .

In the Academy des Beaux-Arts you can visit the beautiful gardens. You can also visit the grave of former President Laurent Kabila and the statue in honor of Patrice Lumumba.

The biggest attraction in the Kinshasa area are the Chutes de Lukia on the road to Matadi. There is also an animal station here, where bonobos (dwarf chimpanzees) are raised.

Zongo is known for the 60 m high Insiki waterfalls. In Kisantu there is the Botanical Garden Frère Gillet with rare orchids.

In Upemba National Park in northeastern Bugama live hippos, crocodiles and many species of waterfowl.
In the north of Lubumbashi there are impressive waterfalls, e.g. Kiobo and Lofol.

On the eastern border are the Kivu, Idi-Amin-Dada, Mobutu-SéséSéko and Bukavu and Taganjika lakes. Unfortunately, this region is currently difficult to travel due to the security situation. In 2005 the Nyiragongo volcano erupted near the city of Goma and destroyed large parts of the city and its surroundings. The destruction can still be seen today.

The Garamba National Park in the north of the country offers habitat for African savannah fauna such as lions, giraffes and elephants. The Kaluzi-Biéga National Park, on the other hand, is known for lowland gorillas. The highest peak of the Ruwenzori Mountains is the Pic Marguerite with 5,119 m .

The Virunga National Park (thus the oldest national park in Africa) near Goma, founded in 1925, is enclosed by two mountain ranges, which act as natural protection. About half of the extremely endangered mountain gorillas live in Virunga National Park. These great apes occur here in the foggy mountain forests at an altitude of 2,000 to 4,000 meters.

Poaching is an acute problem in all DR Congo national parks.