How to Travel From Brazzaville, Congo to Kinshasa, DRC

A view of Brazzaville from the Congo river
A view of Brazzaville from the Congo river | © Victoire Douniama / Culture Trip
Victoire Douniama

If you’re planning to travel from the Republic of Congo’s capital city, Brazzaville, to the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kinshasa, then look no further than this handy guide.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Republic of Congo are neighbouring countries who share similar cultures, languages and even names. Brazzaville and Kinshasa are so close to each other that the two cities could be confused as being within the same country; geographically they are the two closest capital cities in the world. While in Brazzaville, you might be interested in taking a trip to Kinshasa to get another stamp in your passport and have yet another adventure.

Why you should visit Kinshasa, DRC

The Republic of the Congo and the DRC might be mistaken as being the same country, but they’re really not – both countries have different activities and experiences to offer. Unlike the small and peaceful city of Brazzaville, Kinshasa is a large and chaotic city with a population 10 times that of Brazzaville.

There are more than a hundred activities to do in Kinshasa, such as haggling for African-inspired art at Le Marche des Valeurs, taking a day tour out to the Nyiragongo volcano, or visiting Virunga National Park close to the Rwandan border. This could be the perfect opportunity to visit another amazing country. The list of adventures to experience in this big city is endless.

What you should know

Brazzaville and Kinshasa are very close, with only around eight kilometres and the Congo river separating them. It is very easy to travel to Kinshasa from Brazzaville and not very time consuming depending on the type of transport you decide to take.

When travelling from Brazzaville to Kinshasa, people with a Congolese nationality from Brazzaville can easily cross over to Kinshasa without a visa, regardless of their mode of transport. It’s slightly different for people with a European visa, or even for holders of other African passports who will require a valid visa. The visa application from Brazzaville to Kinshasa is a very easy process. Travellers can obtain the visa to Kinshasa at the embassy of the Democratic Republic of Congo in Brazzaville. The visa can be issued within one or two days.

Type of transportation

Being so close to each other there are multiple types of transport to help you get across from Brazzaville to Kinshasa.

Travelling by car

Few people travelling to Kinshasa from Brazzaville opt to go by car. This option might be a bit time consuming as it takes about five-and-a-half hours to reach Kinshasa. The driving distance from Brazzaville to Kinshasa is about 12km (7.34 miles) if driving on the N1 route towards Avenue Kasa-Vubu. The estimated time might not apply to everyone due to the number of stops you make during your trip. An advantage of travelling by car, however, is that this will be a perfect opportunity to explore different cities within Congo-Brazzaville before reaching your destination in the DRC.

Travelling by boat

This is the most common way people choose to travel from Brazzaville to Kinshasa, the main reasons being is that it is much faster and more affordable. A boat ticket to Kinshasa might cost only about 20, 000FCFA, which is about $36 US dollars. If travelling by boat it is necessary to book a hotel before your trip as the immigration officers might demand tourists arriving in Kinshasa to show proof of accommodation. The approximate time it takes to arrive in Kinshasa by boat is only about 10 to 15 minutes.

Crossing the Congo river

Travelling by airplane

Travelling by aeroplane has always been the fastest and most preferred way to reach a specific destination. The distance to travel by airplane is only about 7km (four miles), which takes around 35 minutes. Asky airlines have three scheduled flights per week from Brazzaville to Kinshasa. Reservations can be booked on their website. Although travelling by airplane might take a bit longer than travelling by boat, it is more comfortable.

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