Flights to the Congo – A Rustic Holiday Destination
The Congo offers a beautiful scenery, vast stretches of rainforest, bubbling volcanoes, towering peaks, and exciting adventures. It is home to the great Congo River and five UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is also the second-largest African country. The Congo (or the Democratic Republic of the Congo) is located in Central Africa, with Kinshasa being its capital. This country has a sad history of political unrest, which earned it the name ‘Heart of Darkness’. Yet, it rewards tourists with its dramatic landscapes and hospitality.
Best time to visit
There is no specific time to visit the Congo, as the dry season occurs at different times in different regions. The dry season is ideal for exploring the country, when the rainfall is low, making movement easy. The months of June to September are dry in the southern part of the Congo (Kinshasa), while in the northern region, dry season runs from December to February. Yellow Fever vaccination is mandatory before traveling to this destination.
How to get there
N'Djili International Airport (or Kinshasa International Airport) is the main international airport serving the Congo. It provides excellent connectivity to different cities of the world, via top domestic and international airlines such as Jet Airways, Air India, Vistara, Malaysia Airlines, Air France, Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Thai Airways, Lufthansa, British Airways, etc. Many connecting flights fly from India to Kinshasa every week at convenient flight schedules. The airport is located about 25 km from Kinshasa and you can travel to and from the airport via taxis.
Places to stay
Stay in small hotels, luxury hotels, camps, tents, missionary accommodations, guesthouses, etc. available in various places around the Congo. Avenue Batetela, Avenue Mpeti, Avenue Kabasele Tshamala, Ngaliema, La Gombe, and Masina offer good lodging options in Kinshasa. Beni, Lubumbashi, Kongolo, Isiro, Butembo, and Nioki are the other major destinations in the Congo. The per-night hotel tariff ranges from INR 6,000 to INR 18,000, approximately.
Lola ya Bonobo, Musee National de Kinshasa, Academie des Beaux-Arts, Ma Vallee, Serpents du Congo, Texaf Bilembo, and Cathedrale Notre-Dame Du Congo are the top attractions in Kinshasa. Mount Nyiragongo in Goma is a live volcano and a major tourist attraction. It lies within the Virunga National Park, which is one of the five UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The other sites include the Kahuzi-Biega National Park, Garamba National Park, Salonga National Park, and the Okapi Wildlife Reserve.
Congo River is the world’s second-largest river, and a must-visit attraction in the Congo. Zongo Falls is yet another spectacular sight that you just cannot miss. Visit the Lake Kivu, Mount Stanley, Lomako-Yokokala Faunal Reserve, Kananga, Lubumbashi, and Maiko National Park in the rest of the Congo, for amazing nightlife, safaris, hiking, trekking, wildlife reserves, etc.
Shopping in the Congo
If you wish to take a portion of the Congo with you, you must buy their locally-made goods like bracelets, ebony carvings, hand-woven baskets, decorated pottery, Katanga hand-painted art, Kuba Wrap (made from the raffia palm tree fiber), collectible power figurines, and Ivory pendants. Gare Central and other craft workshops in Kinshasa are best for souvenir shopping in the Congo.
Cassava, along with other side dishes, is the staple food of the Congolese. Savor ‘Moambe’, the national dish made from cassava leaves, rice, chicken, hot pepper sauce, fish, bananas, palm nuts, and peanuts. You should also try other delicacies like Ntaba or Ngulu yako tumba (Grilled pork or goat), Moin Moin (black-eyed peas paste, onions, and hot peppers), Fufu (thick sweet potato paste), Gari (roast, ground cassava), Salt fish, and Plantains (savory banana). Palm wine (made from wild palm tree) and Lunguila (sugarcane wine) are the popular Congolese drinks.
•Which are the budget airlines to the Congo?
Ethiopian Airlines and Turkish Airlines are the budget airlines to the Congo.
•What is the time difference between India and the Congo?
India is 4 hours and 30 minutes ahead of the Congo.
•What is the flight duration from major Indian metros to Kinshasa?
Delhi to Kinshasa – 13 hours and 20 minutes
Bangalore to Kinshasa – 18 hours
Chennai to Kinshasa – 19 hours
Hyderabad to Kinshasa – 18 hours and 30 minutes
•What are the major layover airports for connecting flights to the Congo?
Mumbai, Paris, Amsterdam, and Doha are the major layover airports for connecting flights to the Congo.
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