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Kinshasa Travel Guide

April 8, 2020 by VacStay Vacation Rentals

Kinshasa Vacation Rentals

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Kinshasa Travel Guide

Kinshasa, formerly Léopoldville, is the capital and the largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The city is situated alongside the Congo River. Once a site of fishing and trading villages, Kinshasa is now a megacity with an estimated population of more than 11 million. It faces Brazzaville, the capital of the neighbouring Republic of the Congo, which can be seen in the distance across the wide Congo River, making them the world’s second-closest pair of capital cities after Rome and Vatican City. The city of Kinshasa is also one of the DRC’s 26 provinces. Because the administrative boundaries of the city-province cover a vast area, over 90 percent of the city-province’s land is rural in nature, and the urban area occupies a small but expanding section on the western side. Kinshasa is Africa’s third-largest urban area after Cairo and Lagos. It is also the world’s largest Francophone urban area, with French being the language of government, schools, newspapers, public services, and high-end commerce in the city, while Lingala is used as a lingua franca in the street. Kinshasa hosted the 14th Francophonie Summit in October 2012. Residents of Kinshasa are known as Kinois (in French and sometimes in English) or Kinshasans (English). The indigenous people of the area include the Humbu [fr] and Teke.

Kinshasa is a city of sharp contrasts, with affluent residential and commercial areas and three universities alongside sprawling slums. It is located along the south bank of the Congo River, downstream on the Pool Malebo and directly opposite the city of Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of the Congo. The Congo river is the second longest river in Africa after the Nile, and has the continent’s greatest discharge. As a waterway it provides a means of transport for much of the Congo basin; it is navigable for river barges between Kinshasa and Kisangani; many of its tributaries are also navigable. The river is an important source of hydroelectric power, and downstream from Kinshasa it has the potential to generate power equivalent to the usage of roughly half of Africa’s population.

When to visit Kinshasa

Under the Köppen climate classification, Kinshasa has a tropical wet and dry climate (As). Its lengthy rainy season spans from October through May, with a relatively short dry season, between June and September. Kinshasa lies south of the equator, so 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 December. Kinshasa’s dry season is slightly cooler than its wet season, though temperatures remain relatively constant throughout the year.

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