Democratic Republic of Congo
The Department of Foreign Affairs strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before travelling to The Democratic Republic of Congo. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.
Travellers should note that the Irish Government does not provide funds for emergency medical repatriation or for repatriation of remains.
Irish citizens are advised against non-essential travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa)(DRC). In particular, Irish citizens are strongly advised against all travel to the eastern, north-eastern and Bas-Congo areas, including the town of Goma. Travellers should be aware that in the event of escalating unrest, commercial flights may be suspended and border crossing points closed, restricting your ability to leave the DRC.
Irish citizens, either visiting or residing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are strongly advised to register their details with the Embassy of Ireland in Pretoria. Please click here to do so.
Irish citizens should avoid entering or leaving the DRC overland from Uganda, Rwanda or Burundi except via Bukavu. Care should still be exercised at these crossing points. Irish citizens must have the correct documentation for entrance. All Irish nationals require a visa issued by the DRC Embassy in their country of residence. It is no longer possible to buy a short-term pass at the border to enter the country.
Travellers should note that the Irish government does not provide funds for emergency medical repatriation or for repatriation of remains.
Safety and Security
Citizens who are obliged to travel should monitor media broadcasts during their stay, as the situation can change rapidly. Criminality is on the rise in Kinshasa and care should be taken, especially after nightfall.
In Kinshasa robberies by gangs of street children are increasingly common and becoming more aggressive. You should always stick to the main thoroughfares when driving and ensure that you park in a supervised area.
Do not walk in the streets alone or after dark. Safeguard and avoid displaying valuables and cash. Deposit them in a hotel safe, where practical.
You should avoid all public demonstrations and areas where crowds have gathered because even those that are peaceful can turn confrontational and become violent.
Local Laws and Customs
Taking photographs of security officers and installations risks arrest and detention.
It is advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you. During your stay you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times.
Travellers are frequently detained and questioned by poorly disciplined security forces at numerous official and unofficial roadblocks and border crossings throughout the country. Requests for bribes in such instances are common, and security forces are reported to have occasionally injured or killed people who refuse to pay.
Natural Disasters and Climate
In January 2002, Mount Nyiragongo volcano in the north east of the
country (20 km from Goma) erupted. A lava flow reached
populated areas in Goma, killing 47 people and leaving over 120,000
Mount Nyiragongo is still live and local authorities, the UN and local NGOs continue to monitor its activity. If you are in the area (against our travel advice) then you should follow local advice.
Earthquakes occasionally occur in DRC. The last occurred in Eastern DRC on 9 June 2009 and measured approximately 5.0 on the Richter scale.
The climate in DRC is tropical. It is generally hot and humid in the equatorial river basin. The southern highlands are cooler and drier. The eastern highlands are cool and wet. DRC is located on the equator and so there are climactic variations to the north and south. North of the equator the rainy season is from April to October, the dry season lasting from December to February. South of the equator the rainy season is from November to March, the dry season lasting from April to October.
There are occasional droughts in the dry season. The Congo River floods during the rainy season causing widespread disruption in the river basin.
Additional Country Info
The Department of Foreign Affairs strongly recommends that all visitors to DRC obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance and consult a GP or Travel Health Clinic before travelling.
Malaria is prevalent in DRC. Before travelling to DRC, you should consult your doctor about suitable medication, and on arrival ensure that you take adequate precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes.
Rabies, polio, meningitis and cholera are also common. Plague is endemic in North Eastern Province Orientale. There have also been recent reports of an outbreak of ebola haemorrhagic fever in DRC.
You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS, which is prevalent.
The Centre Prive d'Urgence (CPU) clinic in Kinshasa is able to cope with basic health problems and to stabilise a patient after most serious accidents. Medical evacuation is advisable as soon as possible. Outside Kinshasa, western standard medical facilities are practically non-existent.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
If you are in need of assistance in DR Congo you should contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of an EU Member State.
The Embassy of Ireland in South Africa is accredited to DR Congo. The Embassy contact details are available here.
Centre Prive d’Urgence (CPU)
Corner of Avenue Commerce and Bas-Congo
Telephone: + 243 89 50 302
Open 24 hours for emergency treatment.
Centre Medical de Kinshasa (CMK)
Avenue Wagenia No 168
Main Telephone: +243 89 50 300 or +243 99 82 65004
Emergency number: + 243 90 884 0277
Open 24 hours. Offers general and emergency medical services.
CMM Emergency Medical Centre
Avenue 48 de la Mongala
Telephone: +243 81 884 1774
Offers general medical services.
Maison Medicale Du Centre (MMC)
20 Avenue Kamina
Telephone: +243 80 84 20 442 or 99 77 57 226 or 80 85 92 778
There is no emergency services number in DR Congo, equivalent to the 999 service in Ireland. If you are a victim of crime you should notify the nearest police station or gendarmerie. Laws and regulations are not administered consistently in the DRC. Legal recourse in cases of theft and robbery is limited.
DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR MISSIONSThe Irish Embassy in South Africa is accredited to the Democratic Republic of Congo. For contact details, please click here. (Opens in new window) Top