Overland Democratic Republic of Congo Travel
West Africa > Democratic Republic of Congo
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- 1 Visiting Democratic Republic of Congo
- 2 Entering Democratic Republic of Congo with a Car or Motorbike
- 3 Driving in Democratic Republic of Congo
- 4 Gas price in Democratic Republic of Congo and Diesel price in Democratic Republic of Congo
- 5 Safety and Security Considerations
- 6 Camping in Democratic Republic of Congo
- 7 Navigation
- 8 Special Overland Travel interests
- 9 Vehicle Maintenance
- 10 Buy or sell a car or motorbike in Democratic Republic of Congo
- 11 References
- 12 Helpful External links
Visiting Democratic Republic of Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a massive country - one of the biggest in Africa. The country often struggles for stability, and is not known as the safest of places to visit. Do you research carefully.
Note: Almost all places in the DRC accept the US Dollar as currency, or the local Congolese Franc (only used in the DRC)
Entering Democratic Republic of Congo with a Car or Motorbike
Correct as of: May 2017
Travel Visa for Democratic Republic of Congo
The travel visa for The DRC is easy to get, with virtually everyone who travels South getting it in Cotonou, Benin. It's possible to get a one week visa, or a one month visa which costs CFA70,000.00 XOF.
The visa will be issued by the staff while you wait, or later the same day.
Coming from the South, get the visa in Windhoek, Namibia for $100.00 USD
- Passport of registered owner.
- Drivers license of registered owner.
- Original vehicle registration.
- Proof of vehicle insurance - they might not ask for it, but it’s better to have it.
- (OPTIONAL) Carnet de Passage
(no copies are required)
Process at border
Depending on your route, getting stamped in might actually be many days drive from where you enter. This is considered normal.
- Get yourself stamped in at Immigration.
- Go to Douane to get a temporary import for the vehicle. Using the vehicle registration the officer will write out a Passavant, valid for one month.
- If you have a Carnet de Passage, you don't need the Passavant.
Cost of entry
Entry with a Carnet de Passage is free, the passavant costs CFA10,000.00 XOF
Permitted length of stay
With a Passavant it is one month.
Extension of stay
Storing a vehicle and temporarily leaving the country
Describe if/how a vehicle can be stored, and for how long.
Also mention if the owner / temporary importer can leave the country while the vehicle is in storage.
Exiting with a vehicle
- Get yourself stamped out at Immigration.
- Get your Carnet de Passage stamped out if you have one.
All should be free, do not pay for this.
Driving in Democratic Republic of Congo
Recommended books for Overlanding in Democratic Republic of Congo
Travel insurance for Democratic Republic of Congo
Vehicle insurance requirements
Insurance does not seem to be required, Police never seem to ask for it for people just transiting through, though you might want to have something to show anyone looking for a bribe.
Cost of vehicle insurance
Where to purchase vehicle insurance
Unknown within The DRC
Anything from your home country will be accepted.
Driving side of road
RHD vehicles are allowed without problem.
Mandatory items in vehicle
You probably need two safety triangles, first aid kit, and fire extinguisher. It's a good idea to have them to avoid bribery.
General Road quality
The DRC has possibly the worst roads in all of Africa. Dirt roads are often extremely bad mud, with deep rutted tracks from transport trucks, deep water crossings and bogs which may be impassable. Paved roads are often more pothole than tarmac.
Road signs are virtually non-existent, certainly away from Kinshasa you should expect none.
Bribery in Democratic Republic of Congo
Bribery is extremely common, you should expect officers at checkpoints to either directly ask for money or a gift. Maybe they will invent a story about why you must pay. "Road tax" is a common bribe, and is extremely expensive for foreign vehicles (often $50 USD). Be polite, and don’t pay bribes, though many people can not find a way around paying Road Tax.
See the bribery tips page for general advice.
There are many checkpoints and random stops where Police, Military and Customs will check all your paperwork. Don't pay. Stay friendly and polite. Never use your mobile phone or camera at check points.
Traveling with pets
List the entry requirements and anything else required to travel with a pet.
Gas price in Democratic Republic of Congo and Diesel price in Democratic Republic of Congo
Last updated: May 2017
Currency and unit to display:
|Unleaded||$1.27 USD per Liter|
|Diesel||$1.26 USD per Liter|
Gas and Diesel Availability / Frequency
Stations are very rare, especially North of the Congo River. Gas and diesel can be bought from containers, though the quality will be questionable. You should carry as much gas/diesel as possible, and expect to find few stations.
Gas and Diesel Quality
Likely not good - both have dirt and/or water, diesel is likely extremely high sulphur content.
Safety and Security Considerations
Driving at night
Driving at night is not highly recommended due to the risk of violence or bandits. There can also be armed robbery on the roads in remote places and some even place bogus road blocks. Also watch out for cars without lights, animals, people and everything else you can imagine on the roads.
Vehicles can be parked on the streets and usually are safe. At night try to park in compounds or other known safe zones
Special driving considerations
As with all of west africa, expect the unexpected at all times. Literally anything is possible.
Security advisories and information
- Country Specific Information - U.S. Department of State
- Travel Reports and Warnings - Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
- Travel advice by country - Foreign and Commonwealth office (U.K.)
- Travel Advice for Democratic Republic of Congo - Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Camping in Democratic Republic of Congo
Camping is not common in The DRC, though it can be done in the right places.
Wildcamping is certainly possible in remote areas. See places in iOverlander for the few that exist.
Camping guide books
List and link to books specifically for camping.
It's not recommended to drink tap water - filter it or buy bottles.
Reise Know-How are among the best paper maps. Purchase paper maps before arriving in Democratic Republic of Congo
GPS Maps of Democratic Republic of Congo
- Garmin Open Street Maps has excellent coverage of all roads - highways and cities.
- Tracks4Africa is an SD Card for Garmin GPS, and contain Routable turn-by-turn maps with 809,000 kms of roads and over 129,000 points of interest.
GPS co-ordinates for camping, propane, gas, repairs, etc. in Democratic Republic of Congo
- iOverlander is a website and iPhone application designed by Overlanders, for Overlanders. It contains GPS co-ordinates and reviews for camping, hotels, propane, water, mechanics, borders and much more.
Special Overland Travel interests
- There are quite a few great spots listed in iOverlander - check there.
- The Luozi ferry is the most common place to cross the Congo River. Price is just under $20USD for a regular sized 4x4, and around $30USD for a large truck-camper.
- There is a bridge across the Congo River at Matadi - the price is about $5USD.
4x4s / Trucks
- Toyota Global Dealer Locator
- Land Rover International Dealer Locator
- Mercedes Benz International (select country on bottom right)
- Jeep International site locator
Add known good mechanics here.
Buy or sell a car or motorbike in Democratic Republic of Congo
Describe how a foreigner can buy a vehicle. List any difficulties or limitations on where the vehicle can be driven.
Describe how a foreigner can sell a foreign-plated vehicle, or list not possible.'
Links to the source of any information - blogs or discussion forums, etc.
Add any helpful external links here.
- Democratic Republic of Congo: Visa and Passport requirements | World Travel Guide
- Health Information for Travelers to Democratic Republic of Congo - Center for Disease Control and Prevention
- Democratic Republic of Congo travel guides at wikivoyage
- Democratic Republic of Congo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia