Foreign travel advice

Democratic Republic of Congo

Summary

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to the provinces of Haut-Uele, Haut Lomami, Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu, Maniema and Tanganyika, and to within 50km of the border with the Central African Republic and South Sudan.

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the cities of Goma and Bukavu and to the districts of N’djili and Kimbanseke in Kinshasa.

There are reports that a prominent political opposition figure will arrive in Kinshasa on 27 July 2016. Political parties have also announced meetings on 29 July 2016 at the Stade Tata Raphael and 7 August 2016 at the esplanade du Palais du Peuple. There are further political rallies in Kinshasa and Lubumbashi planned on Sunday 31 July 2016. You should be especially vigilant if you’re travelling around the city on these days, including travel to and from N’djili airport. Follow local security advice and continue to avoid large crowds or demonstrations.

Public gatherings and demonstrations can quickly turn violent in the DRC. Avoid areas where demonstrations may be held, or where there are large gatherings of people. If a demonstration or disturbance takes place, leave quickly and don’t attempt to watch or photograph it. Monitor this travel advice and local media, including radio and social media, for updates.

Take extra care at night. Avoid unnecessary journeys and stay away from areas where demonstrations are likely to take place, particularly the area around the parliament in Kinshasa. Commercial flights may be suspended and borders closed.

In January 2015, protests turned violent, troops were deployed and many schools, shops and businesses were closed and movement around the city was restricted. You may wish to consider contingency plans in the event of demonstrations, including keeping a stock of essential supplies and up-to-date travel documents and visas.

The political situation in DRC in late 2016 remains uncertain. There are calls for a political dialogue ahead of elections due in 2016 under the constitution. A previous electoral calendar scheduled the Presidential election for 27 November 2016, although some national and international organisations have said this will not be possible given delays in electoral preparations. Opposition parties have publicly called for elections to be scheduled by 20 September 2016 for elections to take place before 20 December 2016. See Political situation

The security situation in eastern DRC remains unstable. The continued presence of armed groups, military operations against them, intercommunal violence and an influx of refugees from neighbouring countries all contribute to a deterioration in the political, security and humanitarian situation. There are continued reports of kidnappings, including of staff from international NGOs. While British government staff do visit Goma, they aren’t always in the area, and as with anywhere outside of Kinshasa the British Embassy’s ability to offer consular assistance is severely limited.

The lack of infrastructure throughout the country and continued insecurity in eastern DRC often prevent the British Embassy in Kinshasa from being able to extend normal levels of consular assistance to British nationals anywhere in the DRC other than Kinshasa.

Before considering travel to Democratic Republic of Congo you should read this travel advice carefully, keep up to date with the latest security situation and subscribe to e-mail alerts for updates to this travel advice. Any updates to travel advice will also be posted on the UK in DRC’s Facebook page and twitter channel.

Street crime and robbery, including by individuals posing as plain clothes police, is common. Beware of gangs promising you cut price gold and diamonds. International non-governmental organisations in Kinshasa and Goma have been targeted. See Crime

There is a low threat from terrorism. See Terrorism

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.