Democratic Republic of Congo Travel Alerts and Warnings

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For the latest travel warnings and alerts around the world, read about lockdowns and border restrictions.

How has the DRC responded to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak? Find out about local measures and travel restrictions.

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Kinshasa at sunset, Democratic Republic of Congo Photo © Getty Images/Willie Schumann / EyeEm

Coronavirus (COVID-19) travel restrictions in the DRC – updated 13 May, 2020

From 20 March, all major international flights in and out of the DRC are suspended. Land and maritime borders are closed, except for one border crossing with Zambia.

A state of emergency ended on 9 May, however lockdown restrictions are still in place, and these may vary between regions. Fines are being handed out to anyone not wearing a mask in public where they are required.

Wondering how your travel insurance might be affected by the COVID-19 outbreak? Find answers to some of our common questions about COVID-19.

Previous travel alerts for the Democratic Republic of Congo

Ebola outbreak - October 2018

In May 2018, the World Health Organisation was informed by the DRC Government of the presence of Ebola virus, including two confirmed cases in the town of Bikoro in Equateur province (northwest part of the country). Further outbreaks occurred in August and September in North Kivu province, in the towns of Beni and Tchomia. Over the past 40 years, DRC has experienced eight outbreaks of the disease, with the last known outbreak in May 2017.

As of late September 2018, the country has approximately 159 cases of Ebola virus and the disease has caused 104 deaths. 

Kidnapping of two British tourists in Virunga National Park - May 2018

On 11 May 2018, two British tourists were kidnapped while traveling through the famous Virunga National Park when armed bandits ambushed their vehicle. A park ranger who was also traveling with the group was killed and the driver was injured during the incident. The British tourists were safely rescued by Congolese military and park rangers on 14 May. 

Since the start of 2018, eight park rangers have been killed in the national park, a reminder of the ever-present risk posed to conservation efforts and local communities.

Is it safe to travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo?

Most government travel advisories have warned travelers to "Reconsider Your Need To Travel" due to the high risk of civil unrest, political instability, violent crime and armed conflict (particularly in the east of the country which borders with South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania). If you are traveling in the country, always be aware of your surroundings and plan your travel activities ahead. Keep travel within the country to a minimum and avoid traveling at night. Always monitor local media for updates. 

You will need a visa to enter the DRC and the time taken to receive the visa can take weeks or more, so plan ahead before your trip.

Some government travel advisories also report that having stamps in your passport from Uganda or Rwanda can bring some extra attention from border officials however it shouldn't prevent entry.

Yellow Fever is endemic in the DRC so you will need to be vaccinated and carry proof of vaccination particularly for entry into countries where Yellow Fever isn't present.

If you are planning to travel to Virunga National Park, you will mostly deal with either a tour operator or the park. For more information, visit the Virunga National Park's website.

Kidnapping

Human Rights Watch highlights the kidnapping risk to travelers in the DRC, with people mostly being taken for ransom. While a majority of the time, it's Congolese people kidnapped; there have been several reported cases of westerners being taken. Bandits will generally operate in groups and are heavily armed. The kidnapping of humanitarian workers is unfortunately also on the rise, particularly in the east of the country.

Protests

Public demonstrations can occur and turn violent without warning. Often the road to N'Dijili Airport can be blocked and it's strongly advised to avoid these events at all costs. Should you, unfortunately, become caught up, try to quickly and calmly leave the scene. Avoid taking photos or hanging around. Commercial flights and other modes of transport can be suspended should the situation escalate out of control.

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