Things to Do In Boma – Congo (Kinshasa)

History and Culture

Boma, situated on the banks of the Congo River, was once the capital of the Congo Free State, a brutal colonial regime established by King Leopold II of Belgium. The town’s history is inextricably linked to this dark period, as it was a major port for the export of rubber and ivory. After independence in 1960, Boma retained its significance as a regional administrative center and a hub for maritime trade. Today, it is a bustling city with a rich cultural heritage, boasting colonial-era architecture, traditional markets, and vibrant festivals.

Geography and Economy

Nestled in the rainforest region of western Congo, Boma enjoys a tropical climate and abundant natural resources. The Congo River provides vital transportation and trade routes, while the surrounding forests are home to a diverse array of flora and fauna. The city’s economy is primarily based on fishing, agriculture, and forestry. Boma is also a major center for tourism, with visitors drawn to its historical sites, natural wonders, and the nearby Virunga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The development of the oil and gas industry in the region offers potential for further economic growth and investment.

Boma, the Former Colonial Capital on the Congo River

Boma, a city located in the west of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is known for its rich colonial past and proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. As the former capital of the Belgian Congo, Boma retains significant historical charm and architectural landmarks. The Boma Botanical Garden, one of the oldest in Africa, boasts a diverse collection of tropical plants, ancient baobab trees, and serene ponds. It is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike to relax and soak in the beauty of the natural surroundings.

Historical and Cultural Treasures

Boma is also home to captivating historical and cultural attractions. The Boma Cathedral, constructed in the early 20th century, is a notable example of colonial architecture. Its towering copper spire and elaborate stained-glass windows showcase the artistry of the time. The city’s museums, such as the Musée National de Boma, provide insights into the region’s history, from its precolonial origins to its role in the Congo Free State. The bustling markets of Boma offer a vibrant and colorful experience, where tourists can interact with locals and purchase local handicrafts, produce, and souvenirs.

Unveiling Boma’s Enchanting Charm: A Historical and Cultural Gem

Boma, a picturesque city nestled on the Congo River, is a treasure trove of historical and cultural wonders that often go unnoticed. As the former capital of the Belgian Congo, Boma boasts an array of colonial-era architecture and monuments that stand as testaments to its rich past. One such gem is the Boma Botanical Garden, a verdant oasis teeming with exotic flora and fauna. Its winding paths lead visitors through lush gardens, showcasing the country’s diverse plant life, while the resident monkeys and birds add a touch of whimsy to the serene atmosphere.

Boma’s allure extends beyond its colonial legacy, delving into the realm of indigenous traditions. The city is home to the Musée d’Art Loango, a fascinating institution that preserves the cultural heritage of the Loango people. This collection showcases intricate masks, sculptures, and musical instruments, offering a glimpse into the vibrant artistic practices of the region. Furthermore, visitors can witness the mesmerizing traditional dances and songs performed by local troupes, immersing themselves in the vibrant tapestry of Congolese culture.

Natural Wonders and Culinary Delights

Beyond its historical and cultural treasures, Boma boasts an abundance of natural beauty. The nearby Kakongo Waterfalls, a breathtaking cascade of foaming water, offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Visitors can take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear pool below the falls or simply admire the stunning scenery from the surrounding trails. Additionally, the city’s proximity to the Congo River provides ample opportunities for fishing and boat excursions, allowing visitors to explore the river’s vibrant ecosystems and marvel at its tranquility.

Boma’s culinary scene is equally enticing, featuring a delectable blend of traditional Congolese dishes and international flavors. Local eateries serve up mouthwatering street food, including grilled brochettes, savory pastries, and freshly fried fish. For a more refined dining experience, visitors can indulge in the elegant ambiance of restaurants offering gourmet cuisine infused with Congolese spices and flavors. Whether savoring the authentic tastes of local markets or enjoying a fine-dining experience, Boma’s culinary offerings are sure to tantalize the taste buds of discerning travelers.

Music and Dance:

Boma, nestling along the Congo River, reverberates with the rhythmic melodies of traditional music. The city’s cultural scene is ornamented by the vibrant beats of Lukwasi drums, accompanied by the graceful undulations of Bobongo dancers. These performances, often presented at community festivals or cultural centers, showcase the rich musical heritage of the Congo and offer visitors an immersive experience into the region’s deep-rooted traditions. The infectious rhythms and captivating movements invite participation, allowing travelers to connect with the soul of the local culture.

Art and Crafts:

Boma’s artistic legacy is evident in its thriving craft scene. Local artisans demonstrate their exceptional skills in fashioning intricate baskets from pliable reeds, adorning them with vibrant patterns and symbolic motifs. Skilled sculptors breathe life into wooden carvings, depicting scenes from daily life, capturing the essence of local folklore and legends. These exquisite creations not only serve as captivating souvenirs but also provide a glimpse into the artistic sensibilities of the region. Moreover, visitors are invited to witness the creation process firsthand, engaging with the artists and gaining insights into the techniques and inspiration behind their work.

Hiking the Congo River Basin

The Congo River Basin is one of the largest in the world, and it offers a unique opportunity for hikers to experience the pristine natural beauty of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). There are a number of trails that wind through the basin, offering hikers the chance to see wildlife, waterfalls, and dense rainforest. One of the most popular trails is the Virunga Trail, which takes hikers to the Virunga Mountains, home to some of the last remaining mountain gorillas in the world.

Exploring the Lukulu River

The Lukulu River is a major tributary of the Congo River, and it offers whitewater rafting and kayaking opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. The river flows through a series of gorges and rapids, providing plenty of excitement for paddlers of all levels. There are a number of tour operators that offer rafting and kayaking trips on the Lukulu River, so it’s easy to find a trip that fits your experience level and interests.

Visiting the Tumba-Ngiri-Maindombe Forest Reserve

The Tumba-Ngiri-Maindombe Forest Reserve is one of the largest protected forests in the DRC. It is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including chimpanzees, elephants, and leopards. The reserve also offers a number of hiking trails, providing visitors with the opportunity to experience the beauty of the rainforest firsthand.

Traditional Congolese Cuisine in Boma

Boma, a city in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa), offers a tantalizing culinary experience rooted in traditional Congolese flavors. Cassava, plantains, and yams form the staples of many local dishes. A popular delicacy is “fufu,” a thick dough made from pounded cassava or plantains, which is often paired with stews and sauces. “Likembe,” a peanut-based sauce, adds a nutty richness to many traditional preparations. “Moambe,” a succulent stew of chicken or fish in a thick palm oil-based sauce, showcases the vibrant flavors of Congolese cuisine.

Seafood Abundance in Boma

Boma’s proximity to the Congo River and Atlantic Ocean makes seafood a prominent feature of the local cuisine. Fresh fish, such as tilapia, capitaine, and barracuda, are grilled, fried, or smoked, capturing the natural flavors of the river and ocean. “Panga ya moto,” grilled fish marinated in a spicy sauce, is a popular street food delicacy. Crabs and shrimp are also abundant and can be enjoyed in a variety of preparations, from stews to grilled skewers. “Mbwanga,” a smoked fish dish, is unique to Boma and is considered a local specialty.


Boma is renowned for its vibrant and bustling markets, where locals and visitors alike can immerse themselves in the city’s vibrant commercial culture. The central market, Marché Central, is a must-visit for those seeking traditional Congolese crafts and souvenirs. Vendors display an array of colorful fabrics, intricately carved wooden masks, and handcrafted jewelry. Visitors can also find fresh produce, spices, and other household goods at affordable prices. For a more authentic experience, the smaller neighborhood markets, such as Marché de Bongo-Bongo and Marché de Kasabala, offer a glimpse into local life and provide opportunities to interact with friendly residents.

Malls and Boutiques:

While Boma may not boast the grandeur of large shopping malls found in larger cities, it does offer a selection of modern retail establishments. For upscale shopping, visitors can head to Supermarché Soyo, which stocks a wide range of imported goods, including clothing, electronics, and groceries. There are also several boutiques dotted around the city, catering to discerning shoppers in search of unique fashion items, jewelry, and accessories. These boutiques often feature the work of local designers, showcasing the creativity and artistry of the Boma community.

Booming Nightlife Scene in Boma, Congo (Kinshasa)

Boma, a vibrant city located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, boasts a burgeoning nightlife scene that caters to a diverse crowd. From bustling bars and nightclubs to cozy lounges and live music venues, the city offers a wide array of options for revelers seeking an evening of entertainment.

Nestled amidst the historic architecture of Boma’s colonial past, a plethora of bars and nightclubs serve as the heart of the city’s nightlife. Establishments like La Terrasse, known for its panoramic views and lively atmosphere, attract both locals and tourists alike. For those seeking a more energetic experience, clubs such as Club Bling and Le Palace offer pumping beats and packed dance floors, keeping revelers dancing until the early hours of the morning.

Boma’s nightlife also caters to those looking for a more relaxed and intimate experience. Cozy lounges, such as Bar du Port and La Villa, provide a sophisticated haven where patrons can unwind with a drink in hand while enjoying live music or engaging in lively conversation. For a truly immersive cultural experience, tourists can venture to traditional Congolese bars, where they can sample local brews and immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere.

Visit of the Congo River and Inga-1 Dam

The Congo River, the second-longest river in Africa, flows down the western edge of Boma. One can take a ferry across the river to enjoy a panoramic view of the vast expanse. The Inga-1 Dam, built on the Congo River, provides hydroelectric power to most of the Congo. A day trip to the dam offers an exploration of its impressive structure and a glimpse into the country’s energy production.

Ndjili River Valley and Mbanza-Ngungu

The Ndjili River Valley is a beautiful natural reserve that extends southeast of Boma. The valley is home to a rich ecosystem, with lush vegetation, waterfalls, and abundant birdlife. Visitors can embark on guided walks through the reserve, where they can encounter a variety of plant and animal species. Mbanza-Ngungu, the former capital of the Kongo Kingdom, is located further southeast of Boma. The city boasts a fascinating history and displays historical artifacts that provide insights into the kingdom’s significance.

Transportation and Accommodation:

Boma, a port city located in the Democratic Republic of Congo, offers a range of transportation options. Ferry services connect Boma to the vibrant city of Matadi, while a well-maintained road system provides access to Kinshasa and other destinations within the country. Taxis and buses are readily available for intra-city transportation. When it comes to accommodation, Boma offers a variety of options catering to different budgets. From cozy guesthouses and budget-friendly hostels to upscale hotels, travelers can find suitable lodgings that offer comfortable and convenient stays.

Attractions and Activities:

Immerse yourself in the rich history of Boma by visiting the Musée de Boma, which houses a fascinating collection of artifacts and documents showcasing the city’s colonial past. For a breathtaking panoramic view, ascend to the top of Mont Ngangi, a prominent hill overlooking the city and the Congo River. Embark on a leisurely boat trip along the Congo River, where you can witness the serene landscape and spot diverse wildlife, including hippos and crocodiles. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor the local cuisine at one of the many restaurants in Boma, offering a tantalizing blend of Congolese and international flavors.

Dry Season (May to October)

The dry season offers the most favorable conditions for visiting Boma, Congo (Kinshasa). This period experiences minimal rainfall, with bright, sunny days and clear skies. The average temperatures hover around 25-30°C (77-86°F), making it ideal for exploring the city’s historical sites and natural surroundings. The pleasant weather also allows for comfortable hiking, birdwatching, and other outdoor activities. Additionally, the lower humidity levels reduce the incidence of mosquitoes and other insects.

Wet Season (November to April)

The wet season brings abundant rainfall to Boma, with heavy thunderstorms and occasional flooding. While the precipitation can be disruptive to outdoor plans, the lush greenery and verdant landscapes during this time create a picturesque backdrop for nature enthusiasts. Temperatures tend to be slightly higher than in the dry season, ranging from 27-32°C (81-90°F), accompanied by high humidity. Despite the challenges posed by the rain, the wet season offers opportunities for experiencing the city’s vibrant culture and street life. Local markets come alive with a myriad of fresh produce, and the atmosphere is buzzing with energy.

Budget-Friendly Options in Boma

Boma, located in the Democratic Republic of Congo, offers a range of budget-friendly accommodation options for travelers of all budgets. For backpackers and budget-conscious travelers, the AK Hotel provides basic rooms at affordable rates. The rooms are clean and comfortable, and the hotel features a shared kitchen and common area, allowing guests to socialize and cook their own meals. Another option for budget travelers is the Hotel Le Clair. This small, family-run hotel offers cozy rooms with en suite bathrooms at a reasonable price. The hotel also has a small restaurant serving local cuisine.

Mid-Range Hotels in Boma

For those seeking a balance between budget and comfort, several mid-range hotels are available in Boma. The Hotel Les Jardins de Boma is a popular choice for business travelers and tourists. The hotel features comfortable rooms and suites, a swimming pool, a fitness center, and a restaurant serving international and Congolese dishes. Another option is the Hotel La Couronne, located in the heart of Boma. This historic hotel offers elegant rooms and suites, a bar, and a restaurant serving traditional Congolese cuisine.

Upmarket Accommodation in Boma

For travelers looking for a luxurious and comfortable stay in Boma, the Congo River Hotel is the ideal choice. Located on the banks of the Congo River, this five-star hotel offers stunning views, world-class amenities, and impeccable service. The rooms and suites are spacious and elegantly appointed, and the hotel features a swimming pool, a fitness center, a spa, and several dining options. The hotel is perfect for relaxation, business meetings, or special occasions.

Accommodations and Dining:

Choose accommodations that prioritize sustainability, such as the Hotel Venus or the Kin Plaza Arjaan by Rotana. These hotels have implemented initiatives to reduce their environmental impact, such as utilizing solar panels, rainwater harvesting systems, and energy-efficient appliances. When dining, opt for restaurants that emphasize local cuisine and utilize ingredients sourced from nearby markets. This supports the local economy and minimizes the carbon footprint associated with transporting food. Consider trying traditional dishes like fufu, saka saka, and poisson Salé, prepared with fresh, locally grown produce.

Activities and Transportation:

Explore Boma’s natural beauty by foot or bicycle. The city’s compact size makes it easy to navigate, allowing you to discover its historical landmarks and vibrant markets without contributing to traffic congestion or air pollution. Alternatively, use public transportation to visit nearby attractions. Consider taking a ferry across the Congo River to Matadi or visiting the Boma Wildlife Sanctuary, home to a diverse range of wildlife. To further reduce your environmental impact, carpool or hire a local guide who can share insights into the region’s history and culture while minimizing carbon emissions.

Best Time to Visit for Weather Conditions

Boma, situated in the Democratic Republic of Congo, experiences a tropical monsoon climate characterized by heavy rainfall and high temperatures throughout the year. The city’s wet season typically spans from September to May, with December to February being the months with the highest precipitation. During this period, average temperatures range between 22 to 27 degrees Celsius (72 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit), with frequent downpours that can cause flooding and make outdoor activities challenging.

In contrast, the dry season runs from June to August, offering more favorable weather conditions for exploring Boma. Temperatures during this time hover around 20 to 24 degrees Celsius (68 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit), with lower humidity and less rainfall. The skies remain mostly clear, providing ample opportunities for outdoor excursions and sightseeing.

Best Time to Visit for Cultural Events

If you’re interested in experiencing Boma’s vibrant cultural scene, plan your visit to coincide with one of the city’s many festivals and events. The annual Boma Arts and Culture Festival, held in June, showcases the artistic talents of local musicians, dancers, and craftsmen. The event features live performances, exhibitions, and workshops, offering a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the region.

Another notable event is the Boma Independence Day celebration on June 30th, which commemorates the city’s historic significance as the former capital of the Congo Free State. Festivities typically include parades, speeches, and traditional music and dance performances, providing a festive atmosphere to immerse yourself in the local culture.