South African Airways, Kenyan Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, and Royal Air Maroc all offer a number of weekly flights from their respective hubs in Johannesburg, Nairobi, Addis Ababa, and Casablanca. Air France from Paris, Brussels Airlines from Brussels, and Royal Air Maroc from Casablanca in Morocco all provide connections to Europe.
The Kinshasa airport has a bad reputation in the past for crooked authorities demanding bribes. They’ve improved things considerably, and it’s now pretty tolerable. Simply follow the crowd and avoid seeming like a tourist. A certificate of yellow fever immunization is required. Once outside the airport, be prepared to be swarmed by volunteer ‘assistants’ who will offer to carry your baggage in exchange for gratuities. Bear in mind that if you return to the airport to depart, you cannot drive your vehicle or hail a taxi into airport premises without paying a $5 or $10 parking / entrance fee.
A cab into town will likely cost between $30 and $50, and is unlikely to have air conditioning. Kinshasa’s central business district is around an hour away. The most convenient alternative is to take a shuttle provided by one of the transport firms located just outside the arrivals entrance.
While there is a train connecting N’Djili airport to the central station, service is restricted to twice daily and is of little value to the average visitor.
During colonial times, the railroad of Congo traversed the whole nation, but has since fallen into disrepair. There are, however, glimmers of promise; the primary railway station in Kinshasa was recently refurbished, and in August 2015, a new long-distance passenger service from Matadi, the country’s principal seaport on the Congo river and gateway to Angola, was started. It operates three times a week and covers the 300 kilometers in about seven hours, making it one of central Africa’s fastest passenger trains. Apart from the Matadi service, the only other passenger trains are commuter trains that provide little benefit to the typical visitor.
Tickets are often only available on the day of travel, just before the train arrives, and might be difficult to get.
You may go by bus, which is not the greatest option.
Aside from the route connecting Matadi and Kinshasa, there are no other options for overland travel. The upper northern area (Bangassou – Nia Nia – Isiro) and maybe the Kinshasa – Lumumbashi axis are good places to try your 4×4 skills, but the rest of the country is not. All other settlements can only be reached by air or by boat, which is the only mode of transportation available.
If you have a visa, you may come by boat from Brazzaville. There are speed boats that go rapidly for a restricted number of passengers, or if you have time, you may take the barge with local merchants. Inquire for directions to “the Beach,” which is the ferry station.