MPH Address

#2867 Ave des Ecuries
Kinshasa, Congo (DRC)
 
Phone: #0819358640

MPH Faciltities

  • Meal service
  • Conference Rooms
  • Computer room
  • Library/Lounge
  • Wireless internet
  • Back-up generator
  • Back-up water system
  • Laundry service
  • Filtered water
  • Mosquito nets
  • African Art Gift shop
  • Sports field
  • Patio for outdoor enjoyment

Congo Info

Please read the following for information on:

  • Cell Phones & Communication
  • Money
  • Cameras
  • Dress
  • Weather

Money

The official currency in Congo is the “Franc Congolais”(Fc).  The exchange rate as of October 5, 2011 is 910 Fc to the dollar. 

U.S. dollars and Euros are accepted at most businesses (grocery stores, restaurants, etc. and even for buying phone units from street vendors).  However, the bills of US dollars must be of the new style, multicolored with large faces for $5, $10, $20, and $50.  The $100 bills must be 2006 or later.  All bills must be in excellent condition, having no tears, markings, or excessive foldings, otherwise they will not be accepted. 
Most businesses will not accept one dollar bills.  Your change will be returned to you in a combination of higher dollar denomination bills and Congo francs in lieu of 1$ bills.  (MPH does accept one dollar bills.) 

If you want to change money, there are many banks and also many money exchangers on various street corners who will change dollars & euros for Francs. It is okay to change money on the street (consider them an open air ATM), however count the money you receive and be aware of people around you looking for an easy target for theft. 

Cameras

You  need to be very careful about what you photograph in Congo. Don’t even think about bringing out a camera from a bag when you are at the airport, even on the road from the airport as there is a military base nearby.  This applies also to being in the vicinity of any military installation, any bridge, or when there are military personnel standing around.  If you ignore this warning, be prepared for a long discussion, large fine, or worse, confiscation of your camera.  

It is not a problem to take photographs at TASOK, within MPH, most restaurants & hotels, on outings etc.   There is no charge any more for cameras at Kisantu Botanical Gardens or the Botanical Garden in Kinshasa. However, some other sites may ask for a camera fee.  Before photographing anyone, be polite and ask their permission.  Note:  please do not take pictures outside the gate at MPH or blatantly from over the wall.  There is a military camp and housing close by and often there are military people on the street. 

Communication

If you want a cell phone, the “typical” U.S. cell phone won’t work.  In order to accept the local SIM card it must be a GSM  or tri band cell phone.  You can purchase cheap cell phones in Kinshasa for around $20.00.  You must purchase a SIM card in Kinshasa  and pre-paid phone cards/or time units (called unites).  They are sold in denominations of  $5, $10, and $25 or $100.  These pre-paid cards are easily available throughout Kinshasa and in other large cities in Congo.  There are several phone companies, Vodacom, Tigo, CCT and Air Tel.  You can purchase a sim card at any of their stores located around the city. If you are staying at MPH there is a VOIP phone available to guests for $2.00 a call for up to an hour of conversation for both local and international calls. There is also free internet for guests.  You will find many cyber cafes throughout Kinshasa and in many other cities in Congo.
  

Dress

In Congo, attire among the general population is modest.  Simply put, if one wants to conform and perhaps not offend  and feel out of place, what women wear below the waist is conservative, meaning, cover up to around the knees;  tank tops are OK.  Women can, of course, wear shorts at TASOK or MPH and even in other informal, recreational venues.  If you want to wear shorts but are not sure of the environment you will be in, take a pagne/liputa/sarong along, just in case.  That way you can then wrap it around if needed.  Long pants, whatever kind, present no problem and any kind of dress or skirt is fine, sundresses etc….  Avoid mini-skirts, not to say that you won’t see women wearing them.  You see a lot more young ladies wearing slacks and jeans in Kinshasa now, however if you are travelling to the interior it is probably best for women to wear skirts and dresses. Guys can get away with shorts in a lot of places even though few Congolese men wear shorts in public.  They are certainly OK in informal settings.  It is advisable to wear long pants at the airport.  If you are planning to swim, bring a bathing suit.

Weather

Congo has “2” seasons, a dry season and a rainy season.  The rainy seasons are hot and muggy.  Temperatures will run in the 80’s and 90’s with high humdity.  The dry seasons are cooler with temperatures in the 70’s and lower 80’s and the humidity is much lower.  In Kinshasa the rainy season “officially” starts September 15 and ends May 15 with the onset of dry season.  The skies and are very overcast and hazy in dry season with a lot of dust and smoke in the air.  The months with the most rain are October, November and December.  There is a “short” dry season in February with a “couple weeks” without any rains.  The rains pick up again in March and April.  The beginning  and duration of the rainy and dry seasons will vary region by region.  The seaons are reversed north of the equator.  (Kinshasa is south of the equator.)For the dry season you may want to bring a light sweater or long sleeve shirt as the mornings and evenings can be cool if there is a breeze and you are outdoors. (If you are from northern regions with lots of snow, disregard that last sentence.)