Boma, Congo (Kinshasa)

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Boma, Congo (Kinshasa)

Region: Kongo Central

Geographic Coordinates: -5.850000, 13.050000
Temperature Range: 18.0°C to 32.0°C (64°F to 90°F)
Population: 178638
Language: Lingala

Boma is a city situated in the Bas-Congo province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It lies on the banks of the Congo River, About 100 km southwest of Kinshasa. Boma was a crucial trading post and administrative center during colonial times, And it still serves as an important port city today. The history of Boma dates back to the 16th century when Portuguese explorers arrived in the area. In 1884, Boma became the capital of Congo Free State under King Leopold II’s rule.

During this time, It was a hub for ivory and rubber trade that brought wealth to European colonizers but also resulted in forced labor and exploitation of Congolese people. Visitors can learn about Boma’s rich history by visiting landmarks such as The Old Governor’s Palace and The Church Notre-Dame de l’Assomption. Belgian missionaries built the latter in 1886 to spread Christianity among locals. The Royal Museum for Central Africa is another notable attraction with extensive exhibits on Congolese culture and history. It was built during colonial times but has since been renovated to reflect modern perspectives on African heritage.

Boma Port is an essential transportation hub for both goods and people traveling between Kinshasa, Other parts of DRC or neighboring countries like Angola or Gabon. Several ferries operate from there daily. Despite facing significant challenges due to political instability, Poverty, Lackluster infrastructure development efforts over recent years resulting from decades-long civil wars that have ravaged much other parts around DRC countrywide, Visitors come here for its scenic beauty along with cultural diversity make it an exciting place to explore.

Its rich history, Vibrant markets, Friendly locals make it an ideal destination for those interested in learning about Congo’s past and present. Boma offers a glimpse into Congo’s complex history; it has played an essential role in its development while remaining an important center for trade and transportation. Despite significant challenges, Boma remains a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring DRC’s cultural heritage.

Important Landmarks

  1. Old Boma: This is a historic district that features colonial-era architecture and buildings.
  2. Cathedral of Saint Francis Xavier: This is a beautiful cathedral that was built in 1885 by Belgian colonizers.
  3. Royal Museum for Central Africa: This museum showcases the history, culture, and wildlife of Congo (Kinshasa).
  4. Kalamu National Park: This park is home to a variety of wildlife including elephants, gorillas, and chimpanzees.
  5. Inkisi Falls: These waterfalls are located near Boma and offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
  6. Musée Régional de la Côte Atlantique: This museum features exhibits on local history and culture.
  7. Tshela Cliffs Natural Reserve: These cliffs offer breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and are home to a variety of bird species.
  8. Nzadi River Estuary Wildlife Reserve: This reserve is home to mangrove forests, wetlands, and a variety of bird species including flamingos.
  9. Kongo Kingdom Palace Ruins: These ruins date back to the 16th century and were once the seat of power for the Kongo Kingdom.
  10. Matadi Bridge: This bridge spans the Congo River near Boma and offers stunning views of one of Africa’s largest rivers.

Primary Industries

  1. Boma, Congo (Kinshasa) is a city situated on the Congo River.
  2. It serves as a significant port for exporting minerals like copper and cobalt from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  3. The area around Boma is fertile, supporting agriculture such as cassava, maize, beans, and peanuts.
  4. Fishing provides a source of food for locals as well as export opportunities.
  5. Tourists interested in colonial architecture and history visit Boma to see its historic sites.
  6. Many small businesses in Boma sell goods to local residents due to its status as a regional center of commerce.
  7. As the former capital of Bas-Congo province before it merged with other provinces into Kongo Central Province in 2015, Boma hosts government offices such as courts, police stations, hospitals etc., providing government services to its inhabitants.
  8. Moreover, the construction sector and transportation sector are also significant industries in Boma’s economy.

Noteable History

  1. The founding of Boma as a trading post by Belgian explorer Henry Morton Stanley in 1884.
  2. The establishment of Boma as the capital of the Belgian Congo in 1886, which lasted until 1926 when it was moved to Kinshasa.
  3. The signing of several important treaties between European powers and African leaders at Boma, including the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494 and various treaties between Belgium and local chiefs during colonial times.
  4. The arrival of Catholic missionaries to Boma in 1878, who played an important role in education and healthcare throughout the region.
  5. The presence of King Leopold II’s infamous Force Publique, which was responsible for brutal repression and forced labor during colonial times.
  6. Notable people associated with Boma include Congolese independence leader Patrice Lumumba, who was imprisoned there before his assassination in 1961.
  7. Other notable figures from Boma include musician Franco Luambo Makiadi and writer Sony Labou Tansi.
  8. The first telegraph line from Matadi to Kinshasa passed through this city.
  9. Between Augustus-October 1890 Stanley stayed here while waiting for supplies.
  10. In Augustus-September 1914 German forces attacked Kongo-Wara rebels near this city but were defeated by them on September First.
  11. On October Twenty-Sixth Nineteen Fifty-Eight Patrice Lumumba was arrested here by authorities loyal to Joseph Kasavubu after he declared himself Prime Minister without Kasavubu’s approval or consent.
  12. The city served as headquarters for United Nations Operation In Congo (ONUC) from 1960 to 1964.

Museums and Things To See

  1. Boma Museum: This museum showcases the history and culture of the Bantu people, as well as artifacts from the colonial era.
  2. Cathedral of Sainte-Anne: This beautiful cathedral was built in 1889 and is one of the most impressive buildings in Boma.
  3. Governor’s Palace: Built in 1890, this palace served as the residence for Belgian colonial governors and is now a historical landmark.
  4. Kongo Kingdom Royal Palace: This palace was once home to the kings of the Kongo Kingdom and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  5. National Institute for Arts (INA): INA promotes Congolese arts, music, dance, and drama through research, training, and performances.
  6. Beaches along Congo River: There are several beaches along Congo River where visitors can relax or enjoy water sports activities like swimming or fishing.
  7. The old port of Boma: This historic port played a crucial role in trade during colonial times when ivory, rubber, palm oil were exported from here to Europe via steamships.
  8. The ancient cemetery at Vivi Hill: Located near Boma city center on Vivi Hill this cemetery has graves dating back to early European settlers who died during their expeditions into Africa’s interior regions.

Cultural Events

  1. Boma Jazz Festival: This annual festival brings together jazz musicians from around the world for a series of concerts and jam sessions.
  2. Boma Literary Festival: This festival celebrates the written word with readings, book signings, and panel discussions featuring local and international authors.
  3. Boma Food Festival: This event showcases the city’s diverse culinary scene with food stalls, cooking demonstrations, and tastings of local and international cuisine.
  4. Boma Art Fair: This fair features works by local and international artists in a variety of mediums, including painting, sculpture, and photography.
  5. Boma Dance Festival: This festival celebrates the city’s rich dance traditions with performances by local and international dance companies.
  6. Boma Music Festival: This festival features a diverse lineup of musicians from around the world, performing everything from traditional folk music to contemporary pop.
  7. Boma Theater Festival: This festival showcases the city’s vibrant theater scene with performances of plays, musicals, and other theatrical productions.
  8. Boma Carnival: This annual carnival is a colorful and vibrant celebration of the city’s culture and history. It features street parades, music performances, costume competitions, and food stalls serving local delicacies.
  9. Boma International Film Festival: This festival showcases films from around the world and provides a platform for local filmmakers to showcase their work. It also includes workshops, panel discussions, and networking opportunities for industry professionals.
  10. Boma Fashion Week: This event showcases the latest fashion trends from local designers as well as international brands. It features runway shows, exhibitions, and networking events for fashion industry professionals.


  • Maboke: A traditional Congolese dish made with fish or meat cooked in banana leaves.
  • La Terrasse: A restaurant that serves a variety of dishes including Congolese, European and Asian cuisine.
  • Le Palmier: A restaurant that specializes in seafood dishes such as grilled lobster and prawns.
  • Chez Mama Leki: A popular spot for grilled chicken and other barbecued meats.
  • Le Chalet de la Plage: A beachfront restaurant that serves fresh seafood caught daily by local fishermen.
  • Chez Roger: Known for its delicious goat stew and other traditional Congolese dishes.
  • La Belle Époque: An upscale restaurant that offers a fusion of French and Congolese cuisine.
  • Le Petit Bistro: A cozy café known for its coffee, pastries, and light meals like sandwiches and salads.
  • L’Esplanade Hotel Restaurant Bar Lounge: Offers a mix of international cuisine with a focus on fresh ingredients sourced locally from the region’s markets.
  • Chez Bébé Mwana Mboka : Serves authentic Congolese food such as fufu, cassava leaves stewed with meat or fish, plantains etc

  • Parks and Recreation

    1. Parc National de la Garamba: This national park is located in the northeast of Congo (Kinshasa) and provides opportunities for wildlife viewing and hiking.
    2. Beaches along the Congo River: Boma is situated on the banks of the Congo River, which may offer recreational opportunities like swimming or boating.
    3. Kinkole Fish Farm: This fish farm is located near Kinshasa and offers fishing opportunities for visitors.
    4. Local markets: Boma may have local markets where visitors can browse goods such as crafts or food items.

    It’s important to note that due to political instability in Congo (Kinshasa), travel to certain areas may be unsafe. It’s recommended that travelers consult with their embassy or consulate before planning a trip to Boma or other parts of the country.


    Adventure Awaits!

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