For the second time, The Democratic Republic of Congo (RDC) will host the Kongo River Festival. The event is turning into a major opportunity to highlight the importance of the Congo River and value its contribution as a major source of water and a strong element of African culture. The Kongo River Festival will take place from June 15 to 19, 2022, 60 km away from the capital Kinshasa.
The N’sele Valley Park or Kingakati Park is a wildlife reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Located in the commune of Maluku, it is situated a few minutes from the international airport of Ndjili in the rural commune of Nsele some 60 km from Kinshasa, on the road to Mbanzale. From June 15 – 19, the Park will play host to the second Kongo River Festival. Created in 2021, the event is a major promotional tool for the Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to organiser Vincent Kunda, the tourism festival takes a holistic approach. “We want to be a stage for scientists with conferences dedicated to preservation, environment, pollution fighting and economic development. But we also want to highlight to tourists the cultural and natural impact of the Congo River on our daily life,” he explains.
The Congo River is one of the most important natural assets in Africa. It runs through all of the provinces in the Democratic Republic of Kongo and shapes the border with the Republic of Congo and Angola.
“We talk about a river of superlatives,” explains Kunda. “The Congo is the deepest river in the world with a depth of 220 metres in the form of submerged canyons. It is also second only to the Amazon River in average flow (40,000 m2/second). And with its 4,800 km length, it is 8 or 9th in the list of the world’s longest rivers. And definitely the second longest in Africa after the Nile.
“The River must be perceived as an asset for our economy but also for our tourism. This is why we created this tourist festival in parallel to the conference. So far, this is the only event in Africa dedicated to promoting our river, that we consider as the “blue treasure” at the heart of the continent.”
In the second edition, the Kongo River Festival will, once again, offer dance and music sessions and present work by local artists. It is also an opportunity for visitors to get to know and taste the exotic flavours of Congolese gastronomy.
Science and entertainment side to side during the Festival
The festival’s organisers are working hard with the RDC national tourism authorities to put together reasonably priced packages as well as circuits along the River and around the country. “We also insist on the necessity for travellers to be fully vaccinated and arrive with the result of a negative PCR test. Safety is also a main concern for many. Our festival last year greeted up to 3,000 people per day and there was no report of any safety issue,” assures Kunda. The Festival is indeed endorsed by the RDC Ministry of Tourism.
On the scientific side of the festival, there will be several presentations by experts of both the field of environment/nature protection and the tourism sector. Special sessions are organised for students and young people to raise awareness. The festival is a fun opportunity to show the world the importance of the river’s beautiful heritage and the urgent mission to decontaminate the waters of the Congo.
To see images of the first festival hosted in 2021, please click here.