Sapeurs & "Rumble in the Jungle" Muhammad Ali Stadium Kinshasa Day Tour
- Duration: 7 Hours (approx.)
- Location: Kinshasa
- Product code: sapeursali
Kinshasa is the third largest city on the African continent, capital of Africa’s third-largest country, the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo-Kinshasa). It is a major commercial center on the continent, with its enormous natural resources creating an increasingly booming economy. Its population of more than nine million people inhabits a vibrant city of varying contrasts situated on the southern bank of the vast Congo River. It faces Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of Congo, located on the northern bank. The two cities are the only two capitals in the world that face each other. The heart of Kinshasa, its large commercial and residential center, is Gombe, home to excellent restaurants, embassies, and fine hotels.
For some, the city of Kinshasa represents one of the biggest sporting events in history, the "Rumble in the Jungle". It was October 30, 1974, when the former heavyweight champion, Muhammad Ali, was pitted against the current heavyweight champion George Foreman in an attempt to regain his title. The fight not only resulted in Ali's favor at the end of the eighth round, it also put the DRC, then known as Zaire, on the map. We will visit the famous stadium today, now called as the Stade Tata-Raphaël, and formerly known as 20th of May Stadium. Though the match was many years ago, the hype and excitement can sometimes still be felt among the locals.
Today we will also take in another incredibly unique aspect of Kinshasa, Sapeurs. La Sape is an abbreviated way to refer to the movement of Sapeurs. The translated meaning of the term La Sape is "Society of Ambiance-Makers and Elegant People". Also known as Congolese Dandies, the importance of physical appearance and attire is of the utmost and this is very clear, as you will see. The movement can be traced back to the era of colonialism in Africa and is to many, a way of dealing with the hardships of life. For a Sapeur, purchasing expensive garments can be more important than food on their plates. Though there was a large attempt to ban Sapeurs from public areas in the 1980's there has since been a large shift in opinions as they are now regarded and looked at in a higher standard to many and often locals are proud to know one or have one in their family.
Though there are not necessarily specific locations they Sapeurs religiously visit, today your guide will know where to find a few who are more than happy to have you admire them and take photos. In exchange for photos, they also appreciate a cold drink and small tip in exchange for some great shots!
This morning your guide will pick you up from your hotel in Kinshasa around 9 am. You will begin the tour along the June 30th Boulevard, which was named after the date reflecting the country's independence from Belgium. We will make our way to our first stop, at the Place de Gare for a chance to enjoy some local monuments and interact with local people who often love to pose for photos.
From here, head to the port which is along one of Africa's largest inland waterways. Though the port is in need of an upgrade, it plays an important role in trade to this day. Alongside the port, you'll notice many interesting colonial buildings including the first modern hotel in Kinshasa.
In no particular order today, you will visit other sites including the mausoleum of the former president, Laurant Kabila, who is the father of the current president - Joseph Kabila, the Academy des Beaux Artes, and the National Museum. The National Museum has a pioneer graveyard the dates back to the 1800's and is the place of burial for many Europeans who came to work in the Congo as missionaries and steamboat pilot who died of different tropical diseases.
The highlight of the day and the largest portion is spent with the very stylish Sapeurs and at the Ali stadium.
After we have visited the city center and its sites, your guide will take you to the rapids of Kinsuku on the Congo River. Here you will experience great views of both Brazzaville and Kinshasa. It is important to remember that this riverfront is also a border between the two capital cities and taking permission to take photos from the soldiers standing by is recommended. They may ask for a small tip, however, your guide is there to advise on this.
Should you want to stop for lunch today, there are several great restaurants who serve Congolese food, your guides will be able to give you a great recommendation.
The tour will end this evening around 4pm and you will be dropped back off at your hotel in Kinshasa.
- English/French speaking guide
- Refreshments en route
- Entrance fees to the Ali stadium and the National Museum
- Gratuities - sometimes required for entrance to certain venues (typically around $2)
- Travel insurance