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Kinshasa



What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

It really varies. Ranges from high rise apartment with pretty nice fixtures, mostly 2-3+ bedrooms, and pool to stand-alone houses with yard space and (mostly) with pool. Most of the apartment buildings are newer and the housing is older but bigger. Commute on average is 20-30 minutes in the morning, 30-45 minutes at the end of the day depending on traffic. - Dec 21, 2017
Housing is OK, the building is dark without much natural light. Power issues make it hard on electronics but the space is large and comfortable. - Dec 4, 2017
Housing is hit or miss. There are few beautiful, charming homes in the housing pool. Many are in small compounds. Some have private yards and a small pool. Most folks are housed in apartments, most with amenities like rooftop lounge or pool, and some with a small gym.

Traffic is ridiculous here and therefore commute times are long even for short distances. I recommend using the shuttle to and from work and using the 30-60 mins each way to read, catch up on emails via BB, knit--virtually anything that does not cause you stress! Living here saps your resiliency, adding unnecessary stress is unwise. Carpool with friends for errands like grocery shopping because company is always nice and it feels more like an outing versus drudgery. Learn the city and practice your driving routes on Sundays! - Mar 2, 2017


Housing varies dramatically in quality, but is more than adequate. I am in a spacious, but older, apartment building in a quieter part of Gombe. Others have more modern apartments in busier parts of the city or stand alone houses. Most apartment buildings have pools but not gyms. Commute times vary widely depending on what neighborhood you are in--15 minutes to 2 hours. - Jan 21, 2017
Our house was not huge but it was well designed, airy, and full of natural light and closets. Nice kitchen, and we had a wonderful pool. Our yard was nice, too, but the mosquitoes were out of control, so the only way to enjoy it was by being submersed in the pool. - Sep 26, 2016
We live in a large (4/4) single family home in a compound of 8 houses all occupied by USG employees. Each house has a pool and we have a public courtyard where the many (many) children in the compound are usually found playing. At the right time of morning the commute from here to the US Embassy is about 15-20 minutes, but at the wrong time of day traffic can be bad enough that the same trip can take 1-2 hours. There are lots of apartments, usually in newer buildings - most are quite large and many are located closer to the embassy than we are. There are a few other single family homes, but probably the majority of people are in apartments. - Apr 26, 2016
Embassy housing is comfortable and spacious with most homes/apartments either having a personal pool or access to one on the compound. Single family homes within the Gombe district are getting more difficult to find so incoming families may be faced with the choice of a (spacious) apartment closer in or a free-standing probably very large and luxurious house with garden and pool a distance away. Traffic is usually at its worst mid-day but poor road conditions, broken-down vehicles, and aggressive driving mean roads can be clogged at any time. Most commute times are between 15-30 minutes. The newer housing by the international school (TASOK) could take an hour or more. - Jan 6, 2014
Families generally get a large house with a yard and often a pool. Singles and couples generally get apartments or duplexes, though some have houses. The shortest commutes are around 10 minutes and the longest is maybe 40, but it really depends on the time of day and traffic. The roadwork mentioned in previous reports is mostly over, so traffic downtown is a bit better. - Nov 24, 2012
Very good housing. - May 21, 2012
Usually singles/couples w/o children are in apartments. There are also stand-alone houses and housing compounds with both houses and apartments. Traffic can be bad and congested, our commute was 10 minutes without traffic, 30 + min with traffic. - Feb 13, 2012
Houses and apartments. Not the best of quality and very pricey. - Nov 13, 2011
Very expensive and not always of the best quality. We are lucky to live on a very nice family oriented compound with all the facilities you need, and more. - Aug 4, 2011
There is seems to be a continual shortage. Mission is hiring more people than it has housing for, what housing that is available is very expensive. There is severe competition among NGOs, the various Missions and others for suitable housing. That being said, the housing is better than some posts. (or so I have been told) Large apartments or houses (3 bedrooms are common), pools, large houses with yards, security walls. Depending on your job and family needs, housing will be assigned. If you are in a stand alone house, you are responsible for lawn/yard/pool care. Others have a shared responsibility and some, the care is provided(apt buildings). All in all the housing is quite decent one of the benefits of a hardship post. Commute time varies depending on where you live and the time of day. If there is any construction, accidents, holidays all have an effect. - Jan 19, 2011
Apartments, flats, duplexes, and free-standing houses. Commutes can be brief (5 mins) or long (1 hour) depending on construction patterns. Depending on your level of bravery, you could bicycle, but it is not without risks from the road itself and the drivers. - Oct 16, 2010
Apartments and houses; most are within a 15-minute drive to the Chancery. - Jan 21, 2009