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Drinking Age in Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the third largest country in Africa. It is centrally located along the Congo River and borders the Republic of Congo. It has a minimum legal drinking age of 18 years old to buy or to drink alcohol.

Alcohol in Democratic Republic of Congo

You can purchase most alcohols in liquor stores found in the bigger cities, but may have a bit of trouble finding more specific types in the smaller towns. Locals make wine from palm trees that is commonly drank. It needs to sit and ferment for a while before becoming very potent, but is often consumed within a day or two of harvesting, so is not going to be strong. If you are looking to get drunk, it would take quite a bit to do the job.

There is an illegal liquor that is distilled from either maize (corn), cassava or plantains and called lotoko. If you do decide to give it a try, ask what it was made from. Lotoko made from maize can be deadly poisonous. The core of the corn cob produces methanol when boiled and distilled. If it was made from cassava or plantains it does not produce the toxin. Lotoko is quite popular among the locals due to its high alcohol content; which is often well over 50 percent.

Festivals and Ceremonies and Alcohol

When there is a gathering for any type of celebration, whether a birthday, religious holiday or national holiday, there will be drinking in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Beer will be home-brewed and wine produced from many different fruits and the palm tree in advance of the event. Most locals do not have the money or means to purchase alcohol from the stores so it is made at home. This means that it is not regulated and will not always have the same alcohol content from one batch to the next.

If you are invited to attend a celebration, be prepared to drink cautiously unless you want to end up under a table somewhere. You may drink a glass of wine that does not have any effect on you and then have another that has you seeing double. Enjoy the customs and festivities, but know what your limits are and stick to them. If you start feeling drunk, stop drinking until you are feeling more clear-headed.

A trip to Democratic Republic of Congo would really not be complete without participating in at least one celebration and experiencing the good will the locals share among each other. Go out and meet the locals and party with them. The music, costumes and dance is well worth a day or two in your life as it cannot be experienced anywhere else in the world. Drink with your hosts and experiment with new flavors of beer, wine and liquor but be aware of what it is doing to you. It will be a night that you cannot replicate in a bar, even one in your hotel.




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