The DRC part 2
I couldn’t spend a week in Kinshasa without spending time on one of the world’s great waterways. The second largest river in the world by volume discharge of water and the world’s deepest river.
We cruised east from Kinshasa past countless rusting, dilapidated barges and ferries, some still afloat but most stuck in filthy rubbish strewn mud. It wasn’t all that long ago the river was a thriving commercial highway from the resource rich Eastern Congo to the coast but now far fewer boats undertake the hazardous month long journey. Most exports now leave on tarred roads to the coast via Zambia and Tanzania in a quarter of the time.
Many of the barges our now homes for hundreds of poverty stricken locals surviving on the fish they catch from the river.
Further upriver we past stilted fishing villages where men spend their days net fishing in pirogues.
As we traveled further upriver we caught up to two crowded local ferries loaded with people and goods to be traded in riverside villages along the way to Kisangani.
After eight days in Kinshasa and with my freshly issued Congo Republic and Cameroon visas in hand it was time to leave the city and start making my way west.
A few hours down the road and then another two hours of dirt road later and we arrived at Zongo Falls. It was a long weekend in the DRC and there were a several ex-pats escaping the city for a few days tranquility.
I stayed a night at the falls and the next day we drove for another hour further into the interior towards a beach on one of the Congo River’s tributaries. Along the way we found a nice waterfall and swimming hole.
At Mbanza-Ngungi we stopped to have a look at the old rail yard, which had 20-30 disused locomotives and carriages, which like the river barges, were rusting relics of a more productive time, not that long ago.
In trip tradition we found the remotest border crossing on the map and headed for it. The 100km drive from the tarred road took us 24hrs. We crossed the Congo River at Wombo-Luozi on a ferry that was three boats welded together and camped the night on a white sand beach.
Tommorow after twelve days in the DRC, I’ll head towards the border and depending on road conditions, cross into the Republic of Congo on the 6th July.
Bye for now…