Lubumbashi

I highly recommend Lubumbashi.  You can get there from Kinshasa by Congo Airways, which is about a two hour flight (though a bit pricey).  It’s a new airline, and I can’t get over the Christmas music that plays every time you board and disembark from the airplane, kind of like the Brazzaville bridge lights that wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year every evening.  Oh, and that someone’s phone went off mid flight.  How did that happen?  I’m still not sure.
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Train to Kisantu and Mbuela Lodge

Train.jpg

I had two goals for this trip – to take the Kinshasa to Matadi train and to ride a quad bike.  This trip was a success.  It took a few times going to Gare Centrale in Kinshasa to figure out the tickets and timing, but I will save you the effort by sharing all of that information here!  You purchase the tickets on Wednesday and the train leaves Saturday for Matadi (via Kisantu, where we got off) and returns to Kinshasa from Matadi on Sunday.  So you either go for a day…or for a week.  Instead of the 8 hour-ish ride to Matadi, we got off in Kisantu, which takes about three hours.  We happened to take it on the one year anniversary of train renovations, so there was a camera crew as well as some high-level officials.  I believe we purchased second-class tickets for about $10.  While there was not air conditioning in our car and sand/dirt blew into the train at various points, the seats and the interior felt brand new.  There’s even this AWESOME bar that blasts music at all times.  So if you want to drink beer and dance at 9am in a discotheque, this train is perfect for you.

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África Park Aventure (Lac de Ma Vallée)

img_3784As of October 2016, Lac de Ma Vallée has transformed into an outdoor adventure park! This place is honestly amazing and pretty great for all ages. We arrived early, around 9am, which was perfect. We did not have to wait in line for any of the activities, which seem to form later in the day. It was just a blast. We raced each other in the treetops park (which is an obstacle course 20 feet up) as well as took turns on the Playclimb and zip line. It was very well-established, with the employees making sure we were following safety protocol each step of the way. The only drawback was that a sit down restaurant was the only option for food. It took forever to order and get the food, which prevented us from doing any other activities. I’d bring my own food next time, but could definitely envision going back many times. The activities available at this park are: Continue reading

Menkao to Mayi-Ndombe

2016-12-04-01-53-25We decided we wanted a nice hike outside of Kinshasa for the weekend, since there are limited opportunities to walk in the city. Our tour guide picked us up from Kinshasa and drove us to Menkao, which is a city outside of central Kinshasa but still in Kinshasa Province. When we got out of the vehicle, we were met by many locals, curious why we were there in all our backpacking gear. Our tour guide handled our passport and visa information with DGM and organized motos to bring our tents and extra luggage to the camp site in Karo village (31 km from Menkao). Then we started our trek.

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Farewell, Congo!

IMG_2514Dear Readers,

This is just to inform you that as of June 2016, the authors of this blog have all left the Congo. While this means that when you read this blog, the information may be a bit outdated, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do the many exciting adventures suggested here (security permitting). We’d be happy to update information if you find something has changed drastically, and we’ll also be happy to include guest posts for new adventures!

Happy Adventures!!!

Volcano Trekking – Mt. Nyiragongo

Virunga Park, with Mt. Nyiragongo in the background.

Virunga Park, with Mt. Nyiragongo in the background.

I did it. I climbed a volcano.

You know, Congo has a lot going against it. There’s extreme violence, there’s severe corruption, there’s absolute poverty. But there is beauty. There are things you can’t even dream of doing in other places, like seeing gorillas, camping by the Congo River, or floating down rapids. And climbing a live volcano to see the pool of lava at the top.

It was a long trek, took us six and a half hours to get to the top, though a lot of the delay was a result of the rain storm that decided to grace us with its presence towards the top of the mountain. I seem to have a tendency of attracting said storms during hard hikes, such as in Kimpese [note to self – be better prepared for the rain in a rain-heavy country]. Continue reading

A Day at the Beach, on the River Congo

Wait, where is Kinshasa?

    \  Wait, where is Kinshasa?

Spending the day on a sandbank may be one of my favourite escapes from Kinshasa. Buy some drinks and make some food (or not, maybe bring some raw meat and just grill it there), get on a boat, arrive at a sandbank a nice distance upriver from the city, have the tents, chairs, tables and BBQ set up for you, and just enjoy the rest of the day. What’s not to love?

There are the typical Congolese adventure-inducing things such as getting stuck on sandbanks (how many expats does it take to push a boat?), hand print sunburns, running out of gas before making it back to shore and only having one paddle to make it back, etc, but really, what is Congo without those?

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The Marché Central

We never bring a camera with us to the marche, so Google Earth is the best you get.

We never bring a camera with us to the marche, so Google Earth is the best you get.

Each trip to Kinshasa’s Marché Central promises a new adventure. Some days we’ve come away overjoyed with purchases of baby clothes, Halloween costumes, RDC track suits, seeds to plant, or soy beans, while others we’ve been followed by rowdy teenagers, or for one our friends, knocked over and had bones broken by similar groups. Continue reading