While there are lots of places to sit and have a beer on the banks of the Congo River, Mbudi Nature is one of our favorites. We’ve been there for countless hashes and relaxing afternoons and even baptizing a baby.
Mbudi’s best feature is that its main restaurant sits overlooking the river at the top of a bluff. From there, you have a great view of both the huge rocks on the beach below and the people hard at work breaking those rocks.
You can walk down from the bluff to the rocks along the river. There’s a steep path straight down and an easier path on the left side if you are facing the river (though the last few times we were there, the easier path involved crossing a barbed wire fence.) You can walk on the rocks along the beach, and if you continue southwest along the river for about a kilometer, you will reach a big quarry. If you ask the police for permission, you can walk around the quarry.
On the weekend, the restaurant offers a buffet and there is often live music. If you are going with a group and want to eat, it’s best to call and order ahead (especially on a week day).
Inside of the park, there is also a shaded picnic area from which you can’t actually see the river. The nice thing about this area is that you pay less money to bring in a picnic and that there’s lots of grass so you can play lawn games. We have picnicked here then gone up to the restaurant for a drink when we were on a budget.
Also the park is home to lots of bizarre sculptures, which you will encounter if you walk around a bit.
What to Bring: If you bring your own food/drinks, you’ll pay a picnic fee.
When to Go: Anytime. The water level is different throughout the year so it’s kind of cool to see how different it is in different seasons.
How to Get There: Continue from the end of the Boulevard through Kintambo Magasin. Stay right so you’ll be on the river road. Stay straight until the road ends. Turn right. Continue through the crazy Pompage intersection and across the bridge. There is a sign at the right turn for Mbudi Nature. It’s after you pass the cemetery.
Travel Time: 20-30 minutes from Gombe.
Risk Assessment: Pretty risk free. Be careful walking on rocks and don’t fall in the river.
Contact Information: There are several phone numbers listed on their website.