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.
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.
As 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
We 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.