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

Lac CEMKA

The lake

The lake

While Lac de ma Vallée is always packed on a Sunday afternoon, Lac CEMKA, which you pass along the way to Lac de ma Vallée, is almost always empty, and it’s a beautiful place to spend an afternoon.

When you turn off the paved road, you’ll experience a bit of up and down bumpy road before it flattens out and you circle around the lake to the restaurant area. The lake is in the midst of a pretty open valley punctuated by a big hill rising to a plateau with a Catholic church on top in the distance. Continue reading

Chez Tatem and the Island

While not a great photo, the limos are definitely Chez Tatem's claim to fame.

While not a great photo, the limos are definitely Chez Tatem’s claim to fame.

While Chez Tintin is undoubtedly the most popular place in Kinsuka to grab a beer and watch the raging rapids, Chez Tatem a little farther down the river has its own claim to fame. In the grassy parking area lie two rusty limousines that were purportedly brought to Kinshasa for George Foreman and Muhammad Ali to use while they were here for the Rumble in the Jungle. Continue reading

Symphonies Naturelles

A view of the valley Symphonies Naturelles is in.

A view of the valley Symphonies Naturelles is in.

Symphonies Naturelles may be about 20 minutes from Gombe, but it feels like you’ve left the hubbub of Kinshasa completely behind. According to their website, the forest is home to lots of animals including monkeys and pangolins, but we’ve never seen those. What we have seen is the beautiful forest and surrounding villages, terraced fish ponds, cows, and a freshwater spring coming out of a cliff.

Continue reading

The Ultimate Bas Congo Road Trip/Beach Vacation

Enjoying the ride through Bas Congo.

Enjoying the ride through Bas Congo.

The ultimate Bas Congo trip, which can include detours to any of the many sights along the way, is a road trip to Muanda. Though it’s good to take a week for the trip, allowing two days to drive each way and some time to relax at the beach, we’ve heard of people doing it over a long weekend. We left early on Saturday morning and headed out of town. The first part of the trip, though beautiful was not particularly exciting since we’d driven as far as Kisantu before. After Kisantu, we passed through Mbanza Ngungu and Kimpese, checking out the Kimpese hills from a distance for future climbing possibility. As we approached Matadi, we were struck by the bamboo tunnels created by stands of bamboo on both sides of the road. We tried to stop and have lunch in one, but the mosquitoes pushed us to higher, drier ground.

Continue reading