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
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
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
When we decided to go to the zoo on a national holiday, we got two different reactions: a. There’s a zoo in Kinshasa? and b. Why would you ever want to go to the zoo?
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.
Living at TASOK, the Mont Ngaliema complex was just a quick walk down the hill from our house, and I remember being told about Mobutu’s zoo my first day in Kinshasa, but there’s a lot more to the complex than the empty lion cages.
An essential part of anyone’s Kinshasa experience, whether you are here for a week or 10 years, is a trip to Lola ya Bonobo, the world’s only bonobo sanctuary. Our first visit to the sanctuary was during our first week in Kinshasa, and it was a great way to get out of the city while experiencing the craziness that is bonobo culture.
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.