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Great post and thank you.
The rains are late this year and hopefully you will get through the DRC without getting too bogged down. The police in the DRC are really something - I've been working in the DRC for 2 months and there is a fine/license/permit for everything and anything they can think of. Just keep doing what you've already done and you will be OK (and keep the camera low profile!).
That was a fantastic read for me. I just want to thank you for taking the time to write this up for us. I know it takes a lot of patience, time and effort to create such a great trip report.
In my mind there is nothing you need to explain or justify. No one will ever be in your shoes in the exact same circumstances. Like you said, those were your emotions or impressions in that moment. I find it unfair and downright rude of others reading this to criticize.
A screenshot of the GPS data we collected in OziExplorer. I have some cleaning up to do regarding the waypoints but will make them available as soon as possible.
You can see from our track that we covered 3067km in total. While the road should actually be something like 2300km.
A note on the road, if you are planning to drive yourself: the situation has changed quite a bit since 2008. You might have noticed we had most problems north of Kananga. We had little choice at the time because of the "coupeurs de route" and because the ferry in Tshikapa was not functional.
Last I heard is that the ferry is back in bussines. The Chinese are also doing some major work on the RN1 between kikwit and Tshikapa. Quite a bit is tarred now. The road between Tshikapa and Kananga is notoriously muddy.
Mbuji-Mayi to Lubumbashi wil be pretty much the unchanged since we were there. It's hard but doable (preferably outside the rainy season). Most of the terrain is sandy. If you do decide to go via Ilebo, do not forget to have 2 batteries handy to start the ferry.
Ofcourse, always check the security situation, the best information can be had locally. Do not trust sources who are not actually in the country, they usually have no idea.
More information coming up as soon as I have sorted the waypoints out. (And yes, a bit of info on the car is still coming.. as promised ;-) )
We have been asked as a speaker on the first Overland Live podcast session.
It's a small presentation of our 2 year trip, which includes this Congo episode, and we will anser questions afterwards. All this can be followed live online. It takes place on Sunday 5/12 (that's this Sunday!) at 19:00 GMT . Only a limited amount of people can attent, so registration is required. It's free ofcourse.
Thanks to both of you for such a well written trip report, you have courage and tenacity off the scale, your report is very well written including your thoughts, emotions, feelings etc.... whether it is about either of you two or the folks you encountered. You have absolutely nothing to apologize for or explain to anyone who questions your words. I think you handled all the situations better than most ! I discovered your report just two days ago and it has kept me from getting much work done as I could not stop reading it
You should consider writing a book covering your entire trip
Thanks so much for making the effort and putting all this info up here. It is these sort of stories which are most helpful for future overlanders travelling there and which keep us others going and dreaming whilst we’re not on the road.
A friend and me, we’re planning our own Africa trip for next year. Concerning the DRC, as you’ve stated earlier, it is almost impossible to find any up to date information apart from “it’s dangerous – don’t go there”. So travel blogs like this one cannot be valued high enough for the wealth of information they provide. Your pictures are just awesome and heaps helpful to get prepared for the road conditions. On the Michelin Maps your route does look more like a multilane freeway!
Originally Posted by Ride4Adventure
Great ride report
Do you think your trip would have been any easier riding across the DRC on a motorcycle instead of a 4 x 4 ?
There is another DRC story of two Aussie guys riding a KTM through the DRC in 2009 (very similar route), it’s the "DRC Crossing - Lubombashi to Kinshasa" thread in the Sub-Saharan Africa Forum. Very interesting read too for all who plan to do this on two wheels.
Thank you so much for an amazing trip report; an epic story that had me enthralled from beginning to end. And this is just your travels across the DRC :-) I truely admire you for selling everything, packing up & getting out there to experience it.
I traveled overland from CAR through Zaire to Burundi / Tanzania back in 1989 and it was an amazing experience. It was a dangerous trip to do back in 1989 but nothing compared to the dangers that you now face. From the stories of your encounters with people, good & bad to the broken bridges and river crossings, it brings back many great memories for me. It was & still is an amazing country; it`s still one of my favourites to date. Thank you for sharing.
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