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sub-Saharan Africa Topics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
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  #1  
Old 15 Sep 2010
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Alternative route from Brazzaville to Matadi

This post is possibly most relevant to 4x4s, but might interest travelers on 2 wheels as well. With prices for private barge crossings (the public ferry is not operating currently) from Brazzaville to Kinshasa prohibitive, and having to lift the car onto such a barge with rickety equipment and amateurish staff, and with no Angolan visa yet, we set off to find an alternate route to Matadi, i.e. one that would not take us through Pointe Noire and Cabinda.

We crossed into DRC at Mindouli (on the road from Brazza to Dolisie - no Ninjas in sight), then made our way South to Luozi, where a 20$ ferry ride takes you across the Congo river. In Matadi we applied for a visa, that should be ready overnight (we'll find that out today when we go pick them up).

This route has some limitations: from Mindouli, it needs a real high-clearance 4x4, and is probably a nightmare in the rainy season when I guess it turns into a muddy mess. Locals speed along on their (light) motorbikes, often on alternative tracks and shortcuts. With a heavy overland bike, there are going to be a few tough stretches (sand, deep ruts).

I don't want to make this too long, just wanted to let people know that it's feasible - I didn't read about it here before setting off.
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Old 15 Sep 2010
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Nice info.

Where did you took the ferry ? Was it at Luozi to Banza-Sanda ?
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Old 16 Sep 2010
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Yes- thanks for the info- I'll be doing the trip in reverse in a couple of days (leaving Luanda tomorrow).

Few Quick questions:

-How is the whole 'Ninja' situation going? I'd heard they'd almost became official for a while and were pretty much a non-issues. Now I've been hearing a bit more about them, especially from people taking the road north from Brazzaville (N2) and then west to Franceville.

-Was it possible to get a Congo (not DRC) visa where you crossed?

-How are the roads? Has the rain really started or they still okay? I'm running late and am getting worried about the raininy season... Luanda had rain about a week ago and they don't normally get anything until December!

If you have any questions about Angola and south, please feel free to drop me a line.
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Old 16 Sep 2010
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Yes- thanks for the info- I'll be doing the trip in reverse in a couple of days (leaving Luanda tomorrow).

Few Quick questions:

-How is the whole 'Ninja' situation going? I'd heard they'd almost became official for a while and were pretty much a non-issues. Now I've been hearing a bit more about them, especially from people taking the road north from Brazzaville (N2) and then west to Franceville.

-Was it possible to get a Congo (not DRC) visa where you crossed?

-How are the roads? Has the rain really started or they still okay? I'm running late and am getting worried about the raininy season... Luanda had rain about a week ago and they don't normally get anything until December!

If you have any questions about Angola and south, please feel free to drop me a line.
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  #5  
Old 16 Sep 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRad View Post
-How is the whole 'Ninja' situation going?
According to French security guys I met on the RN1 a few weeks ago, the area along the route is safe. You also see Congolese flags flying even in the smallest villages. Further north though, they said, had just been attacks on foreigners.
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Old 6 Oct 2010
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Sorry for getting back a bit late, we´ve been enjoying the pleasures of worry-free traveling in Namibia

- we crossed in Luozi;
- I´m not an expert on the Ninjas (can you believe that name??), can only say that we haven´t seen any on the road from Brazza to Mindouli. Security forces are present, and escort Chinese truck convoys, but told us not to worry... Villagers on the road from Mindouli to Luozi are very friendly, have seen the occasional overland truck pass through, but are not used to them stopping overnight in the village (all come to look at you, the vehicle, etc.). We slept in the bush most of the time (on a stretch of the "road" that locals bypass with short-cuts).
- I´m not aware of a possibility to obtain a Congo visa on arrival in Luozi, although there is a fully-fledged territorial administration post there (all sorts of greedy police, immigration, etc.).
- I thought the "road" was tough in the northern part after coming in from Mondouli, but after hearing the description of the Kinshasa to Lubumbashi route taken by a Czech couple last month, I hand them the trophy for hard-core off-roading (in a 4x4). I hope to persuade them to post their experience here, it´s quite a story!
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Old 27 Jan 2011
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Gternes,

where did you do the immigration for the DRC & Congo?

Ben
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Old 27 Jan 2011
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Hi,

The mainroad from Matadi to Kinshasa ist good tar so no problem. Because the road from Brazzaville to Dolisie is very sandy, some friendly locals in Madingou advised me not to follow the sandy N1, but rather to take a much nicer and easier road 3km south to GPS S04°12'07,5" E013°31'49,8" and then to ride from Nkay to Loudima. This small way indeed was very beautiful and led past a lot of nice little villages with friendly people. The last piece along a large plantation was even asphalted. With a car the distance is not doable, because shortly before Loudima i had to cross a river using a narrow railway bridge. I did not see rebels on the entire distance. Nobody begged at me.

A jeep full of young people advised me later on to travel from Loudima GPS S04°07'08,7" E013°02'45,2" past Kitaka and Mom Bilon, where I found a pump with drinking again and was allowed to stay overnight before i went on to Dolisie:

Riding the rough west coast through Africa part 3

LG, Tobi
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  #9  
Old 8 Feb 2011
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Could try this.....

Folks

As per the post in the other thread, you can read about our alternative route at:

Langebaan Sunset: Crossing the Congo – Alternative route in detail with map & GPS data

GPS details and waypoints for this route are at

Latest news / About us - Langebaan Sunset - Stonehenge UK to Cape Town SA - 2010

The ferry can take 1 x 4x4 and several motorbikes. The roads after Boko are tricky - esp. in wet. After Pioka would recommend not to attempt in rain or after rain. Would be easier for motorbikes.

Hope that helps

Nick
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  #10  
Old 10 Feb 2011
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just completed the Mindouli- Sunni-Louzi road and crossed the Congo river. the worst part of this trip is the first 10 km as deep ruts and lots of mud and slow going, other than that just like any other piste in the Congo region

ferry is $15 for 2 people and Landrover and the last ferry leaves at 4pm but when we crossed it was earlier it just depends on the day
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