Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Regional Forums > sub-Saharan Africa

sub-Saharan Africa Topics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12 Aug 2010
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 17
Is the Brazzaville-Kinshasa ferry operating again?

Hello fellow overlanders! A Swiss team (Afrika erfahren) reported in mid-July this year that the Brazzaville-Kinshasa ferry had broken down, with no date known when it would resume service. Unwilling to cough up the cash for a barge (180000 FCFA if I remember well), they were forced to divert to Pointe Noire and cross Cabinda.

If anyone has any more information on this subject, I would appreciate feedback.

Safe travels

GeorgesSnailTrails - Posts

Last edited by gternes; 12 Aug 2010 at 18:09. Reason: Original post didn't show correctly
Reply With Quote
Old 13 Aug 2010
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Luxembourg
Posts: 120
In February there were several ferry boats doing the trip each day

Have a safe trip
Reply With Quote
Old 13 Aug 2010
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 739
Hey Georges,

Hadn't heard that it was down, having seen the condititon of it in May or June, doesn't surprise me though

It is a very well used crossing so the privateers would have stepped in immediately to offer their services at negotiable and exorbinant prices. You wouldn't expect the ferry to be out of service for too long but in the DRC they have their own concept of what constitutes a long time.

If you don't get a answer back from someone here that has crossed recently, I'd try to contact one of the common travellers stops such as the Hippocamp in Brazza or perhaps the Catholic Mission in Kinsasha who see people coming/going across weekly and would have up to date info.

Safe travels.
Reply With Quote
Old 14 Aug 2010
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Luxembourg
Posts: 120
Contacting Hippo Camp for info is a good idea.

Here is there e-mail address: hotresthippocampe@yahoo.fr

Reply With Quote
Old 14 Aug 2010
eljulian's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Berlin
Posts: 109
It was still down last week (early August 2010) and they had no idea when it would run again.

A German couple I met at Hippocampe was quoted 300000 for a barge for their Landcruiser, they were told this included the Kinshasa side, but you know how it goes...

I was told a bike could cross on one of the smaller boats for around 20000.

In the end I decided to join two young Germans in a Nissan van and take the route via Pointe Noire, Cabinda and Songolo. But just so everybody knows, Brazza-Dolisie is hell, deep dust with hard packed ruts and rocks underneath. On the fourth day the dust killed my friends' engine. In the rainy season the piste is going to be much worse. But there are no more Ninja Rebels on the route, only a couple of police checkpoints, villages all fly the Congolese flag. French expats who do security in the area told us though, that north of the Brazza-Dolisie RN1, in Ninja-heartland, there had been two armed attacks on foreigners last week alone.

On a more positive note: the Angola embassy in Abuja issue 5 day double entry visas, so you can go through Cabinda.

Where is Julian?

Last edited by eljulian; 14 Aug 2010 at 14:27. Reason: typo
Reply With Quote
Old 15 Aug 2010
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 17
Thanks for these helpful answers. As we're coming down through Cameroon, not Nigeria, we won't be able to go to the consulate in Abuja and will have to figure something out to get the transit visa in Yaoundé, Libreville or later.

Needless to say, I'll report back on the route we took, in due time!

Reply With Quote
Old 15 Aug 2010
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Adelaide
Posts: 41
kinshasa ferry, my 2 cents worth

we were there in April and the ferry was down at the time. unfortunately we were on the last day of our visa so were desperate.

we were 'befriended' by a guy to our detriment, because he wanted US300 for two bikes and 2 people, and after he had spent 5 minutes with us no one else would deal with us so we were stuck with it.

if you need to negotiate a rate, make sure you do it INDEPENDENTLY, refuse any and all help from locals, get a price from a ticket office, or from a boat operator.

The ferry tickets at the time should have been US25 for the bike, and the same for a passenger.

You should be able to hire a small boat for a similar price.


Reply With Quote
Old 16 Aug 2010
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: London
Posts: 10
Angola visa

For the Angolan visa we didn't try Yaounde but managed to get it (June 2010) in Kinshasa. We were outright refused at the embassy in Libreville and also Brazza. For the Kinshasa application we needed letters from our embassies. Good luck!
Reply With Quote
Old 25 Aug 2010
roamingyak.org's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Portugal
Posts: 1,062
It works most of the time - there are actually different ferries - some for passengers and some for cars (twice a day for cars I think).

I was there when it wasn't working but it was fixed a few days later. Money is being lost when it is not working so it normally only takes a few days to get fixed.

If your on a bike you should be able to get on the passenger ferry. The port people are all fairly nice as in Congo Brazza in general.
Reply With Quote
Old 7 Sep 2010
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 17
After a few days of finding our bearings in Brazzaville and checking out the ferry situation, here's the deal: the regular large roll-on ferry (called "bac" here) is out with no idea as to a resumption of service. Private barges are now transporting anything and everything across, in a typically chaotic and unscheduled fashion that was fun to observe for an afternoon.

I suppose it must be possible to manhandle a motorbike onto one of the barges, or even one of the smaller crafts, there's plenty of guys around hauling stuff from the quay over several barges to the one that's planning to leave sometime soon... For an overland truck, it's something else: they need to be lifted with a crane, the barge needs to be positioned, etc. This all makes the crossing a prohibitively expensive proposition (500.000.- CFA), so we dropped it and will now attempt the Cabinda route to Matadi.
Reply With Quote
Old 26 Sep 2010
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: on the road, Earth
Posts: 93

I just crossed yesterday with a bike (sept 25). The official ferry that is running is actually 3 ferries roped together and it will not carry cars/trucks. The ferry doesn't have room and on the Brazzaville side there are 3/4 stairs you have to climb to get to the ramp. Unofficial ferries are taking cars/trucks, but I don't know any details about them.

Here's the basics...

-Normal mob scene when I arrived. Stupid prices thrown about, etc, etc.
-Ended up using a guy just so the others would leave me alone, but he wouldn't negotiate price in advance.
-Got me through customs and immigration very quickly.
-Tried to change the cost on my 'ticket' (scrap of paper from ticket counter) from 38,000F to 138,000F (~40USD to 150USD). When I caught him and asked the cashier she screamed at him. I paid 38,000F.
-Rode the bike onto the ferry, though people were yelling at me and each other the whole time. One would get in my way and try to stop me and then another would pull him away, etc, etc. The fixer kept trying to stop me to talk about his fee, but I just kept riding down the ramp.
-On the ferry the fixer started to ask for stupid amounts of money. I gave him all my remain CF and Angolan Kwanza (~$10USD) and told him that next time if he treated people honestly he might do better. My bike was on the ferry and it was leaving, so he just cursed at me and left.
-On the Brazzaville side there are 3/4 tall steps to get to the ramp and I needed help. There were some decent guys on the boat I had been talking to (joys of speaking good french) and we worked out a decent deal- 2 guys to lift the bike at $2USD a person, and then $5USD to 2 guys who arranged it, helped lift the bike, and also did the whole immigration/customs dance for me (including visa!).
-Everything worked fine and they never tried for more cash.

So, for me and a bike:
ticket ~$42USD
Kinshasa fixer ~$10USD (luck)
Brazzaville help $14USD
Congo-Brazzaville visa $50USD
Reply With Quote
Old 19 Oct 2010
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 12
Thumbs up Update!!

Ok guys, here's the latest from Brazza, and I'm sure bringing good news. There is no need to endure the horrors of either the Luozi or Point Noire route, for both bikes and cars, even though the main ferry is still down. I just helped a fellow overlander on his crossing by car (big Landrover) and got through it without too much of a hassle (or barely any at all, really).

Here's the deal: there is another ferry operating right now, which is, like I said, mostly hassle free on this side of the river. They've got three boats in dock, one of which goes to the other side everyday, except on Sundays, at 10 o'clock. No need showing up before 8 (they actually told me to show up at 8.30 when I'm crossing at the end of the week) as there will probably not be any other vehicles crossing and the paperwork is done quickly.

We were charged coming into the port (11.000 fCFA), which seemed to be legit (supposedly other travellers thought it wasn't, only to find themselves stopped by proper police on their way out - there actually is a port charge). We hitched up witch a fixer (or 'protocol') there, who showed up exactly where to go and when. You guys travelling on four wheels are screwed a bit, because they have to take the boat out to the other side of the port, where you can roll your truck on board. The ferry costs fCFA 75.000 for driver + car, and being the only car, moving the boat to get the vehicle on board is another 20.000. And that's ALL. No hidden charges there. So it'll be somewhat expensive (adding up to 106.000 fCFA), but I'm sure it'll beat the hassle of a Cabinda visa.

Now, I got some conflicting stories on bikes, but one thing's for sure: we're lucky here. We don't pay the 20.000, as we can get the bike on board where the boats are docked. The quotings I got for the ferry ranged between about 10.000 and 25.000 fCFA, everything included. So.. it'll be a fair price. I'll post on that when I've actually crossed next week.

Then a final note on paperwork; both the guy in the 4x4 and I actually got our Carnet stamped coming into Brazzaville (customs guy probably just trying to make a buck by attempting to charge us -in vain- for the stamp) - side note: he just stamped the top section, and didn't fill in or take out the slip . Customs at the port basically called this guy a bloody idiot, wrote over his stamps and made the carnet in order again. Again no hassle, just sympathy. So, try not to get your Carnet stamped coming into Brazza, and if you do anyway, don't worry.

Ok, for you guys coming down here: enjoy Brazza (it's a really pleasant city) and good travels!


Worries go down better with soup than without.
Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Tyres in Kinshasa Matt Roach sub-Saharan Africa 6 15 Mar 2010 12:59
Looking for contacts in Brazzaville and Kinshasa 2cvfred sub-Saharan Africa 3 27 Oct 2006 18:43
from kinshasa to capetown jelvis Travellers Seeking Travellers 0 13 Mar 2006 22:49
Operating a Diesel Vehicle in COLD Climates danielsprague 4WD Overland Tech 19 6 Nov 2005 20:13
50% tyre in Kinshasa tarisius sub-Saharan Africa 0 6 Aug 2005 16:18


HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.

"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 07:01.