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  #1  
Old 31 Dec 2013
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Crossing the Congo River guidebook

Hi All
If you want to cross the border between Rep of Congo and DRC you have two options. If you don't like challenges go to the section A otherwise go to B.
Section A.
Using the openstreeets map you will see the narrow road south of Kinkala city (ca 60km west of Brazza), from Boko village there is more narrow road to the border, after the border in Pioka there is a theoretical ferry but the more reliable option is the ferry in Lwozi. Congratulations you did it
Section B
Arrive to the Brazza port, cross the entry gate (buying ticket). None of the fixers speak english, so that's up to you if you need one. There are some moneychangers around the gate they speak some english, so you can use them to comunictate with your fixer (from time to time).
You fixer will advise you to stamp your passport first (well think twice before you do it, as noone knows when you leave the Brazza port).
Turn left and go to the end of the internal port road where the cargo ferry runs. Well to be honest this a theoretical ferry again. A lot of locals heard about it but nobody seen it. Looking at Kinshasa the last door on your right sould be the office of Onutra company, all barges belong to this company. Try to find "fat man" or the best option is the man with the pink cap (PC) he is the key person in this game. The only option to cross the river is using the cargo barge, there is no timetable of course . The Pink Cap knows everything including the real time of departure. At Onutra office you have to pay for loading your vehicle on the barge, i don't remember the exact price but it was quite cheap ca 20 USD (the price is calculated on the weight, they don't have the scale, they trust in what you declare). After paperwork completed you have to go under the port crane: I had a BMW GS but my travelmates had 4x4. For bike is pretty easy, port workers are very creative. After 2 minutes the port warehouse door has been dismouted and the bridge onto tha barge was ready, the door a little bent but my bike was on the barge. For 4x4 it's more complicated and more expensive but the crane (it's a bit older than my Mum) is equiped with appropriate "something" to lift the car too. Pink Cap said: today guys there is no option to go. The sightseeing of Brazza. Next day we have revisited the Port, starting with the immigration. - Hello we didn't depart yesterday Sir, could you fix our exit stamp from yesterday, please. No problem. A new stamp on the older one.
Pink Cap said, today guys should be better. After a few hours of waiting PC said sorry guys our tugboat we are waiting for has no fuel, maybe tomorrow. No problem, the sightseeing of Brazza again. In the mean time we spend very nice and pleasent time with barge's Chief and his familly, discussing and observing the port live (tonns of goods smuggled across the river in pirogues etc.) Event the free accomodation was offered to us. The only arduousness was the barge surface temperature during the day, I had to cover my tank and secure the tires. But be careful, two cameras dissapeared from the 4x4 suddenly.
The next day was our D-day as our Congolese visa expired too. Entering the port was very easy again, (as a waiting passenger you don't have to pay for the port entry), visiting the immigration first:- Hello we didn't depart yesterday Sir, could you fix our exit stamp from yesterday, please. No problem. A new stamp on the older ones. PC said: guys today I promise. In the afternoon our lovely tugboat appeared.
To cross the river it took 10 minues, the longest 10 minutes in my life. Unfortunately in Kinshasa there was no space in the port for our barge, so our Captain parked somewhere in the bushes. PC said, don't worry guys we will unload everything tomorrow, but tomorrow is a Sat..?
On Saturday PC organized everything and vehicles were unloaded. Unfortunatly in Kinshasha workers are not so creative and the port crane was used for my bike too. There was a small accident before. Our Captain was a bit "distracted" that day, when he parked our barge in the port he bashed the passenger ferry with a hundreds of passengers. People were crying, shouted, a big din... Our captain discussed with pessenger ferry captain, trying to prove that the big hole in the passenger ferry existed before
On Saturday afternoon I was on the road towards Cape Town.

At that time I thought: never again, but right now I know I'll be back there in 2015 on my bike
Happy 2014 to everyone
zbyszek from Poland
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  #2  
Old 13 Jan 2014
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Join Date: Nov 2010
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Stick with plan A

Thank you (dzienkuje)Zbyszek for your great info.
I did plan A, in June (with out DRC visa)and early September (with valid DRC visa)2012.
Broder crossing,Kinkala-Boko-louzi-Kimpese it was a fun road to be on,when is dry.
I paid for ferry 1000cfa=$2usd,3 moths later was free,No wating in line(I was riding BMW 1100gs )in September at ferry crossing was huge line jeeps from UK they had to wait 3 days.
Brazzaville-Kinshasa border crossing,I meet in person few over landers,motorbikers,they all said" big money,big headache"
If you are in Brazzaville,there is nice hotel hippocampe,in the nice part,center of Capitol,own by French traveler Oliver,he allow me to camp in tent there for free (I also had my own key to the bathroom and toilet with SEAT,that's rare in west Africa a toilet seat!)for 3 moths do to my DRC and Angola visas problem,so make sure you have your visas ready.
In my opinion west Africa was more challenging which I like,compere to east Africa.
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