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Ladies on the Loose! For the first time ever, a motorcycle travel DVD made for women, by women! These intrepid women share their tips to help you plan your own motorcycle adventure. They also answer the women-only questions, and entertain you with amazing tales from the road! Presented by Lois Pryce, veteran solo traveller through South America and Africa and author of 'Lois on the Loose', and 'Red Tape and White Knuckles.'
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sub-Saharan AfricaTopics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
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I am in Kin and this morning made some enquiries to obtain a permit for the mining zones, well no problem after payment of 500 Usd; yes you red it well: five hundred USD!!!official fee plus of course something to make it work fast, so they said we are talking of 550 Usd.
Does anybody know if this is true? I am planning to give a try to the zambia road but this is a real set back.
I took the road to Kananga several time in the 80s. I also tried just once to get the mining permit. But forget it. After one week I left Kinshas without it. The first control post who might ask you is when you are entering the mining area (Kasai occidental)at Illebo. But if you take the last ferry in the afternoon, probably there won't be any police at the Illebo side. Then go further and don't stay in Illebo, but sleep in a village outside the town.
Just once I was checked by immigration in a smaller town along the road after Illebo. There I saw a official paper, which said;...residents of Zaire need a mining area permit. But as tourist you are not a resident of the country! I insisted on it and after a friendly one hour's discussion I moved on.
Kananga and Mbuji Mayi are big towns. Stay in Kananga at the catholic mission. In Mbuyi Mayi I tried allways to pass through, because it's not a pleasant town and there is more police, because diamonds are found inside the area of the town. After that city, problems are finished. But petrol is awaylable just on the black market. All the route you w'ont find other tourists, but people are very friendly and the police or military are friendly, too. Very different from the noth-eastern route Afrique Central to Ruanda.
Don't take the southern way via Tshikapa and then to Kananga. Thsikapa is a big diamond dealing town, many police is here.
Good luck, Michael !
Originally posted by adamiko: Hi Michael!
Im just about to enter Lubumbashi from Zambia.
What route do you recommend?
Please tell me whether you are on your own motobike or 4 wheel drive or whether you will go by truck. Where you want to go? To kinshasa? Or to Angola via Kolwezi? You are alone? Do you have the Michelin map?
No matter how, it will be extremly difficult...
Wait for your answer, Michael
Greetings from Lubumbashi!
Im traveling solo, on an Africa Twin. I would really like to RIDE to Kin...
Some nice Belgium Expats took me in as there gust, and they are wonderful and helpful folk.
According to them, the road is possible, but VERY hard. A permit for the mining area is a key for a safe passage, and they can help with that as well. Non of them drove this route in the pass 10 years, but due to there work, and been born here, they are the best source of information I have so far.
According to them, and another friend,the only route is:
Lubumbashi - kolwezi: Tar road x 160 km
> kolwezi - luena : piste rough but doable 211 km
> Luena - Kamina : mountain piste the rough type 174 km
> kamina - Mwene Ditu : piste in very bad state km 330
> Mwene Ditu - Mbuji May : tar road km 131
> Mbuji may - Kananga : piste with some long sand
> passages km175
> Kananga - Tshikapa : sand all the way but manageable
> Tshikapa - Kikwit : deep sand all the way
> Kikwit - kenge : very damaged tar road but no
> Kenge - Kin : 140 km of deep sands then 120 km of
> nice tar.
Petrol is a problem, and no one drive this road. the soldiers will give problems, but you can talk to them. Some May-may rebels are reported next to Kamina, and if they catch you, "its a certain death" the Belgians say.
They kindly offer to arrange a FREE flight for me and the bike to Kinshasa on 20/09/05...
I'm sure, your Belgian friends are realy nice and very helpful. But objective information is a problem not only in Congo. So,I don't want to tell you, what you should do, but I will tell you what I would do.
The offer for a free flight to Kinshasa is very attractive, but if I want to travel through the Congo by motobike, it's just the second best possibility.
The time I spent in Congo (in my time it was still Zaire) was the best experience in Africa I ever had, with very much downs, but even very much highs.
The far best informations about the country I got from the missions (mostly catholic). The missions you can find all over the country and they are almost daily in radiotelefon systhem contact with other missions, so their informations are up to date. Go in Lubumbashi to the mission (procure)and tell them about your plans and ask them for informations.
During your ride you can get informations from truckdrivers, who do the road between Lubumbashi and M'buji-Mayi.
On this webside in German language you can find some links in french with very relevant press informations about the current situation inside Congo. But the German part is much more informative.
The last 4 weeks I couldn't find any bad news about the region of Kamina. Beside the war region in the East of Congo they just mentioned problems in M'buji-Mayi between the corrupt police and the population. But as tourist I had only very few bad experiences with soldiers or police in this part of Congo. Very different from the experiene other tourists have on the road between CAR and Ruanda. Most of them respected very much, that I traveled alone on a motobike through Africa and they loved my big motobike (Suzuki).Most of their motos are only small motobike like Yamaha 100.
To avoid M'buji-Mayi I would take the road from Mwenu-Ditu via Tshimbulu to Kananga. I drove a couple of times in this region by moto bike. And I was astonished in how good condition these small tracks could be. But it depends an the saison. In the big procure (=catholic mission)in Kananga asked which way is better. Via Illebo (does the ferry works?)or via Thiskapa. Both roads are very bad. But there can be much truck traffic between Kananga and Tshikapa, which makes the road even more bad (sand, sand, sand...). And between Thikapa and Kikwit there used to be heavy traffic too. ("Much trafic" is relative, but a few trucks a day all year can already ruin these roads).
On the way between Kanaga, Illebo, Idofa, Kikwit there might be less traffic.
You can always sleep in villages. Very friendly and helpful people. Warm , sardines and local bread I could by everywhere, very often I good food from them. But don't forget to leave some money, whem you are leaving... Some dollars or the local money is ok.
Or stay in missions (even here you have to pay). Petrol is a problem. I could get in all bigger towns, but for twice, three or four times of the official price... Missions mostly just use diesel.
You have to decide yourself. Think about the risks. Take as much informations from different sources.
If you take the plane, you can be in a few hours in Kinshasa and nobody could blame you for that.
By road road you have about 2500 kilometers drive. If you just know the the good roads of southern Africa, forget them. You will enter a complet different world and you will experiences the maybe most difficult part of your travel through Africa. Extremly shitty, extremly wonderful.
Would be nice, to hear from you,
good luck, Michael
Just rolled into Libreville, Gabon.
The DRC was a great adventure, and a very difficult one.
One needs to have a permit for the Kassi Occ. and Kassi Ori. province because there are diamonds-this is nonsense, the diamonds are of industrial quality, and aren't worth much, but its the law. The permit for the 2 Kassi's will be around 500 USD toghter, but i only had a permit to Katanga...So from Lubumbashi my route was: Kolwezi, Luena, Bokama, Kamina, Kaniama, Mbuji Mayi. Then I was arrested for not having a permit, and luckily a Belgian friend in Mbuji Mayi got me out...
Then I had no more time, so i took a cargo plane to Kinshasa($150 for me and bike)
The road is very bad, and in fact there is no road any more, and the locals do not use it. All transport is made by trein, air, or boat on the main rivers. But with a bike or 4x4 one can do it. It took me 12 riding days to cover 1300Km... most of the road is sand, some is mountian piste.
There are some missioners, and they help a lot. Petrol can be found in major towns, jerrycan style, and cost about $3 on avredge. Disel is about the same.
The locals are very nice, but the authorities can be bad, and hassle you for hours. If so, sit back, relax, and talk with them. $2 will usually get you out.
I think that driving from Kinshasa to Lubumbashi can take a good 4 weeks, and about $600 for permits and bribes. But please know that this is place can get dangerous, so be VERY careful. and yes, if you one of the people that think they can get without bribes at all, take the Matadi road.
i'm hoping to go through the lubumbashi-kinshasa route next summer, but on public transport cos i don't drive. i'll be on a student budget so this mining permit is a stinker for me, i hadn't heard of it before. is there some lucky rule for me that it only applies to people with their own vehicles or something, i won't have 500$ to spare...
also - how regular are trains on the line lubumbashi-ilebo - i read that the passenger trains are once a month but i guess there are cargo trains going sometimes ? how often ?
we don't want to head straight from lubumbashi to ilebo so what places are recommended along the way ? we won't mind getting away from the railway tracks if we can find transport. and finally trying to work out the budget, how long would this take roughly and how much do nights cost for sleeping ? i guess more expensive in kinshasa ?
thanks for all,
The permit to Kassai is a pain, but everyone pays for it, according to the Expats that supply the mines in this area...maybe one can go around this, but at the moment this is not the place I would like to test my luck. My original plan was to travel the West route via Angola, but i couldn't get the visa in Namibia and Zambia, so DRC was my only overland option. If it's worth the effort...to be honest i don't know. It was an adventure, I met some great people, saw beautiful places, met ivory and diamond traders, and saw a very remote and isolated part of Africa, so writhing this I think that yes, it is worth the effort.
The locals are generally nice, and happy to see a traveler, let alone on a nice bike.
I'm not sure about the frequently of the train, but it looked surprisingly in good shape, and i saw it many times, since the road follow the tracks.
I met a nice french man that have a transport business up the Congo river, so if anyone is interested, i can give his details. He can arrange transport to Ilebo, Kisangani, and Banji.
A nice place to stop is Kamina, at the mission, and in a cattle farm next to Luena. chotes de Kayo are very nice, and Kolwezi and Lubumbashi are rebuilding the mines with a few very helpful expats.
thanks for the info, big spanner in the works though !!! how much is the permit for katanga ? and how do you get these katanga/kasai permits ? doesnt look like we'll be able to afford the kasai permit even though it would be great to go... hopefully the prices will come down or they'll abandon the system before next year... considering going through katanga and leaving to burundi out of uvira, if the security situation cools down...
i guess the other option would be to go round via ubundu and kisangani although would probably take a long time, and ive only got the student summer to get away !!! anyone know anything about this route ?
Hi Adam, our 4x4 expedition passes from Zambia via Angola (Luena and Malanje) to Matadi, then we need to take a ferry from Lisala to Kisangani. I see you wrote above about a Frenchman on the Congo River, and about a cattle ranch at Luena, Angola. Is there any chance you have contacts for both of these people? Email would be fantastic. I would be interested in establishing whether we can use their services, or if they can help in other ways. I would be grateful to hear from you. Regards, Alastair
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