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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 29 Jan 2007
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Up the Congo river???

We are toying with the idea of trying to find a boat in Kinshasa and heading up the Congo river to Kisingahnii then onto Uganda, now before we get replys of dont be silly and are you crazy remember this is only a thought and hense posting the question here, just want to see if anyone can shead some light on anything from the safety factors in the country, possibility of even getting a boat at all, anything at all, any info will be greatly appreciated.

Cheers

Robbo
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  #2  
Old 30 Jan 2007
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There is a book written by an American, (fairly recently) who travelled up the river by public ferry and then bought a pirogue to paddle back down to Kinshasha with. (Sorry can't remember the title, but a thorough google should find it)

Good tale (although you get the distinct feeling it has been 'modified' for dramatic purposes!). He bottled out partway because of nerves and a sick guide.

Don't know the current situation apart from what I've read on the web, but I don't think anyone would describe that route as 'safe' at the moment.

Be interested to hear what you find out.
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  #3  
Old 30 Jan 2007
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Smile the congo river

hello Robbo,

I had a similar idea in 2004, going downstream from Uganda to Kinshasa, but then I saw pictures of waterfalls and rapids somewhere.

so, we went down to Namibia and than up Angola overland.

a friend went from Uganda in 2004 thru North DRC, South Sudan, Central African Republic and than into Cameroon, he said it was hard and he was a very expierenced traveller.

I think you can do it, but it is not going to be cheap or easy. maybe easier without the bike.

good luck

mika
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  #4  
Old 1 Feb 2007
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Thumbs up Upriver the Congo river

Having lived for a while in Congo until last year, and having to work in the most northern part of Congo-Brazzaville, I can say this is not such a crazy idea... I have never done transport up to Kisangani, only to Mbandaka (definitely no problem to organise) and to Bangui (in Central African Republic) of cars and big materials.

I know there are also transports to Kisangani, but check the time - the waterlevel might be an issue.

Probably the best way to find something is to contact mining and forest companies and the like, they regularly have to transport stuff, so they might either get you in contact with people, or might even offer you to go on one of their barges.

Travelling on the Congo river is definitely a marvellous experience - I have never done it on the Congo river itself further than Mbandaka, only further north up to Bangui, but it must be roughly the same - although probably a bit more difficult once you get into the mainlands of the DRC.

Biggest hassle to be expected is probably officials and stuff - but then again, overland won't be that much difference in Congo.

Good luck with it - and looking forward how it goes...

jef
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  #5  
Old 2 Feb 2007
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Hello, i've done a 6 days part from Bumba to Kisangani in a barge for 27 dollars (20 for me and 7 for the motorbike) 4 months ago. It's pretty easy to do from Kinshasa but it take more than three weeks. The travel is long, hot, cold, lots of mosquitos, you have to carry your water or drink from the river. The landscapes are verry nice but very similar. The most important its maybe the experience with these people who travel in this barge like a little village on the river. The road from Kisangani to Uganda is hard but ok with time and good sense. I've met in mauritania an american guy who come with is motorbike from South Africa and cross Congo from Uganda to Kisangani by road and kisangani to Kinshassa by barge (three weeks).

Me i've been from central african republic, via Bangui to the north of congo. 1000 kms from bangui to bumba of very bads tracks, very wet, i falt a lot but it's ok to done, just beware of the malaria that i take here and made me stay one week in a catholic mission (good place to sleep because no accomodation in congo jungle).

There are also antonov plane who make flew beetween all the big citys, it's like 100/150 dollars from kinshassa to Beni (at 80 kms of uganda) for the personns, and 1 dollars for one kilo (more or less about the distance) for the motorbike.

Congo it's maybe the nicest and wildest trip you can make in Africa.

Elapsio
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  #6  
Old 12 Jun 2007
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info from a man in Kinshasa

This info came in answer to my questions a couple of days ago. Hope it's useful:
Not much time to go into details, but Eastern Congo is definitely not a place to be... Lot's of armed groups. The Un are trying to interfer, but it is not really succesful. Village destroyed and population killed, MSF people attacked... West congo is not good neither, but more on a practical point (coruption....)
Get back with more info when I get time...
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  #7  
Old 20 Jun 2007
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Don't know much about that particular route, but i just arrived in Brazzaville from Pokola (near Ouesso) after 13 days on a barge down the Sangha and Congo rivers. It was an awesome experience, like a floating village market. At every village people paddled alongside in canoes to trade goods and we accumulated all sorts of animals, living, dead and smoked. The tiny deck space was littered with live turtles, catfish and crocodiles. The people were great too, the friendliest i've met so far in Africa, although i struggled not speaking French or Lingali.
I bought my own food before leaving (spaghetti, rice etc) and cooked myself, but it's possible to buy stuff en route and have it cooked for you by the Mama's who trade on the boat, that is, if you like smoked fish and manioc.
The only problem was the time. 2 weeks is much too long to traverse 850 km. The problem was mostly in the Sangha which is difficult to navigate due to sand banks. We zig zagged the entire length of the river, but nevertheless got stuck on a sandbank for a day.
My tent (fortress of solitude) came in very handy. I set it up on the top of the stack of wooden boards that was the main cargo and wasn't bothered by wind or rain.
To catch the boat i just turned up and paid 30 for me, 50 for the bike. Travelling by boat with a motorcycle also has a lot of hidden charges connected with the loading and unloading. Expect to pay between 6 and 20 dollars each time you need help to unload/load the bike.
I highly recommend the trip though if you've got ime and patience.
Sean
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  #8  
Old 21 Jun 2007
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I was there last winter. The state barge company ONITRA was out of business and seems that there are only privateers with odd schedules around. So you'd need plenty of time and patience to reach from Kinshasa to Kisangani. From there on the northern route through Epulu, Komanda, Beni etc. to Uganda seemed ok. The southern road via Walikale to Goma was doable with a bike although there are bad sections even during the drier part of the year. But the problem is that the forests east of Rwanda are infested with a menagerie of rebels and you could easily be picked clean there or worse. Of course you could get through with good luck. I don't think they have permanent check points but as soon as the word is out that a westerner is there all sorts of characters congregate. Not a good idea to take that road but if you do be quick and don't hang around anywhere for too long.
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