Congo Brazzaville - found it quite friendly, same money (cfa) as previous countries, same insurance, easy to get the visa, no border hassles coming from Gabon, others reported differently at others crossings, no police hassle at all (top of country down to Brazza, across to Kinshasa) and Brazzaville was very safe and friendly for an African capital. Ex-pats told me it was pretty safe to wonder around at night and catch taxis etc. Gorillas up north to see cheaply, nice countryside, would have stayed longer if it wasn't for visa rush to get to Angola.
Congo Kinshasa - ****ed up. Anything with a uniform or perceived authority can **** you over at anytime for anything. Fellow german traveller was yelled at by his embassy for coming as a tourist. Sending dead bodies home is a big part of their job apparently!
Assume there is no law to fall back on. I had machine guns stuck to my throat in Kinshasa followed by the question "Do you have dollars?" just driving around after the ferry.
Hear some sirens and a motorcade coming, get out of the way, they will shoot you, or ram you. This is on the US state department travel warning and can say it seems true by the way a very aggressive motorcade went by.
But both borders were professional and polite to me - if you can get over the whipping/beatings of people trying to sneak through any open gates and the $60 disinfectant scam in Kinshasa.
Meet two Aussies who came through drc on bikes from Zambia - so called macho blokes, shaking like leaves for the first few days in Brazza, real fear in their eyes, a lot of problems with police. Others have made it to/from Zambia also but always rough it seems. Search using google and you will find the threads:
Best to just get over the border to Angola asap. Bradt travel guide to Congo summed it up well: don't stay in the same place two nights in a row in drc. DRC presents a serious risk, so don't take liberties with it.
The strip of DRC down to the coast gets better as you leave Kinshasa, people friendly, cops nice. Friends camped for the night and were shot at. Seems they were camped next to a pipeline that goes up to Kinshasa….? smoothed it over in the end, but could easily have been killed - "It seemed he had adopted a very clear 'shoot first and ask questions later' policy. ".
Overland to Africa: Gabon / Congo / DRC
As ever, Africa makes you laugh:
Leaving Kinshasa early on Sunday morning quite a few people were out on the streets jogging. At a set of lights (working!) there was a group of teenage boxers jogging on the spot, punching the air and waiting for the lights to change also.
They smiled and waved at me and I yelled back "Ali boma ye!" which I remembered from the documentary film 'When we were Kings". It translates to '(Muhammad) Ali, kill him" from when Ali fought George Foreman in Kinshasa. They immediately started chanting it and punching the air furiously, laughing along with me. The lights changed and for a few wonderful seconds they ran along next to me and we all chanted "Ali boma ye!" as loud as we could.
A nice memory…..