January 11, 2008 GMT


If they’re was one country that I was a little apprehensive about passing through it was Congo but as usual all any doubts about the country I left at the border. There were police and military checkpoints at the border and then we were free to pass into the country. We waited for someone to open the boom gate and waited some more. We’ve lost the key I was told by a one of the police. “So you’ve lost the key to Congo” “Oui” the policeman replied. Half an hour later the key was found in another policeman’s pocket he was having a kip.

We rode into Congo and had one last checkpoint, as they were going crazy with the stamps using up precious pages in my passport I noticed a British registered Rangerover coming in the opposite direction. It was Chris and Jackie, (although I didn’t know there names at this point.) Shortly followed by a German fire engine with Chris and Jessie inside. The first “over landers” that we’d met, so far on this trip coming in the opposite direction.

By now it was three O’clock so we decided to have a few beers and exchange some info. It was a most enjoyable evening, we pretty much camped right there on the border and Jessie cooked us some fried plantains for dinner. Chris just asked if he could sleep in the police station, this was no problem at all and they set him up a bed complete with mozzy net. More rain during the night and after we said our farewells to new friend we were off down the road. Thomas was joining us for a few days with his Landcruiser, he was good company and he had a fridge in his car, cold beer.

Although it was more of a very long pond rather than a road there were deep puddles all along it, by lunchtime we had only made twenty kilometers. Before we could ride across one of these puddles we had to walk it first to check the depth and work out the best route to take. I miss judged one and had water come up as high as the tank. At the same time the engine took a gulp of water through the air intake and stopped. I pushed the GS out and got busy with the tools, and soon enough I was running again. Then Chris got a puncture it was one of those days, I like the days like this in a funny sort of way, character building!

There were some deep ruts that I had to take the luggage off the bike to get it through and for the first time on the trip the BMW cylinders were getting in the way. It was an exhausting day! Although as the day went on the sun was shinning and the puddles got fewer. By five O’clock I think we had made one hundred and twenty kilometers not very far but not the worst day we’ve had so far on this trip.

I really enjoyed the ride across Congo it was around five hundred kilometers of the worst roads. More beautiful scenery and in every village we rode through we would be greeted by many waving and smiling kids and adults alike. There was more deep mud to pass and at one place I counted forty truck stuck in the mud. All the drivers were shoveling earth to try to make the road passable. It was no problem for us though as a local showed us some tracks that led us around.

The pool region is located just west of the capital city of Brazzaville and is still subject to sporadic rebel activity. We were warned that there were some rebel checkpoints that we would be stopped at and they could try to extract some money from us. So it was not too much of a surprise when we came across the rebels or Ninjas, as they are known. There was a large group of them ether side of the road and as we approached they moved into the road and started to wave at us to stop. Fortunately I couldn’t see any visible firearms. I started to change down through the gears and slow down as I approached them. As I was about to put a foot down and shift to neutral I noticed there were no nail boards on the road and the way ahead was clear. So with Chris close behind I accelerated through them and away.

The last hour into Brazzaville was on yet another brand new still under construction road and we were soon in the capital. The Catholic Mission has let us camp inside their holy walls on a bit of lawn next to their bar.

Brazzaville seems to be a prosperous city set on the river Congo, the streets are wide and it is very clean for an African city. There are many restaurants and a lot of things are available to buy here. There is still evidence of the civil war here it’s easy to see bullet holes in some walls and other large houses and office blocks that have been left derelict.

We are stopping here for a couple of days to relax and I have spent a day giving the bike some TLC. It is all sparkly and clean again with fresh oil and filters. The starter motor hasn’t been sounding so good since it’s stint in the muddy water so I removed it and cleaned out all the muck from inside. Apart form that the R1200GS has been holding up exceptionally well but I better not say too much too soon. Not until I get to South Africa.

Across the River Congo is Kinshasa the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (yes there are two Congo’s). Tomorrow morning we’ll be taking the ferry across and yet another border crossing and another country.


Posted by Michael Beckett at January 11, 2008 06:44 PM GMT

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!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!