Getting out of Congo was time consuming and very bureaucratic itís all part of the trip I know, but there is a lot of admin to cross Africa! We eventually rode onto the boat to cross the mighty Congo River. The boat left the dock and headed up river a way and rafted up to two other boats. When the vessels were secure we got underway once more, three boats chugging away at about one knot, it took us about an hour to get to the other side. When we arrived at Kinshasa there was a stampede as everyone fought to get back onto dry land. I changed some money on the black market and got stack of local cash, which filled a few different pockets.
Kinshasa, the capital of DRC is an interesting city, we went for a stroll and it wasnít long before we found ourselves on the terrace of bar, drinking beer and eating good but expensive European food. Along the main street there were a few shops and a supermarket, which catered for the wealthy and many people driving around in Mercedes and four by fours. This was yet another African country with large natural resources of which only a tiny, tiny percentage will ever benefit.
We walked down another street and found the UN building, which was protected by a barricade of razor wire and armored cars with huge machine guns on top. I wandered up for a closer look, then thought it best to move on. There is a huge UN presence here; most of the trouble is in the east of DRC fortunately we didnít have to go through these areas to pass through. We moved on the next day, twenty hours was long enough in this city. I didnít want to risk taking any photos, Kinshasa is a city not used to tourists!
We headed to Zongo falls, which were, immense and spectacular camped up on the riverbank at the top of the falls the whole place to ourselves. It was an amazing place, definitely worth the 50km ride down the rough track to get to it. That night there was a huge thunderstorm, which made it a wet and muddy ride back out again, although in this part of Africa this is becoming the norm.
We arrived in Matadi to obtain our visas for Angola this took the whole day and cost $80. I was asked dozens of obscure questions, the relevance of which I wasnít quite sure but by the end of the day I had my five, day transit visa for Angola. Five days is all you get to ride 1600 km not a problem in other parts of Africa but I think you would have to use the term road very loosely when in Angola.
Just as we were leaving the consulate the Angolan officials just happened to mention that the border was going to be closed for the next two days. We had about an hour to get back to where we were staying pack up, fuel up and get to the border. We managed to get to the border in time and get stamped out of DRC. Although when we arrived at the Angolan immigration point we were too late. Stuck in no mans land for the night! Then the border guards said we could sleep under the porch of the police station in Angola. Which had a beautiful view across the green hills and the River Congo. We met three South Africans heading the same way as us on KTM 640ís; we all agreed a beer would be good after our taxing day. Unfortunately there was no bar this side of the border, but the AK47 totting border guard let us sneak back into DRC so we could get a couple of drinks.
In the morning the Angolan border guards who had slept in the police station all night. Stamped our passports in, although they couldnít stamp them the previous night. They still put yesterdays date on the entry, so we lost a day on the visa now only four days to cross Angola. We hung around for another hour for the customs to stamp our carnets but they didnít show. So we ended up leaving without the stamp, hopefully it shouldnít be a problem at the other end.Posted by Michael Beckett at January 29, 2008 05:24 PM GMT
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.
Next HU Events
- Canada West: Aug 21-24
- USA North Carolina: Sept. 4-7
- France Mini: Sep 5-7
- Canada Ontario: Sept. 11-14
- NEW! UK - Haggs Bank: Sept. 19-21
- USA California: Sept. 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! Aus NSW: Oct 31-Nov 2
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 13-16
- NEW! HUMM Morocco: May 13-16, 2015
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
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!
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 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.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.
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 © 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!