Democratic Republic of Congo: Lubumbashi to Kinshasa

RadioBaobab

Adventurer
We had contacted the homefront with the question if they could find a way of getting money to us. Western Union and the likes would only do transactions to Kinshasa, but not to Kikwit. The fees Western Union charges are also pretty ridiculous. In the end we managed to get in contact with a Belgian lady in Kinshasa who owns a big company there. Our familiy would transfer the money to her Belgian account. As soon as she had received the money she would hand the money in US$ over to a contact we had in Kinshasa. That contact would then buy the parts we need, box it and put it on an airplane to Kikwit. Easy! :roll:

That night we were introduced to Timothé, Paolo's cuisinier. Timothé had this angry way of talking and looking, but friendly at the same time. He had special skills. Paolo (and his predecessor in Kikwit) had learned him the art of Italian cooking. He could cook up a pasta - from local ingredients - that an Italian would not critisize... and that is a feature! He was probably the best Italian chef in DRC!

Day 34

The souvenir seller was back that morning, he was in a bit of a hurry because a UN convoy would come for a day visit today. A quick round of haggling but we did not agree on a price.

We made use of the privacy Paolo's house provided to finally relax a bit. It's been a hectic month for us! Josephine decided that now was a good time to get rid of my beard and the carpet on my head. After 40 days of neglect, I couldn't agree more



While we waited for the money transfer and the parts to arrive we explored a bit of Kikwit (without a camera, we were suspicious enough already). In the city center 'on the hill' is an area that must have once been a very posh area. I could see the plush gardens and big villa's in my imagination, it was now transformed into rundown buildings. Green walls and makeshift corrugated roofs.

There was a recent asphalt road connecting the RN1 to the airport and across the only bridge over the Kwilu river. Most of the other roads had varying kinds of decaying asphalt or just dirt. On the asphalt road in town there were 'road works'. A big pile of sand was blocking the road with just a narrow path to get a car trough. They had made a toll booth ofcourse. Paolo told us the pile of sand was there now for over 4 years. They would constantly dig away and move the pile back and forth. There were no works, the road underneath the sand was perfectly fine.

Next to the river were a few 'bars'. A few plastic chairs and a cooler with hot drinks (no electricity-no money for ice). The owner of the bar was really glad to see us. He was complaining about business, the prices of basic goods had gone up recently and even less people now had a budget to go for a drink.

The price of eggs had gone up too. Josephine went to buy eggs at the small mission of the sisters. They too were complaining as they actually had too many eggs. They did not dare to reduce the price as that would make the other 'eggsalesman' angry. But it was clear that people could no longer afford eggs now. The sisters kept a monkey as a pet. It was a vicious monkey. Strange pet!

The mechanics fixed what they could without the missing parts (the gears, one hub for the rear axle + all the bolt required for the hub). We got hold of two new batteries. Indian made this time. 100$ a pop. They were junk but it worked for now.



Day 35 - 36 - 37

The souvenir guy came every day, a bit of haggling, a bit of talking. But we could not agree on a price.

We waited and generaly had an enjoyable stay in Kikwit... Paolo is one the most interesting persons we ever met. You should hear his stories!
 

crusader

Adventurer
Belgium is ahead of me (mountain west) by about 10 hrs. It looks to be about 2:30 AM Wednesday November 17 . The time zones start at the international date line somewhere in the Pacific between Hawaii and Guam and travel west. I lived in the Philippines for a few years, it was quite an interesting experience coming home over the date line.
Yeah...I wasn't being serious.

I used to have a t-shirt from one of my trips to Wake Island that read "Wake Island--Where America's day really begins."

Just to stay on topic...I was Monday in Belgium today, hence the latest installment. :)
 

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RadioBaobab

Adventurer


Frederik, is this the same road you took?
Nice video. It is more or less the same road yes. We did not go via Kolwezi, but took an alternative track before kolwezi (the part with the private roads). Most of the road must have been similar though.

It's interesting to see that the camera crew probably did not expect it would take that long and did not make it until the end. As you see, it's quite common that journeys into the Congo take a bit longer then a few hours. We reached Bukama (the destination of this truck)after a few days. After Bukama traffic virtually stops at all. Nobody really continues past there. You'd have to be nuts to do that really ;-)

Also interesting to see that they have 3 guys as pointers for the driver. They walk the road and make the decisions. This was Josephine's role in the Congo, and she was on her own obviously. The importance of her role cannot be underestimated!

I should add that Josephine usually does a fair bit of driving as well. As I have a bit more experience with technical driving, I did all the driving in Congo. Many days she walked more in front of the car then she was in it.
 

T4RJon

New member
I've been following this since late October. Simply amazing!! I'm so hooked...... Registered on here just to say this.

oh and this...

A book on the 2 year excursion would be incredible!
 

cmgraves

Observer
just wanted to say thanks for the amazing story and pictures!

In additon, congrats for breaking the 100,000 views!!!!:wings:

keep the adventure coming :coffee:
 

PRyan

New member
Amazing trip and fantastic story-telling.

I really hope you do consider publishing this in either a digital or traditional form.

When you have a moment away from giving your addicted readers their 'fix' I would love to know what kinds of tools and spares you brought as well as what you might do differently if you were to do it again in terms of the following:

Would you have erred on bringing more tools even though they add weight and take up space or do you think you had the proper kit?

Would you opt for more of a dual purpose battery in the rear that could power accessories and be just as good at starting the Troopie?

Would you have made more of an effort to set up a parts supply chain set up to expedite getting replacements quickly? Example - having a trustworthy place to have parts shipped to quickly.

Many thanks for taking the time to bring us all along on your adventure. If you don't have time to address these questions I totally understand, only so much time in the day (and night for that matter).
 

mangus7175

Observer
I found myself lost deep into this thread yesterday leaving all my work undone. By far one of the best reports (...or adventure book) I've read here :)
 
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