This was a trip of a lifetime, the kind of adventure I’d been hoping for during these past 5+ years living in southern Katanga. We’ve explored the waterfalls and villages and missions on our concession, plus the neighboring towns of Kolwezi, Likasi, and of course Lubumbashi, but I always wanted to venture a little further afield and see more of this country we call our home away from home. Finally, an opportunity came along to join our resident doctor on a chameleon-scouting trip. Six of us scrambled to join him and his wife on a voyage along the Congo River, starting in Mbandaka and heading downriver to Kinshasa.
Like any good adventure, this one had its ups and downs. Which was totally expected (in fact, things went far better than expected), and goes with the territory of traveling in a place like this. If I tend to emphasize the “downs,” it’s partly because my writing style is often sarcastic, and mostly because I don’t want to give anyone the false impression that traveling here is luxurious or nice in the conventional sense of the word. But I also don’t want anyone to think that we didn’t enjoy ourselves, because we definitely did.
Lonely Planet sums it up perfectly: “There is absolutely nothing soft nor easy about [traveling in the Democratic Republic of Congo], but for an African immersion you’ll never forget, this is the place to be.”
Here are my stories of our experience.
- Rollin’ on the Congo River (A Story of Silver Linings) — our overall impressions, and a prerequisite for the posts that follow
- A Resolution, a Warning, and a Prologue
- Kinshasa: A City of Surprises
- Mbandaka: Welcome to the Jungle
- Lac Tumba: Why Are We Still Here?
- Irebu: On the Congo River, Finally!
- Lukolela: The Last Straw
- Mosquito Island: What Happens when the Mzungus Take Over
- Puff Adder Beach, and A Sanctuary for Singers & Frogs
- Kinkole, Kinshasa, Bonobos & Bandits
Links to the stories listed above will become active once published… as always, a work in progress!