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Journey down the Congo

Listed under River Trips in Angola.

  • Photo of Journey down the Congo
  • Photo of Journey down the Congo
  • Photo of Journey down the Congo
  • Photo of Journey down the Congo
  • Photo of Journey down the Congo
  • Photo of Journey down the Congo
  • Photo of Journey down the Congo
  • Photo of Journey down the Congo
Photo of Journey down the Congo
Photo by flickr user Chrissy Olson
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The dramatic setting for Joseph Conrad’s book, “Heart of Darkness”, the regions along the Congo were once thought of as jungles, thick with cannibals, pygmies and exotic creatures. Later the adventures of Dr. Livingstone added to the scent of adventure the river permeated. In reality the river was a very dangerous place, illegal ivory and slave traders and violent clashes between local tribes made it a difficult route to travel.

Even today there is often fighting in countries along the river's route. Three large waterfalls and around four thousand islands prevent the Congo from being traversed from the sea, but railways have been built which bypass the difficult sections of river and the Congo is now used as a major African trade route.

Also known as the Zaire River, the Congo’s journey ends in the Atlantic near the Democratic Republic of Congo’s town of Muanda.

Trip down the Congo: Mbandaka – Kisangani

Entering the Congo's basin on the river is one of the easiest ways of getting into the belly of the beast, a proper jungle with a reputation for wild animals, cannibals and unknown encounters of all kinds. This isn't a break for people who like their creature comforts and 20 channels but a journey over rapids and though jungle – but then you're not going to run into a hippo or exotic okapi or bongo on the Thames.

There aren't many choices for trips and routes or companies offering services down the river, but you can journey from Kisangani, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Mbandaka via only a few sets of rapids and there are a couple of small wooden crafts which will take you down, it takes about ten days.

After leaving the capital the first highlight is the Bonobo Reserve, these are quite large and quite wild monkeys, and the first town or port Kinkole, a small fishing village. At Bumba the river spreads its banks and grows in girth to 20kms across and dotted with tiny, lush, flat islands and the water is covered in water hyacinths, then the river flows on to Yangambi into the Biosphere Reserve, another area verdant with flora, but then the whole area of the river basin is flooded with life. After the reserve there are several fishing villages before and after Lokutu, a larger town of about 20,000.

All along the river banks wildlife and tribal people can be seen going about their business, fishing, feeding and living amongst this amazing canopy of green life. Think photo opportunities and an opportunity to look and listen in awe of nature.

Written by  Andy Kinght.

Other expert and press reviews

“Gorilla warfare in the Congo jungle”

By Lisa Grainger for The Telegraph First Published 27 May, 2009 It’s 33C and I can feel droplets wiggling down my back in the muggy heat. Mud is squelching through the broken soles of my old trainers. I’ve just extricated a big green fly that’s flown i… Read more...

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