Saturday, September 18, 2021

How To Travel Around DR Congo

AfricaDemocratic Republic of CongoHow To Travel Around DR Congo

By plane

The only method to travel across the nation fast is by aircraft, due to the vast expanse of the country, the bad condition of the roads, and the unstable security situation. This isn’t to suggest it’s risk-free; Congolese aircraft crash with alarming frequency, with eight documented accidents in 2007. Still, it’s a better option than traveling by land or water.

Compagnie Africain d’Aviation, is the biggest and longest-running carrier, serving Goma, Kananga, Kindu, Kinshasa-N’djili, Kisangani, Lubumbashi, Mbandaka, Mbuji-Maya, and Entebbe (Kampala) in Uganda.

Stellar Airlines was founded in 2011 and now flies one Airbus A320 aircraft between Kinshasa-N’djili, Goma, and Lubumbashi.

FlyCongo, which operates from Kinshasa-N’djili to Gemena, Goma, Kisangani, Lubumbashi, and Mbandaka, was founded in 2012 from the remains of the old national airline Hewa Bora.

Goma, Lubumbashi, Kindu, Kinshasa-N’djili, Kisangani, and Mbuji-Maya are all served by Lignes Aeriennes Congolaises

Air Kasaï flies to Beni, Bunia, Goma, and Lubumbashi from Kinshasa-N’Dolo.

Korongo Airlines started flying from Lubumbashi to Kinshasa-N’djili and Johannesburg in 2012, with services to Kolwezi and Mbuji-Maya scheduled for the summer of that year. Korongo’s maintenance is handled by Brussels Airlines, therefore it’s definitely the safest option.

Congo Express began operations in 2010 and serves only Lubumbashi and Kinshasa.

Wimbi Dira Airways was formerly the second-largest carrier, but as of June 2012, it does not seem to be in operation. Air Tropiques, Filair, Free Airlines, and Malift Air are all based in Kinshasa-N’Dolo airport and may or may not be operational.

By truck

Because smaller vehicles can’t handle what’s left of the roads, trucks are used for a lot of transport in the Congo. You should be able to locate a truck driver to transport you anywhere you want to go if you go to a truck park, which is usually near the market. You go with a big group of people on top of the burden. It may be very pleasant if you choose a truck carrying sacks of something soft like peanuts. Beer trucks aren’t one of them. If the journey is going to take many days, comfort is important, particularly if the vehicle is going to be on the road all night. It’s best to sit in the rear since the driver will not stop simply to allow you use the restroom. The price must be negotiated, so first consult the hotel personnel and don’t spend more than double the local rate. The inner seat is sometimes available. The driver may sell you food, although they usually stop at roadside booths every 5-6 hours. Though time is extremely flexible, departure times are usually at the start or conclusion of the day. It is beneficial to make plans the day before. It is preferable to travel as a group. Women should never go alone themselves. Some routes have a lot of bandits, so double-check before you go.

Locals are often harassed for money at army checkpoints. Foreigners are usually left alone, but have a bribe ready just in case. The troops may be inebriated by the middle of the day, so be cautious and courteous. Never lose control of your emotions.

By ferry

If security allows, a ferry runs every week or two from Kinshasa to Kisangani on the Congo River. It’s available at a few places along the way, but you’ll have to hurry since it doesn’t wait. A bribe to the ferry manager gets you a four-berth cabin with cafeteria cuisine. The ferry is made up of four or five barges that are linked together around a central ferry and serve as a floating market. Wooden boats piloted by people emerge from the surrounding forest as the ferry travels, carrying local products such as vegetables, pigs, and monkeys, which are exchanged for industrial items such as medicine or clothing. You’re sitting on the roof, listening to beautiful African music. Of course, it’s filthy, uncomfortable, and dangerous. It is, nevertheless, one of the great experiences of the globe.

By train

The few trains that still run in the DRC are in bad shape and travel on lines built by the Belgian colonial administration more than half a century ago. The rolling stock is decrepit and ancient. If you get a hard seat, you’re in luck, and even fortunate if your train has a dining car (which probably has limited options that run out halfway through the trip). The vehicle will most likely be congested, with many people sitting on the top. Trains in the DRC run on a sporadic schedule owing to a lack of money or fuel, as well as frequent maintenance and breakdowns. Trains may be two to three weeks apart on several routes. If there’s a silver lining, there haven’t been many fatalities as a result of derailments (probably less than have died in airplane crashes in the DRC). There’s no way to reserve a train trip in advance; just show up at the station, ask the stationmaster when the next train is scheduled to depart, and purchase a ticket on the day of departure. The Chinese government promised to build railways and roadways worth $9 billion in exchange for mining rights, although there is no evidence of this as of 2012.