Now for the ‘Democratic’ Congo

Day 79… Monday 19th June

Set off at 8am.  1st stop, insurance for Greta – all very easy.  Drive to the border with Democratic Republic of Congo was very quiet.  Huge military base on the way with barriers but all were opened by soldiers, and we were waved through each one.  Border crossing very quick and less then 1 hour.  17th border crossing on this trip and the quickest so far.  The customs officers were based in a large steel-clad building with goats wandering past.  Very relaxed and friendly staff on both sides.  Back to French on the DR of Congo side and local currency is Congolese Franc.  There was a working ATM which only issued US dollars which are also accepted here.  Road tax check point was $23.  Took half an hour with slow officers and paperwork.  Sand roads for 25km.  Two cars had got stuck which caused a bottled neck while people tried to help dig them out.  Witnessed a car and goat collision in a rural village.  Felt relieved it was not us involved. Toll for bridge $9.  Drove past several burnt out cars and one on fire.  Long day as the last town Matadi had awful traffic and we hardly moved for 1 hour.  Police directing but absolutely chaos.  Found a hotel with secure parking, a bar and restaurant.  The Congolese franc currency has plenty of notes.  Dished out 75 x 1,000 CFA notes to pay for dinner (about £24).

Allen’s perspective…

This was the first time I’ve jumped out and helped anyone along the trip. The car in question was stuck in the middle of a deep sandy road heading up a hill. The chap tried to dig out the front wheels but only got more stuck. I grabbed our recovery boards and shovel and tried my best but he was in the sand quite deep. Eventually a pickup truck came by and tried to tow him out but struggled himself. We all dug hard to get the car free and after much effort it made it, but whilst this was happening further cars in front and behind got stuck also. Being sensible I lowered the tyre pressures and we had no problems heading up the hill.

When we came across the car on fire oddly there was an old destroyed tank on the corner just before… an odd sight which required a double take. But what made me laugh was rather than helping to put out the fire or get help everyone was instead just standing around taking photos / videos on their smartphones. Reminded me of home.

Proceed Booking