20 Days Congo river Expedition. Kisangani – Kinshasa
With a total length of 4371 kilometres, the Congo river is the second largest river in Africa, after the Nile. And with a debit of 40000 cubic metres per second, it is the second largest river in the world, after the Amazon. From its source in South Katanga, in the village of Musfi, at an elevation of 1435 metres, the river contours the entire country, passing through Kisangani, Mbandaka, Kinshasa and Matadi before reaching the Atlantic Ocean near Banana. The waters from the Congo river collide with the ocean waters some 45 kilometres out into the Atlantic. The Congo river basin offers a total of 14166 kilometres of navigable waters in the interior of the D.R.Congo.
The expedition covers the 1750 kilometres between Kinshasa and Kisangani, which is the largest navigable portion of the Congo river. Upstream, just beyond Kisangani, navigability is limited by a series of rapids, home of the world famous Wagenia Fisheries, extending over a total length of nearly 100 kilometres. Downstream, just beyond Kinshasa, navigability is limited by another series of rapids. Over a distance of 300 kilometres, the river drops 265 metres to reach the sea port of Matadi. Both unnavigable sections are contoured by a railway in order to overcome natures barriers. The cruises are being operated both upstream, from Kinshasa to Kisangani, and downstream, from Kisangani to Kinshasa.
Our River Cruiser is a 34-meter long, wooden boat, equipped with two powerful outboard engines. This traditional type of boat is further equipped with safety equipment, sanitary installation, a generator, lighting and freezers. The boat is operated by a licensed and experienced captain, a mechanic and a sailor. A cook and a tourist guide are present to pamper our clients. Evenings and nights are spent ashore, enabling cultural exchanges with the local population.
Accommodations consist of a hotel in Kinshasa and Kisangani and a tented campement in the interior. The large comfortable tents are divided into two large compartments with a central hallway and comfortably sleep up to four adults. As beds, we offer self-inflating mattresses with cotton mattress covers and pillows. Travellers are expected to bring their own bedlinnen. Furthermore, the camp will comprise a minimum of one shower tent and one basic toilet tent. The number of sanitary tents will depend on the number of clients. Travellers are expected to bring their own towels and shampoo/soap.
The trip is based on Bed&Breakfast in Kinshasa and Full Board in the interior. The Full Board Meal plan consists of a Breakfast, a light Lunch and a two-course Dinner. Our breakfast is inspired on the so-called continental breakfast, including Sliced Bread and Rolls – Butter, Cheese, Ham/Salami and Jam – Cereals with Milk and Sugar – Coffee, Tea or Hot Chocolate. Our Lunch and Dinner consist mainly of local specialties. Fresh fruit and local snack-food are served as lunch on board. The Main Course of our Dinner consists of Meat, Poultry, Fish or Pasta – Vegetables – Rice, Potatoes or ‘Foufou’, a local side dish made of the manioc plant. The Dessert traditionally consists of fresh fruit.
Our cruise has a maximum capacity of 12 clients; ensuring individual attention is offered to everyone. Cruises are sold as private charters for a single person or up to parties of 20 persons.
Day 1 -Flight to Kisangani by Ethiopian Airlines
Airport Meet and welcome service. Airport to hotel transfer and short tour briefing. Hotel overnight.
Day2 – Sightseeing in Kisangani
Kisangani was founded by Sir Henry Morton Stanley in January 1877. Memorable sites include the Tshopo River Falls and the Wagenia fisheries, set up in the midst of river rapids. Fishing is carried on by means of a complex structure set among the rocks. Lianas attached to cross poles act as stretchers for the nets submerged in the foaming water. The fishermen go about their business in pirogues, plying among rapids and rocks. Their agility and daredevil boldness are an unfailing source of amazement. Hotel overnight
Day3 – Travel by boat: Kisangani – Yangambi ( 90 km )
Our River Cruiser is a 34-meter long, wooden boat, equipped with two powerful outboard engines. This traditional type of boat is further equipped with safety equipment, sanitary installation, a generator, lighting and freezers. The boat is operated by a licensed and experienced captain, a mechanic and a sailor. A cook and a tourist guide are present to pamper our clients. Evenings and nights are spent ashore, enabling cultural exchanges with the local population. Overnight tented camp
Day4 – Travel by boat: Yangambi – Lokutu (95 km)
The Yangambi Biosphere Reserve is a centre for research .Secondary forests with Pycnanthus angolensis and Fagara macrophylla, semi-deciduous secondary rain forests, rain forests with Gilbertiodendron dewevrei, climax forests with Brachystegia laurentii and marshland forests dominate the biosphere reserve. The site is very important from a biodiversity point of view since it hosts about 32,000 tree species. The elephant (Loxodonta africana cyclotis), the river hog (Potamochoerus porcus) and monkeys (Cercopithecus spp.) are among the most threatened species.
Although there are no figures on the number of inhabitants of the area, some economic activities take place within the biosphere reserve boundaries such as agriculture, hunting, fishing, the production of canoes as well as some gold extraction. Numerous soil, silviculture and climate studies as well as experiments on the regeneration of the vegetation cover have been carried out. Overnight tented camp
Day5 – Travel by boat: Lokutu – Mombongo (83 km)
Lokutu has about 20.000 people.We visit the Lokutu Oil Palm Plantation. We arrive in the region of the Lokele, a tribe living on the banks of the river. Overnight tented camp.
Day6 – Travel by boat: Mombongo – Bumba (106 km)
In Bumba, the Congo river broadens out to its widest part, some 20 kilometres across. The river is covered with water hyacinths and practically paved with innumerable islands, through and around which the fishermen’s pirogues ply. The water hyacinth is thought to have been introduced into Congo in 1960 by a South-American Missionary who brought seedlings of this flower in his luggage. It proliferated so wildly that the missionary tossed a few excess plants into the river.
This innocent gesture has produced incalculable results, since the river hyacinths have become a real hazard to navigation. The region of Bumba is also the home of the Bafoto Pygmies. Overnight tented camp
Day7 – Travel by boat: Bumba – Lisala (117 km)
Lisala is the home town of the former President Mobutu Sese Seko. He was born here in a small municipal maternity clinic. A broad trunked tree – a « Libanga » – commemorates this event with a plaque: « This tree commemorates the birth of the Father of the Zairian Revolution, Mobutu Sese Seko, born on 14 October 1930. » Overnight tented camp
The river expands, either by flowing round countless islands, or by spreading out into what settlers call “pools”. Stanley met some cannibals here. Overnight tented camp
Day 10 – Travel by boat: Moleka – Bolombo (121 km)
Overnight tented camp
Day 11 – Travel by boat: Bolombo – Malonga (77 km):
Makanza is formerly New Antwerp. Here the river Overnight tented camp
Day 12 – Travel by boat: Malonga – Mbandaka (105 km):
The Congo crosses the Equator shortly before Mbandaka. Mbandaka is the biggest town, 730.000 souls, between Kisangani and Kinshasa. It is the region of the Mongo tribe. Overnight tented camp
Day 13 – Travel by boat: Mbandaka – Malanga (90km)
Mbandaka is the capital of the Equatorial Province, on the left bank of the Congo in the angle formed by the left bank of the Ruki River and the bank of the Congo. Mbandaka was established on 17th June 1883, by Stanley and Van Gèle. Slightly north of Irebu the Congo forms a vast delta about 14 km broad. This is the point at which the Ubangi joins the Congo. Overnight tented camp
Day 14 – Travel by boat: Malanga – Lukolela plantation (101 km)
Up to Lukolela are Mpoto and Sungu followed by gombe where the river narrows again. This feature is known as the Liranga Narrows. Visit of a cacao plantation. The plantation has suffered from the isolation due to the civil war. Overnight tented camp
Day 15 – Travel by boat: Lukolela – Croissement (99 km)
At Lukolela the river narrows and is bordered by cliffs of a height of 20 – 25 m. Lukolela was established by Stanley on 12th September 1893. The river maintains a width of 6 – 9 km and is studded with islands. Overnight tented camp
Day 16 – Travel by boat: Croissement – Kalengé : ( 110 km)
Yumbi : Early catholic mission. There are rock outcrops at the bottom of the navigation channel. At Bolobo the width of the river is reduced to less than 2 km. Overnight tented camp
Day 17 – Travel by boat: Kalengé – Epuna (155 km)
Epuna is not far from Kwamouth. Kwamouth is on the left bank at the confluence of the Kwa, the name of the Kasai River where it joins the Congo. Overnight tented camp
Day 18 – Travel by boat: Epuna – Maluku (89 km)
The River runs through what has been called the channel or passage, where the banks are steep and the river is wedged in between the foothills of the Crystal Mountains. Islands are few and there are nio sand-banks. We arrive in Maluku. Here the Congo becomes the Pool Malebo. Transfer to hotel in Kinshasa.
Day 19 – Sightseeing in Kinshasa
City tour of Kinshasa, the capital of the D.R.Congo. The tour offers you the opportunity to visit, photograph and learn about the major historical, cultural and natural highlights the city has to offer. Kinshasa, the capital of the D.R.Congo, used to be referred to as « Kin La Belle » – meaning « Beautiful Kinshasa ». The many years of turmoil have broken down on this image. But slowly and surely, Kinshasa is regaining its splendour. Some of the major sites include the « Grand Marché », the tomb of former President Laurent Kabila, the « Academy des Beaux Arts » for those who like African art, the rapids of Kinsuka just downstream from the city and the Bonobo Reserve, a sanctuary for orphaned bonobo-monkeys, one of the five Great Apes, and the closest to mankind. Overnight.