Across The DRC Day 1

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From the second we move away the border, the road is barely a road. It’s really more of a walking / motorbike track. The track is so overgrown I am scraping through brush on both sides, and almost tear off a front fender when I hit an unseen log. Trying to find a better way, I soon put the Jeep in a ditch, and continue to struggle to find something that resembles the right way.

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Slick clay made for some interesting climbs

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Temporarily in the ditch

We are so unsure we drive around in circles for a while, and I get out and walk down numerous paths, trying to find the biggest one, or the one that maybe goes somewhere. In another tiny village I tape and zip tie the fender back on, and a young boy jumps in for the ride. He absolutely assures me this is the correct path down to the main road, and so we bump along.

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Repairing the front fender with gorilla tape and zip ties

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Repairing the fender in a typical DRC village

I eventually ask him more than ten times if this is the right way, and every time he says yes. The path is so small and so overgrown I struggle to see how anyone has driven a 4×4 here in years, and the single-track down the middle confirms most traffic is motorbike. At times we drive right through the middle of little villages – all wide open and airy and immaculately clean.

After many hours of bumping along this tiny track, we finally come out in a slightly bigger town, apparently on the main East/West Road. Almost instantly a crowd of children run out and surround the Jeep, jumping up and and down and cheering excitedly.
Again, there is no trash at all, and everyone is smiling from ear to ear.

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The swarm of kids around the Jeep when I arrived at the more major road

The main road is certainly more of a road, though because it gets at least some traffic the mud pits are now deeper and even more churned up. Progress is extremely slow, and the sun continues to beat down long into the afternoon. After many hours, we still have not seen another vehicle in The DRC.

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A boy and his “toy car”

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The green hills are spectacular

We find a small side branch, and decide to camp a couple of hundred yards along it. Within ten minutes children materialize from nowhere and begin their staring ritual. Soon adults join in, and none of them stop staring until it is pitch black. Even when I try to satisfy their curiosity by prompting, and then answering their questions, they have no intention of leaving.

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The BFG KO2s are handling the mud with ease!

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Transferring gas from the Titan tank into the main tank, with my audience

After a beautiful sunset of boiling clouds, it is still staggeringly hot and humid when I lie down and attempt to sleep.

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Sunset is gorgeous

-Dan

3 Responses

  1. Ghafari says:

    Well done so Dan – so exciting.
    Am planning a similar trip next year around June and am quite not settled yet on the car that I will take but it will be something like Nissan X-trail. I don’t think it will go through this terrain and i’d love to avoid it by any means. Was there any other “paved’ route you could have taken? or this is the only one?
    Thanks

    • Dan Grec says:

      Hi Ghafari,

      There is another option yes. From Pointe Noire in the Congo you go South into Cabinda (part of Angola.) from there you go into the DRC on what I am told are good gravel roads, then back into mainland Angola. You can cross the Congo River on the bridge in Matadi.
      The only tricky part of this is you must get a multiple entry visa for Angola. It’s possible (I got one) but you MUST make sure you get one!

      -Dan

  1. October 3, 2017

    […] interesting in a few places, and I just about tore one of the fenders right off. Read more here: http://theroadchoseme.com/across-the-drc-day-1 The scenery here in the DRC is absolutely stunning – completely unexpected! Also, I finally […]

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