Democratic Republic of Congo: Lubumbashi to Kinshasa

Wes Craiglow

Supporting Sponsor
This has to be one of the best threads this forum has ever seen.
I have yet to hear the terms "gear testing," "lockers and a winch," "digital SLR," "Pelican case," or "ARB" used once.

Just sayin'.

Kudos to getting the Portal back to its roots, Frederik and Josephine. We love your story. Thank you for sharing, and as importantly, for the inspiration.
 
This pic is more or less the spirit of this Forum , this describes what adventure is, what overlanding is, what travelling the unknown lands in a 4x4 is , this proofs that the true sense of world travelling is more about the journey than the destination.... my respects for taking such high risk to feed your soul of a traveller and my appreciation to give us this report.

 

UK4X4

Expedition Leader
arround the bogs, off the road.

what you see is bushes tree's and brush,

what the locals see is herbs and food for them and their animals

I'd stay on the "road"

Protection..........its not advisable to bring any guns

unless you have enough bollas and bullets to kill the whole village, your get away is only doing 2km/hour

I'n their situation you have to struggle to smile, be friendly while refusing demands.

Guestimate when to gas it and run, issue is whats arround the corner, the road could return you back to the villagers you just sprayed mud over.

The only whites these people ever see would be missionaries and aid workers

if ever.

both of these usually bring food etc with them.

The idea of a tourist would never occurr in their mindset

Its survival farming with no chance of escape,

the white guy in the mud hole, with his truck worth more than the whole village, can't pay a dollar to get help...........

well have fun dude while we watch you get filthy in pig****, its the best show we've had all year.

So yes it is really scary to be in the situation, when to pay how to pay how much,

I hate to pay for "fixers" diggers and bag carriers,

I'd be the same as Frederik covered in crap digging out my truck:costumed-smiley-007
 
Protection..........its not advisable to bring any guns

The only whites these people ever see would be missionaries and aid workers.

both of these usually bring food etc with them.

The idea of a tourist would never occurr in their mindset

Its survival farming with no chance of escape,

I'd be the same as Frederik covered in crap digging out my truck:costumed-smiley-007
I agree,

Tourists in the DRC?

There is a good quote from Tim Butcher's book Blood River where a Congolese man tries to charge him over $2000/night to stay in his run down B&B/hotel, so he just shrugs his shoulders and camps outside with the same 200 onlookers Frederik is experiencing, when he gets to a mission later on and questions it, they say to him "what did you expect? how many black men do you see camping?" suggesting that when people travel or 'holiday' (for want of a loser term) they spend big $$$ and stay in the best places and eat the best food.

Thats another good read (but this one is better :coffeedrink:)

I do often wonder that the 3rd world are trying to find their feet and (some) look up to western concepts etc, whilst (some) people like ourselves are trying to get away from western civilisation for (quite often) 3rd world countries!

the mind boggles.

off topic, sorry!

G
 
Thank you so much for all the kind words. It is a great feeling to know we are not boring you guys with our little trip report here ;-)

I notice your bullbar seems to be winch ready. Do you not have a winch on the truck? Seems it would come in handy with all the bogs you get stuck in!
Nope, no winch. We would have used it often if we had one, but at when we were preparing for the trip we could choose between buying a winch, or an extra month on the road. We went for the extra month.

A winch can be handy, but there is always an alternative. Sometimes it meant it takes days to get out, instead of minutes.
 
We had been driving in akward angles a lot, and a few times already we could feel two wheels lifting off, but until now we managed to always end up on our 4 wheels. Until now..

We had two wheels in the air and we were resting on our side. Luckily the eroded sidewall made sure we did not fall too deep. We knew it would happen sooner or later but the sound of bending sheetmetal still scared us a bit.



It was nothing spectacular (sorry :oops: ) but nevertheless, we were in a situation were our wheels were 20 cm off the ground. We do not have locking differentials by the way.

We got our shovel out again :roll: and starting to add ground underneath our wheels to make them grip again and made the next few meters a bit more level hoping that we would righten ourselves again. It worked like a charm but it was a great amount of work. Damage was limited to a few extra dents.

Still exhausted we continued, still in bizarre angles.

Then we tipped over again..
 
"Annoyed" would be a correct word to describe our mood. We could still see were we tipped over last time and we knew how much digging it takes to get the car righted again.

No choice... out came the shovel... and eventually we got out again... and it did not take another kilometer before we... tipped over again... and again..

And again.

At this rate it would take years to get us to Ilebo, we had to find a way to keep moving. Now, most of the road was ok to drive on. The little indicator on our dashoard learned us that we could keep driving until about 35 degrees tilt angle. It were only occasional patches were the angle would become too big and we'de be on our sides.

We figured that if we would keep enough momentum, that we would slide forward on our side and "bounce back" on our wheels. So, that is what we did. We kept the speed up and if the road dipped too much we would tip over. Because of the higher speed the impact on the side was much bigger. But that, combined with the forward movement created a "jo-jo" effect (do you guys know what a jo-jo is? Not sure if it is called the same in English).

Move forward. Tip over. Slide forward a bit on the side of the car. Bounce back. Wheels touch the ground. Move forward. And repeat.

Some of the longer steep section were maybe 100meter long. We would "bounce" numerous times to get trough this. When we got trough we had a fixed procedure:

- Depending on what side we tipped over, the person sitting on the opposite side would get out of the car first.
- Armed with a hamer and spanner "20" go to the other side of the car
- Bang and bend the door back into shape so it would open again
- Both of us would walk back the part we just "bounced" trough, picking up all the parts of the car that fell of. Usually the mirrors, various bits and pieces of the filling cap, the sandladders, indicator lights and the odd bits of our roofrack.







Strong car!

This technique is probably not described in any "4x4 driving techniques" handbook. :wink:
 
That day we did the "tip over thing" at least 20 times. After a while you stop worrying about the dents, but I can still hear the sound of the impacts.

Then, out of the blue, there was a road! This was completely absurd, as this road led to nowhere, but here it was, a recently build road about 10 meters wide. The forest was cut and cleared, the ground was made level and smooth as silk 8O



Where did this come from?

We drove onto the road and immediately started sinking in. I floored it to keep momentum and we crept forward, leaving deep ruts behind us.

We felt really bad when that happened. Somebody put a huge amount of effort in building a road here. And then comes along this stupid tourist and he just pulls two big ruts spot in the middle of this road.

We did not stay around to take a picture of our ruts, we were a bit embarrased.

The road dissapeared as suddenyl as it appeared before.



What the ... ?
 

LaOutbackTrail

Adventure Photographer
You guys demonstrate the profound difference between YOU and 99% of the guys on this forum....

With this one picture.

Your truck is to be used and not just for show.:victory:



More please!