BootsnAll Travel Network

Challenges of life.

The only reason that I succumbed to the border black mail was that I had to come to Lusaka to get my Visa for Congo. One of my by challenges of this trip was to travel the Congo River in what is known as the heart of darkness. A big bad river surrounded by big bad jungle during a civil crisis after endless years of civil war. Hmmmm. When you put it on paper it doesn’t sound so appealing. But think of it, thousands of square kilometers without a single tourist. Who can resist that. Definitely not me.

My first step into conquering the Congo was to get allowed into the country to begin with. With the countries first democratic election and two men who lead rivaling armies competing for the top title and all its riches, there have already been a lot of bullets and mortars flying in the capital of Kinshasa. Being so close to the election results, I was caught between a rock and a hard place. If things got bad, I knew they would shut down the borders to foreigners. If things went smooth, I could be in like Flyn.

On monday, I headed down with my cleanest clothes, washed boots, and shaved face, which brought a lot of laughs by the other backpackers who knew what I was off to do. I got the application, found out the cost $80US for one month, $150US for two months. I opted for the two months as I knew that travel in that huge country was very difficult, as in total there is only 300 miles of paved road in the whole country! Getting stuck without a way to re-new my Visa would have been a huge headache and cost a lot of bribes with the hint of possible jail time. After obtaining everything that was required I went back, dropped everything off and was told to come back the next day at 3pm to pick it up. That was it. I was in a stupor. The Congo was going to lay down for me.

The next day at three I went back and was duly told that the Chancellor would like to talk to me and I was to meet him at ten am the next day. That changed things. Now I was worried.

At ten am I went to meet the Chancellor. Actually, I went at 9:15am as the clerk had told me to get there at 9:30am. I waited around until 10:30am before they came and got me. The interview went pretty well even though I didn’t get my Visa, sort of. At first he was wary of my plans because the application calls for putting down the cities in which you are going to visit. Lumbumbashi, Kinshasa, Kinsagani, and Goma are what I had written. He was a bit wary as they were at the four sides of the huge country. Once I explained the river travel that I was going to do he actually got pretty excited and started telling me about the routes and how I could do it. I was actually glad for the help as there is not much info out there. Then when it looked like he was ready to sign off, he asked when I was going to be going. I went into the speel about the visa for Zambia costing so much and that I had figured out that I would take some time before I went to at least get some usage out of it. He responded by saying that it was perfect and that I should come back in a week from monday. The election results are to be announced on the 19th and the preceding week should tell if the country falls back into war or not as the two parties fight it out, or if peace spreads through out the land. That would also give him time to scout out my route and to make sure that there wouldn’t be any problems for me. So, I was actually fine with that and he scheduled me for a week from monday.

So that’s where I am. Hanging out in Lusaka for almost two weeks while the Congo Presidency pans out and my Visa hangs in the balance. I give myself a 64% chance at success. At worse I don’t get it and then I try to enter through Angola (yea, same civil war unrest, but what can I do?)

That’s all for now. With all this free time I’ll try to get some photos posted.


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-1 responses to “Challenges of life.”

  1. Dan says:

    Hey, are you reading this guy’s blog? is covering some of the most primitive areas in Africa, and his attitudes about traveling seem similar to yours.

  2. Dan says:

    Something went wrong with that link. It should be this:

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