Jungle Congo Expedition, navigation of the great river and bonobos trekking
To get a full and quick idea of the vast extensions of the Democratic Republic of Congo's jungle, you need to take a plane and fly over the north of the country for a few hours. But, this is not what we are going to suggest. In this Jungle Congo Expedition 2023, we propose a journey into the interior of the second largest forest area on the planet to appreciate its majestic beauty and complex life in detail. And this is better appreciated from the ground or from the water, walking through a carpet of leaves and the shadows offered by gigantic trees or navigating through its waterways, which are authentic arteries in this green heart of Africa.
This Jungle Congo Expedition will take us to discover the "universe" of the Congo River, where the local people struggle every day to get by. In a surreal and at the same time tremendously interesting country where there are hardly any roads or infrastructures, the Congo River and its tributaries are everything.
We will continue into one of the most unexplored and untouched places on the planet, the Lomako Yokokala Wildlife Reserve where we will go on several jungle trails in search of our closest relative, the bonobos.
Jungle Congo Expedition: much more than just a trip
But this Congo Expedition will not be just another trip, we can assure you that due to its design and format it will be a unique and possibly unrepeatable journey. This will be a documentary expedition through the different realities suffered by this part of the world. We will delve into many of the aspects that shake the Congo and by extension the rest of the world. Deforestation, climate change, hunting of protected animals, monoculture, corruption, excess birth rate, difficulty in accessing drinking water, illiteracy, human rights, etc. At the same time, we will look at the other side of the coin, conservationism, sustainable agriculture projects, wildlife protection, teachers' organisations, etc.
Navigation on the Congo River starting from Kisangani
On this trip to Congo (DRC) we will embark on a journey of nearly 1,000 kilometres (in two different sections) along the main river artery of Africa and the backbone of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This country cannot be understood without travelling along its rivers and experiencing them first-hand, as they represent the main link between the people, the cities, the ocean and the outside world.
All life happens in its waters and on its shores, from religious ceremonies to what gives them their daily sustenance. Simply sailing becomes an open window through which to observe worlds very different from our own.
Kisangani with its old colonial buildings, its relaxed atmosphere and its location downstream of the Boyoma rapids, marks the real beginning of the navigable part of the Congo River. From here the distance down the river to Kinshasa is more than 1,600 kilometres. Navigation is not without its problems. Strong winds, torrential rains and sandbanks are some of the challenges that the navigators of the old boats will have to face.
From Kisangani onwards, the still narrow Congo River widens to a width of 13 kilometres not far from Lisala. In the middle of this huge river current, there are numerous islands covered with lush forests and inhabited by small fishing communities living in isolation.
Don't expect a big big boat, this is not a cruise. We will be travelling in a large canoe where you will be seated in chairs and we will have a protection to cover us from the sun and rain.
Congo's pristine rainforest
We will leave the Congo River behind and enter the depths of the second largest tropical rainforest in the world. The vast dimensions of the Congo River will give way to meandering rivers that wind their way through a lush jungle where we will be able to see a multitude of birds and apes.
Faunal Reserve of Lomako Yokokala
The Lomako-Yokokala Wildlife Reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo is home to some 1,000 bonobos. In this reserve in the middle of the Congo rainforest, the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) together with the Congo Wildlife Authority have established a wildlife reserve and scientific research centre. We will spend several days tracking Lomako - Yokokala on foot in search of bonobos.
Yangambi, hidden treasures in the Congo Basin
Sailing from Kisangani some 100 kilometres downstream on the Congo River, we reach this immense scientific city. Built by the Belgians in 1933, Yangambi housed until 1962 the most important research centre on the African continent for the study of tropical agriculture and forestry: Visit our post to learn more about the fascinating city of Yangambi.
Wagenia, ancestral fishing on the Congo river
The Wagenia fisheries located in the rapids of the Congo River near Kisangani consist of large conical traps attached to scaffolding. Driven by the current, the fish are introduced into the traps.