Democratic Republic of the Congo: Trip to the Heart of Africa

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Trip Duration Days - 17 Days

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Trip to the Heart of Africa

Price Starts from € 8950

After a first survey in 2018, Last Places has seen the great potential of the Democratic Republic of the Congo for those travelers looking for those last places on the Planet. The trip is divided into 2 parts:

The first part of the trip will focus on ethnographic and colonial aspects of the Congo exploring Kinshasa and the remote Mbandaka on the shores of the mighty Congo River. Here we will discover traditional pygmy groups and the Ekonda, one of the most conservative and fascinating tribes in the Congolese jungle.

The second part focuses on one of DR Congo’s ancient kingdoms. We will fly to Kassai Province to meet the descendants of the Kuba Emperor and admire the unique Bakuba art and music.
Date: 3 June 2021 - 20 June 2021

Duration: 17 days - 16 nights

Guide: Henk Bothof, photographer passionate of Africa’s last places. He has been exploring the Continent for the last 15 years visiting remote eco-regions and the tribes that live there.

Single supplement: 450€

The price includes:
-
International flight
- Domestic flights
- All transfers
- Transport in minibus and 4x4 vehicles and motor canoes
- English speaking guide
- Local guides
- Food mentioned in the itinerary: BB: Bead and Breakfast, HB: Half Board, FB: Full Board
- 2 bottles of mineral water 1,5 liters per day, per person
- Accommodation in hotels and camping
- Camping material
- Cook during camping days
- Visits to different sites and to tribal communities
- Basic travel insurance

Price does not include:
- Drinks
- Visa
- Tips
- Cancellation insurance
DAY 1 (Thursday 3 June): ARRIVAL IN KINSHASA
Arrival in Kinshasa airport. Meet the guide and transfer to the hotel. Explanation of what is Kinshasa about and urban tour around the colonial area and fishing quarter.  Georges Inn Hotel or similar. BB

DAY 2 (Friday 4 June): KINSHASA – BONOBO SANCTUARY – KINSHASA (1h)
Breakfast. Excursion to Lola Bonobo Sanctuary on the outskirts of Kinshasa. Learn about this unique ape species and spend some time observing them. Return to Kinshasa for lunch, and afternoon to explore one of Africa’s most thriving capitals. Visit the National Museum, the colonial quarters, meet the urban tribe of the Sapeurs, and try to see one of Kinshasa’s traditional wrestling shows. Georges Inn Hotel or similar. BB

DAY 3 (Saturday 5 June): KINSHASA – MBANDAKA (1h flight)
Breakfast and transfer to the airport for domestic flights to Mbandaka. You have to go with enough time to avoid traffic jams and manage the chaos in the airport. Arrival in Mbandaka and meeting with our local team. Transfer to the hotel and introduction to the region, one of the most isolated in Congo. Our goal is the Mongo-Ekonda ethnic group who continue to practice pre-colonial ceremonies, such as covering women who have recently had a child, with orange powder that allows them to behave freely in the village for a month. Exploration of the Mbandaka port and Belgian colonial houses. Night at the Nina River Hotel or similar. FB

DAY 4 (Sunday 6 June): MBANDAKA – BIKORO (5h)
Breakfast and walk to the port where we will take a motor boat to discover the Congo River and reach the heart of the primary jungle where the Mongo pygmies and the Ekonda Bantu live. Three hours of navigation to get to Bikoro, the base from where we will explore the region. Our target is the Walé (women who cover their bodies with orange powder due to their recent motherhood), and the Mongo pygmies who still hunt in the surrounding forests. We meet with local authorities and camp near the Catholic Mission. Visit local communities, and meet people. Night in the Catholic mission. FB

DAYS 5, 6, 7, 8: BIKORO
Breakfast and four days to visit isolated villages of the two ethnic groups; Ekonda Bantus and Batwa Pygmies. We will try to witness a walé ritual in one of the Ekonda communities. Night in tents and Catholic mission. FB

DAY 9 (Friday 11 June): BIKORO – MBANDAKA
Breakfast. Last visits to traditional towns to know the Bantu and pre-Bantu tribes. Goodbye from this remote region of the Congo and return to Mbandaka. Near the city we will visit the colonial botanical garden, and enjoy the atmosphere on the banks of the Congo River. Night at Nina River Hotel or similar. BB

DAY 10 (Saturday 12 June): MBANDAKA – KINSHASA
Breakfast and farewell to Mbandaka. Return by plane to Kinshasa. Dinner in one of the trendy neighborhoods to meet the Sapeur urban tribe and admire their eccentric aesthetics dating back to the 1920s. Georges Inn Hotel or similar. BB

DAY 11: KINSHASA - KANANGA - MWEKA (5h)
Breakfast and transfer to the airport for domestic flights. We will leave 4h in advance to go with enough time. We will take a domestic flight to Kananga, the capital of Western Kassai. Meeting with our local team, and direct departure to Mweka. Long route along a dirt track to enter Kuba territory, an ethnic group known for its fiberglass fabrics, its masks decorated with cowries and colored glass beads, and its wooden statues. Late arrival to Mweka. Accommodation at local guesthouse or mission. FB

DAY 12: MWEKA - BULAPE (2h)
Breakfast and route to the heart of the Kuba Kingdom. Visit of the town of Bulape and exploration of the surroundings. Our goal is the traditional decorated raffia huts, the Kuba art, and its dances. During the days we will spend in Kuba land, we will see what is left of the Kuba Kingdom a Bantu commercial society that expanded between the 18th and 19th Century until it was conquered by the Belgian colonial army. The Kuba are unique because of their fibre cloths and their well decorated masks. Night in tents. FB

DAYS 13 and 14: KUBA TERRITORY
Breakfast. Two entire days to hike around Kuba territory and discover small communities of Kuba peasants and gathering Kuba-Twa pygmies. Hikes inside secondary and patches of primary forest and tropical savannah. The area has also several hills from where we can admire panoramic views of the Kassai region. We will spend the night in the communities to learn about their daily lives. Night in tents. FB

DAY 15: KUBA TERRITORY – MWEKA – KANANGA (7h)
Breakfast and farewell from Kuba land. Drive to regional capital, Kananga. Tour around the city centre. Night in Med Hotel or similar. HB (lunch)

DAY 16 (Saturday 19 June): KANANGA – KINSHASA
Breakfast. Transfer to the airport. Flight to Kinshasa. Last visits around the city. Georges Inn Hotel or similar. BB

DAY 17 (Sunday 20 June): KINSHASA – FLIGHT HOME
Breakfast. At the appointed time, transfer to the airport. Flight back home.

END OF OUR SEVICES
After a first survey in 2018, Last Places has seen the great potential of the Democratic Republic of the Congo for those travelers looking for those last places on the Planet. The trip is divided into 2 parts:

The first part of the trip will focus on ethnographic and colonial aspects of the Congo exploring Kinshasa and the remote Mbandaka on the shores of the mighty Congo River. Here we will discover traditional pygmy groups and the Ekonda, one of the most conservative and fascinating tribes in the Congolese jungle.

The second part focuses on one of DR Congo’s ancient kingdoms. We will fly to Kassai Province to meet the descendants of the Kuba Emperor and admire the unique Bakuba art and music.