D.R. of Congo: Rare ethnic groups and colonial heritage

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Trip Duration Days - 20 Days

D.R. of Congo: Rare ethnic groups and colonial heritage

Price Starts from € 7200

Itinerary designed to visit the three natural and cultural areas of DR Congo; Kuba Kingdom, Congo River, and Atlantic Coast.  The idea is to share some time with the different ethnic groups. To do so we will sleep near the villages in missions and tented camps where a professional cook will serve warm meals inspired in local and international cuisine. We will go from one tribal area to the other with domestic flights, minibus, 4x4 vehicles, pirogues, motor boats and train.  The trip will be led by an experienced anthropologist and a team of local guides that will serve as translators to communicate with the tribal people.
Date: 16 August 2021 - 4 September 2021

Duration: 20 days - 19 nights

Guide: Joan Riera, anthropologist specialized in Central African tribal groups. Joan visited DR of Congo for the first time in 2018 and fell in love with this amazing country. Since then he has built a team of local guides and fixers to offer the best of Congo to the intrepid travelers.

Single supplement: 390€

Group: 6-12 pax

The price includes:
All transfers
- Transport in minibus, 4x4 vehicles, canoe, motor boat and train
- Domestic flights
- English speaking guide (anthropologist)
- 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 (except sleeping bag)
- Cook during camping days
- Visits to different sites and to tribal communities
- Basic travel insurance

Price does not include:
- International flights
- Drinks
- Visa
- Tips
- Cancellation insurance
DAY 1 (Monday August 16): ARRIVAL IN KINSHASA
You will be picked up from Kinshasa International Airport by our representative guide who will take you to your hotel. Spend the rest of the day relaxing. Accommodation in Georges Inn Hotel or similar. BB

DAY 2 (Tuesday August 17): KINSHASA - KANANGA

Breakfast and transfer to the airport for domestic flights. We will leave 4 hours in advance to go there with sufficient time. We will take a domestic flight to Kananga, the capital of Western Kassai. Meeting with our local team and direct departure for Mweka. Long drive along a dirt road to enter Kuba tribal territory, former Bakuba Kingdom. The Kuba are an ethnic group known for its fiberglass fabrics, its masks adorned with cowries and colored glass beads, and its wooden statues. Late arrival in Mweka. Accommodation in guest house or local mission. FB
DAY 3 (Wednesday August 18): MWEKA – KUBA VILLAGES (2h)

Breakfast and drive to the heart of the Kuba Kingdom. Visit small rural communities and meet local chiefs, elders and learn about the culture. Our focus is the traditional decorated raffia huts, Kuba art and dances. During this day in Kuba land, we will see what remains of the Kuba Kingdom, a Bantu trading company that developed between the 18th and 19th centuries until it was conquered by the Belgian colonial army. The Kuba are unique because of their fiber fabrics and well decorated masks. Night in tents. FB

DAY 4 (Thursday August 19): KUBA TERRITORY - MWEKA - KANANGA (7h)

Breakfast. Last morning visits around our base camp. At the appointed time, we will say bye to our guests and drive back to the regional capital, Kananga. Visit of the city center. Overnight at Med Hotel or similar. HB (lunch)

DAY 5 (Friday August 20): KANANGA – KINSHASA

Breakfast. Transfer to the airport. Flight to Kinshasa. Lunch and afternoon to explore one of Africa’s most thriving capitals. Visit the National Museum, the colonial quarters and try to meet the trendy Sapeurs or see one of Kinshasa’s traditional wrestling shows. Georges Inn Hotel or similar. BB
DAY 6 (Saturday August 21): KINSHASA – MBANDAKA

After breakfast, transfer to N’djili airport for a 50-minute flight. Arrival in Mbandaka around 11 am. Mbandaka, capital of the province of Equateur, formerly Coquilathville, was founded by Henry Morton Stanley in 1883. The city is located at the crossroads of the Congo and Ruki rivers. Transfer to the hotel. After lunch, head to the "Eala" botanical garden located 7 km from the city center and the regional ethnographic museum. We then return to the hotel where we will have dinner. Night at the Nina River Hotel or similar. FB


After breakfast, we take the road to Mooto village, south of Mbandaka, with a stopover at the crossing of the Equator line. Mooto is an old Catholic mission and the base to explore <bantu and pygmy villages in the region. Accommodation in tents. FB

DAY 8 (Monday 23):  MOOTO VILLAGE

After breakfast, we enter the forest to meet the Babongo Pygmies for a demonstration of different types of traps, gathering medicinal plants. Return to the camp for lunch. In the afternoon, we go around the village and discover the daily activities of the inhabitants. Around 6.30 p.m. after dinner, cultural evening with Bobongo Pygmies and Bantu group. Night in tent. FB

After breakfast, departure for Bokote village via Samba village from where we go to the embarkation port. Embarcation aboard our canoes (rowing) for 5 hours of navigation in the middle of the swamp forest. Arrival at the village of Bokoté around 4:00 p.m. Night in tent. This part of the circuit puts you in communion with the virgin nature in which you will see some animals such: monkeys and birds... A small walking visit from the Bantu village to the ‘Pygmy quarter’.  In the evening after dinner, free exchange with the villagers (Pygmies and Bantu) around the fire.

Travel by motorized canoe. After breakfast, boarding for Bikoro with stopover at Nkake village and crossing of Lake Tumba. This time by motorized canoe. Bikoro village and mission is inhabited by the Ntomba tribe, learn about the Walé cultural phenomenon. Night in Catholic Mission (tents). FB


After breakfast, a visit to the Catholic Mission of Bikoro, the general referral hospital, to the market followed by transfer to Mabali with a stopover in the rubber plantation in revival 3 km from Bikoro.
Arrival in Mabali around 2 p.m. Mabali is an agronomy and forestry research center in Central Africa. Formerly called IRSAC (Institute for Scientific Research in Central Africa). In the reserve you will find a well-protected forest. Visit the old research lab, and the beautiful panoramic view of Lake Tumba. Night in Mabali village in tents. FB. Optional nocturnal forest walk from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

DAY 12 (Friday 27): MABALI - MBANDAKA
After breakfast, visit of the center, old lab, museum, return to camp around 11am followed by lunch and transfer to Mbandaka to arrive around 5.30pm. Return to civilization after or before dinner: Free evening option a good beer in a refreshment bar in Mbandaka. Night at the Nina River Hotel or similar. FB


After breakfast, transfer to Mbandaka airport for flight to Kinshasa. On arrival we will drive to Lola Ya Bonobo Sanctuary located in a forested area near the city (1h drive approx.). Pic nick lunch and drive back before noon. Night in George’s Inn Hotel or similar. HB (lunch)

DAY 14 (Sunday 29): KINSHASA – MATADI (7h30)

Breakfast. Drive to the train station. Historic journey parallel to the might Congo River from Kinshasa to Matadi, one of Congo’s finest colonial towns. Reach Matadi in the afternoon. Transfer to the hotel. Evening urban visit around Hotel Metropole (1930). Accommodation in Hotel Metropole. FB

Day 15 (Monday 30): MATADI – BOMA – MUANDA – NSIAMFUMU - MUANDA (4h)

Breakfast. Last visits around the Belgian historical sites in Matadi. After the morning visit, continuation for Boma, another old colonial town that boomed in the late 19th century due to banana and ivory commerce. Visit Stanley’s baobab and the several crumbling buildings scattered around the old town. After lunch, continue to the Atlantic coast. Visit Muanda town. Colonial buildings and beautiful beach. Lunch and afternoon visit to Nsiamfumu old lighthouse and Banana Point, where the mighty Congo River meets the Ocean. Night in Hotel The New Cliff or similar. FB

Day 16 (Tuesday 31): MUANDA – MATADI (4h by boat)

Breakfast. Morning relax on the beach. Lunch and drive to Muanda River port and go to Matadi along the Congo River. Nice natural scenery and spectacular arrival to the old colonial city of Matadi on the hills bordering the river. During the trip we will stop in small Bakongo fishing villages to see how people live. Night in Hotel Metropole. FB

Day 17 (Wednesday September 1): MATADI – MBANZA NGUNGU (3h)

Breakfast. Drive back to Kinshasa. Stop in small villages and markets. Reach Mbanza Ngungu, former Thysville. The area is hilly and is where many Belgian officials used to spend their vacations due to the fresh weather. We will explore the town center and admire the panoramic views from the hills. Night in Hotel Les Cascades or similar. FB

Day 18 (Thursday 2): MBANZA NGUNGU – INKISI / KISANTU (1h)

Breakfast. Drive to nearby town of Kisantu also known as Inkisi. In the area we can admire the Zongo Falls and Kisantu’s 1893 Botanical Gardens. We will visit both sites and enjoy the colonial atmosphere of Kisantu town with its gigantic Catholic cathedral. Night in Hotel Mbuela Lodge or similar. FB

Day 19 (Friday 3): KISANTU - KINSHASA (2h)

Breakfast. Drive back to Kinshasa in the minibus. Stop in villages and road markets on the way. Arrival and transfer to the Hotel. In the evening we will experience a traditional wrestling match in one of the popular neighborhoods. Georges Inn Hotel or similar. FB

DAY 20 (Saturday September 4): FLIGHT BACK HOME

Breakfast. At the appointed time, transfer to the airport for international flight back home. BB

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.