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Congo, Page 2
April 16 - April 19, 2004

Preparation ] Europe ] Morocco Page 1 ] Morocco Page 1a ] Morocco Page 1b ] Morocco Page 2 ] Mauritania ] Mauritania Page 2 ] Mali ] Mali Page2 ] Niger ] Cameroon ] Gabon ] Gabon Page 2 ] Congo ] [ Congo Page 2 ] Angola ] Angola Page 2 ] Angola Page 3 ] Angola Page 4 ] Angola Page 5 ] Angola Page 6 ] Namibia ] Namibia Page 2 ] Namibia Page 3 ] Namibia Page 4 ] Namibia Page 5 ] Namibia Page 6 ] Namibia Page 7 ] Namibia Page 8 ] Namibia Page 9 ] Tanzania Page 1 ] Tanzania Page 1a ] Tanzania Page 2 ] Tanzania Page 3 ] South Africa Page 1 ] Botswana Page 1 ] Botswana Page 2 ] Botswana Page 3 ] Botswana Page 4 ] Botswana Page 5 ] Botswana Page 6 ] Botswana Page 7 ] July 22 ] July 25 ] July 29 ] August 03 ] August 09 ] August 16 ] August 24 ] September 5 ] September 11 ] September 12 ] September 21 ] September 25 ] September 29 ] October 03 ] October 09 ] October 15 ] October 19 ] November 04 ] November 13 ] November 20 ] November 29 ] December 9 ]

Country Facts: Congo Scroll Down the Page for updates made on: 05/01/2004
Updated Information Date Camp Site or Accommodations GPS

Distance  Today: 40km


 Sea bass with rice and calamari sauce

Lac Bleu, Congo

 16 April 2004

Bush Camp


Odometer: 17798km

Hot, Humid 100(F) degrees

Alan, who runs Foralac along with his brother Frederick, took us into the forest this morning to learn about their logging operation. They have a concession of 300,000 hectares (about 50 square km) from the Congolese government. They take an average of one tree per hectare, both hard and soft woods. The company has 200 employees and harvests about 40 trees per day, generating 2500 cubic meters of wood per month. First we followed a crew of four guys for about 30 minutes into the forest on foot to a tree which had been identified for cutting by pygmies employed by the company for this purpose. The tree was a beautiful Iroco (a type of hardwood) about 30m tall and 1m in diameter. It took them about an hour to fell the tree using machetes and a chain saw. The sight and sound of this enormous tree crashing through the forest, splintering smaller trees like matchsticks as it went was truly impressive. We next visited another location where we watched fallen logs being extracted from the forest. The process is one of pure brute force. Part of our group rode on a Caterpillar bulldozer as it forced a path through the forest, driving through smaller trees and bushes, cutting a track to the tree. Once there, workers attached a one inch thick steel cable and the machine dragged the 20-ton log back to a central location for collection by truck. The whole process was impressive; there is no finesse involved here. We all gained a new appreciation for the destructiveness of the western appetite for wood, and for the skill and hard labor required of those whose job it is to harvest it. It was 3pm when we headed back to the logging camp, and we were all tired and hungry from a day of tramping around in the forest without lunch. We were looking forward to some food and a cold drink. On the way back we were stopped by the gendarmerie who did not look happy. Apparently we had neglected to stop to register with them as soon as we entered Makabana. They had got word of our presence and had been waiting in the sun all day for us. Alan helped to smooth things over for us, and we went back to the company’s headquarters with the police truck in tow. We hadn’t had lunch, and somehow Alan had Luc, his chef, put on a wonderful meal of sea bass and rice with calamari sauce almost as soon as we arrived. Alan explained to the police that we would go and speak with them as soon as we had had something to eat. We arrived at their office at about 530 and spent 45 minutes talking with the town prefecture who was pretty full of himself. Again Alan helped us immensely Eventually they let us go and told us we had to go see the police (different from the gendarmerie.) It was getting dark by this time so Alan led us instead to Lac Bleu, a local camping spot used by him and his family. We are very grateful to Alan and Frederick for their hospitality, the insightful look into their operation, and for their help with the local officials.

Our convoy in the forest

Updated Information Date Camp Site or Accommodations GPS

Distance  Today: 78km


 Pasta Bolognaise

Somewhere in the Bush, Congo

 17 April 2004

Bush Camp


Odometer: 17876km

Hot, Sunny, 101(F) degrees

We spent a very relaxing morning hanging out by the lake. Slade, Vicky, and Krissy have snorkeling masks and fins, and we enjoyed snorkeling in the crystal clear waters of the lake. It was like swimming over the top of a jungle, with bright green grasses and many multi-colored fish in the water. We departed at about 2 after bees showed up to share our lunch with us and drove for a few hours along a road used mostly by logging trucks. The pinzi developed a leak in a tire at about 5pm and conveniently there was a beautiful campsite near where we stopped which overlooked the forest and the Niari River. Elza cooked some wonderful pasta and we sat around the campfire until it started to rain.

Lac Blue

Elza and Urs' dog, Bio, going for a swim

Updated Information Date Camp Site or Accommodations GPS

Distance  Today: 161km


 Chinese food

Point Noir, Congo

 18 April 2004

Bush camp on the beach


Odometer: 17758km

Hot, Sunny, 102(F) degrees

We drove the remaining 150 km into Point Noir, stopping for a few police checks which are getting quicker and easier as we go. We phoned a contact that Elza made while in Libreville, and were directed to a yachting club in town where we were allowed to camp on the beach. It’s not the most beautiful beach setting you can imagine, but it does have showers, and it’s free! We have one visa for Angola which we obtained in Libreville, but it is single entry only. We need to get another Angola visa so that we can go through the Angolan enclave containing Cabinda, then enter DRC for a short stretch, then back into Angola at Matadi. We will visit the Angolan embassy tomorrow to try to sort out that visa.


The road to Lac Bleu took us through some very tall grass

Updated Information Date Camp Site or Accommodations GPS

Distance  Today: 0km


 Chinese food (restaurant chez wou

Point Noir, Congo

 19 April 2004

Bush camp in the boathouse


Odometer: 18026km

Hot, Sunny, 104(F) degrees

The security folks at the yacht club made us move from the beach to the gated area where they store people’s boats this morning because they are concerned about our security. This may be a good thing, as Graham and Connie were awoken at 6am by someone climbing up the side of Thoki. Connie yelled at him and he seemed surprised that people were sleeping in the tent. He left in a hurry. We checked with the Angola embassy and learned that it would take a week to issue another visa. Checking further, we learned that it is possible to use our current visas to transit through Cabinda, then get another visa at the border in Matadi. We spent the rest of the day writing web updates and doing laundry. Connie and Krissy went to the Score supermarket to stock up on supplies. We got a cab to the “Pyramids” restaurant for dinner but it was closed. We asked the driver to take us somewhere good and not too expensive. We ended up back at Chez Wou, where we ate last night.

Angola & Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

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