Congo Brazzaville 06/12 – 09/12
“Donnez moi l’argent!”
These were the first words spoken by the Congolese at the border. As always, people, especially when in uniforms, were demanding money, souvenirs, even our bike, dead sure that we are being sponsored by our government, our rich parents or that we can easily take a plane back home or just buy a new bike. We managed to avoid paying any bribes one more time and a hour later we had our passports stamped in on time. The Congo Brazzaville visa was not hard to get in Abuja, but it was soon to expire: we had only until the 11 th to exit the country, but what made things even more tricky was that on the 14 th a second visa would expire swell, the one for DRC. That meant the countdown to Matadi, the last place we were hoping to get the Angola visa from, had started.
The custom police and border control people warned us about another overlander’s vehicle crossing the border about 2 hours before. Hoping we would be fast enough to catch up with them, I went full throttle ahead. When passing through Kibangou, the first little town after the border, I was so into the groove that I could not even glimpse at the police officers waving desperately. Some 5 km outside town though, I hear the unmistakable sound of a bike engine closing in. I wonder if we are being followed, but minutes later a white guy shows up on a KTM. I am so surprised that I can aryl mumble a hello. Alper is from Germany and is traveling together with his friend Esther around Africa for 8 months. They had already pitched their tent in the backyard of some villager, so they summon us to join the party. Back in Kibangou we learned that the German’s set-up kicks ass: a Toyota Land Cruiser + a KTM 690, a solid mix of contort and fun!
Our host is Madame Poulet, the wife of a local motherfucker
In the village of Madingou one more unidentified bush animal ends up in our lunch. And once again, we have a meeting with destiny. At a nearby table we meet a man who tells us about a piste across Congo Brazzaville and into DRC, different from the one we were to follow. This is a better route, he says. 100 km shorter, via Boko Songho. He was crossing that route regularly 2 years ago, he says, so we write down the name of the villages ahead, sketch a map, and off we go. Beyond Boko Songho there is a blank area on the Michelin map of Congo Brazzaville. I guess we will have to ride through to see what’s there.