Just after editing this video, I found out that I had malaria. Since many strains of malaria, including the one that I contracted come on somewhat slow, you just start to feel more and more weird and look worse and worse over time. I realize now that I never actually wrote anything to go along […]
Category Archives: Africa
With all the organizations and people we met and talked with around the world, often it felt like people were just wasting time and money with silly ideas for aid. Often these ideas provide little to no real lasting help to people in the world in need. This story is genius.
Traveling around the world gives you an unparalleled view into the daily lives of people in countless cultures around the globe. In many ways, people throughout the world do a lot of the same things, but the interesting part is how they go about accomplishing those things. Take for example the simple task of taking a shower.
Gabon was a pretty short segment on the expedition. We crossed into Gabon from Cameroon with only a few objectives: get our visas for the Congo and the DRC in Libreviile and pick up our newest crew member, Jen. Gabon turned out to be a pretty laid back country and it was also geographically significant because it was our first time crossing the equator in the Toyotas. While we waited for the visa process, we met a local guy who went by the name of Jack Daniel. Jack was working on building some bungalows on a quiet piece of property he had purchased just outside Libreville. Jack was kind enough to let us pitch our tents on the property and even cooked us some great meals while we were there. In return, we thought it would be a good gesture if we helped JD out with some of the work. In the end, it was definitely more of a gesture than anything tangible because after 10 minutes of swinging an axe around or attempting to dig a trench, the heat and humidity of Gabon got to you and you had no choice but to take a break with JD and some of his homemade palm wine.
Our original plan was to leave Dolisie and head directly to Brazzaville, however, our sources in Dolisie said that the road to Brazzaville was not safe and we would most certainly encounter rebels along the way. The only other alternative was to head west to Pointe Noire and get our Angola visas there. From Pointe Noire, we could cross through the Angolan province of Cabinda before heading south into the DRC and then continuing on into mainland Angola. This was the same route our friends the African Surfers had taken so we headed west without hesitation considering it would save us a lot of driving on poor roads, we had been offered a place to stay in Pointe Noire and assistance with our visas and I was still extremely ill with malaria.
The road to Brazzaville was probably one of the worst stretches of road we had encountered on the entire expedition for multiple reasons. It was the time of year when the rains were subsiding, but not yet completely over which meant that the roads would almost certainly be inundated with water and mud making the journey difficult at best. None of realized how bad the roads would be and how exhausting driving them would be. The stretch of road from Pointe Noire to Brazzaville is about 350 kilometers and it took us about four days to complete the journey. We were constantly getting stuck in mud that came up to your thighs, navigating seemingly impossible sections of road and at one point, having to rebuild an entire bridge in order to continue on to Brazzaville.
Brazzaville also shaped up to be a new exercise in patience for The World by Road. We came into town expecting to get our Angola visas without to much problem, but instead spent about two weeks dealing with probably the most incompetent and confused diplomatic corps in the world. Again, we were forced to push on after a long and frustrating time ultimately without any Angolan visas in our passports. Unfortunately, upon entering Kinshasa in the DRC on the other side of the river, we were promptly deported for not having onward visas… a regulation that had only recently been put into place. Forced to return back across the Congo River to Brazzaville, we enlisted the help of the US Embassy. The embassy staff was outstanding and helped us to get into the DRC in a very round about way which included getting signed, sealed and stamped letters stating that our final destination was Zambia even though it is essentially impossible to travel overland from Kinshasa to Zambia.
Everyone was a little anxious heading into the Congo. We had been told that the roads were bad, that there were some potentially dangerous areas in terms of rebel activity and instability and that things in general would be a bit more difficult compared to what we had already experienced in Africa. Immediately after crossing […]
Our trip through the DRC was quick, only lasting about 3 days. We were kicked out of Kinshasa and had to get to Matadi for our Angola visas. We did manage to check out the Chutes de Zongo, one of the only established tourist attractions in the entire DRC.
It took nearly seven weeks to get our visas for Angola and when we finally had them issued in Matadi, DRC, they did not give us much time. In fact, they only gave us a five day transit visa, so we had to haul ass through more than 2,000 kilometers of bad roads. Angola is quite a unique place. You can tell from the destruction in many of the villages and towns, the extreme landmine danger and by the military equipment scattered throughout the countryside that the civil war had only recently ended. However, the people of Angola were some of the friendliest we had me in Africa to date. Angola is an intriguing country and it was a shame we had such little time to explore such a diverse and vast landscape.