The DRC Part 1. - Cycling to Sandoa

The first leg of the trip takes us from Lusaka in Zambia to Sandoa in the South West of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

I first met Charlie on the road out of Cairo in Egypt towards the Red Sea, him on a bicycle and me on a motorbike. We then continued to bump into each other on our way south and despite him being on a bicycle we arrived in Cape Town in South Africa at roughly the same time! From here we made the plan of crossing the little-understood, seldom-visited and much self-abused "Democratic" Republic of Congo. So when Charlie reached Lusaka in Zambia on his way back north, I was to meet him there and exchange my motorbike for a bicycle.

Here our a few photos from my first journey by bicycle -

 While we wait for our visas in Lusaka, Charlie gets his bike ready for the first leg of the trip.

While we wait for our visas in Lusaka, Charlie gets his bike ready for the first leg of the trip.

 For £96 I picked up a Buffalo Charger in Lusaka, It was a bit small but I hoped it would do!

For £96 I picked up a Buffalo Charger in Lusaka, It was a bit small but I hoped it would do!

Taking a break next to another badly parked African truck.

The sun sets over our tents.

 The one advantage with camping in a cemetery is that we are the only fools to be hanging out there at night.

The one advantage with camping in a cemetery is that we are the only fools to be hanging out there at night.

 Kasumbalesa, the last town before we cross into the Congo.

Kasumbalesa, the last town before we cross into the Congo.

 A Congelese woman carries her produce to the market.

A Congelese woman carries her produce to the market.

 D odging inbetween trucks and taxis  as we arrive into Lubumbashi, the mining capital of the DRC.

Dodging inbetween trucks and taxis as we arrive into Lubumbashi, the mining capital of the DRC.

 Women lie on the floor of an Evangelical church in  Lubumbashi  after they fall into uncontrollable fits after believing they have  'caught the holy spirit'.

Women lie on the floor of an Evangelical church in Lubumbashi after they fall into uncontrollable fits after believing they have 'caught the holy spirit'.

 A small roadside restaurant outside Likasi. Lunch wasn't quite like how it was advertised.

A small roadside restaurant outside Likasi. Lunch wasn't quite like how it was advertised.

 Kolwezi was the end of the tarmac for us. The locals warned that the road from here gets very bad, to begin with we could not understand, and then later on we understood!

Kolwezi was the end of the tarmac for us. The locals warned that the road from here gets very bad, to begin with we could not understand, and then later on we understood!

 Kanzenze catholic mission.

Kanzenze catholic mission.

 On the search for a good out of the way spot to camp.

On the search for a good out of the way spot to camp.

 Sandy roads aren't fun; sandy roads and getting a puncture is even less fun.

Sandy roads aren't fun; sandy roads and getting a puncture is even less fun.

 An abandoned steam train left from the colonial times at Mutshatsha.

An abandoned steam train left from the colonial times at Mutshatsha.

 The sun sets over the main street in Mutshatsha

The sun sets over the main street in Mutshatsha

 A Panhard armoured car lies destroyed from the previous Congo wars.

A Panhard armoured car lies destroyed from the previous Congo wars.

 Far away from the road and protected by the dense bush we pitch up for the night.

Far away from the road and protected by the dense bush we pitch up for the night.

 Charlie sits unamused that he has spent more time pushing than cycling.

Charlie sits unamused that he has spent more time pushing than cycling.

 A crowd gathers as we enter Tshimbalanga.

A crowd gathers as we enter Tshimbalanga.

 Hot, dirty and sweaty.

Hot, dirty and sweaty.

 Catching  some rest in the midday heat. Aswell as a dusting from a freak Bus.

Catching  some rest in the midday heat. Aswell as a dusting from a freak Bus.

 Two brothers in their store in Sandoa.

Two brothers in their store in Sandoa.

After 1000 miles cycling we made it to Sandoa, the town we had randomly picked back in Cape Town as a good place to start our next challenge. From here we spent the next week in search of a pirogue (a traditional dug out canoe) with the plan of descending the River Lulua, only to be told by all locals that the rapids are too dangerous and no one has ever heard of someone doing it... 

Follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to keep updated for the next part of this trip:

The DRC Part 2. - The Congo by River. 


Charlie has written a great piece on this part of the journey which you can find on his website, Charlie Walker Explore.

We were unable to communicate with each other over the noise but we both seemed to know that we’d passed a point of no return. If we were caught now we may not have time to explain that we are simply tourists (rather than spies, rebels, mineral thieves etc) before something regrettable happened.
— www.charliewalkerexplore.co.uk