Republic of the Congo – Travel Blog. Beaches, bush camps and beautiful drives on the brief Congolese leg of our Oasis Overland ‘Accra to Cape Town’ trip.
Border Crossing from Gabon
Entering the Republic of the Congo was a reasonably straight forward experience which was done within an hour. We spent 5 days in total driving through the countryside, with a few days in the capital, Pointe-Noire.
Our drive from the border continued on crappy unsealed roads for around 130 km. We passed small villages with the most beautifully friendly people we had come across so far. Children and adults alike came running to the roadside, waving smiling and squealing at us. Travel days like those were some of our favourites. Being so welcomed by the locals was so touching. We were certain that many of the people, especially the children, had never seen a white person before.
The thick jungle that we had been exposed to in Gabon and Cameroon had all but disappeared and was replaced with thick jungle scrub. It was super dusty and hot and we encountered some interesting sections of muddy road which our driver negotiated perfectly.
Around 3 pm, we came across a line of logging trucks and could see that one truck had tipped over and was blocking the road. There was a muddy track to the side of that, however, a truck carrying beer was bogged. The completely bald tires probably had something to do with that. It turned out that the trucks had been stuck for the past 24 hours. So, in order to get past, we had to pull the bogged truck out backwards, drive across the boggy track and then towed the truck across the boggy track to the other side.
Not too far up the road, we stopped at a river for a quick swim. This was was amazing, as we were so hot and sweaty and we weren’t sure when our next shower would be. We then moved up the road a little and found a secluded bush camp in an old quarry. That evening, we had a beautiful sunset over the campsite.
We had approx 120 km of driving on the same dirt road the following day. We passed more villages with more beautiful people waving and screaming at us with excitement as we drove by. It was hot and dusty again, however, we were grateful that the rain had held off as if it hadn’t, the roads would have been a muddy mess.
We were all happy when we finally hit the sealed road. It was probably the best road we’d encountered in 6 weeks and was better than our roads at home! At that point, we were reunited with the thick jungle. Although, sadly the effects of logging and deforestation were evident, with large clearings being visible from the roadside. We stopped at a lookout, which was quite possibly the most disappointing viewpoint we’ve ever seen, with nothing but overgrowth staring right back at us. I am sure the views are lovely, behind the wall of vegetation!
Finding a suitable place to camp was tricky. After some time, we turned off the main road to a quarry like clearing where we set up camp. As we were quite close and visible to the main road, a few locals from the nearby village came to investigate. One was concerned about his several bags of cement that were strategically positioned around the place, but eventually, they all left us in peace. That night’s sleep was one of the most uncomfortable we had experienced. The heat from the gravel we were camped on, penetrated through the base of the tent and our thin sleeping mats all night long. It was like sleeping in a sauna.
After breakfast the next morning, we left for Pointe-Noire at 7.30 am. It didn’t take long to reach our destination and we were there by 10.30am. We were staying right on the beach,
We effectively had three full days in Pointe-Noire and as there wasn’t a lot to see and do, we spent most of our time chilling by the beach with the odd swim in the rough sea.
We visited the town which was clean and very civilised. Like a lot of the large cities we had visited, everything was pretty expensive. Food from the supermarket was incredibly expensive.
After our time in Pointe-Noire, we had a short drive to the border of the Cabinda Province of Angola which we were transiting through to reach the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the next stop of our African adventure. We would have loved to see more of the country, as our short travels through the Republic of the Congo were some of our favourites. The locals were unbelievably friendly and made our visit one to remember.
Our Oasis Overland Expedition
We travelled with Oasis Overland on the 12 week Accra-Cape Town section of their 42 Week UK-Cairo Trans Africa expedition. Doing an Overland expedition was an epic way to travel through this big and beautiful continent. It took the hassle out of travelling independently through some of most remote parts of the world. Yet, it still provided the challenges and adventures that we as well-travelled backpackers wanted. From free-camping under the stars to sweltering in the dense jungles and driving for days along dusty desolate tracks to haggling in the busy and bustling markets, this expedition had it all. We really did get a little off track!