The DRC Part 2 - The Congo by River.

DR Congo

by Archie Leeming

The second leg of the journey had us uncertainly navigating the River Lulua and encountering more obstacles than we ever could have imagined. The decision to travel down the River Lulua was an easy decision. We spotted it on the map and it fitted our requirements: it headed north, it wasn't too wide, and next to no information was available about it online.

When we began our week-long search for an adequate 'pirogue' (the hollowed-out tree trunks that are used on the Congolese rivers), we were bombarded with dire warnings of rapids, waterfalls, hippos and crocs. To put simply, we were told we would die.

We came through many rapids dry. Some sank us and briefly dampened our spirits, but we had gone from utter amateurs to a well-drilled two-man team in a pleasingly short time. We had effective routines for overcoming the various challenges we encountered. However, we finally reached a set of rapids that were vast, broiling and stretched for many hundred meters.

We made the tough but sensible decision to continue by land. To that end, we were now landed on a remote river bank and needed to find a road. Some villagers led us part way on narrow footpaths. We were physically drained, peppered with infected wounds and Charlie seemed on the verge of collapsing into a tropical fever. We had to get to a town with medicine, and fast...

One Response to “Archie Leeming”

  1. Cordei C

    Kind of reminds me of Mary Kingsley’s account of her travels through different parts of Africa at the end of the 19th century. The rivers, the rapids, the humidity and all that in a thick woolen Victorian dress! I’m sure your journey was much more comfortable ;).
    Fanastic shots!

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