We hope you are getting super-excited for your expedition and adventure in Congo with CTT.
The clock is ticking down, so we are putting a checkpoint here in the road for you so as to make sure you have everything you need, and to make sure you are prepared physically, mentally, gear-wise, and so as to anticipate and have level expectations of the challenges and experiences that await you ahead.
Travel in the Congo is, as we say it, the Last Frontier in Africa for tourism. This is not a marketing slogan, it is true, and you are coming to a very special, very raw, very real place, where nothing is contrived, very few places are set up for tourism, and the rewards and challenges there-in are much greater. This may be among the most unique trips of your life, and it will also be tiring and tough at times.
In the Congo, travel, life, and daily needs are much much more difficult, challenging, amazingly more expensive, and unpredictable than they are anywhere else in Africa, let alone the world. This region, including also Angola and a bit of C.A.R., is not only the most expensive, obstructionist, bureaucratic, and most difficult for business and travel in Africa, but the entire world. Travel here, beyond yours, ours, the locals’, and even the president’s control, is subject to some if not all of the below:
General chaos and lack of infrastructure in the interior. Changes to roads, rails, flight schedules
Delays, Cancellations, and Breakdowns of Vehicles, Services, Electricity, and Communications
Tropical Weather which halts or at least obstructs plans and transport
Extortion and Solicitation for Bribes of our staff and crew from Officials and Villagers
The highest prices in the world for hotels, tourism, transport overland, and worst service culture
Expensive and Exploitative Government Park Fees and Travel Permits with Manager Overreach
High Difficulty in Getting Good Food and Logistics in the Interior ; Unsanitary street food.
Some other countries in Africa share some of these difficulties, but none of them to remotely the same extent as the Congo. Travel in Africa does not prepare you for travel in this part of Africa. Accommodation and tourism value in Congo, though hugely expensive, never and cannot yield the same value as the selections and professional safari circuits for value-prices found in veterans like Tanzania and South Africa. Expectations should be accordant with this. There is no such thing as 5 star, anywhere here, in the interior. There is also really no such thing as budget travel, though CTT’s mission is to make that possible this year and in the coming years.
As for personal preparations, mentally be prepared for these general local nuisances and challenges, minor and occasional major plan changes, and delays in just about everything in the environment.
You are advised to bring additional personal kit including but not limited to:
mosquito net and repellant
solid walking boots
sunscreen and sun repair crème like Cetaphil
snacks and dry goods for the road
hygiene supplies extra, and an extra towel
flashlight and if you have it, an extra sleeping bag if you get cold easily at night
There are bucket or outdoor showers in some national park facilities, so scrubbers
Swimgear or surfgear if you wish to swim in the rivers, lakes, or sea (is possible and safe)
A cheap cellphone that can accept SIM cards if you wish to make texts/calls outside.
Besides that, bring an open mind and a sense of patience and humor, and relax! You will largely have the whole country to yourself, and will see some of the least developed parts of the planet, with the densest culture and nature, and where you will feel farthest from home and deepest into the African heart.
None of this is metaphor or exaggeration. The trip will be one of the most serious you have ever taken, and you are in for a treat if you can come prepared. Rest up and get ready, roll up your sleeves, and welcome to Africa’s Last Frontier!
The CTT Team.