THE EAST AFRICAN SERIES, DAY 5
Bujumbura – Gatumba Border – Bugarama Border – Bukavu Border
Caught filming at the DRC border. It all started fairly bad at the Burundi DRC border and the writing should have been on the wall when a Japanese NGO looked at me and wondered why on earth I was going to the DRC
WELCOME TO COUNTRY 154
Then as part of the old vlog I recorded a quick video on the bridge (no man’s land) but was pretty sure I was being super subtle.
Next thing I had 4 locals around me asking alls sorts of questions in French but I blanked them as if they were trying to get me taxi. It was only when they went to get the main guy at the post that I knew something was up so back we went to see my Burundian guide who was waiting to see me off.
WHERE IS DRC?
Government entry advice
After a quick chat they took issue to me recording. Not sure how they knew but they did and after looking at the innocent footage (thank god it was innocent) they asked it to be deleted and moved on.
Then my DRC contact arrived and the start of the 30min process to get my passport stamped began but not until I got the lowdown of taking snaps in the DRC. Turns out one of the locals at the border snitched. With no photos, how tame are these stories going to end up.
DAILY INFO… DAY 5
- HOTEL – Hotel Elizabeth
- RESTOS – Salt & Pepper
- FOOD – Shawarma
- ATTRACTIONS – Bukavu
- STEPS – 11,200
What made me wonder even more was how this was my guides first time to this border. Let’s be honest the DRC from here wasn’t the most charming of places but you’ve got to take each country as it is otherwise you have no chance and don’t forget to put the barriers down and come with an open mind.
I was joined by my guide and two heavies (one being the driver and the other also a fixer in the Bukavu area. My guide said it was better safe than sorry 🤣
To set the tone we immediately passed a UN compound and then their airfield just a few miles later, it was giving me Black Hawk Down vibes.
The roads are in a terrible state here and to help put it in perspective it was quicker for us to cross into Rwanda and back into the DRC just an hour later. We absolutely flew on these roads and I felt like some important diplomat being chaperoned to his important meeting with the president of the Congo.
However getting into Rwanda wasn’t plain sailing and I was questioned on the drone. It was our luck the president was around at the same time so they weren’t keen to make any compromises. In the end they let us in and only offered us an hours visa. I have never in my life heard of an hours visa.
We eventually got to Bukavu dropped the bags off at the Elizabeth Hotel and made out for a bit of site seeing.
Caught filming at the DRC border
This place is wild and virtually impossible to take photos without someone saying something and I don’t fancy trying the old adage of its better to ask for forgiveness than permission.
When you visit places like the local church you know Bukavu hasn’t got much going for it but you have to take it for what it is. From here we drove around the town a little and then walked to the market.
Caught filming at the DRC border
THE DRC – ABOUT THE COUNTRY:
- LANGUAGE – French, Kituba (Kikongo), Lingala, Swahili, and Tshiluba
- HELLO – “mbote kua ngeye”
- HOW TO CHEERS – “weebale”
- LOCAL BEER – Primus
- POPULAR SPORT – Soccer
- STAPLE DIET – Cassava
- LVP – The guys who snitched on me recording
- HIGHLIGHT – Making it to Bukavu
- LOWLIGHT – Burundi/DRC border
TODAY’S YOUTUBE VIDEOS
If you want to see today from a different perspective, and catch a few different stories from the front row, then check out today’s YouTube videos below.
Ah it could be worse…
Trekking with Gorillas and getting too close to the General’s wife!! Click to read.
SAFE TRAVELS, DS x
This post is part of The East African Series, for the entire series click here or for episode 1, click here.
To watch the video of my trip, head to my highlights on my Instagram.
- Is The DRC on your “to visit list”? Lol
- Would these sort of countries interest you?
- Do you enjoy getting a culture shock?
Let me know in the comments below . . .