Finally, I'm crossing the river, I name, le Fleuve Congo, one of the biggest river on earth. I believe the river is only second to the Nile in Africa! Most time while in Kinshasa, I can see Congo Brazzaville from the terrace of my room...I had to cross one day!
Kinshasa to Brazzaville is also one of the shortest international flight in the world, but flying that route would take you way longer than crossing the river by boat. So I went by boat. Be warned, Kinshasa and Brazzaville are two different worlds! Formalities on the DRC side are always interesting...but I made it, I left one Congo for the other by boat!
Arriving in Brazzaville, is like entering another world when you arrive from DRC! I had a flight out of the country the next day. I just got a transit visa valid for 48 hours. Cost me 42usd. This is a bargain when you know the cost of visas in DRC! The process took me less than 15 minutes and I was walking in Brazzaville city center. No need for transportation to be pre-arranged here. You can hail a taxi and a ride
into the city center is less than 2 usd! I do not take taxis that I have not been personally recommanded in Kinshasa. This is way too dangerous if you don't want to be fully stripped down!
I'm having lunch with a friend who recently moved here. Yes, it is a small world. He brought me to "Le Jardin des Saveurs"....great place. Nothing is cheap in this part of the world, but we had a great meal. Monkfish from the Atlantic ocean always makes up for a great lunch.
My friend went back to work, but he had his driver showing me the main sites of the city. This is not a huge place. 1.8 millions people live in Brazzaville, and only 4 millions in the country. Think about it, across the river, Kinshasa has 12 millions inhabitants. Congo has huge stock of oil...now when oil prices are low, times are not always easy...but prices have lately been on the rise.
Brazzaville is a small, clean and safe city. Yes, here you can walk around and nobody will bother you....big difference with the other side of the river. Being a small
city, there are not that many sites to visit. But I believe life here must be pretty decent!
I spent the night in a little hotel named l'Hippocampe. There is a Radisson, but they charge 300usd a night. Hopefully sooner or later prices will go down. L'Hippocampe remind me of many mini-hotels you find in Vietnam or Thailand. Clean, basic, and at below 50usd a night, with a decent restaurant on the grounds, I won't complain.
The airport is 10 minutes from the city center, another 2usd maximum from the city center. Think about it, that 25 times cheaper than reaching the Kinshasa airport from downtown. I have to admit, it currently takes you short of an hour for a ride...but in the past, it could have taken you 4 hours....making it easier just to take a speedboat across the river! Once again, Brazza airport is small, but they are nice, organized, efficient...with a truly nice lounge.
So yes, I had a short time in Congo. People are friendly and welcoming. I'm sure I will be back, as I want to visit the city of Pointe Noir.....there it's oil industry...but you
are on the Atlantic, gorgeous beaches and serious seafood...and obviously a fresh beer!
No more new country to visit for me over the next two months ( Congo was number 155!).....but August is coming soon. Home for now...diving and playing golf, and seriously happy to be back to my love, and to my kitchen!
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