Ethnic expedition with Mzungu to Balumbe nomadic Pygmies, tribes of Equateur and Sepeurs of Kinshasa

DR CONGO

February 1 - 12, 2023
Tour Democratic Republic of the Congo
Rainforest of Equateur province of Democratic Republic of the Congo remains one of the last places on Earth where few nomadic Pigmies' tribes still survive. Balumbe people go hunting, collect wild honey from the top of huge trees and migrate in the jungle.

Our expedition to one of the most smashing world's countries also explores Wallee tribe, Bakongo culture, folklore of Pygmies of Babongo, as well as unique Sapeurs' subculture in Kinshasa.

tour to Congo DRC Ethnic expedition to Balumbe nomadic Pygmies, tribes of Equateur and Sepeurs of Kinshasa

tour to Congo, tours to Africa, trekking gorillas

Rainforest of Equateur province of Democratic Republic of the Congo remains one of the last places on Earth where few nomadic Pigmies' tribes still survive. Balumbe people go hunting, collect wild honey from the top of huge trees and migrate in the jungle.

Our expedition to one of the most smashing world's countries also explores Wallee tribe, Bakongo culture, folklore of Pygmies of Babongo, as well as unique Sapeurs' subculture in Kinshasa.

SCHEDULE AND COST:

Dates: February 1 – 12, 2023. MZUNGU LEADS

Duration: 12 days / 11 nights

Number of participants: 7 – 12

Cost per person:
• 3 240 EUR subject to 11 – 12 participants
• 3 390 EUR subject to 9 – 10 participants
• 3 590 EUR subject to 7 – 8 participants

10% early booking discount (in case you book before September 1, 2022)

Everything is included except for:
- international flight to Kinshasa roundtrip
- international medical insurance
- DR Congo visa (about USD 150), to be arranged on your own in DR Congo embassy in advance

Estimated cost of flight Moscow – Kinshasa – Moscow: EUR 900 – 1200 (Usually bought on your own, we consult you)

Single supplement: EUR 390 (single supplement provided along the whole itinerary)




TRAVEL PROGRAM: TOUR TO DR CONGO

Day 1. February 1, 2023 (Wednesday). ARRIVAL IN KINSHASA

Arrive in Kinshasa, DR Congo's capital and the fastest growing city in Africa with almost 20 million residents. Transfer to the Hotel Platinum or similar.

* Recommended flight:
- with Air France via Paris, arrival in Kinshasa at 20:15 on February 1, flight AF-756,
- or with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul, arrival in Kinshasa at 23:45 on January 31, flight TK-590 (exra night in hotel in Kinshasa needed),
- or any flight with arrival in Kinshasa any time on February 1 or in the night from February 1 to 2.

Meals included: dinner
Accommodation: Hotel Platinum or similar


Day 2. February 2, 2023 (Thursday). KINSHASA – MBANZA NGUNGU – KISANTU

After breakfast, drive to Central Congo province (4 hours driving) to experience the Bakongo culture, their religion (mixture of Animistic and Christian beliefs) and admire the rusting colonial architecture of the Belgian colonizers. In Mbanza Ngungu we will visit the old train station with abandoned wagons and old residences of the former rulers in 19 – 20 centuries.
Move to Kisantu. Overnight in Hotel Mbuela Lodge or similar.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Hotel Mbuela Lodge or similar


Day 3. February 3, 2023 (Friday). KISANTU – KINSHASA (4h)

After breakfast, last visits around Kisantu with its colonial architecture and drive back to Kinshasa (4 hours driving). Visit the national museum with interesting works of traditional Congolese art. In the afternoon we will meet the vivid Sapeurs (Dandies) around Victoire Square and listen to some Suku music (Congolese Rumba). Check-in at the hotel. PCR test for domestic flight.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Hotel Platinum or similar


Day 4. February 4, 2023 (Saturday). KINSHASA – MBANDAKA

After breakfast, transfer to N'djili airport for 1 hour regular domestic flight to Mbandaka, formerly Equateurville, was founded by Henry Morton Stanley in 1883.
Arrival in Mbandaka, capital of the province of Equateur, the city located at the crossroads of the Congo River and the Ruki River, around 11 am. Transfer to the Djogolo hotel to settle in and have lunch. Around 2 p.m. we will visit Ethnographic Museum, the Botanical Garden of Eala and end of the day at the sect called Nzambe ya Bakoko (God of our ancestors). Return to the hotel for dinner.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Djogolo hotel


Day 5. February 5, 2023 (Sunday). MBANDAKA – LOLANGA – LOPOKO

After breakfast, we reach the Mbandaka port and take a wooden motor boat up the Congo River (about 7 hours by boat) towards the last pygmy nomads in the DR Congo, the Balumbe. Stopover to visit the Lolanga village which is the capital of the Lolanga territory. Visit to the Protestant church, depending on arrival time, attend mass. We continue our navigation along Lolanga river to arrive at the Lopoko village around 4 p.m. Night in tents.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: tents


Day 6. February 6, 2023 (Monday). LOPOKO – MABAKO VILLAGE (BALUMBE PYGMIES)

After breakfast, we leave the boat and we take the traditional canoe for an hour of navigation, then we will walk 30 minutes to reach the Balumbe Pygmies village where we will stay one night. Upon arrival, a welcome dance by the Pygmies followed by a presentation of notables from the community and then a break. Around 2 p.m. after lunch, visit of the school, tour of the village and adult dance. Evening around the fire animated by children under 7 years old with the famous Isankele dance. Night under tent.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: tents


Day 7. February 7, 2023 (Tuesday). MABAKO VILLAGE (BALUMBE PYGMIES) – MBANDAKA

The Balumbe are a hunting and gathering pygmy tribe living in the primary forest of DR Congo. After breakfast, we go out into the forest with Pygmies in order to observe hunting and traditional collecting wild bees' honey from the high trees, and also to discover knowledge of Balumbe of medicinal plants. Say goodbye to Balumbe and return to Lopoko village. Take the boat back to Mbandaka. Arrival in the evening and free evening. Night at the hotel.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Djogolo hotel


Day 8. February 8, 2023 (Wednesday). MBANDAKA – MOOTO

After breakfast, we take the road to the south of the city for the Mooto village with a stopover at the crossing of the Equator line. Mooto is an old Catholic mission established since 1960. Pitching and installation of tents, then visit of the mission, the cathedral and meeting with the village chief and free evening.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: tents


Day 9. February 9, 2023 (Thursday). MOOTO VILLAGE (BABONGO PYGMIES)

After breakfast, visit the pilot center of the association "VZW Mooto & Bikoro" which supports the population in sustainable development in agriculture, health and education: plantations (palm grove, cocoa, beans, etc.), huller, mill, canteen public. We enter the forest for a demonstration of different types of traps, picking medicinal plants with the pygmies. Return to camp for lunch. In the afternoon, we tour the village and discover the daily activities of the inhabitants. Around 6:30 p.m. after dinner, cultural evening with Babongo Pygmies and Bantu group. Night under tent.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: tents


Day 10. February 10, 2023 (Friday). MOOTO VILLAGE (BABONGO PYGMIES) – IYEMBE (WALLEE PEOPLE) – MBANDAKA

After breakfast, we take the vehicle to go to the Iyembe village to discover the Walléé women and then return to Mbandaka. Free evening. Option to experience the atmosphere of Mbandaka and exhibit a few dance steps. COVID test will be organized by our agent.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Djogolo hotel


Day 11. February 11, 2023 (Saturday). MBANDAKA – KINSHASA

After breakfast, transfer to Mbandaka airport. 1 hour flight to Kinshasa with scheduled flight. PCR test to take flight back home or to another country.

Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Hotel Platinum or similar


Day 12. February 12, 2023 (Sunday). KINSHASA – RETURN FLIGHT

Breakfast. Pick-up PCR test results. At the appointed time, transfer to the airport. Flight back home.

* Recommended flight:
- with Air France via Paris, departure from Kinshasa at 21:55 on February 12, flight AF-770,
- or with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul, departure from Kinshasa at 0:40 on February 12, flight TK-590 (departure 1 night earlier),
- or any other flight with departure from Kinshasa any time on February 12.

Meals included: breakfast
Accommodation: no
Cost includes:

• Domestic flights Kinshasa – Mbandaka – Kinshasa
• accommodation in hotels based on double or twin rooms (in DRC very often separate twin beds are not available and DBL beds are provided)
• accommodation in camping based on single
• camping equipment: tents, mattresses, furniture, cooking stuff, dishware, cutlery
• full board meals (3 times a day) along the route
• unlimited drinking mineral water along the route
• Transport: minibus or Toyota Coaster bus in Kinshasa and Central DRC, 4x4 jeep vehicles (3 participants in each car maximum) in Equateur province, all with AC and experienced drivers,
• all airport transfers
• all boats along the route
• all permits, all activities, visits and entrance fees along the route
• governmental taxes
• financial support of local communities/tribes
• photo- and video shooting allowance
• experienced English speaking professional guide along the whole route
• Russian-speaking and English-speaking team leader Mzungu



Cost excludes (to be additionally paid):

• international flight to Kinshasa roundtrip
• international medical insurance
• visa of DR Congo (to be obtained in advance in the DRC embassy in your country, on your own, at some 150 USD)
• tips
• alcohol, soft drinks and personal expenses
• single accommodation in hotels



To take with:

- sets of clothes suitable for the weather conditions, including lightweight clothes (shorts, T-shorts), and one set of warm clothes (hoody or light jacket), long sleeve clothes
- sun hat/panama
- swimwear
- raincoat
- comfortable trekking footwear, light footwear (sneakers)
- sleeping bag for warm weather
- mosquito net for sleeping place (is a must!)
- personal hygiene items (towel, wet tissues, soap)
- individual medical kit (analgesics, antiseptic, antibiotic, antiviral, intestinal, multivitamins, rehydration, court plaster, your personal medications)
- anti malaria prevention pills (up to you to decide but recommended)
- yellow fever certificate (is a must!)
- certificate with negative result of PCR coronavirus test (to be verified before the trip)
- sunblock set (cream, spray)
- various repellents (is a must!)
- sunglasses
- big backpack for stuff (up to 70 l)
- small backpack for radial walks (25 – 30 l)
- head torch
- favorite meals (chocolate, nuts)
- photo and video camera, tripod
- power bank, batteries
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