Trip Start Sep 27, 2011
Trip End Sep 01, 2012

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Where I stayed
vacant lot in the middle of the town

Flag of Congo  , Niari,
Monday, February 13, 2012

Crossed into the Congo, not to be confused with the Democratic Rep of Congo, on the 9th.  Easy crossing as it is a backwater one.
And then the good roads stopped.  Now it was a narrow dirt track.  Well we got 2km in and promptly got stuck in a bog hole. A truck that was ahead of us at the border was waiting though to pull us through.  But oh no, not us.  Our driver was insistant that we needed no help, that he had never needed help, and he wouldnt pay.  So it was 4 hours digging in the mud, placing sandmats and going nowhere.
Then another truck appeared.  Two of us negotiated 10,000 cfa for a tow (20 dollars) and we were out.  Driver not happy though - we took the easy option. Big duel axel back wheels, no problem
Then camped on the roadside for the night.
Next morning 10km on we slid off the road into a drain on the side.  Not too deep but enough to be stuck again.  Why we didnt keep to the centre of the road i dont know ( i actually do). So it was digging and sandmats again.  Took 3 hours to get out with very little of my help.  Just couldnt be bothered with stupidity.  And refused to dig a drain to let the water out of the drain we were stuck in so driver not pleased.  But we have no proper shovels or spades and it needed to be 30 meters long over hard clay/rock and 2 to 3 foot deep.  I estimated it would take me 16 hours; maybe; no definately, more.
Then on south through the Congo.  Narrow dirt track all the way.  Not jungle though,  Just tall grass either side of the track.  Lots of small villages.  Everyone waves.
Road used by logging trucks mainly.  Chinese drivers.  Big rigs carrying 10-12 big logs - maybe 40 ton plus.  All heading south to Pointe Noir and then China ( the logs only).  Then back for more.  ( the jungle and the trees are way back from this track down even narrower logging roads.
We have been lucky and havnt had rain yet although it is the rainy season.  Mind you the bog holes were created by rain but it was before we got there.  If it does rain alot this road wouldnt be possible for us.
Trying to get visas for Angola here.  Almost last chance to get them.  If we dont succeed we fly over.  To where Im not sure
An African Trails truck crashed in Namibia two days ago.  Lost a wheel, 2 dead and many injured.  But not my truck so Im fine ( 7 lives left)
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John on

Alister, I beleve it's about time that you kicked this driver off the truck and you take over, or recruit another driver.Seems like the Africa that you are seeing is really "Off the beated track'. Love reading your stories - I'm back in Samoa.

Bruce on

Is the driver helping to dig? Sounds like if he gets p'd off with you guys he gets the truck stuck. Perhaps none of you should get visas for Angola and then he can drive and dig the truck out himself!

jimandpaula on

We hope you can count re lives left. It sure seems to us that you have used more than 2!!!!
Jim & Paula

Annalisa on

Well, well, a bit of slave labour in Africa by the white men… I guess quite unusual for the local to witness (where there any locals around when you guys were digging?).
I have been wondering who pays the driver who seems to be giving you people more trouble than pleasure. Is he not supposed to please his customers? Does he not know anything about ‘customers’ service?’(Just been teaching my student about it today!!!).
At least you are still alive. Probably as light a feather with all that physical work and the meals cooked on open fires.
You know why you haven’t had any rain over there? It is because the rainy season has shifter over to NZ. No summer at all this year, at least you can say you have not missed out of what used to be the ‘hot season’.
Hope you will be able to keep updating your blog as it is always fascinating reading about your adventures.
Cheers and good luck with Angola.

Margy on

Hi Alister. Can only reiterate your friends comments from above. Could you just imagine what John 'would do' with the bus driver!! Rest assured upon your return you will be able to secure a job with ACity and show those council workers a thing or 2 on digging. Obviously no time to lean on shovels - or didn't you have any? Curious to know why the driver didn't keep to the middle of the road? Poor people of the Congo. Soon they will be left with just tar-sealed roads but no trees. But it all makes again for fantastic reading....
I am joining John in Samoa for couple of weeks so will write again then.
Luv Margy X

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