1 May 2014

Out on a Boat: Congo River Sandbank

Today is May 1 - which is a proper holiday here in the Congo.  What can one do on a day off around these parts?  Read on.

Kinshasa is huge and sprawling and has a particular sort of city craze.  It's hard to find a place that isn't packed with people or buzzing with noise.

Sometimes, it's nice to get away.

"Away" in this case is a sandbar in the middle of the Congo River.  After thirty minutes on a slow-moving boat, you are transported to relative silence and an uncluttered visual field.

For the trip in these photos, we went through the Yacht Club de Kinshasa, which has boat rentals and catering.  

There are other, frequently changing, options for getting to a sandbar as well.  If you're interested, you can try the numbers at the end of this post, or ask your friends.  Chances are, they "know somebody". 

Now, lest you get too excited and/or judgey about our fancy lifestyle, let me be clear, this is a yacht:

And this is a dock:

But, the stripped-down surroundings force stripped-down fun.  Kubb on a Congo River beach being one of life's pleasures in which everybody really should indulge.

Maybe mothers should temporarily put away fears of river blindness and let their kid just go for it because how great is it to be able to casually mention that you've been swimming in the mighty Fleuve Congo?

And then, the mothers should jump in too.  

Kanga and pagne make for perfect muggy-weather beach wraps.

Frisbees should be tossed.

(Don't worry, I'm sure we picked up that Tembo bottle...)

And unprotected eyeballs seared by the equatorial glare.

(Johan is clearly miserable, due to his lack of sunglasses and choice of attire.
Note:  Do not wear black skinny jeans to the sandbar.)

(I'm clearly gloating.)

Kids big and small should plop themselves down and dig.

 And be cuddled when exhausted despite the sand.

You should remember the people you see as the boat pulls away.

And consider the water cities that hug the shore.


If you want to go to a sandbar on the Congo River right outside of Kinshasa, try calling the numbers below, but no guarantees on anything.  You should ask around for more tips and contacts. Be prepared for the price.  It's not cheap to rent a boat.  Best to get a big group together and split the cost. Here's what the ever-knowledgeable Wiki has to say:
A BBQ on a sandbank on the Congo River is definitely also a must. Renting a boat for a day with a driver and all the gear (tables, chairs, a suntent and a BBQ) will cost around 150$ at the Yacht Club Kinshasa. The boat can take 8 people, so if you share the cost it is quite affordable. A truly unforgettable experience.
  • Donald:  081 64 35 151
  • Mr Simba:  09 99 93 73 98 
  • Alain: 081 01 89 281 
  • Yacht Club de Kinshasa:  081 40 47 784  or  081 50 96 315
Find a map here.


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