Cycling Into the Heart of Africa
Jelle Veyt has made it across the border from the Republic of the Congo to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and can continue cycling towards Kilimanjaro.
First, he’d need to escape Kinshasa, a sprawling city of over 15 million. Veyt had heard stories of robberies and violent crime but to his surprise, he was able to cycle out of the city quite easily. He cycled past the airport on the N1 highway and made his way out into the countryside.
Veyt wasn’t sure what to expect from the DRC and was worried that maybe COVID would impact people’s view of foreigners, but so far people have been enthusiastic and friendly. “People around are screaming at me, but in a good way,” he wrote in his latest blog post. Children run behind his bike and village chiefs have let him pitch his tent.
He was also told that he might have problems with the police and immigration officials, but he has mostly encountered friendly people just trying to do their job. In one village the police even slept outside his tent to ensure he was safe!
One exception was in the town of Tshikapa. Here, the Intelligence Services were aggressive and tried to intimidate him. They wanted money and it took four hours for Veyt to deal with the situation.
After around 600 miles, Veyt’s luck with good quality roads ran out. The tarmac gave way to sandy tracks, and it is often impossible to cycle. After a couple of days alternating short rides with lots of pushing, he has arrived in the state capital of Kasai-Central province, Kananga. “I’m really enjoying this drive through the country, it’s very hard but worth it,” he said.