Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of the
Congo, and Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, are the two
closest capital cities anywhere in the world, facing each other from opposite
sides of the Congo River just under four miles apart.
The two capitals are very different, Brazzaville
having a population of just over a million, whilst Kinshasa is home to around
Many ferries cross the River Congo as well as canoes
and other boats, and the Pool Region, where the crossings take place is the
scene of frequent accidents as many of the boats are in a poor state of repair.
Ferries operate every two
hours between the two countries from 8am until mid-afternoon and cost around £9
However travellers are recommended to take the more expensive Carnot Rapide which, although costing more at £15, are modern boats with less
passengers making for a safer crossing. And safety is something of an issue for
the Congo ferry.
In July 2010 eighty people died after their ferry hit a rock, in 2009
people died after their supposedly non passenger logging boat sank.
In one of
the worst disasters in 1993, 147 citizens of the Democratic Republic of Congo
drowned after the ferry leaving the Republic of Congo left the quayside
prematurely pushing passengers into the water, and then, when the ferry made a
hasty return after realising what had happened, it crushed many of those in the
You could, of course, also hire one of the
speed boats available but then you really would be taking your life into
your own hands as operators seemingly haven't heard of safety and just want
to get you across the Congo in the fastest way possible even if that means
bouncing off rocks along the rapids!
If making the journey ensure you have a
valid passport and visa and whilst arriving in the Republic of Congo is
relatively hassle free the same cannot be said for arrivals at Kinshasa
especially for lone travellers outside government and NGO operations.
In this video, take the short two mile trip across
the Congo by ferry from Brazzaville to the port of Le Beach Ngobila in Kinshasa
which extends for about four miles along the Congo River with its dozens of
quays of differing sizes along its bank providing shelter for hundreds of boats