Congo - February/March 2019

- The Totof adventures-
Totof in Congo

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D3 - False start

02/27/2019 - Journey : Mindouli --> Brazzaville

If I tell you the story ... of a return to step one? There, you say that there was an unexpected, isn't it? And that is to say the least !

Let's go back a few hours. The day rises on Mindouli. The semblance of life awakes in this small town released by the army less than 6 months ago, and which still bears the marks of clashes with the rebels (houses in ruins, bombed).
After a breakfast at the same restaurant as last night, we go to search Aphyosemion zygaima. The local cement factory has destroyed a lot of biotopes, with very muddy waters, very heavy. We take the old main track, not maintained for many years. After 3 unsuccessful attempts in sublime sets of forest galleries at the bottom of savannah valleys, the road deteriorates greatly and becomes impassable (rut of 2m and more). We have to go back.

But why did you speak of "return to stepone" then ?
If I tell you that after less than 10Km of track since the morning, the clutch changed 2 days before our arrival ... is broken ! The car will be immobilized at the checkpoint at the entrance to Mindouli. The adventure of the day begins at this moment.
We have two options: either to be towed to Dolisie to hope to find a mechanic and especially the part to change, or to be towed to Brazzaville for the mechanic to repair his bullshit. No need to specify the chosen solution ? After all, half an hour of reflection ... so as not to make a hasty decision.

A truck brings us somehow (2 breaks cable!) to the crossroads of the main axis, 300m, where passes all the traffic of the axis Brazzaville / Pointe Noire. In a few minutes, a customs officer and a soldier will use their influence to find us a vehicle that will ensure the towing to Brazzaville: 220Km to do, and it is past 12 hours !
After agreeing a price of 45,000 CFA (70), a civilian driving an old Toyota Hilux (with 2 passengers on board) begins the operation.

Yes but ... the cable is too thin ! After 3 or 4 km, it broke in a big climb. We hitch it up by making a stronger loop and we leave.
Yes but ... the cable is still too thin! After only 3 or 4 meters, he broke again ! The climb is tough, and the trucks can't stop to help us. Luckily, a soldier goes on a moped. He embarks Laurent for a quick return to Mindouli to find a new cable.
Yes but ... time passes and Laurent does not return. The civilian can not really leave because the soldier of Mindouli took his plate and must call us regularly to check that everything is going well (it is midnight and we are still waiting for his phone call...).
Two hours later, Laurent returns with the military (water and forests services !) Returning, with a rope of 2 meters and two solid fastening systems that inspire confidence from our point of view.
Yes, but ... a few minutes before they come back, Allan finds a small snake (Philothamnus hughesi) stuck in a roadside ditch. The car problem suddenly becomes secondary for Laurent ... We leave at around 14:15, goods strapped to the front car, and with a snake ...
Yes but ... have you ever driven at 120Km/h, towed by a car located 1.5m before you, on a road with only climbs and descents (between 6 and 8% often)? We, yes! We were not proud. At the slightest gap, we were all dead.

After 3 hours of road, we finally reach the PK45, junction with the road going towards the north of the country.
Yes but ... on a braking, Laurent gets a little too close to the car and when passing on the back of a donkey, rolls on the cable, which breaks instantly! It remains 57Km to do before arriving at destination. We repair the cable and leave again fairly quickly. Until the entry of Brazzaville, this same cable will yield again 2 times, each time reducing a little more the distance between the two cars. No matter, we are relieved because we arrive alive in the capital, and icing on the cake, before dark!

Yes but ... if I tell you that, crossing Brazzaville, the Toyota Hilux bursts, you believe it ?! Laurent calls the mechanic, who comes to take the end of the tow a few minutes later. After an explanation in the rules of (African) art between Laurent and the mechanic, we finally arrive safely.

The pressure falls. Laurent did a great job! We are still stuck here tomorrow, the time for repairs ...
After a small restaurant in town, we all tired, and it's time to sleep. Will the rest of the expedition be quieter, and especially more prolific in terms of killis? Case to follow !

North to Mindouli

North to Mindouli

North to Mindouli

Car problem

Car problem

Philothammus hughesi




Road near Mindouli

Is car full ?

Towed car