Preview: Gabon, Congo, DRC
We leave Cameroon and enter Gabon, formerly Gabonese Republic, or even more formally, République gabonaise,a country that consists mostly of tropical rain forest. Gabon is sparsely inhabited and relatively wealthy, due primarily to its oil reserves, which are expected to run out in under 10 years. Our next stop is the beautiful Lope National Park, home to a population of elephants, buffalo and the famous central Africa drill monkeys. All I can say is: damn, Gabon looks beautiful. But don’t take my word for it:
After a safari through the savanna lands, we continue south along dirt and mud roads toward the Republic of Congo, or simply Congo.
While the first section of roads are rough dirt, once we reach the sealed roads it’s a fast run to Brazzaville, the bustling city that lies on the North side of the magnificent Congo River, the largest river in Africa. We’ll cross the “Brown Snake” to Kinshasa, the much famed capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly known as Zaire).
For those interested in a brief history lesson, the deadliest conflict in African history, and the deadliest worldwide since WW2, began in the DRC and occurred from 1998–2003. Known formally as the Second Congo War, and informally as the Great African War, it involved 9 African nations and resulted in the death of over 5 million Africans. They don’t call them “blood diamonds” for nothing!
We have a short pit-stop in Matadi, the gateway to our next country, Angola.