Brazzaville - From rags to Richness

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We saw the skyline of Brazzaville, the stepsister of Kinshasa, from the ferry and felt very exited to start the next leg of our trip. If we thought the embarking of the ferry was chaotic, the disembarkation was nothing short of sheer hell. It was absolutely impossible to move and what made matters worse was that most of the ground section was loaded with at least 100 bicycle type carriages carrying hoards of disabled people suffering from polio on their way to the market in Brazzaville. It was close to impossible to get past them with their loads and the heat including the fact that they unfortunately had no control of their bladders made matters worse.

 Highly illegal pics taken on the Ferry!!!! Some of the madness

Again much shouting, swinging of arms and sign language took place simultaneously and before we knew, our passports were grabbed and the guy marched off with them !!! Needless to say, it was a bit unnerving as we had no idea where to go or what was happening (time to learn French I would say!!!) After the payment of many more dollars for what we do not know, we finally could leave the cesspool of urine, spit and foul smelling rubbish and make our way into Beautiful Brazzaville.

 Casino Supermarket ...Bliss!!

At this point it is important to note that the Congolese are the best dressers we have ever seen. The people dressed well in DRC, specially the ladies with their African dresses, but NOTHING can compete with the style of the Congolese. The men are mostly dressed in smart suits smelling fresh of aftershave and the ladies are so proud and stately in their outfits included headgear or beaded and complicated hairstyles. How they manage this in the heat and dust, I have no idea as we permanently felt like paupers in their presence! This is in stark contrast with all the rubbish and dirt noticeable everywhere.

 Smart Lady Shady Avenues

Despite a bad start, we both instantaneously fell in love with Brazzaville. It is a stunning city, peaceful with tree line avenues and cafes as well as the best supermarket we have seen since Windhoek! The next step was to find a place for the night and as the one place we wanted to stay was full, the other one we could find had ridiculous price tags and offered nothing to justify it, we decided to blow the budget, use our credit card and checked in to a “African standard 4 star hotel” The price tag was I think what you would pay in The Nellie for a night but the standard equal to an SA 2 star, but what the hell it was utter luxury……..

  1. A proper toilet with a seat and a flush that worked and did not reek of urine
  2. A hot shower (well tepid) the first since Namibia
  3. A proper bed with clean sheets and no sleeping on the floor
  4. Clean towels
  5. Great food

 Luxury!!! Sports cafe Brazza styleChurch

In hindsight it was the best decision we made even though I could not really enjoy it due to the migraine taking its toll, but I slept like a baby waking up the next morning totally refreshed.We were ready to face the next part of the journey, or so we thought. Maybe we should have taken more deep breaths before we left!!