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Old Tuesday 10th April 2018, 20:35   #1
lukedray
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Drc

I'm thinking of a trip to the DRC. With over 1000 bird species, 21 endemics, its an incredible risk but it'll be an adventure. It would be for several months and using our own vehicle. Anybody up for the challenge?
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Old Wednesday 11th April 2018, 08:01   #2
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You must be mad, you definitely won't get insurance.



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Old Wednesday 11th April 2018, 08:42   #3
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more than 'an incredible risk'.
"Please note that driving in Kinshasa can be dangerous. Police can demand bribes for no reason. Car doors should be kept locked at all times in case of thieves." from gov.uk website. your uk license is not valid.
seems very unstable to say the least.
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Old Wednesday 11th April 2018, 12:39   #4
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Originally Posted by lukedray View Post
I'm thinking of a trip to the DRC. With over 1000 bird species, 21 endemics, its an incredible risk but it'll be an adventure. It would be for several months and using our own vehicle. Anybody up for the challenge?
There are risky ideas, very risky ideas, extremely risky ideas and effing stupid ideas. Depending on where you go in DRC decides which of the latter 2 categories it falls into. I would think that lugging round hundreds/thousands of pounds of optics and camera gear would make you a prime target even in the "safer" areas. If you do go (and I definitely wouldn't) good luck, I think you'll probably need it. Before you ask, no I've never been to DRC but I have been to places where I've had guns stuck in my face, had bribes demanded attempted robberies etc. etc. and take it from me, it's no fun at all.
Lots of places with lots of birds that aren't as dangerous, I'd choose one of them if I were you.

IMHO of course

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Old Wednesday 11th April 2018, 13:29   #5
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Backpackers are still travelling into some parts of DRC, these areas 'relatively safer' than others. However, in addition to the obvious risks, there is also basically no road network in much of the country and where it does it exist, it is more or less impassable to all but the sturdiest of 4x4 truck and even then you can expect to get bogged down/suffer mechanical breakage - if you aren't able to repair your own vehicle, I'd personally not even think about taking a vehicle.

As for 1000 species, I highly doubt a trip will see anywhere near this number due to the simple inaccessibility/danger of visiting many areas. A trip to Uganda will probably get you more birds and be a far more realistic option.

And as for 21 endemics, that is a very small number for such a vast country - the key area for endemics in this part of the world is the Albertine Rift mountains: shared between DRC and Uganda, the number of endemics to these mountains is, I think, much higher than 21. Not listed as endemic to either country though as they occur in the two countries (of course, easier and safer to see in Uganda).
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Old Wednesday 11th April 2018, 14:51   #6
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An interesting idea! I assume the OP's plan is to drive down through West Africa to the DRC over the course of several months, rather than spend several months actually in the DRC (which would probably require huge bribes to get around visa regulations, as well as the small problem of finding a vehicle). A fair number of overlanders are still doing this, although I've not heard of anybody making the DRC their primary objective. These days, it is usually seen as somewhere to get through as quickly as possible en route to southern Africa, and I think it is possible to do this without taking inordinate risks (you are basically crossing the narrow neck on the west coast which can be done in a couple of days).

However, I agree with Jos's analysis. In birding terms, I think the rewards of spending much time driving around the DRC are not likely to be great, and probably heavily outweighed by the potential downsides. An overland through West Africa, on the other hand, could be a great birding adventure.

I travelled through the eastern part of DRC when it was Zaire, and it wasn't a particularly pleasant experience even back then, which was before the civil wars and general strife. Corrupt officials and sometimes rather unfriendly locals gave it an edge that I've not felt elsewhere in Africa. Everything I have read suggests it is much worse today.
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Old Thursday 12th April 2018, 10:33   #7
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I guess thats a no from you lot haha, I have found a Swedish person who wants to do it. Wish me luck.
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Old Thursday 12th April 2018, 13:54   #8
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A remarkably flippant reply Luke... Jos is right... the University of Antwerpen has in the past done a fair bit of field work up to the 1990ties and the word back then already was that the only real way to move around the country was either the congo river or local flights (and they have a terrible reputation for aviation safety). driving to anywhere where you would want to do field research (because there was actually something to research) was simply not an option... And with much of the east and especially the Albertine rift and lake area being a (civil) warzone (count is now at least a couple of million dead) .... The militias there kill as easily as they breathe, and being white / westerner isn't a 'get out free card' there... best of luck, but I think you're overly optimistic about this idea.

KR,

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Old Thursday 12th April 2018, 14:44   #9
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seriously luke, dont know you but look it up!
there is a difference between bravado and bravery
if you still go, put your best bins and cameras in your will for me please. i am going to explore darkest cheshire in a couple of months and need good kit.
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Old Thursday 12th April 2018, 17:19   #10
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Seems a little bit "safer" than Syria.

https://sy.usembassy.gov/security-me...warning-syria/

"Tactics of ISIS, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, and other violent extremist groups include the use of suicide bombers, kidnapping, small and heavy arms, improvised explosive devices, and chemical weapons. They have targeted major city centers, road checkpoints, border crossings, government buildings, shopping areas, and open spaces, in Damascus, Aleppo, Hamah, Dara, Homs, Idlib, and Dayr al-Zawr provinces. These groups have murdered and kidnapped U.S. citizens, both for ransom and political purposes; in some instances U.S. citizens have disappeared within Syria. Because of the security situation in Syria, the U.S. government’s ability to help U.S. citizens kidnapped or taken hostage is very limited."
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Old Friday 13th April 2018, 10:52   #11
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Seems a little bit "safer" than Syria.

https://sy.usembassy.gov/security-me...warning-syria/

"Tactics of ISIS, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, and other violent extremist groups include the use of suicide bombers, kidnapping, small and heavy arms, improvised explosive devices, and chemical weapons. They have targeted major city centers, road checkpoints, border crossings, government buildings, shopping areas, and open spaces, in Damascus, Aleppo, Hamah, Dara, Homs, Idlib, and Dayr al-Zawr provinces. These groups have murdered and kidnapped U.S. citizens, both for ransom and political purposes; in some instances U.S. citizens have disappeared within Syria. Because of the security situation in Syria, the U.S. government’s ability to help U.S. citizens kidnapped or taken hostage is very limited."

Not really sure why you posted this about Syria, is there a point?




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Old Sunday 15th April 2018, 16:42   #12
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Even if it was safe, it's not a country for transport on the road, let alone with your own vehicle. Some places can be visited, e.g. Virunga NP and some areas ranging from just East of Kinshasa (with a car) to some areas in the Congo basin (with a small plane + boat). Not worth driving around.
If you want to see Albertine species, go to Uganda as mentioned above, + for some species and for a slightly more authentic gorilla tracking experience, I heard Rwanda is great. From Rwanda (fly to Kigali), one can quite efficiently cover both Virunga, go back to Rwanda for some Albertine rift birding and move overland to Uganda for a huge number of birds.
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Old Friday 11th May 2018, 13:10   #13
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The sobering reality

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-44086214



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Old Saturday 12th May 2018, 01:50   #14
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Definitely do not do this, it's extremely naive and your chances of being killed or kidnapped are high, not to mention being robbed. Some of the key bird areas around Kivu/Goma are basically in conflict zones and most of the Albertine Rift species can be got safely in Uganda. Notice that NO bird tour companies go, the last I know was the Birdquest Congo Peacock special and that was to a quite different area.
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Old Saturday 12th May 2018, 20:18   #15
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Fate of British tourists in DRC:
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc...mp/uk-44092592
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Old Sunday 13th May 2018, 13:31   #16
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Old Monday 14th May 2018, 19:09   #17
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As the Foreigh Office advise against all travel in many areas you will not be insured in these areas. I'm siding with the this is a ****ing stupid idea crew.
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Old Monday 14th May 2018, 19:37   #18
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-44107041


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Old Thursday 17th May 2018, 18:15   #19
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It's got an ebola issue too now. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-44150762
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